Monday, August 27, 2012

Tweaking My Life!!

For Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House, I am going to talk about tweaking something besides my home decor this week. How about my life???? Here's the deal. This is the first year I have had a child in public school. My older kids have been in college but for the earlier years. I have never had to do the Monday thru Friday rush here rush there gig of a traditional school schedule.

Man how do all you mom's do this? I am a somewhat organized person but I feel like I am never home with meet the teacher, back to school night, orientations, school dances. Whew, and that is just the first two weeks. I have not even got to the concert season when my daughter will play the piano for her school jazz and orchestra bands.

I am used to school in jammies if we wanted, once or twice a week days of classes and a much slower pace of life with homeschooling. I am trying to get my legs under me and keep organized but this is an adjustment. It is exciting to do new things and I will keep a positive attitude in our new phase of life but I am tweaking my schedule to try and stay on top of household chores, meals that need cooking and endless carpools.

Q has not even started her preschool yet. We have meet the teacher this week. The girls excitement over this new phase makes me feel we have made the right choice for the time being. I know if need be we can always go back but for now I am in the trenches with you and would love any comments on how you keep the schedules going as smooth as possible. For now, we do as much the night before so in the mornings we don't feel as rushed. The kids seem to be doing fine but mom here is trying to find the best ways to make this new life as smooth as possible. Is anyone going to Starbucks? I will take an iced latte please. I am going to take the best suggestions and do a post on them so leave me your blog url so I can give you full credit.

Also sharing at A Stroll Thru Life


  1. My only advice would be to get one of those big calendars with lots of room to write in each square! And check your daughter's backpack on a regular basis, to make sure you get all of the papers that they send home with her! You seem like a very organized person, so I think this will be a breeze!

  2. You'll figure it out. Takes a little while to settle in to any new routine.
    blessings to you.

  3. I know it can be overwhelming. Pace yourself and don't let anyone take advantage of your time (you are new to the game and everyone knows it...practice saying no) After the first month or so all the "back to school" meetings will slow down. Keep a color coded calendar.....a different color for each family member. And stop and treat yourself to that latte' once you've dropped the children off at school.

  4. Well, Elaine, I of course can't comment indepth on this, not having kids at home, but homeschooling DOES seem easier, with a schedule tweaked to fit; however, I don't think it can be underestimated how fun it is for the kids to interract with other kids and, I don't know how it was with you at their ages, but in junior high and high school, even though I wasn't the most popular or outgoing, I have SO many good memories of interesting and fun activities (which certainly make for enjoyable reminiscing when the class reunions happen in the adult years!). Do you ever go in the blog (it's been around a long time) called The Pioneer Woman? She (Ree Drummond) has the cooking show on the food network; comes to us here on Saturday mornings (early; I record it and watch later). She lives on a ranch in Oklahoma ("the middle of nowhere;" homeschools 4 kids - she has one section of her blog entirely devoted to homeschooling but, obvioiusly, you're already an expert at it!).

    One thing my mom did was keep a very accurate calendar and a firm schedule. Another thing she did, which I don't necessarily agree with (it's all about balance), was edit just how many activities I got involved in, encouraging school clubs and stuff like that, but putting a limit on some of the extra-curricular afterschool functions on the private side (for instance, just like my allowance, which I had to work hard for-!!, we weren't allowed to just go to every movie or party or teen-playdate that came up ... which I think helped her sanity, although it made my brother and I really annoyed, because she absolutely made the whole family adhere to family dinner hour - not ever allowed to be missed - and she wanted weeknights and weekends reserved for the family; sort of unrealistic boundaries but, well, there you have it).

    You'll figure it out. How can you say you're only partly organized? Are you kidding me? You seem REALLY organized to me! You'll adjust and get in the swing of things before you know it. Just gotta start out your mornings pretty darn early! I had to be at my mom's this morning at 6:30am and it's amazing how much the world is "alive" at that hour; her neighbor is a young stay-at-home mom with 2 boys in elementary school, and she had them dressed with their backpacks on and they were rounding up the dog from chasing some other kids who were walking to school, about to leave for somewhere themselves at 7am; phew!.

  5. Hi Elaine,
    Guess the most important thing I do is put everything on a calendar. The minute I get a letter from the school I jot it down and also keep a folder with important letters. Once the event happens I toss the letter. Make sure to check the backpack for school notes too-I've found many crumbled on the bottom! We also prep and check everything the night before.
    You'll do just fine! I don't know how you've home schooled all these years- if you can do that-this will be a breeze! :)

  6. It's kind of like working a job. YOu get up, get breakfast, dress, lunches, out the door, drop off everyone, then have a coffee. Shop once a week and prepare as many meals as possible on the weekend. You will get a routine before lone and find you have tons of spare time. Hugs, Marty

  7. It sounds like you have a lot on your plate right now, that's for sure.

    I always remember the advice my mom would give us kids when we were little.
    Anytime we had a task that seemed over-whelming, she would tell us...
    "you can eat an elephant ... one bite at a time".
    Meaning.. we should make a list, set our priorities, and work diligently to achieve our task .

    Still good advice :)

    You'll get in the swing of things in no time at all!

    Chin up, Buttercup :)


  8. One of the things I enjoyed about homeschooling was the relaxed family schedule. By the time the boys started going to high school, they didn't need me as much. But there were still all those conferences and open houses.
    You'll do great after the this beginning of the year stuff. Hopefully things will settle into a good routine.

  9. I had only one daughter so I was rushing all the time with room mom ski chaprone mom. I just think you get in a groove and it will be all ok and now that my daughter is grown I miss it every day.

  10. I'm no help, Elaine. When my kids were young you hardly ever even heard of home schooling. But I was young and kept the pedal to the metal.

  11. no help here, but I like to read others comments

  12. The calendar was my biggest asset. Everything went on it and I used different colored markers for each kid. That way I could look at the calender from across the room and just know by color who had something going on that day.

    Backpacks got loaded up before bed. All schoolbooks and homework papers were accounted for and in the backpack. The backpack then went by the door.

    Lunchboxes were placed on the counter at night. Napkins, plastic spoons, snacks and pudding cups got placed inside. My kids usually ate sandwiches so I'd make them the night before and put them in the fridge with a juice box. Then in the morning I'd throw sandwiches and juice into the lunchboxes and set them next to the backpacks.

    We always practiced spelling words in the car every morning on the way to school. It got their brains working and they got to be excellent spellers.

    Get color coded folders for each kid for paperwork that the teachers send home. I kept them in a kitchen drawer. All graded papers and tests always got stuffed into folders as well and I kept them until the end of the semester.

    You'll get it. After a few weeks it will be a breeze.

  13. You are such a dedicated Mom, Elaine. You are such a careful planner. Your daughters are being given a fine role model.
    I hope you pleasant week, my friend,

  14. Good luck on this new phase of your life. It's been many years since I had to do what you're doing.
    Hugs, Cindy

  15. Oh- I so remember those days. It will find its own routine and soon it will all seem like old hat to you. Hang in there!! xo Diana

  16. Get everything ready the night before, including backpacks, lunches (in the fridge) and pick out clothes for the next day. A family calendar is a must, and a chore chart is helpful, too. It keeps 'em honest! ;P

    I also have my kids color coordinate their subjects, so that notebooks and textbook covers are the same color. That way there is less of a chance of leaving that history book at school!

    That's all I've got...I should be asking you to help me tweak! ;P

  17. I find that getting things done the night before and being consistent is very helpful. I am a creature of habit and (not) surprisingly, my son is too. We try to keep things constant and routine so that we don't fall behind or forget something. Lunches packed the night before, water bottled filled, backpack at the front door, you get the picture. You are the queen of organization in my eyes, I know things will fall into place for you my friend!

    Smiles & Hugs,


  18. I know just where you are coming from! We homeschool our children when they reach Year 9 before this they attend a great Christian school nearby. I currently home school three teenagers and my youngest is still in year 7. So I feel like I am pulled in both directions! I agree with the other Mums(NZ spelling:O) a calendar is your best friend! Try and time grocery shopping and other things like paying the bills while you are out and about... and remember sometimes it is Ok to say 'no' to some things...:O) And it will become more of a routine for you soon I am sure...

  19. Hi Elaine, I work full time, help my partner run our farm, attempt to be a domestic goddess and keep control of our calendars. And yet, the thought of home Schooling terrifies me. I take my hat off to you. Dont be too hard on yourself. It will get easier as you adjust to it.

    I try and get as much organized the night before, check the Fairy's bag for notes and keep them on the fridge nice and handy.


  20. Hopefully it'll all settle soon!



  21. Hi Elaine,
    I'm glad I haven't had to do this for many years now..(my youngest is 40)....but I well remember the routine that was needed. You have been given lots of good advice and I'm sure you'll be fine.
    My best advice is to check bags DAILY for notes and permission slips...and keep a calendar.
    Relax and Enjoy
    Have a good week
    Barb from Australia

  22. You don't know what busy is until you have kids in school. What with all the activities, there's a lot of time spent in the car. Somehow we all will, too.

  23. You don't know what busy is until you have kids in school. What with all the activities, there's a lot of time spent in the car. Somehow we all will, too.

  24. Hi Elaine,
    When my kids were all involved in different things, I used to use a large calendar, like the ones found at Staples. Then I would designate a colored marker for each child. I would use the designated color to mark the calendar with that child's activities. It kept me all straight with who was doing what!
    : ) Kris

  25. Bless your heart....I'm sure you'll find a routine that works. I would be no help here as we school in our jammies too and are VERY laid back. I would be so stressed out as I don't operate well with that kind of rushing around. I like simple and here lately we've simplified even more than in the past. We were running 45 minutes away 3 times a week for dance. We stopped that 2 years ago after Luke came home from China to just slow down and enjoy life.

    I think it is just change and if you're like me (which it sounds like you are), you don't take to change very well?

    Sorry...I was absolutely no help....just symphathizing with you! :)


  26. Having worked full time, and raised 3 kids, it's all being organized, setting limits, being flexible. We always made all the lunches the night before, had a master calendar for everyone's events, and made the kids reasonably responsible for certain things (chores, clean ups). My hubby and I shared teacher conferences, he'd do one- I'd do another, etc. Swapped soccer transport nights, and said "no" to music and soccer- too much $$$ and transportation issues. We made the kids prioritize that. You're very lucky being home full time with only one young child!

  27. Hello again! about the Simplifying, if you feel the need to get rid of your ginger beer bottles, give me a holler ;) Love them!