The guest speaker at our November Lighthouse homeschool group parent meeting was Vicki Bentley. Vicki homeschooled her 8 daughters as well as numerous foster children, led a large support group in VA, speaks at homeschool conventions all across the country, has authored several books, and now works for HSLDA as their Early Years program and Group Services coordinator. We were blessed to have her visit us, and next time, will definitely have her stay longer, because she had great stuff to share with us!
Her topic was Time Management and Organization for homeschoolers - a timeless topic, as it is applicable to brand new homeschoolers as well as crusty veterans. Listening to her tips and suggestions, as well as preparing for my mentor group meetings recently, has highlighted that there were a lot of things that I USED to do that I have somehow let slide as my children have grown up and life has changed in our household. While it is natural that some things will change as we go through seasons of life, not all the things I have let slide have been good to let go! I have found myself asking, "why don't I do that anymore?"
#1 Menu Planning
When I had 5 kids at home (and even 4, then 3), I planned our meals by the week, and sometimes by the month. It was a necessity, and eating out or even getting takeout pizza was a rarity. I grocery shopped every week and made breakfast, lunch, and dinner for my family almost every day. Now? I usually don't know what is for dinner until 5pm, when stomachs start to growl, and I realize I have to make a run to the grocery store. Way too often we eat out or get pizza, and I haven't made pancakes in a long time. I have had a hard time adjusting from cooking for a large family to cooking for just 3 or 4, depending on who is home that night! Not healthy. Not economical. I need to start making a weekly menu again and shopping for the whole week at once!
#2 Chore Schedule
We used to have chore charts. The kids had certain chores to do each day, before we started school. I tried to follow the FlyLady plan somewhat, although never very successfully. But at least the major things, like cleaning the bathroom, got done on a regular schedule. Well, kids grew up and left home and their jobs had to be reassigned, or I just took them over. And now.... it is kind of a "fly by the seat of my pants" instead of FlyLady approach. I've never been great at structure and routine, to my detriment. That definitely takes deliberate effort on my part, and sometimes I feel too worn out and overwhelmed to tackle it all. Grr. I KNOW that the solution is to simplify, both my belongings and my schedule.... but that is soooooo easier said than done.
#3 Community Service
Again, when my older kids were young, I placed a high priority on including community service in our schedule. It wasn't a lot of hours, but we faithfully volunteered at the church food pantry one afternoon every month for many, many years. We also visited the local nursing home with other families from our homeschool group a couple of times a year, both to bless the residents and also to help my children become comfortable being around the elderly and infirm. But then schedules changed. We started participating in a weekly co-op, which conflicts with the scheduled nursing home visits. The food pantry day conflicted with sports practices. So those things fell by the wayside, and I now realize that my younger two have not had that same experience as their older siblings. Yes, our family is very involved in serving the homeschool community through many, many hours devoted to homeschool sports and support group leadership, but I'm not sure my children get the same impact from that.
How have you adjusted to changes in your family?
Are there things you have let slide that maybe should be embraced once again?