Happy Autumn!

Happy first day of fall! I haven’t been around much, have I? Things here have been good, and are moving along at a good clip. One of the dominant themes in our household this month is time management. All of us have so much going on (both individually and as a family) and we need to get a better handle on how we each manage our time. The girls are still young, but at 6 and 8 years old, they are capable of learning about completing tasks, assessing priorities, and about delayed gratification. As for me, with several years of parenting experience behind me, I am finding that the next step in my personal development involves sharpening my time management skills.

My weekly calendar includes homeschooling, house stuff (chickens, bees, garden, orchard), church volunteer work and fun stuff. There is a lot to do and to keep myself on track, to stave off the guilt of not getting everything done, and to keep a smile on my face, I am now allocating specific days and times for specific tasks. Everything has a time slot now. If it doesn’t fit on the calendar, it can’t happen. Deep down I’m not someone who enjoys keeping to a schedule, but I can see how it’s helpful for me and my family at this point in our lives.

Schoolwork the first thing that goes on the calendar, and subjects are addressed a few times each week. Cursive instruction occurs on Mondays and Wednesdays and we all are reminded of this because it’s written out on the calendar. This helps ‘A’ the most because she loves to practice her cursive handwriting and if she knows there are two days every week devoted to it, she is happy. Freewriting is something we incorporated into our routine this year and I just love it. The girls were not so sure at first, but now they like it too. I picked up the idea after reading the Writer’s Jungle materials written by Julie Bogart. I like her approach to reading and writing quite a bit and am finding that it works very well with both my reluctant writer and my eager writer. The idea behind freewriting is that the girls each write about a subject (or whatever pops into their minds) for 10 minutes. Then they have the option of reading it aloud to me. Regardless of their choice, the written piece is placed in an envelope (I don’t look at it) and after several written pieces are amassed the girls choose one piece to revise and expand. What I love most about the freewriting exercises is that my reluctant writer is comfortable opening up within those 10 minutes and is able to put words on the paper. Seeing the transformation in her attitude and willingness to write is heartwarming.

It’s the end of summer and the garden is still producing, the apple trees are full of apples ready to be picked and processed, and the chickens and bees still need attention. I have a lot of homesteading maintenance to take care of, and when that is done I have homesteading planning and preparation to address. The garden will need to be tilled, the chicken coop will need to be winterized, the bees will need to be treated for mites and fed some sugar syrup.

We’re busy. I miss photographing my days and I miss writing here. This has to come back into my routine. See you soon!

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