Monday, April 9, 2012

Getting back on track (large family scheduling/planning)

Most of us have our rough patches, the times when life seems to be a struggle.  When you know that you should be able to do more, but it just is not happening.  Durning those times our family tends to fall back on our basic schedule, which goes well enough.  Things are maintained around the house, school is done (but not as much as I would like).

We've been on that schedule for nearly a year now.  That is too long.  First we prepared for a move, then had a baby, then my husband finished his PhD, then we moved.  Just as we were feeling like we were settling in and maybe life would look "normal" my dad passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly.  The last few months have been rough, but things are starting to go better again and it is time to buckle down, get a new schedule going, and dig into school.  That can't just happen though, it takes prayer, lots of thought and some dedicated time.  Here is what I did these past couple of weeks to help us get back on track.

Prayer- I prayed about this for a while.  I asked God for wisdom, asked him to show me how we should be using our time.

Husband-  I talked to my husband about these things.  Did he have any thoughts/advise?  I thought about the things he wants our kids/family to be doing.  What things are important to him to have done.

MOTH- Years ago I had purchased the MOTH book, used it and liked it well enough but it just did not seem like I NEEDED it, so I passed it on.  It seems this large family/homeschooling thing gets harder as you have more kids and they get older....go figure!  I purchased a new copy and re-read the book.

Schedule breeze- This is a computer program designed to be used with your MOTH book to help you put your schedule together.  It has a $15 a year fee, and so far I feel it is well worth it.  I enjoyed putting our schedule together much more than I remember doing so in the past.

Planning week-  We took a week off, sort of.  I planned our days well.  Kids had activities/jobs planned all week.  I paired little ones up with big kids.  We pulled out games and toys that are not played with often.  They did yard work.  I also made sure that I did not neglect them, I planned in times to spend with the kids.  This planning was done with our fallback schedule in mind with large chunks of play time, not much school so it was easy for me to plan out in a short time.

Quiet time- I also asked my husband if I could go out every evening to do some of that planning in peace and quiet.  I headed to our local library or Starbucks each evening for about an hour.  Just long enough to get some good work done, but not so long that I missed out on family time in the evening.

Test week- Next week will be a test week for us.  I expect that there will be some excitement about this schedule, I planned in some things I know my kids have been wanting to be able to do, but have not been able to regularly.  I expect there will be some bumps and a learning curve that will require extra attention from me.  I expect there will be some things that will need to be changed.  I'll watch what is working, what just needs more practice and help, and what needs to change so that I can tweak things on Saturday.


Have you had those rough patches?  How did you get through them?  How did you bounce back?  What are some of your favorite tools for managing your family A-Wise-Woman-Builds-Her-Home


  1. Great answer your questions, yes, I've had these rough patches, after the last three babies (I have six). In fact, I'm trying to get out of one as we speak, & my baby is almost 1! I usually don't get back to normal until right before I get pregnant again, then the roller coaster starts all over. I have to figure out a way to ride this out a little more consistently. I find it very discouraging! I have MOTH, but I've never stuck to a schedule for long. Maybe I should look through the book again for inspiration.

  2. Ruby- Yes, this life is a roller coaster! I too get discouraged when I forget about the tools I've been given to help us have a smoother ride. I've found that making a realistic schedule helps so much. On paper it may look good, but does it really work? This time I was more generous with the time slots, not expecting to get quite as much done. I think that will work better with so many little ones there are lots of distractions and training opportunities that we must make time for. I need to remember to revisit it regularly too as kids grow and change they need changes in their schedule too!

  3. These are some great ideas! Thanks for sharing! :) I've also bought a couple of copies of MOTH and had to re-read it a 2nd time. As our family changed, we had a different perspective and different needs.

  4. Thank you so much for visiting my blog! I'm so glad you did! I love finding other "larger" families to connect with! And through your blog, I discovered the Mega Family Blogger list - I'm so excited!
    We have been in a rough patch lately, so thanks for sharing how you get back on track; sometimes I forget to do the most important thing - pray and draw near to God!!
    And thank you for the tip on Schedule Breeze; I have loosely used MOTH in the past, and look forward to checking out this online resource! Thanks

  5. Thank you for sharing this, we had baby number 5, moved house, and started a business in the last 3 and a half months. I am currently in one of those patches. It is so comforting to know others go through these things too, and inspiring to see how another family takes charge and makes changes.