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Surviving the School Year


Everyone figures out a way throughout the school year that fits both working and school schedules into an easier lifestyle. When my three were little I worked full time, so I whittled out routines that became our “normal.” It ensured we made time for everyone and everything, including free time.  
Here is what worked for us and I hope you share your ideas so we can help each other make life less hectic.
1.     Stock up on extra school supplies and keep them handy at home – notebook paper, spirals, pens, pencils, crayons, markers, glue, rulers, a good pencil sharpener – whatever kids might forget at school but will need at home to complete homework assignments or projects.  Keep a couple of poster boards handy so you do not have to drive to the store in the middle of the night when they remember they have a project due the next day.
2.    Provide a space where you can supervise homework and study while you work on your own projects. My three had to sit at the kitchen table for one hour every evening (Sunday night through Thursday night) and do homework or read to me. If one was having trouble (low grade) in a certain subject, they had to study that subject in addition to other homework.  I read along with them and helped where I could as I worked on dinner.
Before they put away their things, they cleaned out their bags, checked for papers or notes I might need to sign, and replenished their school supplies.
3.    We all kept our bags by the exit door. They were handy to grab and go the next morning.  They also chose their outfits and other items they needed for the next day, like gym clothes, uniforms, or equipment.
4.    Along with their bedtime routine, they packed their lunches and decided on their breakfast.  I did this also, like prepping the coffee pot. It didn’t take long, nothing elaborate, but it saved time on sleepy and tired mornings.
5.    It sounds like a lot of rules and regulations, but rest and recreation was an important consideration as well.  My children were active in church and in after school activities, so that provided for healthy, safe outlets. The daily “study hour” lasted from Sunday night through Thursday night in preparation for school the next day, so they had the rest of the evening free to do other things.  Friday evenings were game nights or out with friends. Saturdays were free after they did their chores (which took one or two hours at the most), and on Sunday, they could go out with friends after church until about seven in the evening.

As the kids grew, they became accustomed to our routine.  They never noticed when I stopped supervising and let them govern themselves. 

They are grown now with families of their own, but I see remnants of this when I visit their homes.  Book bags pile by the front door, kids sit around kitchen tables doing homework, and everyone helps with chores so that family has time to get to the fun stuff.   

It gave order to our busy lifestyle, emphasized what was important (school and church and good, clean fun), and glued us together as a family. 

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