Archive for August, 2010

In Which I Seek Rhythm and Rhyme

Posted: August 5, 2010 in Parenting

Last week I vowed to return our days to the slightly more structured form they took before the XBox entered our lives. Not that I have much against the XBox; there are many, many ways in which both boys have benefited from it, both academically and socially.

But its entry into our lives made such an impact that I now think of our home life in terms of its appearance. Our lives pre-XBox were relaxed, certainly, but had a rhythm to them, an easy routine. Post-XBox? Not so much. We’ve devolved into a kind of quiet chaos.

I’m not looking for the authoritarian structure of our early homeschooling days; I will never again make my kids say the pledge of allegiance before I “let” them start their schoolwork. But I think our family has, in the absence of a framework in which to live, very quietly and slowly spread apart. Our routines once held us together, and I miss that closeness.

I announced our return to a more rhythmic existence to my friends and family on Facebook, of course — where pretty much all discourse happens these days. With the announcement I also promised a return to blogging. And that we’d be starting the next day.


Although that didn’t happen — I had a conference one day and both boys had sleepovers, which always means we do nothing else that day or the next, while they recover — I am ever the optimist. I did manage to do some planning and make a bit of progress in adjusting my own routine, which is key to implementing a family-wide routine. But I cannot deny the long, long way we have yet to go.

Not that I’m striving for anything extravagant: just a little more framework to our day, a bit of daily practice with whatever skill each of us is working on, a little goal-setting and -achieving. Just a little consistency.

Consistency’s not something I’m known for, though, so we’re taking it in baby steps. One itty-bitty movement in the right direction at a time.

So, my baby-step goal for Aengus: a bit of reading and math practice each and every day. For Noah, a bit of math and sunshine. And for me, some exercise and development of a routine (since I seem to need it more than they do, plus I have a lot more that needs to get done!).

Longer term, I’d like to see us each exercising and reading, the boys working on math and another subject (they’ve chosen Spanish for now), and us each working together more around the house. I have lofty goals for myself that include regular blogging and putting together scrapbooks for each of the kids, among other things. Our old homeschooling co-op has re-formed, so the boys will be able to get some science and community work every Friday, and I suspect that that outside influence will bring good things to this process.

One thing at a time, though. To achieve our baby step goals (reading, math, and exercise), I’m focusing this week on us each simply doing them each day, no matter when we get around to them. Once these activities have become a part of our daily lives, I plan to take the next step and form a routine (a kind of loose schedule). Then (and only then) will I add the additional activities.

And that’s as far as I’m planning right now. 😀