We need a schedule in this house!
My two sons are 3.5 and 18 months. Since my boys are so young we're not really doing anything for school right now, we're just doing life. =)
The challenge: I also have three stepsons (16,11,7) who are in public shcool, and with us 50% of the time.
Weeks when the older boys are not with us are very relaxed. We read, take walks, work in the garden, paint, play ball, play with goats, we may take a trip to a friends house or the library but stay home for the most part.
Weeks that the older boys are with us look like this: I get up early to cook breakfast and pack lunches and Dad leaves with them at 7am. (Sometimes the youngest two wake up, sometimes they don't. Should I enforce a wake-up time for them that is the same as their brothers? It feels very counterintuitive to wake them up--EVER- because they have been such fussy sleepers from the start and neither of them naps during the day. But if I let them sleep my kitchen time gets dragged on... Then there's the weeks when the older boys are not here--I would never normally make my 1 and 3 year old wake up by 6:30, but should I for the sake of consistency?) I then get my little ones fed and dressed and clean up the kitchen. I have a couple hours to do laundry and cleaning and then it's lunch time. I leave at 1:15 to pick up the 7 year old. After he gets off his bus at 2, we drive over to the 11 yr old's school and wait for him to get out at 3 (if the weather is nice we can play on the playground, if not we just sit in the car and read). We get home between 3:30 and 4. I get the kids a snack and let them play outside for a short while before I have to crack the homework whip over them. Then it's dinner, clean-up, Bible reading and bedtime. These poor children have no down time, but that's not within my control.
Any advice on how to come up with a workable schedule considering the huge variation from week to week?
On a side note, in 2009 I had the privilege of homeshcooling two of my stepsons(then 5 and 9) while the oldest one attended a private christian school. Ahhh, those were wonderful days. The children loved it, I loved it--- our days were full of learning and activity, but so peaceful and the kids were so happy. We had a structured but flexible schedule and the kids thrived within the security of structure and precictability. (their parent' divorce was not a pleasant one, and to this day the mom/dad relationship is barely civil at best). But, it's not to be anymore... =(
I don't expect a quick-fix solution, and I know I have to be flexible, but I feel as though I'm being so flexible I'm going to break. Add to the mix the older boys' mom arranging sports and activities that require even more from me and make maintaining any kind of schedule even more challenging-- I'm feeling frazzled and stressed without routine, and when I'm stressed it affects everyone. Any advice will be welcomed and appreciated. Have any of you been where I am? Thank you very much!!