One of the questions I get asked the most is “How do you find the time to do all that?” My answer is pretty simple actually. A basic schedule.
I know, no one wants to hear that! They want me to have some sort of never heard of method or tool that I use, but in all honesty that is my "secret”. Having a schedule is my so-called secret weapon. There is no fine print. There is no trick and there is no “one size fits all” plan. I wish it was that easy! The good news is that it really is not that hard. It just takes some time to figure out a schedule or basic plan that will work for your family! For me there is one more little catch…my home daycare.
As soon as we decided that we were homeschooling, I knew I would need to scale back on the number of day care children I had enrolled. My Grams has always said “If it is in God’s plan, he will pave the way.” I can’t argue that one because it seemed like almost the minute we were accepted into the OKVA program, things started to fall in place.
At first, I was all upset! All of a sudden, my daycare families all were gone. One left in January and another in May. Both out of nowhere! Of course, like anyone else I worried I had done something to upset them, but they all assured me it was just time to move on. Okay…now what do I do? I did want some time off but not 3-4 months. But God provided again. My sister-in-law got a job and needed help with childcare with her three kids. My kids were ecstatic! Now they could play with their cousin for almost the whole summer. My nieces and nephew are school age, so we got to do a lot of fun stuff. We took swim lessons at OCCC. We checked out Unpluggits, a cool indoor play place up in Edmond. We went to the Zoo. We went to local splash pads. We went to the free kids movies at The Warren in Moore and at The Harkin in Bricktown. We went to the library. We had a blast!
Then we went on vacation. The best part was that the summer gave us the fun we wanted and with family, didn’t kill my daycare income completely, and it gave me the time to figure out all the activities and such that OKVA had to offer for us. This helped me figure out how to reshape my home daycare. I was able to see that I needed to limit how many kids I enrolled because I was going to have to drive my son to co-op, my daughter to play group, and OKVA has some great “field trips” every month. By limiting the number of kids I had in care, we would be able to participate in all those activities. This was a win-win situation because that meant the day care kids got to come, too. They would get to see and do all the stuff that we did. As I began interviewing new clients, I soon discovered that the new parents LOVED this. They were basically getting a little homeschooling by just being here and learning with us!
By the end of August, I had two new daycare kids enrolled and one part timer from before the summer came back. It was perfect because I could fit everyone in the car with car seats and everything. I was very excited to be able to continue to contribute to our family’s income and home school too. Besides, my aunt has 5 kids and homeschools all of them. How is this much different from that?
My next step was to come up with a basic schedule. I say basic because it will never work out that way every single day. Things come up. Doctor appointments, day care kids get sick, my kids get sick, play group gets canceled, or the weather messes up our game plan for that day. So my schedule needed to be a little flexible too. It took me about 6 weeks or so to work out my basic schedule. I looked at the time needed for my son to do his school work on the days he was here and not at co-op. I had to look at the schedule of my day care kids. I even tried my best to look at my husband’s work schedule since he got a new position at work and was now (for the first time in his 14 yrs of active duty service in the USAF) on a permanent day time shift. So we had A LOT of new things to adjust to for the fall!
For us, our basic schedule looks a little like this: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, we are generally at home unless we have an appointment or playgroup. Tuesday and Thursday, my son takes his assignments with him to co-op. Since we are already out and about, those are the days that if I need to do a few errands, I do them. I always make sure my day care parents know our plan.
This plan gets adjusted as needed to fit in play group, trips to the library, field trips, doctor appointments and whatever else comes our way. So far, my daycare parents like it all because it is just like it would be if their children were at home with them and they had more than one child (currently, my full time kids are only children). Their kids are learning what is like to be out in public, be patient and wait their turn, they are getting socialization at play group, they are learning how to act in the library and museums, and, on the days they are home, they learn as they play. We have fun and we learn. The best part is that we are all on the same page and everyone gets to have lots of fun and learn too!
Of course, there are a lot more things I do to keep everything else organized too. I will share some of that next time…