Fun fact about me: I work best with an established routine. This is just as true for my girls, maybe more so. When we have a good routine and stick with it, we have some really good weeks. When that routine gets thrown off, things go pear shaped fast!
Our usual routine looks like the image here on the right. We have our set days to meet up with our homeschool group or run errands. Every now and again we'll go on a field trip, but most days go more or less to plan.
It's great! I get some of the work I need to do done, that can handle interruptions, while the girls work on their lessons. This means I'm available if and when they need help or clarification. Then I write while they have their free time. We even do a few lessons together, because you should always keep learning, right?
Don't get me wrong, I love being able to have C. L. home during the summers. We have the opportunity to make the girls' summer birthdays extra special with day trips and can go visit his extended family out-of-state. We can up and go to the park or movies or swimming in the afternoon or evenings if we like, and it'd be a lot harder if he had any other profession.
Yet, no matter how hard we try, the routine goes out the window.
Theoretically, I ought to be able to be more productive during the summer. C. L. takes over helping the girls with their lessons during the two months he's home most days. While I can tutor a couple of students fine, nine months of tutoring five days a week is about all I can handle. For C. L., on the other hand, just having two students, in a completely different age group than he's used to teaching, who mostly work via independent study is both a break and an exercise in differentiated learning that gives him ideas for improving his class. However, if you've ever dealt with the under ten set, you know any change can lead to chaos. Add in the fact both girls know about the summer break public and most private school kids get around here, and it's a recipe for disaster.
We've always homeschooled year round because of the way the dyslexic mind remembers. (Both the girls and I are all dyslexic to one degree or another.) Think use it or lose it times a hundred. It's imperative to keep us all using math, reading, and writing skills at least several times a week, or those skills start fading. They're recoverable, but when you've spent years building skills it might have taken others mere months to obtain, you clutch to them with both hands!
For a variety of reasons, our days have ended up looking more like the second image. Because they're off routine and know most other kids are playing or vegging out watching tv all day has them whining anytime we ask them to keep up with their lessons and chores. I theoretically have all afternoon to write or do my other computer work, but because of the whining and feet dragging, the girls' lessons often spill over into the afternoon. It's next to impossible to concentrate on a narrative or article when there's a history, science, math, or grammar lesson going on just behind you. So, I'm lucky to get a fraction of what I'm scheduled to write done each day.
Maybe it's just because we had a convention followed immediately by a road trip then a holiday and then a double birthday party just a couple days later. I'm the most introverted person in the house, and all of this socializing packed together without a breather has me feeling worn down to the bone. I both dread the end of summer because it signals the end of the "schedule free" season and crave the start of the new school year because with it comes routine.
With routine comes order, after a couple weeks of hellish adjustment, and with order comes productivity. True, we've gotten some big DIY and home organization projects done, but then I see how little I've managed to get done on the things comprising my job... I feel like a failure. Always busy and getting nowhere, just spinning my wheels handling the minutiae of everyday life: cooking, cleaning, and other domestic chores. It's been all I can do to keep the blog here, the one at Contented Comfort, and the YouTube channel uploading on schedule, and I long to be able to start filling the progress bar for Icarus to the right again.
In addition to working as a freelance writer, A. B. England is a novelist, all around geek, avid crafter, and a homeschooling mother of two.
She is an autistic creator with a love of mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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