Tightening the Ship Redux

Rather than let the blog go un-updated another day, I decided to pull something out of the archives.

We started school this week and you know what that mean….adopting a schedule. Originally written in 2006, this post still reflects how I feel about living by a schedule.


Teri Maxwell shares in her book Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit that one thing that helps her tremendously is sticking to a schedule. When I read this part of the book, I began to cry and kick and scream. I know, neither meek nor quiet. Just ask Hubs, he witnessed it all. Normally, I reserve outbursts like that for the laundry room, but we were in the van and I just couldn’t contain my disappointment.

I DON’T WANT TO LIVE ON A SCHEDULE!!! There, I said it. I have confessed here before that I am a “routine” girl. I like a routine. I don’t like rigid time frames that must work like well-oiled machines. Inevitably, the proverbial wrench gets thrown and the whole day is ruined.

“Why?” you may be asking. “Why does she hate schedules?” I’ll tell you why. I have lived the life of a schedule girl. I used to live and die by my schedule. I loved my day planner. LOOOOOVED it! I used to write out every single detail of my life. This was security for me in many ways. I knew what was coming in my day and I followed my schedule and it made me happy. Woe! Woe! Woe! if you messed with my day.

I was not a fun person. One may argue whether I’m a fun person now, but I’m not chasing that rabbit today. When my kids were babies we lived on a schedule. I flipped if my schedule was messed up. I’m not exaggerating. (If I had to do it all over again, I’d still use a schedule for my babies. I’m convinced it’s the best way to live with babies.) But something changed in my thinking along the way. I decided to lighten up. I decided to have more fun and do things I wanted to do whether they were on the schedule or not. I decided I didn’t want to miss LIFE because it wasn’t scheduled. So, when a friend or relative called or dropped by, I said, “Sure. People are more important than schedules.”

Here I am today, a little upset with my lack of daily structure. We have a routine, but some days we don’t get as much done as I’d like because of dawdling and playing. This frustrates me very much. After reading Teri’s book, I realized we really needed more structure to our day in order to get all of the subjects covered for two kids. I wrote out a schedule and found my timer. Karl and I held a family meeting in which we talked to the kids about scheduling our day. Up until this week, the only items on the schedule were eating times, chores, and naptime. Now we have different activities and subjects and chores on a detailed schedule.

This is very hard for me. I know how to do it. Like I said I used to be a schedule girl. I just don’t want to do it. I want to be light and free to a certain extent. Anyway, today we were working through our schedule. I was setting and re-setting the timer. We were moving through our subjects and I was actually thinking how much easier homeschooling is with a schedule. The kids are adjusting really well. They know what comes next and how long it will last. No fussing and arguing. I like being a schedule girl. Then, I heard it. A gentle rumbling sound that I only associate with one person…Dad. As usual, he shows up when he wants to and unannounced. I wanted to run outside to stop him before he got out of his truck. “You’re not on the schedule today. You’re going to have to leave. We can fit you in around 7 tonight.” The only reason it bothered me this time is because it messed up the schedule. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been bothered at all. I prayed for help maintaining a meek and quiet spirit and a smile for Dad when I opened the door.

“I thought the kids might like shooting the BB gun,” he offered. Loud, exuberant cheering insued. All I could think was, “Don’t shoot your eyes out, kids.”

Moments later the phone rang. It was Mima asking if we’d like to come to her house this afternoon for some cooking and sewing activities. How can you say no to important lessons like that in favor of an hour of Medieval History?

These schedule wreckers are what make life life. I’m sure the kids will learn some valuable lessons along the way–gun safety, chemistry, sewing. We’ll get back on schedule tomorrow.

Besides, I really wanted to shoot that gun.

5 Comments on “Tightening the Ship Redux

  1. Oh, I hear you! I was totally unstructured when my kids were smaller, though I see the error now. But now I am so dependent on a schedule that I spent a couple of hours last night revising our fall routine and it is no joke – I found myself even scheduling my bathroom breaks. The schedule is so tight that I really have to plan (to the hour) when to pay the bills, when to paint my toenails, in the midst of study, cooking, carpool and etc. Every minute of every day is now accounted for. I don’t know if that is good or bad, but I am praying for God to open the window of opportunities to serve others when needed because it seriously stresses me when someone gets in the way and I don’t like that part.


  2. Leslie,That’s a great post. I’m really laughing about shooting that gun. I need this reminder. It seems like I get irritated when anyone interupts my schedule, as if mowing the lawn or whatever it is I’m doing is the most important thing in the world.Jesus had a purpose in everything, but He sure didn’t seem to have a schedule!


  3. I tend to be less disciplined without a schedule but I find that more disciplined people can do well with a well planned routine. I always find myself growing lazy in my routine but if I know there are time constraints I do better.I have friends (like you!) who can follow a daily routine and seldom stray from that.


  4. This sounds like my life! My desire is to NOT live by a schedule, but it’s becoming more of a necessity. I’d love to see your basic outline or the big bullet points. I know schedules are personal. This year I’m homeschooling Kindergarten, 2nd and 4th…oh, and I have a 2 year old to keep happy. The school schedule is what I’m mostly curious about.


  5. Nice post and I had missed it the first time. I don’t live by a strict schedule for the very same reason. It’s nearly more than I can bear when someone doesn’t cooperate with my schedule. I try to have a rough outline everyday but I know I get more done the more detailed the schedule. Ah, balance!


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