Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The End of the Era of Sloth and Decadence

Yesterday at this time, our front yard looked like this...

...plus a rotating cadre of about twenty screaming kids. Our water slide party was open from nine to five (with a lunch break in the middle that actually turned into teen time), and for that entire time a kid came down the slide about every five seconds. It was pretty awesome.

Today, we looked like this:

Hawthorn kids, 2012: Logan, 9th grade; Levi, 5th grade; Haley, 3rd grade
Kind of a jarring transition for all of us. But a welcome one. I've loved the unstructured vibe of this summer, but I have to admit, as August has worn on it's worn a bit thin. We all seemed to get kind of cranky and bored. This year the promise of sharp pencils, fresh starts, and new routines seems especially alluring.

Here are a few of the course corrections we're making in our family routine:

- Scripture Study. This was basically non-existent this summer. And last year, Roscoe had early-morning seminary so he missed family scripture study each morning. (In fact, he was gone before anyone else woke up in the mornings and was often home in the evenings after the little kids had gone to bed. Not healthy family dynamics.) This year, Roscoe is banned from early-morning seminary, so we're re-committed to whole-family scripture study promptly at 6:45. I'm a firm believer in the blessings of fortifying kids with a bit o family gospel before sending them out into the big, wide world.

- Zones. I'm still loving our zones chore system. But Roscoe often isn't home to do his, and I've never taken the time to teach/enforce a zone for Jesse. So I've made Jesse and Roscoe zone partners. When Roscoe is home, he can teach and encourage Jesse. When Roscoe is gone, Jesse's got him covered.

- Dinnertime. With teenagers, our all-together family time is a rare commodity. So we're trying to improve the quality of our dinnertimes. The new rule: Everyone stays at the table until everyone is finished. (Everyone except Haley, who eats at the pace of a snail.) Then we all clear and tidy together. This way, our together time is extended, and our many hands make light work of clean-up, leaving Mark and I more time for other, funner things. I'm also hoping this will help teach certain children to eat more slowly and enjoy their meals.

- My routine. Year by year I systematize my routines more and more. It seems to help me accomplish more stuff more easily. I already have a deep-clean task for each day of the week and a weekly schedule for errands and trips to the gym. This year, I created an order of operations for my morning to keep me moving when I tend to be groggy and aimless.

Any fabulous new routines cooking at your house?


  1. I always loved the chance to reevaluate and start again with kids shifted to new schedules (and as new people, as they have grown and changed over the summer). I felt that if I just kept trying new things it would keep us all motivated. More power to you all.

  2. Thanks for stiffening my spine for the end of our era of sloth and diligence on Sept. 4! Time for me to think up a system that will accommodate both boys' schools starting earlier this year. My last year before early-morning seminary kicks in, which will require me to drive each morning.