Tell me what do you do all day?
Busy I am but listen, pray.
Monday is my milking day.
Tuesday skimming off the cream.
Wednesday's when the butter's churned
and packed away each Thursday.
Friday's when I bake all day.
Saturday is market day.
On Sunday off to church I plod, thanks be to thee almighty God.
~ Elsa Beskow, Around the Year
The Elsa Beskow poem was typed from memory from one of Lupine's favorite books. We read it weekly, if not daily, and the piece above is our favorite page. I think the book resonates for Lupine because it is all about the rhythm of the day, the week, and the year.
Earlier this year when many of us read Simplicity Parenting together we disucssed rhythm in depth. The concept was something I had been striving for for years, yet it seems to slip through my fingers more often than not.
As a homeschooling family I certainly see the value of rhythm – though it is not specific to homeschoolers by any means. Rhythm is vital to creating harmony in any home. Making time for the things we value is critical, lest we look up at the end of the week and realize the laundry never got washed, we didn't make time for reading or visiting with friends, the tomatoes are rotting in the garden, and we're out of milk – again.
So I decided to break rhythm down into parts and tackle one part per season. We have our daily rhythm, our weekly rhythm, and our rhythm of chores and meals. I decided this summer to tackle our weekly rhythm in ernest and see what came of it.
We've been working if for several weeks and I am nothing short of amazed. I broke our week down and decided that every day would have one event that was all its own. We go easy on the schedule over here, so one was our limit per days (days with two scheduled activities I dread). Here is our summer rhythm:
Monday – lesson day (swimming now, riding in the fall)
Tuesday – farm day (we go to a friend's farm for dairy and veggies to put by)
Wednesday – homeschool group
Thursday – Mystery Day
Friday – CSA day (we haul the veggies from our CSA to town in exchange for our share)
I wrote down our weekly rhythm stuck it to the fridge. We started talking about it. And we started living it. I think the most telling part of my learning to embrace and live rhythm is this: I don't forget things anymore. I no longer find myself riddled with anxiety when I realize I've forgotten an appointment or task. It has become – without effort – simply how we live.
In addition, Pete and I divided our evenings. Two regular nights a week are Pete's for fishing, two are mine for friends and crafting (and this week foraging), and the other three are ours to share. This little shift has been dramatic. Because it is regular it isn't upsetting – as it was until recently – for the kids to have us trade off bedtime duties or slip away for a few hours.
I chose to not address the rhythm of our family chores – housekeeping, etc. – or our meals or our day. In fact, I decided to ignore it completely so that I didn't feel that rhythm was a lot to juggle and somehow unnatural. I wanted to hit our groove with the week and then dial it in further once that came easily to us.
Because of our rhythm the kids have more peace, I have more ease, we all look forward to the regular tempo of our week, and everyone knows what's coming when they awaken. I can't say enough about finding this rhythm.
My next challenge (for fall) is to determine our daily rhythm. I have a tendency to let the kids roll when they are engrossed in books or play, sometimes to the delay of bedtime or a meal. I want them to have a solid rhythm in their days (which we have done with great success in the past, but somehow summer has hijacked that plan lately).