Sunday, March 23, 2014

Preparing for the week to come.

A long long time ago weekends used to be a time for resting and relaxing at my house. Not so much anymore. With homeschooling 4 little ones, managing the special needs of 3 little ones, scheduling doctors appointments and keeping up with all the paperwork that goes along with those appointments, and oh yeah loving on all 6 little ones and my husband my time is stretched thin.

 These days weekends are a time to prepare for the week to come. I attempt to make my life easier by getting all my "busy work" done before the week starts and I get overwhelmed by an insane schedule.

What are my tips? Why I am glad you asked!

1. Lesson Planning and School Organization

On Friday evening I like to sit down with my lesson planner and write out the next weeks lesson plan for my 4 oldest girls (4th grade, 2nd grade, and twins in pre-k). I find it is best to get it done on Friday evening while the previous week is still fresh in my mind. Otherwise I might forget that we are a day behind in History, or that one of the girls struggled in a specific area of math and needs to take a day off from their math curriculum to do a review of the concept covered.

I usually sit down with my handy dandy lesson planner and my stack of homeschool books and sort through it all while watching HGTV. I don't know something about all that productivity on the screen keeps me motivated to be productive as well.

Once I get my lesson plan all set I then like to go ahead and print out the worksheets for our History Curriculum for the week.  I chose to go with the printable workbooks for the girls since I co-teach history for the oldest two girls. It was much cheaper to just buy the pdf of the workbooks and print them out as a I go along. Once they are printed I hole punch them and insert them into the girls folders. While I am at it I print out their handwriting worksheets and any extra math work I have scheduled. I can't tell you how nice it is to know when I go to bed on Friday evening that all the school work for the next week is taken care of and planned out.

2. Meal Planning and Prep

If you are following my Zero Food Waste series you know that by Saturday morning there is little to no food left in this house. So first thing after breakfast I sit down with my calender and figure out my menu for the week to come. I have the benefit of having a fully stocked freezer on hand so meal planning is usually a simple process here.
I just look at what we have on hand and then sort through either my pinterest board, my recipe binder, or my MOMYS cookbook (Cookbook written by and for large families). I keep my menu plan and all doctors appointments written on the calender in my lesson planner so I know to match up a crockpot meal and a light school day with a day with a 4 hour doctors appointment. I can't tell you how much stress this cuts out of my life!

Once I have my menu plan all done it is off to the Commissary with my oldest two daughters to help with the groceries as well as to strengthen their every day math skills. Calculating price per ounce, weighing produce, adding amounts to keep track of the amount of budget remaining, etc. It all adds up! A Hershey bar is great for working on fractions!

If I know I am going to have a REALLY busy week I take Sunday to work on prepping the meals for the week and getting them in the fridge all bagged up and ready for the crockpot. Nothing quite like being able to just reach into the fridge, grab a bag, and dump it into the crockpot and being done with dinner before 8am. Another bonus is that since you did all the prep work at one time you have cut down on your dishes through the week. I just have to wash the crockpot and all the plates, silverware, and cups we used and I have a spotless kitchen. Totally worth the extra 30min of prep time on Sunday!


3. The Dreaded Mt. Laundry

There are 8 people in this house. They all change clothes a lot. I mean *A LOT*. My husband alone goes through 3 outfits per day. I thought men were supposed to be lower maintenance then us women? 
So Sunday is all about getting the laundry under control. I spend most of Saturday keeping the machines going non-stop and then Sunday folding and putting everything away. It is so nice to start the week with clean clothes and no one yelling from their room "I can't find any underwear!". Don't get me wrong I do laundry during the week as well. If I didn't we would never EVER get caught up. I however don't always have the time during the week to get it all put away. Something about folding those million pairs of tiny little socks that makes me cringe. It is definitely something I have to make myself do.

4. Massive Scale Cleaning

I totally take advantage of my husband being home on the weekends to get the whole house straitened. With him here I am able to get the furniture moved and the 1,000,000 toys cleaned out from under everything. The rooms all vacuumed, dishes caught up, floors know the drill. Having an extra set of hands and another adult present to keep little ones focused on the jobs they are supposed to be doing is priceless. If you want to see my house at the best come by on Sunday night. If you want to see it at its worst I would suggest Thursday morning! Just ask our in home behavioral therapist!

5. Library Time!

As I shared our reading program is accomplished by spending lots of time reading library books. I find that Sunday afternoons are the perfect time to go to the library. By this time of the week they have read all the previous weeks books and have had just enough time off to get excited about picking the next weeks books. A bonus is that at our library the local therapy dog handlers come hang out in the children's section on Sunday afternoons. Who can resist cuddling with a doggie while picking out their books?! Not my children! There is an added bonus for me however. Sunday's are the only day I actually get the twins to take a nap. I might say something along the lines of "No sleeping no library". Works every time.

6. Mom's Break time

I think the last and most important way I prepare for the coming week is to be sure to take a break for myself as well. I have a dear husband who gets up with the kids on the weekends so that I can sleep in (because of his shift he sleeps in during the week) and he is always there in the afternoon to watch the kids if I need a nap. I honestly don't know if I would make it through our sometimes very stressful and busy weeks if I didn't have down time to relax on the weekends!  I have to say that having a great partner is the most important aspect of preparing the for the future!

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