Okay, sure, school actually began LAST week, but I left halfway through the week to take Theda on a whirlwind trip to NYC to celebrate her 13th birthday. The rest of the children (and the babysitters!) were left holding the bag, in terms of lessons.
Our children attend a hybrid school: a classroom setting two days per week, and homeschool lessons following the school curriculum (deeply Catholic and classically inspired) on the other days. We’ve been part of this community in one way or another for nine years now, since Theda began preschool in their Montessori classroom. Classes meet Tuesday and Thursday.
I didn’t have high hopes for how the day would go. I was exhausted from travel, and Todd was on his way out the door for a business trip. I have four school-aged kids doing homework, plus a preschooler and Oscar. The only way this works is if I have extra help to manage the two little ones during school time.
So with lots and lots of help… we actually got it done, smoothly and easily, before lunch time. No one cried; no one yelled. I was relieved beyond words. The afternoon was full of free play and a little screen time. I dropped Miriam off for dance class. Then we ate dinner while we waited, picked her up, fed her too, and whisked everyone off to bed.
Tuesday is a juggling day. I dropped the oldest five kids off at school a little early in order to get Oscar to his morning of therapy: speech, OT, and PT back to back. He worked hard, but as usual, he crapped out and wanted to take a nap about halfway through the morning. We managed to salvage the time and he finished up by walking (with support) halfway across the room for me to pick him up and take him home.
Our nanny, Abby, took over for the afternoon, including school pickup. I spent time working on my nursing school class (Texas History and Politics – super relevant, right?) and catching up on the million home-management tasks I missed during our NYC trip. Refitting Oscar’s brand-new leg braces, which fit him not at all. Scheduling upcoming appointments. Mountains and mountains of laundry.
I relied on two different fabulous friends to get Stefan from school to Boy Scouts and then home again; he was also fed dinner somewhere in there. That 9pm pickup is impossible with so many 8pm bedtimes and only one parent in the house. It takes a village.
Abby running interference with Ambrose and Oscar in the morning again, and again, everyone finished all school work by noon. You guys. This arrangement might actually work in the long term.
Wednesday afternoons, I teach Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (3 to 6 year olds) at our parish. This was our first meeting, and it went about as well as you might expect for having a group of mostly inexperienced 3 to 6 year olds in a room full of breakable and/or messy objects, trying to teach them to move and work quietly. No one cried. Imma call that a win!
During Catechesis, Theda stayed with Oscar and Abby and Stefan had an afternoon “date.” She has worked with us for three years, and she is moving next week. It’s going to be hard on everyone, so she is taking extra time to spend with each kid individually before Moving Day.
School and therapy again! Oscar had a great day today: another child in the gym during his OT session started playing with him, and the motivation of copying someone close to his age worked like a charm. They took turns with a toy for almost 10 minutes. Oscar was feeling plucky and emboldened enough that he finished OT by crawling through a tunnel, which he’s only done a handful of times. We ended with some of his favorite kind of speech practice: “Go” and “More” on the swing with Chelsa.
Abby took over with Oscar at lunchtime, and I spent the afternoon doing coursework and book edits. I called in all the troops after school to get through the evening craziness: Stefan has guitar and Theda has dance, in entirely different places. Todd was still out of town on business. Grandpa and Abby to the rescue!
Ordinarily, Friday would be our homeschool-heavy day. But this week, I’m attending the Catholic Writers Conference Online, so our other sitter (Hayley) is watching everyone, which is a recipe for not much schoolwork getting done. I’m hoping the tips I pick up will help me figure out next steps with my not-quite-edited, still-needs-a-title manuscript — in fact, I will be pitching it to a couple of Catholic publishers next week. Keep me in your prayers!
Tonight is another two-sitter day — Abby will tag in for Hayley later, so I can get Theda to her teen group and myself to a Holy Hour for Healing in the Church at our parish tonight.
It seems like… this… might work?
This week went far more smoothly than I expected, especially given all the various people coming and going on various out-of-town trips in the last 10 days. (My mom and dad are often more in the mix, but Mom is traveling too!) I know we will have good ones and bad ones, but it seems like it is at least possible to achieve success with the systems we’ve set up. If we can do it when it’s all brand new and a few key players are missing, it’s probably sustainable over the long term!
(Ask me again after Abby moves at the end of the month! Sniff sniff.)
That’s how we do it around here! How do you make complicated family life work?
Visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum for more of this week’s Seven Quick Takes.