|Roller Coaster Kitchen|
I am a creature of habit. While I love the carefree days of summer or the occasional snow day where the calendar is open and you go where the day leads you, I like routine. It keeps me sane. This is brought to my mind this week because our routine has been turned upside down.
Mondays are normally our best day to get school work done, but A had a wildflower field trip that morning at a farm outside of town. It ate up nearly all of our day and set the tone for our week: a week that would leave me off-kilter, unsettled and a tad frazzled. TCAPs aren't helping matters any. Both A and B are taking our state's standardized tests Wednesday through Friday of this week and next Monday.
For B, this means her school will stop running boot camps for the test and actually let her just take the test. For A, it means going to an unfamiliar school and unfamiliar classroom to take a test that doesn't accurately reflect what she's studied this year. You can blame the latter on her teacher - I wanted to do real history, not social studies. I care far more about Henry VIII and the course he set for England than I do about which Tennessee university is name for which local hero.
Hours of testing each day has meant a change to our morning routine and, quite frankly, a real loss of self-care opportunities for me. When I'm spending three hours in a classroom during a test, I can't collage, work-out or take a long bath during that time. And I can't do those things when I get home because I feel pressure to clean, do laundry and catch up on the other tasks that went undone during the morning hours.
This has taught me a few things:
1) I would never describe myself as a morning person (just today I told myself I didn't want to talk because it was before 7 AM), but I value my mornings and my days go better when I have more control over them.
2) It's easier to make self-care a priority - to actually make it happen - when it's built into my routine. Because without routine, I am falling apart all over the place. I normally work out on Thursdays, but unless I can muster the energy to hit the treadmill after school today, I'm not sure it's going to happen. I know it's good for me - body and soul - but some days it's tough to make it a priority.
3) Homeschooling has, in large part, offered me the freedom to build a routine and schedule that I enjoy - one that helps me not only function, but thrive. I haven't liked having to work to someone else's timetable this week and I'll be so glad to be in charge again starting next Tuesday. (I'm going to remind myself of this benefit to homeschooling when the waves of anxiety wash over me as I contemplate teaching two students next year instead of just one.)
Is it wrong that I need routine? I hope not because it's unlikely to change anytime soon. But I hope I'll learn from these few crazy days to hold my schedule more loosely without losing myself in the process.