When children are old enough to attend school, life becomes busier, more chaotic and time consuming. Life before school (as a parent) was bliss, carefree and quite frankly easy.
Before children attended school, time was not an issue. If you were are stay-at-home-mum the clock was never watched; school drop off and pick up times was far from your mind. You did your own thing and in your own time frame. You never had to drop everything and rush out the door to collect your children from school.
Once schooling begins, life becomes hectic with routines, schedules and many appointments. There are excursions, sporting commitments, meetings, parent teacher interviews, sporting carnivals, school concerts etc.
Other routines include making continuous school lunches (see our lunch making process here), washing uniforms and of course the HOME WORK.
One of the busiest times of the day would have to be from 3.30pm till 7.30pm (perhaps longer in some households). These hours tend to drag on and can be very chaotic.
Most of us have seen the movie “Finding Nemo” and the familiar scene when the pack of seagulls are about to pounce on Marlin & Dory.
Do those seagulls remind you of something?
Change the “mine, mine, mine….” to “mum, mum, mum….” and then turn your mind to after school RUSH hour, dinner preparation, newsletters to sign and of course HOMEWORK time!
Picture this, a quite tranquil and peaceful home (perhaps it is clean and tidy too), suddenly a cyclone sweeps through the front door. School bags are tossed in the open doorway, blazers and hats thrown sideways and around the room, kids are fighting and pushing, lunch boxes scattered from one end of the kitchen to the other, meanwhile mother is giving orders left right and centre.
Even though the children know their bags, blazers and hats are meant to be hanging at the door as they enter, their lunch boxes emptied and neatly put out on the table; sometimes these little tasks can be quite easily forgotten.
As a mother of seven (with 6 school aged children), you can very well imagine how chaotic this home is during the hours mentioned above. Thankfully I tend to organise my meals earlier during the day so I don’t have to struggle with dinner time as well as the homework schedule. For myself ~ meal planning is essential.
Organising your day prior to the mad hours is a bonus. Here are some simple ideas on how to be a Supermum and have your day organised.
As for homework with 6 kids, this can take quite a number of hours to get through (try 4+ hours). Having a designated area for the children to do their homework is a benefit. Our homework area is set up in our family room / kitchen.
Each primary school student (the 2 high school and grade 6 girls seem to be on top of things) need individual attention. They are all at different levels of study and shuffling from one to the other is hard work.
Grade 1: Reading, spelling words and sentences to write. Plus learning religion off by heart!
Grade 3: Spelling words, times tables, reading, creative writing and again religion.
Grade 4: 50 spelling words, times tables, reading, maths, religion, science etc
Grade 6: All the above, including assignments and projects.
And this is every single night!
The children each have a school dairy (which should have their homework listed inside). Having them all sit around the table is an easier way to monitor one after the other.
Homework must be done as soon as they all get home from school (and after they have got out of their school uniforms and emptied their lunchboxes). The sooner they complete their homework and evening routines, then they are able to have play time or free time to themselves before dinner. This does not include movies, DVDS or TV (and especially not on school nights) unless all chores are done and their evening ROUTINE completed hours before hand.
Homework time is not fun, nor easy. There are tears, anger and frustration (from mum too). When dad gets home from work, some are still working on their homework and thankfully Mr No Excuses steps in to lend a hand and if one does need assistance with a maths or science problem (which is out of my league), dad is the one to help them out!
In the past when hubby was working away, I would either ring or skype their father (providing he was not overseas) and he generally works through a problem with them via live video calling (thank goodness for today’s technology)!
Homework for the smaller children can at times become strenuous, tiring and hard work too. There are days when children are just not up to doing their homework, so forcing them only makes matters worse. There have been times where my Prep student has been too tired and emotional some days after school. During these days I tend to just write a note in the dairy and get them to do it another night. There is no need to stress the child and yourself out more with something not worth worrying about.
So this is how our household runs during the school week; homework, chores, dinner and bed. We send our children to school to learn and have a proper education, play time is for the weekends and school holidays.
And when things get chaotic and the seagulls start chanting “mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum………..” go outside, take a deep breath or better still……go open a bottle of wine…as it works wonders!