Years ago, when I had two young children, another mother and I had a discussion about schedules.
Her family ate dinner at 6 PM and were in bed by 8. She had four children, the oldest around 6th grade or so at the time and her youngest at that time was the same age as my child. Her husband worked in the public schools, so he was off by that time most nights. This was an easily consistent schedule for them most of the time.
We lived in a very small town and my husband was going to work at 6 PM that year. He was just beginning to get ready for work at 5; if we had dinner before he left, it would have been at 4 or 4:30. So, we had dinner at 7, because my husband could generally get off for 30 minutes or so at 7 and we could eat as a family. Plus, he could bring co-workers with him and we could have some “getting to know you time” with them. It worked great for us! After dinner was cleaned up, I got the girls ready for bed, read to them, and they were generally asleep by 8:30 or so. It worked for us.
My friend’s comment has really stuck with me, for probably close to 10 year now. Her comment was not intended to be mean or hateful or judgmental. It was just what struck her at the time. She said “How can you do that to your kids? Putting them to bed on a full stomach?!” Now, our schedule was really not that different from hers except that it worked from 7 – 9 instead of 6 -8. But, it has had me thinking ever since then.
Do you compare? Your schedule? Your educational choices? Your work choices? You family choices? Your clothing? Your house?
We all do and that really isn’t bad, if . . .
If you don’t beat yourself up over it or decide theirs is always better or yours is always the lesser of the two.
I have been musing on schedules because I am trying to decide what will work for us. What we are doing isn’t working as well as I would like. So, I am comparing. Especially for the middle schooler.
See this comparison of our family and my friend’s family is kind of what all of life is like. What kind of schedule will my child have when she grows up? Well, it depends on what she does in her adult life. Will she work an 8-5 job? Will that job be one that is tightly scheduled for her, like a teacher’s schedule is? Or will she be in a position that requires her to meet deadlines but doesn’t tie her down to every step along the way? Or will she be self-employed and have to schedule it all out herself. Most likely, it will be somewhere between the two extremes.
We need to ease into something where she has enough structure to not quit or fall behind but not so much structure that she doesn’t learn to set her own markers along the way to her ultimate goal. So, when I am hunting down examples of a schedule for a middle school student, I tend to shy away from those that are highly structured but I know that we need more structure than we have now.
This is truly just a musing because I don’t have an answer of what we are going to do as we get back to a full schedule after the holidays. But I think we will start with a conference to discuss what I would like to see from her and hear what she thinks she might need to be successful. Maybe that will help direct my thoughts and ideas to something more concrete.
I would love to know your thoughts on scheduling and teaching students to schedule for themselves.