Fourth grade started almost a week ago, and just now we are starting to feel "in the swing" of things. The first few days of getting back to school are always rougher than I anticipate. The mornings are so early, the afternoons are still so hot, and the evenings are far too short.
The transition to fourth grade has not been an exception. There have been more raised voices than necessary and enough rolling of the eyes to drive me insane.
However, last night, the first night of significant homework things went oddly smooth. Vocabulary was studied. State capitals were quizzed. An essay was written. There was still time to play with friends and we sat down to eat dinner, all four of us together, at a normal time. Quite the A+ day in my book!
So this morning, as I sat in silence after the bus left, sipping my coffee, organizing our calendar I began to think about what I can do to make more days look like yesterday. My first instinct is to make a chore chart, positive behavior plan, incentive plan to keep us on track. Then I remember how poor I am at follow through. How charts and plans are adhered to for a maybe two weeks before I forget to add a sticker or a smiley face and next thing I know we are all just back to the normal chaos that typically makes up our lives.
I reluctantly spent the majority of day yesterday decluttering Addison's room. Picking up and throwing away countless scraps of paper, pieces of wrappers, discarded and half finished craft projects. I put earrings where they belong. I reshelved books. I emptied buckets of accumulated clutter. I hung up clothes and dusted furniture and vacuumed the floor.
And then I went into Brenna's room and started the process all over again.
And then I went into my room and started the process all over yet again.
Turns out, we all were a total mess.
There was something about Addison coming home to a clean organized space that helped her plow through homework without complaint. I think the simple act of having things organized in her space gave her the chance to sit down comfortably and focus on her homework. The decluttering of her room helped to declutter her brain (sounds familiar).
Without a doubt part of the reason our daily lives feel chaotic and unsettled is that we are drowning in our own stuff. Our scraps and pieces that for some reason we hang on to and clutter our lives up with. So, it turns out that instead of starting a chore chart or behavior intervention plan for my kids, I need to implement one for myself.
Just as desperately as I, at times, need to declutter my thoughts , I equally need to declutter my life. To simplify systems, clean out cabinets, reduce the daily crap. Yes, I have had this thought before. Once I even made a half hearted attempt at putting myself on a cleaning schedule (much like everything else, that lasted about two weeks). Yes, our house stays decently clean, but now we need to focus on the clutter and disorganization and the endless stuff.
Decide what we need and use. Donate what we don't. Understand that we have more than our share and half of what we have we hardly use.
So instead of focusing on what my kids need to do this year to make school successful I am going to focus on what I need to do. Perhaps just by creating a cleaner, decluttered space for our family I will also create a space for more comfortable learning and maybe even a little less raised voices and rolled eyes.
Now here's to hoping that this inspiration lasts past two weeks.