Busy really doesn’t even describe my life in the past two months! Which is why my blogging time has been non-existent. Noriko arrived and Fall came and all extra commitments started within the same few weeks.
August for the most part went pretty smoothly. The beginning of the month we were preparing for Noriko. When she arrived we eased her into our routine, registered her for school. She started school and quickly started to make friends. She changed a couple of her classes during the first couple of weeks and I met most of her teachers during the open house during the second week of school. (I was frustrated that one of her teachers didn’t even know she was an exchange student but that is off topic). We found out that there is a Japanese teacher at the school. She was excited when we met her and I know that she has been instrumental in helping Noriko adjusting to American High School!
In September, I was struggling to manage our schedule to point that I could not figure out when I had time to homeschool. We were in and out of the house multiple times a day. We would come home from one thing but since we are leaving the house in an hour or two that there was no point in trying to do schooling. So my days were flying by without accomplishing my homeschooling goals.
Even though I had two calendars and a day planner, I had to come up with a better way of keeping track of my schedule. During the course of a week, I wrote my schedule several times in several places in the hopes of finding what would work the best. Completely frustrated I went to an office store in town and spent an hour looking at calendars and day planners. I found a day planner that puts each week on a two page spread with spaces for times between 7 am and 8 pm.
I finally was able to visualize my schedule! I started out using post-it tabs and color coded my schedule. My idea was that I could fill in my schedule for 2-3 weeks then transfer the tabs over to the following blank weeks. I realized that this would not work during the first week. With as much as I was using the planner, the tabs were bending and falling off. So, for following weeks I decided to color my planner! (Yes, I think I have OCD) I even scheduled lunch and dinner for most days! Even though most of the white space is full, I still have been able to be somewhat flexible. I generally know that all white space is free and all homeschooling space we should try to be home. But things do still come up like the lunch invite or the come over for coffee invite. Dinner time needs to be flexible and often is not when I have it blocked off but if I have it on the schedule I can still visualize the time I have (or don’t have) available when scheduling appointments and other things that come up.
October is now here. Getting into routine has been challenging and stressful but I think we are starting to find our groove! Consistently we have the following out of the house schedule:
Sunday-Church and Awana, Monday-Soccer (K), Tuesday-Community Bible Study (Leadership) and Soccer (K & A), Wednesday- Community Bible Study and Church, Thursday-Library and Soccer (A), Friday-Homeschool co-ops (3 class periods), Saturday-2-3 Soccer games (K & A)
And between all of those times I can schedule meals, homeschooling, house cleaning, rest time, etc. Did I mention my husband is deployed? All the more reason to have a well planned schedule!
Noriko seems to be adjusting well. She is continuing to make friends and finding activities that interest her. Since she has been here, her school assignments and church involvement have lead to several good conversations about relationships, religion, history, etc. (I will share more specific conversations as I find the time to blog…I really should block out blogging time on my schedule). The girls love Noriko and she loves them. Even though we have had some miscommunications and frustrations, I have enjoyed having her here. So far this has been a good experience and I hope and pray that we continue to be smooth for our whole family.