Our days have been anything but “typical” for the last two weeks. Like many of you, we find ourselves adjusting to a new” normal” with Toby home full time, Grace and Zach now residents of Patchwork Farm, and all outside activities canceled. The only outside aspect of our lives that has remained constant is schooling. Online college classes continue for Rusty, Grace and I as we strive to finish this semester strong, and cyber school classes have continued to move forward for Tyler, Rusty, and Braden. The fact that they are cyber schooled has made the lock-down less disruptive for them than the brick and mortar students across Pennsylvania who are now transitioning to online school.
Outside of the hours spent on schoolwork daily, we find ourselves trying to fill the extra hours that used to be spent running in a thousand different directions. Knowing from past experiences the struggles and dysregulation that occurs with too much free time, we created a schedule for this season of our life. The predictability of a posted schedule, coupled with hourly transitions and a variety of activities, makes this time of uncertainty and unpredictability easier for all (especially my kids who have a history of past trauma.)
The schedule we came up with was one we created as a family, with input from all family members. The goal was to build a schedule that met everyone’s needs, with an equal balance of free time and structured activities. Everyone had certain tasks they needed met in this schedule. Some of the requests that were made included social media time, rest, alone time, family fun, and regular exercise. We took everyone’s input and plugged it into the schedule. This was the result of that collaboration. Here is the schedule we have been following:
Below are some pictures from our last week of “typical” life here at Patchwork Farm:
Our mornings begin with a family prayer and devotional before everyone gets started with their morning chores. Everyone has assigned tasks they need to accomplish before they get breakfast. In addition to household chores, each kid has an animal chore they are responsible for. Rusty’s animal chore is feeding and watering chickens. His workload recently doubled, but he is not complaining! That’s right…we have 13 new baby chicks we added to our flock two weeks ago. In light of all that is going on in the world, Toby thought some additional chickens (and more eggs) might be prudent. When he came home with a box that was chirping, everyone got excited! Caring for these sweet peeps is a chore everyone enjoys.
After morning chores and a quick breakfast it is time for Tyler to get onto his first class of the day. While the rest of us have the flexibility to work at our own pace, he has scheduled live classes at 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, and 1:00.
While Tyler is doing school at 9:00, Rusty and Braden log onto their devices for their seminary class. This daily scripture study class for teens used to take place each morning at 6:00 at a friend’s house. Now, due to social distancing, the youth in our congregation meet together for class through Zoom at 9:00 am each weekday.
Our church is utilizing online classrooms for most meeting and classes, including Molly’s missionary training. Here Grace, Zach and Molly are attending their Thursday night Institute class.
Toby uses the morning hours to tackle projects that have been on the back burner for months/years while the rest of us get our schoolwork done for the day. Having time at home has allowed him the luxury of being able to slowly work his way down the always-growing “honey do” list. Here Toby is teaching Braden how to patch the holes in his drywall that were put there on one of Braden’s harder days.
Lunch is followed by our daily exercise session. Grace, Molly and I will workout together in the living room, with Rusty joining us occasionally. Everyone else scatters, having no interest in 30 minutes of sweat and pain.
After 60 minutes of a family organization project (currently we are working in the basement) everyone is free for personal time or naps. We added daily naps to the schedule under the guise of COVID-19 prevention, with the thought that a well rested body is less likely to get sick, but really Toby and I just love the luxury of being able to nap daily for the first time in our adult life!
The kids use this time for personal pleasure. Some use this time to catch up on their favorite TV shows, while others use this time to work on developing talents or doing something creative…
Rusty and Gracie have both pulled out the leftover supplies from their time in Mural Club and have been creating beautiful artwork.
After nap time/personal time we head outside for fresh air. Every afternoon (as long as the weather cooperates) we go for a family walk. We usually have some of the dogs join us. This is Ellie May’s favorite time of the day. It does us all good to get out of the house, stretch our legs, and enjoy the beauty of nature!
The hour after our walk is dedicated to yard work and gardening. Last week we used one of those hours to get our vegetable seeds started.
Then it is time for dinner. On March 17th we enjoyed a St. Patrick’s Day dinner of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes…YUM!
Sometimes we enjoy a board game as a family while eating dinner. We had fun with this one. It was an escape room puzzle/board game. We had to put the puzzle together then solve the mystery on the board. There were 7 puzzles within the puzzle, that when correctly solved, allowed us to discover the answer to the corresponding story. It was a lot of fun.
Dinner and clean-up is followed by family fun time. When Grace and Zach moved in they brought with them some games from their apartment, including this gem:
The tiny hands game pins player against player in a series of challenges like stacking cups, putting on a jacket and applying chapstick.
At 8:00 we gather in the living room for family scripture study and then at 8:30 put on a movie to end our day. On Tuesday night Molly got to pick the movie since it was her last chance to watch a movie before being set apart as a missionary and abiding by the rules and standards set for the missionaries. She chose to watch, “I Still Believe.”
By 10:30 everyone is heading toward their beds, ready to settle down for the night and rest their bodies and minds for another day in quarantine!