One question I asked in the January prompt for Keeping Company concerns scheduling: do you schedule your Keeping or has it already become a part of the family culture?
For us, it's a bit of both. I schedule our Keeping, even my own. I do not do this because it's a chore for me--not at all. I do it because sometimes it just doesn't feel like I have time to sit down and write in my commonplace or to sit down and paint in my nature journal. (Sitting down without small people crawling on me is very rare here. In fact, I often type these posts standing with a baby on my back! ;))
But if it's on my schedule, it's a reminder to me that I do need to take that time--not because I don't want to, but because I do. I pencil it in, just as I might a date night with my husband or a run with a friend. I know the time out or the exercise is good for me, is needed for my mental or physical health, but if those activities don't have a place on my calendar, they're the first to go when a busy week rolls around. The daily tasks of life have the tendency to engulf seemingly-frivolous pleasures if we don't guard them.
So yes, to take the analogy further, my notebooks are much-loved companions, and I schedule dates with them to make sure I get some one-on-one time without the kids interrupting! ;)
That said, I don't tie my Keeping to a particular day or time, and I only schedule what I consider my personal minimum--the least I need to spend to feel like I got that intellectual Mother Culture time in. Any Keeping I do beyond that is bonus.
Here are my personal minimums:
:: Weekly nature journal entry - We spend a morning each week on a nature study outing, and if the baby goes down for his nap when the toddlers do after we get home, I sit down and journal along with my kids. If not (and more often than not right now, their naps do not overlap), I put our tray away for the day and pull it out on the weekend, when Daddy is home to watch the little ones. Sitting down with watercolors is one of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday afternoon!
:: Weekly commonplace session - While I'm reading, I mark with post-its or dog-ear pages with quotes that I want to add to my commonplace book. At least once a week, I spend some time transferring those quotes.
:: Weekly Calendar of Firsts and Life Lists review - This one we actually do as a family, but it's on my to-do list rather than my kids' since I'm the one that pulls it out and makes the entries. Every week when my kids are doing their nature journals, we consider whether we have anything we'd like to add to our Nature Binder, which includes both our Calendar of Firsts and our Life Lists. (As I've mentioned before, we keep ours more as a Nature Calendar than a true Calendar of Firsts, simply so that we can add a variety of seasonal observations.) We usually have some notes to add each week, but not always. I at least check in weekly, though.
My kids' routine looks slightly different:
:: Weekly nature journal entry - They are free to add whatever they would like from observations over the course of the week and particularly from our weekly outing. They usually complete a page each week of notes and illustrations, probably because that is about what I do. :)
:: Five minutes copywork into their commonplace twice a week - This year is the first year my big kids are keeping a commonplace, which I call their "copybook." Right now they have penmanship practice in both cursive and printing, so we alternate between the two, five minutes daily. In cursive, we're still working on letter and word formation, so they do that on pre-printed practice sheets. But for printing, they are now choosing sentences and passages from their school reading to copy. They love choosing their own copywork, and they also love copying it into a book instead of on looseleaf print-outs.
:: Weekly mapwork entry - We have maps going of Europe, Asia, and the Holy Land this year, and they trace journeys and mark places read about in our readings. We pull out the maps at least once a week to make additions. This year, their work is more practical than lovely, but I hope to combine the two next year and make our map-Keeping an art project of sorts.
:: Weekly timeline entry - They each have a binder timeline that they have been adding to since Year 1. At least once a week, they pull out their timelines and add any new figures or events that they choose.
(And just a note: my kids aren't old enough to have a Book of Centuries yet, but when they are, that will be a once-weekly task for us both as well.)
My personal goals get listed on my weekly planner...
...and my kids' goals are on our weekly schedule sheet.
So that's just how it works best at our house. In the (far, far) future, I imagine I'll have free hours to fill however I like. I'll take day-long hikes with my journal and watercolors, and I'll fritter away many an afternoon with a book and my commonplace by my side. These are not those days. ;) But I can still make a commitment to myself to carve out some moments of Keeping on my calendar and, at the same time, encourage my children in those habits.