A few weeks ago, our family met another homeschool family at the park for the afternoon. We claim that our kids love to hang out with each other, but secretly I think that the moms get more out of our playdates than the kids do.
Lately I've been in sort of a homeschooling funk. We usually manage to get schoolwork done, but it usually isn't pretty. I start and stop throughout the day, put out fires here and there, and occasionally I check independent schoolwork at night and find that it really didn't get done.
The other mom shared with me how her family had recently developed a school schedule and how they had found it was making a huge difference. I was skeptical. For at least the past four years, I've been juggling so many different appointments that making a schedule seemed impossible. We still have plenty of appointments these days, but they are more consistent from week to week. There really isn't a reason why I can't have a schedule.
I'm slowly taking baby-steps towards a schedule. For the past few weeks, I've served breakfast at approximately the same time everyday. I have little benchmark goals throughout the day. For instance, I try to get Lauren dressed by 9 so that I can work one-on-one with Brennan between 9 and 10. (It doesn't take the whole time. I just aim to get spelling, grammar, etc. done by 10.) I then attack most of the reading for the day, both our read-aloud and our history readings. We move on to lunchtime, and then I'll finish up the loose ends before quiet-rest-time at 1. Like I said, it's a rough schedule.
I'd love to say that I'm a "schedule-convert". Maybe someday. I am starting to see the benefit of having a schedule for our schooldays. Overall I'm less frazzled, and the kids seem to be at least slightly less resistant to getting our work done. It is still far too easy to get sidetracked with something that I'd like to do on the computer, though, and I have to remind myself that it's better in the long run if we do our schoolwork before we run to the library.
Even the rough schedule that I'm following now helps to get everything done in a more mannerly fashion. Today I fudged around the schedule a bit so that I could listen to a session of This Old Schoolhouse's Homeschool Expo. The session was fabulous, but perhaps I should've waited for the mp3. I hoped to move our read-aloud time to after lunch, and I found that nobody had the attention span for it anymore. Perhaps the hour of TV I let them watch earlier zapped their braincells. Or, perhaps we all work better with a plan.
Who knows -- maybe I'll become a die-hard schedule addict. Someday I might even come up with a schedule along the lines of Managers of their Homes. If I became that organized, I might even find enough time to update this blog regularly. Or, perhaps I'll just continue on with our rough guidelines to keep us on track. My rough outline keeps me on track enough to get the important stuff done, is flexible enough to allow for the unexpecteds, and just basically seems like it's more "me."