Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Me -- A Schedule?!?

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."


  1. I tried the schedule thing at the beginning of the school year this year. It lasted about three days. I realized we just don't do exactly the same thing at the same time every day. There are days math can take 30 minutes, and other days it takes 10 minutes--that throws the schedule off for me and then I'm back to square one. I can't plan what clothes I'm going to wear each day because I can't decide what to wear until I see how I feel in the morning. Same seems to go for what subjects we start with in school. I do find the computer is a big distraction for me, though, so I've started turning it off after I checked email in the morning. Not standby, OFF. It's hard to do, but sure helped me maintain my own focus on schooling. Schedules just didn't work for me; we work better with flexibility as well.

  2. just reading this...when Addison gets old enough (and she might be already), have her look at all the work you have planned for, say the fall semester...and divide it all up into sections as SHE wants to accomplish. We did this with Val...and she came up with her own "lesson plan"...sometimes it was a week of English/reading/writing...other times it was a mix. she did well usually if we could attack a project all at once and see it thru to completion. (especially w/ math). Of course, I adjusted it as necessary...but having her input helped make it understandble in scope and size...and in the long run really helped prepare her for college...and beyond. - karin k

  3. I divided my day into 5 bubbles of routines. Each has a preferred time on the clock but I am realistic with 4 boys, 2yo to 12yo. My bubbles are Morning Routine (covers getting up to clean up after breakfast), Cleaning Routine (covers chores and self care), School Routine (broken into 3 blocks of about an hour, 2 before lunch, 1 after, L.Arts first for all, Maths for all second and Science/History/Creative Arts after lunch), Afternoon Routine (cleaning up at day's end, for our house and ourselves), Evening Routine (covers from dinner right through to bedtime). It helps on the "bad" days to just skip a bubble, usually one of the school blocks or the Afternoon Routine, but the rest I find are essential to keeping our day running well.



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