The following post is from Roan of Joyful Always:
If you have homeschooled for any length of time, you probably have seen, or at least desire, the benefits of some sort of routine or schedule for your day.
I understand that some people are “free spirits” and the thought of following a detailed schedule for your day, complete with 30- minute increments, is enough to make you shudder. However, if you do crave some order to your day, I recommend having at least a bare minimum routine for you and your children to follow.
I have created and tried to follow many different schedules throughout my thirteen years of homeschooling. Some schedules have served me an entire school year without much tweaking, and some schedules have been effective for only a few weeks. It seems that the younger my children, and particularly when I had a new baby, the more often I had to make changes in our daily schedule.
Making a schedule can be as easy or as complex as you would like.
Here are a few steps I follow when I am creating a new schedule for my family:
Create a table document using a word processing program. I make a column for the time slots, and then one column for each person in the family that I am scheduling. This school year, my table has 6 columns (time, myself, four children). I begin with about 20 rows, but I add or delete them as needed as I fill in the blocks.
Assign a color to each person on the schedule. You can highlight each column separately and assign its color.
Type in the times of day in the far left-hand column. I begin my schedule at 5:00 AM, which is what time I get up, and I end it at 5:00 PM, which is what time we do our “Five O’Clock Tidy.”
If you are new to scheduling, or if you don’t want a rigid schedule, use just a basic framework for the day, then just fill in a few times, not 30-minute increments. For example, your times could include: wake-up time, chores, school, snack time, lunch time, afternoon activities, afternoon snack, tidy up, and supper.
If you are managing multiple children and their schoolwork, then you may need to assign the times more specifically. Stagger the times that you help a child individually with times they are to be working on school alone or doing chores.
Consider scheduling time for older children to play with younger ones. Until my children were old enough to begin preschool, and sometimes even after that, the older children had a “Play With The Baby” time slot on their schedule each day. They took the younger child to another place in the house, or outside, and kept him occupied for 30 minutes. I alternated sibling time and time with Mama with my young toddlers.
Schedule a time to check schoolwork each day or it can pile up. Currently, I have my two high schoolers bring me their work to check either as they finish each subject or in two or three chunks each day. Staying current on checking their work benefits your work load as well as their understanding of the subject matter. Corrections need to be made on a daily basis too.
Review the schedule with your children, and communicate your expectation level of their following it. Post the schedule in a highly visible place or consider making a copy for each member of your family.
Currently my daily school schedule looks like this:
This is an example of a loose-frame schedule. Earlier this school year I had a much more detailed schedule. But as our family’s needs change, so does our schedule.
5:00 AM Mama up, Bible study, run, shower, begin laundry, make lists for the day
7:00 Kids up, eat breakfast, morning chores, begin schoolwork if they have time
8:00 Bible lesson with all in the kitchen
8:30 Kids begin schoolwork. I sit in the schoolroom, helping my 2nd and 4th graders as needed. I also grade and/or help with my 9th and 11th graders’ schoolwork as needed. However, they do almost all of their schoolwork independently.
10:30 Sonlight reading in our den (2nd and 4th graders). Also, the 4th grader uses the time when I am not reading to her to finish up her Spanish or typing on the computer, if needed. Otherwise, she listens to the 2nd grader’s books.
11:30 Go over all remaining work with 9th grader. This usually takes up to one hour because there are always math problems we must work together.
12:00-1:00 PM Lunch and free time
1:00 Science with 2nd and 4th graders. 9th and 11th graders finish school as needed. The afternoons vary each day with errands, enrichment activities, and lessons. We also do housework all together one or two afternoons each week for about 45 minutes.
5:00 Five O’Clock Tidy: We all do our daily afternoon chores, which include putting away all clean clothes and generally tidying up the house for the arrival of my husband. Everyone has a checklist that includes different items and areas of the home so we can get it all picked up and looking presentable in about 10-15 minutes. The key is to do this every single day.
Creating or following a daily school schedule does not have to be difficult or intimidating. Having a plan, even a small plan, in place can ensure success in your school day. Give scheduling a try!
|Roan is currently in her 13th year of homeschooling. Her oldest child is a freshman in college, and her remaining home schooled students range in age from 8-16. Roan blogs regularly on her personal blog, Joyful Always. She writes about her interests which include family, homemaking, homeschooling, running, planning, and organization.|
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