October 16, 2007


Tonight I attended a small meeting of homeschooling moms to discuss scheduling. This is such a tricky subject for us moms because it requires constant tweaking. My official schedule is always changing, or so it seems. Just when I think I have it together, something throws it off: a fussy baby, a whiney daughter, or a crazy day. Like today, math was delayed due to the lack of useable pencils. I had bought a pack of 50 mechanical pencils 2 months ago because the girls would stand around the pencil sharpener like professionals hang out by the watercooler--wasting time and accomplishing nothing. As of today, the supply had sadly dwindled to few shabby pencils with no workable erasers or clickable lead. So we hunted in the couch cushions and under the bookcases for the good ol' fashioned ones and then we had to dig around in the craft cabinet for the pencil sharpener. All the erasers had long been bent/bitten off, but we finally started our math!

Through the sharing of other moms, I was encouraged to redeem the time. I need to account for all the time I spend by having something productive to show for it. I tend to spend a fair amount of time online, sometimes truly researching a topic, other times just surfing around. Time never flies so fast as when I'm in front of my computer. This is one area where I can refocus my time and, um, maybe do an extra load of laundry before logging onto the computer.

One mom, the self-proclaimed queen of schedules (and she really did have a very well-thought-out and organized one!) reminded us that schedules are meant to free you, not hold you hostage. She also pointed out that schedules don't have to be rigid since some moms thrive on a loose and flexible one (me!) and others require a highly structured one (not me). It doesn't really matter what it looks like, because everyone's will look different, but your kids will be reassured of your expectations and know their own personal daily tasks because of your set schedule/routine.

Here's my typical daily schedule:
But first a few ground rules:

  • On Sunday evening I plan the upcoming week. By weekly planning I mean that I glance through each child's math lessons so they will be fresh in my mind as I explain the new concepts. I decide what passages the kids will copy during the week and what phonics or grammar rules I'll explain. I also look ahead so that I can reserve necessary library books.
  • Mondays are closely guarded. As Monday goes, so does my week. We need to start each week refreshed and energized and can only do so by staying home and limiting outside distractions.
  • During the week we are home more than we are out. There's a reason it's called HOMEschooling. Necessary appointments (like visiting the dentist to replace what the tasty candy apple broke at the fair) are arranged in the afternoons. We only have 2 weekly commitments: one on Wednesday nights for church (choir and missions) and the other on Thursday afternoons for the girls' dance.

Alrighty then, on to my daily schedule:

  • The kids are up between 8-9am. They quickly kiss me good morning and run out the door to play with BB and enjoy the nice fall weather.
  • Sometime between 9:30-10am we eat a quick breakfast (I'm talking bagel or muffins and sometimes brownies) and start math. This isn't my first choice of subject matter but it works best for the girls to get it out of the way.
  • After math and while they are still sitting at the table, we dive into Sequential Spelling. Right now we really use it for phonical reinforcements and the kids really (surprisingly) love it!
  • At some point in time I have to feed Micah, call Matthew and re-group the kids.
  • I then have individual time with the girls to cover their phonics lessons/reading practice (M and K) or grammar/writing (CG).
  • By now it's lunch time. So the kids devour a grilled cheese sandwich and head outside to catch lizards, play in the sand box, ride their bikes or explore the woods.
  • After much bribery ;) we reconvene on the couch for Bible time and read a literature selection that will springboard us into our history, science, geography and/or art lessons for the day.
  • Of course, throughout the days we find time for chores and supper preparations 'cause after all this active learning, the kids have worked up an appetite!
There's always more I'd like to add in, such as studying artists or learning French or playing a sport. All those are well and good and some point we will probably do them. But now our schedule must be simple so that we can focus on learning to read and reading to learn. Also my girls do better staying at home where they can play, be themselves and enjoy life together. In another season of life we will redeem our time differently, but for now this is what works for us.

So, what does your schedule look like?

No comments: