Creating a Schedule

There are so m~a~n~y ways to approach homeschooling, and I haven’t really gotten taken up into figuring it all out.  It’s quite interesting to hear how many different ways there are for moms to run their little schools.  There are the super scheduled and super flexible and the somewhere in between kinds.  (Just like anything else, right?)  Sometimes all the opinions can get a little confusing, but since I haven’t heard too many lately I think hearing a few new perspectives would be good for me.  There is soooo much to learn.  And just so you know, I am always interested in hearing about how you choose your method or procedure or curriculum or whatever you like to talk about.  Teaching styles really are fascinating.

This summer I clicked around on some blogs looking for organization tips from verteran homeschool moms and clicked around for schedule ideas on pinterest.  There are a lot of ideas out there and for things I hadn’t even considered–how to have a meal plan (a certain lunch on the same day each week) or how to keep up with your cleaning while homeschooling.  Here’s one article on setting a routine I found helpful for thinking through what I want from the year.

For now I’m sort of taking what I know from classroom teaching and adjusting it to fit our family.  Probably my biggest fear about homeschooling is my lack of discipline.  I love lists and making plans and they are a life saver for getting a bunch of work done before a deadline.  But give me a ten week plan or a thirty day plan…oh, my!  I am not good at carrying them out long term.  I printed out a 30 Day Marriage Challenge and got through day two.  It’s sort of strange, really, to like lists so much and yet fail so miserably.  Actually, I know that if it had been a 7-day challenge I could’ve probably made it through.  Knowing that it would be so long and that I’d probably fail blocked me from hanging in there.

Now when I was teaching?  Oh, I thrived on the schedule.  It was set by someone else and I was required to make it work. It was probably the only time I’ve ever been so self-disciplined…going to bed at a decent time, getting up early to spend time with God, and even journaling?  Yes, all that.  It’s just that when I’m the one in charge it’s too easy to give myself a break. Of course there’s a good side to that…I don’t get as tense when things don’t go according to plan.  I do think learning to live on a schedule is healthy and prepares children for real life.  That would be one of the advantages of our children going to school, I guess since they won’t learn it as quickly from me.

Because of my flexibility, I was scared that I would find it way too easy to become haphazard, so I wrote up a schedule.  On paper it looks like this:

7:00 Get up, devotions

7:30 Eat, dress, fill water bottle, take vitamins

8:00 Wake boys and get them started on breakfast, start laundry or morning chores

8:30 supervise boys’ chores; spend one-on-one time with boys

9:00 Devotions, Victory drill

9:20 Math

10:30 Breaktime

10:45 Language

11:45 Lunch

I even set alarms on my phone to ring at each of those times to remind me to move on to the next thing.  It’s actually working out pretty well.  By working out well, I don’t mean that we do each of those things at that specific time.  For one thing I completely forgot to plan in time for feeding Paxton.  His morning waking time is anywhere from 6:30-8:00, so I basically wing it.  I could get really scheduled and start waking him at a certain time, but for now I’m going with the flow…  Also, I haven’t spent one-on-one time with the boys at all this week, and the boys have done their chores before school maybe once.

How it is helpful?

–It helps me to be purposeful.  I get a lot more accomplished before school since I have things to do in increments of 30 min.  Instead of getting distracted with a little of this and a little of that, most often I stay on task.

–I’m more likely to be prepared. Because I see how little time I have to get the a few chores done in the morning, I’m more likely to get the laundry sorted the night before, so I can get a load hung out on the line by the time we’re starting school. (I’m feeling a little silly writing that because I can imagine a whole lot of women getting up at 5:30 and having their laundry done by 8:00.)

–It calls me back to reality when needed.  Lets say I got distracted and started reading on FB (notice that wasn’t on the schedule at all), well, when the alarm rings at 8:00, it reminds me that I should be getting Zachary up (and, whoa!  I have a lot of stuff I should be doing; stop wasting time, Christy).

The last two mornings I slept a little later and didn’t start any morning chores before school, but the alarms kept beeping and moving us forward.  Even though we might’ve not been doing the planned chore at the scheduled time the alarms kept reminding me to go on to the next thing.  This morning the boys woke early and had eaten breakfast by 8:00.  I knew we’d be meeting my uncle for lunch (yay!), so we jumped into our lessons right away.  We didn’t have our little songs and Bible story or practice reading word lists, but whizzed through the basic math and language lesson.  Boom.  Done in no time.

I also found that instead of working until a certain time for break, it works well for us to finish the first subject, take a break (earlier than the one I had scheduled), then do the next subject.  Most times I also use that break time to rock Paxton  to sleep, and he takes his morning nap while we have our second period.

Already next week our schedule will change.  I had started the first grade phonics program for kindergarden last spring.  We were a little ahead from the coordinating language curriculum so we were catching up this week.  Next week we’ll add in phonics as well which will make our morning a little more busy.  I hope we’ll still be able to finish everything by lunchtime, since we always have time to spare.  We have a trip coming up and after we’re back I’ll add in science, health, history, music and art–the fun parts. :)

We also have a unique schedule because Steve’s day off work is Monday instead of Saturday.  He will probably teach history class on Monday, but otherwise we’ll have school from Tuesday-Saturday.

Well, since I need a mini goal to keep myself on task, I’ll check back in here a month from now–sometime the end of September–and report on how we’re liking our schedule. :)

Hold me to it.


8 thoughts on “Creating a Schedule”

  1. Christy, I’m catching up on your blog too. :) I could totally relate to most of what you wrote. I’m also a list lover and yet I have trouble keeping a schedule or following through with big projects. I also have started 30 day challenges and just quit because of feeling like it was useless because I’d never make it. You definitely aren’t alone!

    I’m doing some preschool with Logan and am working at trying to get a schedule going, not only for him but also because I think it would do me so much good. I love your idea of setting alarms on your phone! I think I’ll have to try something along that line too! Hoping that I can learn from your homeschooling posts so that when it comes time for me to dive into it I’ll know what to do! :)

  2. Whew! I found another homeschool mom just like me! I’m the lover of lists and schedules too – until it comes to actually putting them into practice!

    You had some great points. Like you I’m slowly learning to be more disciplined. This year I have a third, second, and Kindergartener so I need to keep on my toes to get it all done. But I am finding that I have learned a few things after homeschooling for a few years. I’m rather pleased with the balance of organization and “go with the flow” that we have found. Or maybe it is just the lack of a newborn that makes me feel like I’m getting more accomplished!

  3. Hmmmmmm, this is so good. I started K-5 with Zoe and going from just simple K-4 which took a half hour at the most to K-5 (3 hours a day with Abeka video) is a big jump. Schedule – or lack thereof- is staring me in the face, and it’s something I really have to get on top it. Just our daily life schedule/church activities have kinda been nuts lately so bedtime is late, which then messes everything else up. HELP!!

    P.S. I’m catching up on your blog, if you can’t tell. :)


    1. I feel for you with the church and other activities. I know it would be so different to work around all of that. We have so much flexibility to schedule our family routine compared to typical, Mennonite community life. We often start bedtime for the boys around 7:30-8:00. I was talking to Steve today about how many areas are affected by schedule. Even children whining about snacking really doesn’t happen when you have a schedule. I typically grab them a 3-bite snack (piece of cheese or a few grapes) at breaktime and it holds them over until lunch. One thing helps me most is being realistic about creating a schedule I can actually work with. It’s easy for me to start out with lofty goals and determine that I’ll suddenly start getting up an hour and a half earlier than normal and start exercising for 30 min. first thing and get x,x,andx done before the boys are up. Baby.Steps. Baby.steps! If you start at 10:00 because of late nights…that’s fine!

  4. Once again you remind me of myself! I also started a 30 day challenge and only did a few days! :) I love lists and schedules and have written an uber amount over the years. I don’t know that I’ve finished any of them exactly the way they were written down. It’s still fun to write them. I’ve always said it would be easier for me to have to work under someone – at least then I do what I have to. Here at home when I’m in charge and have not very much self discipline… I’m working on it… :)

    1. Good for you. I always say I could run such an efficient home if I’d just have someone to carry out the jobs as I organize them. :D Your perspective is better, and I agree–I am also the kind of person who does better working under someone. I find that when jobs are too big or I have too many jobs I push them off because they overwhelm me. If I break them into little bits–lists really do help!–I can maybe manage them.

  5. Schedule is so important around here too, but I try to not let the schedule be more important than life itself. I function best with a schedule but God has been showing me that sometimes I hold it too high. Saturday school would be a real stretch here, but I can totally see why it works for you.

    1. I like being around you because some of the habits for keeping yourself on task rub off on me. :) Saturday school being a stretch? Yeah, I would say that, too. It took me at least six months to get to being really okay with having our weekend so changed up! By now I’m appreciating some of the benefits of a Monday vacation.

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