I know in the homeschooling world that there are various types of mothers/teachers out there. Some of you are Type A--organized and scheduled, and generally on top of things. Some of you are "go with the flow", and you don't get stressed if you don't get all of your schoolwork done each day. And some of you are somewhere in between! Those of you who know me personally would probably say that I am Type A, but homeschooling five children and life in general has forced me to become more flexible.
However, I still cannot function without a schedule. A framework for our days. The order of the day and each day's routine brings stability to our otherwise hectic homeschool days. I am NOT a slave to my school schedule. It is my tool. It keeps us on track and allows us to get way more accomplished each week than if I just did whatever.
That all being said, I spent many hours last week working on my 2013 fall school schedule. The spring schedule will look similar, but we take a break from cross country practice from November to about late March, and I have more time for schoolwork during those months.
Even though I have only 4 students to schedule this year, I believe that this year will prove to be one of my more challenging ones. My older two children do most of their schoolwork independently, but I am teaching each one of them math this year. I am allowing 1 hour for each of those math sessions, but I am predicting that 45 minutes will be enough. That gives me a little bit of margin for mishaps, etc.
I am also using IEW video instructional courses for Leah, Clay, and Julie, and once every two weeks I will need to watch the 30-45 minute DVD with each child. I have scheduled their "weeks" to begin on different days of the week so I won't be watching 3 DVDs in one day! On the other 8-10 days between DVDs, I will help them individually as needed on some days, and on other days I have scheduled a 1 hour block of time to help all three of them at the same time with their current writing assignments. Again, I doubt it will take an hour, but I wanted to build in some margin.
Please don't laugh at my schedules! I know that if I don't make a plan, we will flounder and waste lots of valuable time!
Here is how I did it. I used my scheduling kit that I bought about 13 years ago from Titus2.com. It is included in Teri Maxwell's book, Managers of Their Homes, which I highly recommend.
First I wrote down what I needed to be doing each day. Then I filled out a similar sheet for each child. The numbers in the far right columns tell how long I predict each activity will take (in minutes). When I finished my rough draft, I had 11 hours of stuff! I had to go back and mark some things out and combine other activities.
a rough draft of my activity sheet
Next I wrote with a pencil each activity on a colored square (30 minutes) or rectangle (1 hour). We each have a different color. This step is very important! It is like putting a puzzle together. You can visualize your day. This prevents you from having a child practice the piano in the same room and at the same time that you are listening to your beginning reader read aloud!
The kit includes sticky tak to stick the squares down on the master schedule sheets, but my sticky tak was missing! So I used tape. But you do have to stick the papers down or they will fly away! That is frustrating, trust me.
The colored squares---they were moved many times to make the day fit together like a puzzle.
My final "rough draft"
Next came the fun part! Ha! Not really---my days are all different because of various outside the home activities. We have piano lessons on Mondays, art for Leah, Sam, and Julie two different days (but only 10 days for the whole year--every other week for 10 weeks in the fall and again in the spring), XC practice twice a week August-November, XC practice once a week March-May, and Clay will be doing a science class once a week.
So I made 7, yes 7 different schedules!
I referred to my master schedule (the colored square one) while tweaking each day.
My Seven Schedules:
- Monday (piano)
- Tuesday--no art
- Tuesday--Leah and Sam art
- Wednesday-no art
- Wednesday--Julie art
- Thursday (science)
- Friday (thankfully, nothing extra!)
Believe it or not, I worked it all out! I am not doing science every day with Leah and Sam, but on Wednesdays when Julie is at art and Thursdays, they have an extra time slot for science. Also on some days I will have to check Julie's and Clay's schoolwork at night (not my preference), but that is ok too. I scheduled my days, but I had to be flexible in my preferences.
Some of the schedules
Maybe you can read this one better
I typed up all 7 schedules. Each day fits on one page. After we actually do school for a couple of weeks, I will tweak these schedules. Then I will laminate them and hang them up somewhere. But first, I will be taking notes as we do school--seeing where I have extra time or not enough time or finding out if something just absolutely will not work.
It is a work in progress. I will share an update after we get all of the kinks worked out.