Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Homeschool Series: Making a Homeschool Schedule that works for your family!

I know when I began my homeschool journey just 2 short years ago I was completely overwhelmed by everything. The amount of curriculum choices, the conventions, how I was actually going to school a Kindergartner with two babies at home. And the list goes on and on!!

But one thing I found very helpful for us was a schedule. I work so much better on a schedule. And I quickly found out the only way to juggle two small children (18mos and 4mos) in the midst of school was to have a schedule.

I found this book at a local homeschool re-sale bookstore and fell in love with the ideas it had. This book helps you learn how to set up a working schedule for your family on the day-to-day things. Here’s what my first personal worksheet looked like (about 2 years ago)

Click on the picture to enlarge it
 They also have several other books you could use to manage your chores and manage your homeschool. I personally found all I needed was the Managers of Their Homes book to get me started and I was able to create my own schedule for homeschool based on the principles in that book.

My kids function on an internal clock. Anyone else have this issue blessing? They seem to know its 6am and mom’s sleeping quite nicely, so it’s time to get up! But, they also know when its naptime, so I guess it’s a trade-off.

After several weeks of working up to starting our formal homeschooling, I realized my son worked best when he could see a schedule. He attended a preschool from age 1 (I was working then) until age 4 and they had daily schedules posted. His teacher’s said he paid close attention to the schedule and was fine as long as they followed it. So, I decided this approach might work for us too.

Now, I made worksheets like the one above for each of my family members. Then I put them into a spreadsheet all together and made things fit. I realized that I could read to the oldest while Mr. Mouse was napping and I was feeding the baby (who is now almost 2yrs old!!). I also realized that I needed to maximize our schooling during the afternoon naptime, because both littles were down. It gave me something to work with. 

However, after several weeks of schooling, I found most of the time frames went out-the-window. He would stress out if we weren’t on time, even though he was still working. So, I had to do away with that method.

But, I knew he still needed an idea of what he was doing. You see, he does really well with schedules and lists. If I was to tell him we have laundry, dishes, mopping, cleaning up toys and on and on, he would literally flip out!! My mom actually tipped me off and said I should write down our list of chores (2-3 a day) and maybe that would help. (One of my brother’s needed a visual list too.) And you knowit did!! With a verbal list it seemed to go on forever to a 5 yr old, but with a visual list he could see the end in sight!

So, I came up with a daily, weekly and monthly chore list for our family. It changes periodically, with seasons and as the kid’s age and grow. But, here’s how it looks for now.

Click on the picture to enlarge it
I have incorporated our younger children into the chores appropriate for their age. (This list gives chores for ages 1-12!!) My daughter loves to help mommy by putting the laundry into the dryer for me. She giggles even!

Although the road may be winding and frustrating when trying to find what works for your family, the JOY that comes from teaching your own children Christian values at home and a work ethic from a young age is so rewarding!!! I couldn’t imagine my life any different. Maybe less hectic at times would be nicenah!!!!

So, how does all this help you with managing your schooling? Well...all I can do is tell you how it helped me. Before I ran around like a chicken with my head cut-off trying to make sure I got things done. I had no plan. These two charts have allowed me to manage my time better and give me daily goals. Rather than tackling all the housework in one day (which is not practical when you homeschool, really), I now have it divided up.

And, after seeing how well the chore chart worked for us, I did the same for our schooling. I found a free downloadable school planner that allows me to print out his assignments daily, weekly or even monthly. He can then follow along and check them off to see his progress. He loves it and it has considerably lessened our meltdowns. 

NOTE: I did a weekly chart on my own for Kindergarten, but quickly realized I needed to keep grades for him starting in First grade. That is why I went with the program.

I hope that all makes sense and doesn't confuse you! Please leave a question if it does! I'll try to make it more clear!!

NOTE: Okay...maybe I should clarify that I don't expect everyone to be this organized or even want to be. But, sometimes even a rough schedule of the day or week is necessary!! I simply wanted to give you some tools that I found helpful to aid you in your journey.

Happy Homeschooling!!
Blessings to you!

Linking up to these wonderful parties! Be sure to check out some of the other GREAT links for more ideas!!
Teaching what is good, Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers, Raising Arrows, The Straightened Path, The Imperfect Housewife, Raising Homemakers, Raising Mighty Arrows, Holy Spirit Led Homeschooling, What is Joy


Kate said...

WOW! You are so much more organized now than I've EVER been (even after 23 years of homeschooling). I'm so impressed. I loved Managers of Their Homes as well...great book. GREAT post! Keep up the wonderful work!!

Thanks for linking up with Loving Our Children! Hope to see you next week and continue to learn from your insights!

Annette@InAllYouDo said...

WOW Kate!! I'm not sure what I have to offer that you don't already know! haha I learn so much from YOUR posts!! Thanks for stopping by and I hope to link up again! Love your blog!


Naomi said...

Annette, well said! I'm a total fan of schedules and have used them since we began homeschooling over 18 years ago though with each new session in life they changed a bit. I still use schedules today. Thank you for the encouragement and for linking up at What Joy Is Mine. Look forward to having you share more.

Annette@InAllYouDo said...

I have already changed mine several times. We've had 3 new babies since beginning our HS journey, so they take priority - at least for a while! I foresee many, many schedule changes in our future! In session (starting in mid June) will include a 2nd grader and TWO preschoolers! AHHHH!!!! That's going to take some juggling, because I'll have an almost 1yr old also. Now I might just have to go get started...