Every year, in August, I gather together all our homeschool books and files for the new year and make my plan. I outline out our yearly goals and our semester goals. I list out what I want us to accomplish every week, and finish up by writing out a daily schedule. It takes me about a week to weed through all our options and pick what we’re going to focus on. I spend hours recounting what worked the year before and what we need to change for the next year.
Apparently over our summer break, I forget that schedules don’t really work for us, because I am once again convinced this is totally going to work.
Let me take you back in to the crevices of my memory and give you a glimpse at my Super-Amazing Schedule from last September. It went a little something like this:
7:00 am: Coffee and news with the Mr.
7:45 am: Bible reading and more coffee, while pretending to watch cartoons with Lil Man.
8:30 am: Breakfast, get dressed, etc.
9:00 am: Lessons with Bubbagirl and Lil Man.
10:00 am: Light fun snack, while doing read alouds with all four kids.
11:00 am: Big kids get started on “book” work (computerized, very independent curriculum), mom helps as needed.
12:30 pm: Lunch
1:00 pm: Chores
3:00 pm: Mom preps dinner, kids play
5:00 pm: Mr. heads home, dinner, and family life like a moderately comical but completely heartwarming sitcom.
Are you laughing yet?
That schedule didn’t last a full week. I forgot Art classes started again. I forgot Fall Ball started again. We were sent the schedule for AHG (American Heritage Girls) and there were three consecutive weekends of events. Oh, and then my brother got married. I only had four flower girl dresses to make and a bazillion crocheted flowers to make for said dresses.
Oh look, it’s October. Where was that schedule again? Oh yea, tossed in the trash because the big girls HATED the new curriculum. I don’t blame them. I had removed everything they loved about school. No lapbooks, unit studies, art projects. No Lego math days, or “Let’s color My Little Pony while mom reads something boring from history” days.
I spent a couple frantic days in October trying to piece together a new school plan from the shelves of other curriculum we already owned. I started putting some of the fun things back into our plan. This *might* have been pretty easy to do because I *may* be a homeschool hoarder.
I’ve learned to lighten up a bit, and not try to schedule out every minute. I am learning how to follow their lead. I am working on understanding that my teenager works better late at night, and that’s okay. I am accepting that sometimes 6 year old girls have NO INTEREST in learning to read, while 4 year old boys want to stop and read EVERYTHING. I am learning to love and accept that we are becoming eclectic homeschoolers.
My new schedule, which has worked for almost a month *gasp*, is a little more like this:
- have coffee with my Mr.
- cuddle with Lil Man while he watches cartoons, I write my Bible verse in my notebook and read my YouVersion Bible Plan for that day. more coffee.
- check Evernote for new emails and notes from the day before, tag them, move them, delete them, or put them on my to do list for the day.
- review the calendar for the next couple days
- review what the general plan for school work is for the day
- 15 minutes decluttering one spot.
- start a load of laundry
- tidy the kitchen
- eat something
- take something out for dinner
- wake the girls up and get them moving
- teach something (formal book work)
- read something
- play something
- clean something
- cuddle someone
- teach something again
- play loud music
- housecleaning disguised as a dance party
- look at the Chef Chart and see who is in charge of cooking dinner. Find them, and teach them to cook.
- Kiss the Mr. and eat dinner
Now, somewhere in there we also:
- get to voice lessons
- get to art lessons
- don’t forget choir practice
- work on our Awanas verses
- work on our AHG badges
- get to AHG on time
- hang out in the street with all the neighbors
- hang out in our yard with all the neighbors
- climb a tree
- kiss boo boos and practice first aid
- visit Terabithia (the woods at the end of our cul de sac, where all the kids have built a fort from scraps and old tarps)
- chase dogs
- have head colds
- share head colds
- use Mom’s Everything Essential oil book to find an oil to make everyone feel better
- October festivals
- Thanksgiving festivals
- Christmas Pageants
- Easter presentations
- Sing at the nursing home
- Take chili to the homeless
- Go to a friend’s game and cheer them on
- Bathe three dogs
- skip school and go to the park
- skip housework because we lost ourselves in learning, uh playing, yea – learning…
- Give bird a shower
- Check out Miss Cindy’s new ponies
- Watch Nanny do her woodburning artwork
you get the picture.
I can write down whatever I want, give it it’s own time slot, highlight it, tag it with a post it note, but with four growing, energetic and very social children there is no way that any schedule is going to be kept for very long. I always try to start my day with coffee, the Mr., and my Bible app. Next, my day planner, mostly to make sure I don’t miss an appointment, and then I spend 15 minutes decluttering some space (drawer, shelf, table). I try to do most of the laundry on Monday, but it usually takes well into Wednesday. I try to make sure the kids rooms are vacuum-able on Thursdays. If I’m not exhausted, then I try to tackle bathrooms on Friday.
I typically work with the little ones early in the morning before Lil Man starts getting ornery. The big girls stumble out of bed late, and take forever to “wake up”, so we do work that involves sitting and listening before lunch and work that requires movement after lunch.
Every afternoon, when the school bus has dropped off all their friends and they go running outside to play, I try to get the living areas picked up so the Mr. doesn’t walk into a total disaster, and I review the basic game plan for the next day. Everyone has a night that they are in charge of cooking, even the four year old, and provided they earned the privilege of being chef they get to come in and learn to cook.
About a year ago, the Mr. expressed to me how much he enjoyed just chilling with us at night, so for most nights I try to honor his wish to just be with me (instead of fighting for my attention while I clean/plan/write/etc.). Once he’s home, I don’t get a whole lot of “productive work” accomplished.
For us, a schedule is more like a set of guidelines rather than a set of hard and fast must-dos. Our best moments, our best learning, our best times are had when we let real life, and all it’s randomness take precedence over our On Paper life.
**There are times when I feel I’ve totally lost my way, or lost my ability to focus, or just need a kick in the butt, where I use a couple of my favorite fall back planners to help me get the structure I need to get our very laid back schedule flowing again. One is the Confident Mom Planner. Another is the Motivated Moms. They both help me create the structure I need to get through a season of such severe busy-ness that I can’t seem to take care of any business.
This post is part of a link up of posts about What My Schedule REALLY Looks Like, from the iHomeschool Network. Click through to read more!