Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sticking to a Schedule, How I Make Homeschooling Work for our Family

Each year while preparing for the coming school year I always sit down to make a daily schedule.   Previously my schedule has been used more as a guide rather than a "must do".  However, this year I knew it had to be different.  This is the first year I have 4 children to homeschool, not to mention a very active 2 year old son to care for.  I knew I must treat my job as homeschool teacher SERIOUS! THIS IS A JOB!  We can convince ourselves our days can be fudged around and other less important things can be added to the days but in reality it never works.  It doesn't work because homeschooling like anything else takes dedication, attention to detail, and yes...ORDER. Would we send our children to a school where the teacher had her laptop open and hopped on Facebook and Pinterest throughout the day?  Would we think she is a very effective teacher if she skipped out on a lesson to talk to a friend on the phone?  But aren't we all guilty of that?  I am as guilty as anyone in this area!  This is why I am determined to be different.  I am determined to give my children the type of educational environment they deserve.  I am dedicated to the task and consider this my top priority and MY JOB!

So how is it going to be different this year?  Besides the obvious attitude and heart change, I saw a need for several things to change.  For one I am waking to an alarm clock each morning at 7am. This also means going to bed at a decent hour (usually by 10pm).  I make sure I am dressed and ready for the day (usually before the kids are awake) and also make them get dressed before breakfast.  We do all this before 8:30a.m.  I do not allow myself to get on the computer unless the kids are on lunch break or until after school.  THIS IS A MUST!  I do not answer the phone unless it is an important phone call (such as our Realtor saying someone wants to see our house).  I do not pick up my cell phone to text unless it's a break.  Cell phones go in the same category as the computer.  I also do not let myself get distracted by the house work.  It can wait!  It can wait because if I went to an actual teaching job I couldn't run home to clean and do laundry.  Why do we think we are super women and can handle both keeping house and homeschooling?  Only one can effectively be done at a time! What about appointments?  Can they be made in the afternoons so not to interrupt the school day? Do what you need to do to ensure success in your homeschool.

Do you know what I have found since implementing these few rules for myself?  PEACE.  I don't wake up angry and disgruntled thinking about school.  We stay on task so my children are also more focused on school.  They know what to expect each day so everything runs smoothly. This in turn means they finish up earlier in the day because there are less distractions.  We are usually done by 2pm or ealier each day.  This gives everyone more time to do the things they enjoy.  Everyone's happy.  Sure there are still those moments when kiddos don't cooperate or they grumble and complain about a lesson.  This is life with children.  Homeschooling does not have to be a burden though.

This brings me to our schedule. We keep the same basic schedule everyday with a few minor changes in the afternoons.  I printed each daily schedule out and laminated them. I punched a hole on each side at the top and put them on ring clasps.  The schedule hangs on the wall and is flipped around to match the current day.

*When I say C& I, I am referring to my two oldest children.  When I say E & J that is my two youngest.  N is the baby. 

Here is the basic schedule:

8:30am-  Prayer and Devotions (Bible Memory)
9:00am-  Boy’s Bible Lesson, Worship, Bible Memory
C & I- Language Lessons, Phonetic Zoo (switch)
9:30am-  Boy’s Calendar, Number Chart, MFW Lesson, Book of the Day
C & I- Write Shop, Piano Practice (switch)       
10:30am- Boy’s Snack, Outdoor Time, Sensory Play
C & I- Math
11:00am-  E's Hooked on Phonics, J's Work Page, N's Busy Bag
11:30am-  Mom Prepares Lunch
Boy’s Free Play
12:00pm-  Lunch Break
1:00pm-  N's Nap, E & J's Handwriting Without Tears (Mon.,Thur. and Fri.) KinderBach on Wed.
C & I- Chores
1:30pm-  E and J’s Yoga
C & I- History with Mom (Mon. and Thursday)
or Science (Wed. and Fri.)
2:30pm- Music Composers (Mon.) Home Economics (Wed.) Art (Thur.) and P.E. (Fri.)
3:00pm- School Ends

To see our curriculum choices for this year, go here.

Tuesdays we have homschool coop so we have a shorter day at home.  This means only the subjects scheduled before lunch are completed that day. My kids each take 2 classes at the coop and my older two take piano lessons directly after coop. It's a busy day, but I have kept all the busyness to one day a week so its not so bad.

Another thing I have done to make this school year run more smoothly is plan the entire year before school started.  This wasn't easy and was very time consuming.  However, I know myself well and know I procrastinate all the fun projects because of lack of preparation.  I knew if I had a written out plan for each day (more detailed then our schedule) that it would make things so much easier in the long run.  What I ended up doing for my older children (grades 7th and 8th) was print off a weekly schedule chart, like this one here for each week of the school year.  Ended up being over 30 schedules to print for each child.  Then I hand wrote what they need to do in each subject for each day on the charts.  Here is one of them so you can see what I am talking about.

This helps me so much because I do not have the older kids asking me all day what lesson or project they need to do.  They simply go to their chart and get to work.  They also cross out as they finish so they know what they have done so far.

I store all the weekly schedules in a thin 3 ring binder.  I have one for the older kids and one for the younger.

With my younger two I did things a bit differently.  Since they are not independent in their work, I made monthly calenders for their binder which tell me any extra things we need to do each day.  I am using My Father's World Kindergarten curriculum for them and it comes with an already written out daily plan.  However, I wanted something I could write down the snack of the day, bible verse, field trip ideas, book of the day, etc.  Here is what our monthly schedule looks like:

  I also do any shopping or extra preparation on Sundays so I am fully ready for the week ahead.

How do you keep your homeschool running smoothly?  Please share your ideas in the comments section below.  Fill free to leave the link to any blog posts you have written on the subject. I would love to see how other families stay organized.
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Amanda Sikes said...

Here is my first post in my Large Family Homeschooling series. It is all about our daily schedule. Up next is my organization and then a day in pictures post too!

Anonymous said...

Schedule is similar to ours. What about the rest of the night... Do you have a "ready for bed" schedule so everyone is ready for school in the AM? Angie.

HappilyDomestic said...

Angie- No, I don't have a schedule for the rest of the evening. However, I do keep the same basic routine. After school I start cleaning, my older kids finish up their chores and then I make dinner usually around 5pm. My husband and I start getting the little boys ready for bed around 7pm. The 3 little boys go down for bed at 8pm and then the older two at 9pm. The kids have 1 hour each morning to get dressed and have their breakfast and that usually is plenty of time.

HappilyDomestic said...

Amanda- I will check out your post. Thank you!

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