Wednesday, August 28, 2013

How to Begin Homeschooling, Part 5, Scheduling Your Day

Scheduling Your Day

Okay, you don't always NEED to plan, but sometimes it's good to have one. When we're having our relaxed weeks I have a few vague goals that I want to accomplish before the end of the week. Never anything major but definitely something, even if it's just that each kid spends some time each day reading or on the computer. 

BUT, during our regular school weeks we do have a schedule that we tend to follow and I'm going to attempt to show you how to schedule your day. The very first thing you have to do when thinking about how to schedule your day is to think about how YOUR family functions best. I NEED coffee before I seriously start my day, it's a must have. 
So, sit down with me for a cup of coffee and let's look at the calender and talk about what you want to do or have to do each day.
 I know it's not something
that either one of us really want to think about without coffee.
When I fist did this for my homeschool day I failed miserably. I just didn't have realistic expectations for my family. I had to tweak, tug, pull, yank, and wrestle with my schedule to get it to work. Some mornings thinking about everything I wanted to get done that day I just wanted to pull the covers back over my head. BUT  you can do it! Don't think of it as being written in concrete, matter of fact I suggest pencil or a word processing document on the computer where you can change things.

The first thing you need to decide is what time does mom/dad want/have to get up. If one of you work then that's pretty set in stone most of the time. If you get up with your spouse but it's really early are you going to stay up even if it's hours before you HAVE to be up? Lately Principal Daddy has been letting me sleep in while he makes sure the kids have breakfast and do their morning chores but that's about to stop as we enter back into our usual routine.

Next, if you do chores do you do them before breakfast, after breakfast, or later in the day. And you go along blocking in some time for the "unchanging" things in your life such as the chores, meal times, bed times, etc.

Then, figure out how YOU would like to start your official school day. Do you want to start with the Bible, Art, Music, Calender, Circle time?? Maybe, depending on the age of your children, you would like to talk to them about this. You'd be amazed at some of the ideas kids can come up with to get their brains working in the morning.

After that it's a matter of plugging in subjects/units into time slots and being aware that some days math will just take longer, that doctor appointment you thought would only last an hour has drug on for three, and the baby has finger painted your floor with jello pudding right in the middle of your History lesson.

Below is a quick run down of how our day is scheduled to be and a few of the reasons I chose these times to do them. (I'll be posting something about our regular scheduled programming when we get started full swing in September with lots of photos of how it REALLY goes.)

5:30 Mommy up (I'd like for this to happen every day)
6:00 ECJ wakes up.
7:00 YCK up. Both Cracker Jacks do chores while I make breakfast.
7:30 Cracker Jacks eat breakfast quietly while I log off of my online accounts.
8:00 Daily set up by ECJ while I do dishes.
8:30 The Cracker Jacks get the wiggles out (this is a time when they get to act goofy for a few minutes so that they can sit still for a little while) and usually Peanut gets up around now and eats.
9:00 - 9:20 School officially starts for the day and we do our morning binders together. I go over their lesson plans for the day and make sure everyone has all the supplies they need to get started.
9:20-10:00 ECJ moves into his room to do his lessons (he works better in there) and YCJ starts her Language Arts work for the day getting plenty of help from me. I divide my attention between her and Peanut at the dining room table and this is the time that Peanut works on her letter of the day work.
10:00-10:15 Get the wiggles out!!! All the kiddos do that while I start a load of laundry or wipe down the kitchen counters or some other household           task. Then I switch out the Language Arts texts for our Arithmetic                 texts.
10:15-11:00 Arithmetic time!
11:00-12:00 Any special projects and Peanut's computer time.
12:00-1:30 Lunch time, free play (especially outdoors), return phone calls, ECJ watches his CNN Kids News for current events work.
1:30-2:30 History, Science, Health, OR Art.
2:30-3:00 Clean up and daily discussion.
3:00-5:00 Our daily walk and YCJ computer time. 
5:00-6:30 Prepare dinner, eat, and evening chores.
6:30-7pm Free time for everyone.
7        Peanut's medicine and everyone winds down from the day.
7:15-8:30 (approximately) The girls watch a movie together and everyone gets ready for bed. ECJ likes watching TV with Dad during this time.
8:30 Bedtime for the girls. Quiet reading for ECJ until 9:30. Parents have no set bedtime as we're both insomniacs.

And somewhere in there we work in showers. Prayers are said at each meal. ECJ and both parents do personal daily devotional reading, nightly and morning prayers, and the rosary every day. 

Starting the 10th of September the Cracker Jacks have catechism classes every Tuesday evening and their swim classes (for all three) begin in early October. Which means that those three nights we'll be having dinner either earlier or later depending on what it is. 

And that's what the day is supposed to look like (sort of). A lot of the time this isn't what happens, we either end up looking like we're crazy chasing after dogs or running to appointments or catching up on things that tantrums caused us to not finish OR we finish everything so far ahead of time that the kiddos are grinning at each other at having a whole afternoon without text books.

I hope that this helps you figure out what your daily schedule might look like (at least on "perfect" days).

Thursday part 6 of this series should be out dealing with unit studies. Friday I'm hoping to have the first week of Peanut's Pre-school schedule up (Friday will officially be Peanut Pre-school days, so if you don't have a pre-schooler feel free to skip them unless you're just curious ;) ).

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