I have needed a schedule forever. For those who know me, you know how much I actually enjoy making out schedules and plans. I can waste hours on these, never to follow them. When things get crazy, making out a schedule gives me a sense of perspective and peace again. It lets me know what is possible. Unfortunately, the next morning usually bombs. Still, with each new child, I realize my need for organization.
Well, I don't know about you, but I always get sick of the crazy, little to no schedule days of summer. The kids are staying up later. Everyone is waking up later. Things may happen in the day but as they come, not by schedule. I get all excited about the coming school year about this time. With it comes potential for consistency and predictability!
We actually began our full school line up this week. It has been a little rough, but there have also been many successes! One was that, after making out many schedules, I ditched them completely! I realized that my personality and the personality of my family just didn't adhere to a specific, tight schedule well. I also realized that some of my priorities makes it impossible to stick to a schedule. For example, training these children up in the Lord and their relationships with each other come before academics in my book. They are top priorities for me. This mean that when heart attitudes are out of whack and/or children are fighting with each other, I am going to use those times to teach about what Jesus would want them to do in that situation and how to treat one another. If that takes the time I "scheduled" to be history, then so be it. That will be taught in time.
My problem with following a schedule is also that I can't break myself free from the "all or nothing" philosophy. I either followed the schedule, or I didn't. So, if at 9:30am we are off, well, what's the point? Right?
Here is my current answer to my scheduling problems. Below you can see a simple "To Do" list for each of my reading children. They now know what they are held responsible for and what they need me for. This is holding them (and me as well) accountable. They LOVE to play with the children we have been so blessed to have living close to us. The kids can't go out and play until everything is checked off their list! It is working!! Granted we started Monday and this is Wednesday, but it is really working! We are getting ALL of our school done EVERY day!!! I am so excited about this!
We begin our day with breakfast and our Bible time. We then stay at the table for History and Science. After that, I begin with the youngest child and work to the oldest doing the work they need me for. Everyone else is plugging away at the independent portion of their list. The only thing I think I need to add is some play time with our toddler for each of my older ones. My baby has been used to being the center of attention, I think, during the summer, and now finds everyone busy. He has been a little cranky and into stuff trying to get attention. So, each of the kids, beginning next week, will spend 15-20 minutes playing with the baby!
Hopefully this will continue to work for us. It provides the flexibility we need. I don't see times that make me feel like I am failing. We can visit neighbors, go to co-op, play with friends, and still come back to our list! YAY!
Here is their daily check list: