Mom’s Schedule for Homeschooling

As I’ve posted some of my thinking about schedules and shared the schedule for my preschooler and 4th grader, I’ve received some questions about my own schedule. So here it is in all it’s glory.

When I read Managers of Their Homes, one of the things that most attracted me to using a schedule was Terri Maxwell’s personal schedule. She had scheduled time to sew, time to rest, time to read and pray, and time alone with each of her kids. How in the world did she do this? Housework was a bit different for her because she has grown children living at home that do much of the housework. So that was part of the answer. But it wasn’t the whole answer.

When I filled out the Mom’s Activity worksheet that came with the book and wrote out all of my activities with the time it would take to accomplish them, I thought I was being extravagant. I included a nap time, reading time, project time, time with each kid, time for school, time for housework, 8 hours for sleep, 1.5 hours to exercise (to allow time to travel to my beloved Jazzercise class). I expected it to total something ridiculous like 40 hours. It didn’t. It totaled 23.5 hours.

Huh.

So maybe I DO have enough time in my day.

We-always-have-time

I did the math over and over and I was really excited to see that maybe I could actually fit everything in. Maybe I could actually take a nap every day, do some writing, keep my house reasonably clean, educate my children, and even play with them. Maybe.

It took some puzzling. It took a willingness to commit to going to bed early (my preference anyway) and getting up early. I don’t mind getting up as early as 6 am. But in order to get to the 6am Jazzercise class, I need to get up no later than 5:30. Yikes. That seemed nearly impossible. But I’ve been doing it for a couple of weeks now and I love it. I go Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On the other days, I use that early morning time to pray and write. And I LOVE it. I’ve never been much use after 9pm, so making myself go to bed early and get up when my brain works has been really good for me.

So here’s what my day looks like.  

5:15-6:00 Wake, pray, eat, travel Or sleep in a bit if it’s not a jazzercise day.
6:00-7:15 Jazzercise Or prayer and office time. This is a good time for me to write, pay bills, do some planning, get copies made for the day. Or just sit and read. It’s my time. It’s good time. If a kid wakes up at this time (happening less and less these days), they can have screen time or snuggle with me as long as they’re quiet.
7:15-8:15 Shower, dress, breakfast I’m working on this, honestly. I truly need to streamline breakfast. I feel like an hour should be more than enough time to do these things, but breakfast always runs long.
8:15-9:15 Group School On the days we leave for co-ops or my parents’ house, this is a “load and leave” time. On the drive to my parents’ we do school in the car with audio books or our Classical Conversations memory work.
9:15-9:45 Chore Time While the kids play outside I do some chores. I more or less follow the FlyLady plan, so this is when I finish up my “morning routine” and check the zone missions for the day. (If you’re not familiar with FlyLady, take a few minutes and check her out. She’s really helped with my housekeeping.)

On Fridays I will use this time to hang in the coffee room at our enrichment program.

9:45-10:15 Preschool Time with Thomas So far, he’s usually engaged in his own thing during this time, so I’m just following him around and giving him my attention. I plan to get the Flowering Baby curriculum to use with him on days we’re looking for inspiration.

On Fridays, this is time for grocery shopping and errands.

10:15-10:45 Morning Time School More read alouds with the kids to finish up what we didn’t get to during Group School.

Or, on Fridays, grocery shopping and errands.

10:45-11:30 School with Helen This is Science Box time for the boys and one-on-one time for Helen and me. This is when we do our Primary Arts of Language phonics work and a math lesson. This is one of my favorite parts of the day.

Fridays: finishing up groceries and errands.

11:30-12:15 School with Henry Sensory/craft/free playtime for Helen and Thomas and one-on-one time for Henry and me. We work on math, handwriting, and writing. This is one of the most challenging parts of my day.

Fridays: lunch with Thomas.

12:15-1:00 Lunch/Clean up A quick clean up from the morning, lunch prep, and lunch.

Fridays: House cleaning.

1:00-1:30 Prayer and Reflection Henry and Helen do Power Glide Spanish while Thomas and I hang out in my bed. Thomas can play on the Kindle while I pray and read.

Fridays: More house cleaning.

1:30-2:00 Nap time Everyone is supposed to have quiet time during this half hour. Helen is supposed to read alone, Henry is supposed to do independent schoolwork, and Thomas stays in bed with me. He can keep playing on the Kindle. I really do lie down and sleep most days.

Fridays: More house cleaning.

2:00-2:30 Time with Thomas Thomas needs my attention to leave the screen behind. This is our time to play trains or draw pictures or whatever it is he wants to do with me.

Fridays: Finish up housecleaning

2:30-3:00 Time with Helen This is Helen’s time to do whatever she wants to do with me.

Fridays: Rest with a cup of coffee and get ready to go get kids.

3:00-3:30 Ryan Time Ryan is my husband. This is a block in my day to do whatever it is he’s asked me to do. Often this is nothing. Sometimes I water the garden or call plumbers. This is also a good time for me to make phone calls to schedule appointments. The kids are playing outside, and I am outside to supervise if I need to be.

Fridays: School pickup.

3:30-4:00 Reading Time Kids are still outside. I’m reading outside to keep an eye on things.

Fridays: Visit on the playground after school if weather is nice, or just come home.

4:00-4:30 Time with Henry This is Henry’s time to do whatever he wants to do with me. This usually involves learning something new about Minecraft.

Fridays: settle in at home, clean out car.

4:30-5:00 Laundry Time/Chore Time The kids have some afternoon chores that need my supervision at this time. I’ve put in this time just for laundry so I don’t have to do it at night. I’m remembering that it’s almost impossible to fold laundry with a toddler around, so this will have to change at some point. Right now it’s great (when I’m actually disciplined enough to do it!) to have this time to actually fold and put away laundry.

Fridays: Schedule resumes it’s normal routine at this point.

5:00-5:30 Project Time It’s only half an hour, but this is my time to work on whatever little project has caught my fancy. I might spray paint a lamp, or put up some curtains, or write some more, or organize a closet. Whatever seems most satisfying to me that day is what I spend this time on.
5:30-6:30 Kitchen Time Dinner prep, baking projects, kitchen cleaning. I find that if I don’t try to multi-task by being on the computer during dinner-prep time I can actually get quite a bit done in there in this hour.
6:30-7:30 Dinner and Kitchen Clean up
7:30-8:30 Kids Bathed and Bedded I also use this time to do some chores upstairs – a quick wipe down of the kids’ bathroom, a quicky tidy of Thomas’s room or my bedroom. This is also when I get myself ready for bed.
8:30-9:30 Time with Ryan We are working hard to train the kids not to come out of their rooms during this time.Anyone got any advice on that one?
9:30 Light’s Out

I’ve implemented most of this at this point. We’re still easing into school, but the rest of it is going pretty well. It does take discipline. It’s easy to sit with Henry on the computer for another half hour rather than stop to do chores. It’s also easy to let everyone sleep while I write a little more rather than get going at 7:15. But we’ll figure it out. Just the fact that I’ve been able to write so much more has motivated me to keep working to get it all implemented. 

What motivates you to stick to your routines and schedules? Where do you get “stuck” in your day?

Comments

  1. Anna

    Now I’m really convinced that I need to take a look at MOTH. Everything looks so intentional, and I get flustered by the constant interruptions, and thrown off my own plans.
    Do the kids understand your schedule? How does it work when they don’t want to follow the schedule? Either morning prayer time, or bedtime? How do you say no when play time is just really good, and they don’t want to stop?

    Reply
    1. razzbe5 Post author

      Terri Maxwell talks about that in MOTH. One of the keys is being willing to stop when things are good. “Quit while you’re ahead,” “leave them wanting more,” that sort of idea. I’ve just been using language of “It’s not time for X now, now it’s time for Y.” One of the things this has helped me with is really knowing what it is I’m sacrificing if I choose not to follow the schedule. Last night, Helen wanted to put Thomas to bed. It was so stinkin’ cute that I allowed it. She read him stories (she’s a very new reader) and helped him brush his teeth. It was priceless. But I was very aware that I was pushing my own bedtime back by allowing this time consuming process to happen. Worth it? Totally. But it was a conscious decision I was making instead of being surprised when it “suddenly” got so late.

      One of the keys to getting the kids to follow their schedule is the built in screen time and free time they have. If they don’t do what they need to do at the assigned time, they have to do it during their screen time. I want them to also learn that time is finite and we make choices about how we spend it. If we choose not to do something now, it will still have to be done at some point. My oldest’s favorite mantra is “in a second” or “I’ll do it later.” I want him to start to understand the trade-offs involved in time choices.

      As far as interruptions, I’m remembering what Sarah Mackenzie said in Teaching from Rest: Those interruptions are Christ meeting you in your day. Interruptions almost always come in the form of people, right? We need to remember to see Christ in everyone and respond to interruptions accordingly.

      Reply
  2. Anna

    I don’t mind putting aside the schedule for something, at all. It gets extreme, though. My kids are so headstrong, and they’re always deep into a project. The easiest way to keep the schedule is to make no exceptions, at all. That’s it- it’s the criteria for “exceptions” that trips all of us up. Exceptions: (noun) The word that means “I can do whatever I want, after all.” So I don’t have buy-in that it’s worth the effort.
    The schedule-able child is getting older, and she understands that a schedule is what helps us choose- during this time, we should be asking if this fits the plan, or if it doesn’t. It seems to be an executive function issue with my oldest. She just can’t plan ahead or evaluate the choices well enough.
    Possibly, a physical schedule would help her. So that when she’s spent an hour instead of a half hour, we can shift her other times around to make room for what she’s missed. Otherwise, she just doesn’t get it. We *have* been working on the idea of spending time on this means not spending time on that. It’s a struggle.

    Reply
    1. razzbe5 Post author

      I feel like this scheduling/time management thing is something that takes a long time to teach and to master. I feel like I’m working at maybe a 2nd or 3rd grade level on scheduling and time management. My kids are in scheduling preschool. Terri Maxwell (author of MOTH) has a master’s degree in scheduling.

      So it’s not an all or nothing thing. It’s a life skill that will take a long time to learn, and we’ll all learn it at our own pace. I also want to clarify that I don’t think sticking to a schedule or even having a schedule is the ultimate goal. I think being good stewards of our time is the ultimate goal. Schedules can be a useful tool toward that end. I think for some people they’re probably absolutely necessary, and for others, they’re optional.

      Reply

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