How to Make a Permanently Perfect Schedule for Your Home/School!
You are sick of rescheduling your children’s day every day? I don’t blame you!
Sick of arriving late, due to lack of schedule? I don’t blame you!
Sick of never getting it all done? I don’t blame you!
Your problem may not be what you think, though.
Things may not be as bad as you think.
You may not be a failure as a home schooling mom! And your children may not be lazy bums!
You simply may need to learn how to make a good schedule that works for you!
The Three Parts of a Perfect Schedule
One thing a schedule often fails to provide is a way to remember it. After all, interruptions and our overtaxed minds might be working against us a lot, right? And who usually has the schedule all mapped in the mind, anyway? Not I!
Therefore, in order to actually serve any purpose in your home, a schedule must be:
Make a schedule that’s easy to remember. Of course, any new habit will take a while to gel, in everyone’s memory, but there are ways! Make your schedule MEMORABLE.
- A perfect schedule has the same elements every day. I know, I know, your days vary. Of course they do! However, with a perfect schedule they will vary less, believe me, and with that schedule firmly in place, variations will become “ho-hum”. Really. Just keep reading!
- A perfect schedule is written down. How much easier to remember something with a cue card! Don’t worry; this is a ten-minute job on a computer. Or copy and print my graphic below! Trust me; that’s all there is to it.
- A perfect schedule is enforced. At first, implementing a schedule will go against everyone’s grain. After all, having lived unscheduled, or differently scheduled, can make this change seem too drudgy. I mean, look at it! It’s just as if no one even knows how to make a spreadsheet! However, after you’ve fought the good fight to get there, you will be so glad. Give yourself and everyone else 21 days to make/break this into your lives. That’s 21 school days, please.
Announce it with apologies for never thinking of it before.
Print it on interesting paper, set an amazingly cheery example, ask husband for reinforcement, and GO!
What? Stopped already?
Oh, you haven’t even begun yet? Oh. You know why? Possibly it’s because you’ve piled everything you have been delaying all on the first day of your new schedule. Not going to work, you realize? Rather impossible, you say?
Right. So, the next thing your schedule must be is based upon sound reasoning . . . .
Make a schedule that is reasonably doable. The schedule I will discuss on this page was how WE did it. It was exceedingly doable for us. We thrived on it. I was ecstatic about it. I even . . .
Okay, here’s how:
- Your perfect schedule includes every activity your family performs. List them on paper, ask for input, and add to it if you remember more. And by “every” I mean: bedtimes, meals, church, chores, field trips, piano lessons, etc., and school work. It will help if you list it in groups such as: daily, weekly, twice weekly, monthly, etc.
- Your perfect schedule is pared down. Many mistake home schooling for hunting—that is, hunting down someone to give lessons on every imaginable subject. If you are seldom home (as in home school) rethink a bunch of the outside activities.
Or rethink being one of those who arrives on time and gets everything done?
- Your perfect schedule is amenable to gentle management. Once it’s in place, quiet reminders will be enough. Once it’s in place, your children will adopt your schedule with contentment, will self-start according to it, and may even thank you. Once it’s in place.
And the pared-down, gentle schedule will be received with great calm, if it is . . .
—Purpose-able (That’s not a word, I know, but read on!)
A schedule that works, will create beautiful things for you and your children. You sense that; probably that is why you are reading here. And you are right. And that is where the acceptable and doable schedule is so self-promoting!
There is a reason airports, hospitals, and even God do things on schedule:
It creates beautiful things for those involved.
- A good schedule benefits its administrators. That’s you. You’ll have a reasonable idea of where your children are, in their studies, or where they need to be, at any time. Because you are the enforcer, you also are the one who can adapt your schedule at any time. Oh the joy of redirecting an entire day, calmly and effortlessly, with just a few words! (as I will explain.)
- A schedule benefits students. They eventually fall into the plan and begin relaxing and working on math, because they know that they know: Park Day begins in three hours!
ALSO—and this is big—they learn how to schedule themselves. They grow up to understand the wisdom of deadlines, how to meet them, and why. This will carry over into such adult scenes as college, the workforce, paying debts, milking cows, planting in spring, and many other extremely important facets of real life. They will learn that getting up and getting going, with cheer, is what it’s all about.
- A schedule benefits truth, justice, and the American way! Joking!
However, if you show up at a meeting on time and even remembered to bring the cookies as you said you would, your schedule will win friends and admirers for you!
If your school allows for field trips, lessons, and play days, AND finally is over for the year, your schedule will win your children over!
If your husband comes home to children ready to play with him or learn man chores with him, guess what! Your schedule wins again!
And just think if you actually had a chance for quiet time almost every morning…
My Perfect Schedule
While I have a tendency—as do many others—to think my way is the only available highway, I realize we have friends who have other (gasp!) schedules that are perfect for them.
For instance, we know a family of which the dad was an ER physician who came home every night at 11:00 or so. He wanted to teach the upper-grade science in their school. So the older children stayed up until Dad got home for their science lessons. Therefore, school for them began at 10:00 every morning. Reasonable, don’t you think?
Not so for me!
I’m sure you would be squawking, too, if I said you had to arrange your schedule as I did. Still, I think you can learn from the old schedule we always followed, so I offer it for your consideration. It’s natural to be curious, too, so I include it here.
Feel free to read it and say, “Nope! Not going there!”
That will be very good, in fact, because it will mean you are gradually forming in your own mind what your own schedule ought to be for your own family and purposes. In spite of the fact that I love my adoring fans to slavishly imitate me. Ha!
Seriously, study it, in all it’s naked glory and glean:
5:00 – Mom awake. Quiet time. Breakfast for Dad. Start Mom-chores.
6:30 – Kids awake. (alarm clocks) Kids dress. Quiet time. Feed pets. Feed selves. Clean kitchen. All in that order.
8:00 – Opening exercise. (hymns, Bible memo)
8:30 – School work begins. Mom works with K-2 students. Older ones self-schedule goals and self-start.
10:00 – Break for P.E.
10:30 – School work resumes.
12:00 – Lunch break. Eat. Kids clean kitchen. Free play.
1:00 – School work resumes.
3:00 – School over. Dawdlers begin “homework”.
5:00 – Dad comes home. Examines, praises day’s work. Still dawdling? – Lecture from unhappy Dad!
6:00 – Supper.
6:30 – Clean kitchen.
8:00 – Bedtime for littles.
9:00 – Bedtime for olders.
10:00 – Bedtime for Juniors and Seniors, if needed due to trig, calc, or research paper.
11:00 – Bedtime for Mom. Yes, I worked on six hours of sleep during the week, usually.
What About the Rest of It?!
I’m so glad you asked! That part is coming!
First I want to explain a bit. (The bit that makes it adaptable, flexible, and usable!) You see, just as English forms the past tense with “ed”, except when it uses “ought” or “ank” or “ang” or . . . , our family also used our wonderful schedule, except . . .
Except on Tuesdays, Fridays, and once a month on Thursdays.
Because on Tuesdays we had lessons with home-schooling friends (Spanish, bowling, tennis, piano, and/or art) and I took time to shop in the big city, then, and treat them to pizza out.
On Fridays, we cleaned house, which threw the schedule off usually about an hour.
Once per month we had Park Day with our support group, which included picnicking and playing wild (rollerblade basketball?) and fun things in the fresh air with homeschooling friends. On a different Thursday of each month, we had our home-school group business meeting at night, which meant very early supper.
Therefore, on Tuesdays, with the MWF lessons skipped, they usually did not do Spelling, either. On Fridays, the house cleaning was their P.E., when they dusted and vacuumed their own rooms, and I fixed no supper since it was our popcorn and movie/game night. Once a month, during Park Day, they only did Math and maybe English on that Thursday, and then off we went.
Whenever we chose to skip lessons for outside activities, we made them up via extra work on each day or even on Saturday. It was our school; we could do whatever we wanted and we wanted to make up missed lessons.
Regarding my chores, I did:
laundry on Mondays
ironing on Tuesdays (followed by activities and shopping, remember?)
church night on Wednesdays
special projects on Thursdays (sewing, special baking, etc.)
house cleaning on Fridays
All of this was woven between cooking and the help the kids needed. On Monday, I would start the washer, teach a reading lesson, load the dryer and reload the washer, teach a phonics lesson, etc., sometimes asking a child to wait a moment while I added bleach to a washload, or something. It was always like that. I often ironed while administering a spelling test, the teacher’s book right there on the ironing board as I worked. At 11:30 each day, I began lunch and no one was allowed to ask questions about schoolwork. The teacher had clocked out; I was the lunch lady, a private joke of ours.
For Field Trips, I gauged the day according to the schedule for the trip. Once a year the Field Trip was to the County Fair, and I closed school. When we stayed up nights for meteor showers, we slept in the next day. Mmm . . . . Many times I told them the Field Trip would be exactly like a Tuesday.
Get this: because my kids were constantly plugged into this schedule, I could say, “Don’t forget the Field Trip today; it will be just like Tuesday, only we’ll leave a half-hour later…” and I could know they would know exactly what to do about it.
Of course, when they are little, you just tell them what to do. After they learn to read is when all this locks in, as you will see, shortly.
Now that we’ve mentioned the little ones, let me confess I almost never stood up and lecture-taught my children. After they learned to read, we handed them their books and required them to read for understanding and follow directions. The olders were free to ask me when they had troubles, but not during the littles’ math, reading, or phonics lessons. The beginning of each school day was for getting the littles squared away and working and I taught the littles on the couch in the cuddling mode.
Exceptions? Yes, when they worked on Mapping the World by Heart, I jumped right into it with them and we all learned this alternate method for learning. Loved it. Also, when they began typing, I started them in the summer so they could learn the way I’d learned, which included dictation.
They got their practice at taking notes from lecture in church. I required they take notes from the sermon, for which we always received a helpful outline, anyway, so that was tailor-made.
In my school, if they had a problem with a lesson, they did not interrupt someone else’s lesson, nor my lunch preparations or phone conversations. They re-read or set it aside for something easier, until a better moment to get help.
Indeed, from the time they were in 3rd grade, on, they worked independently. They self-taught. They learned to prefer that, because it was faster. And they scored their own work (except essays) with the goal of learning quickly what mistake to correct. Each paper was reworked to 100%.
(Don’t worry. The score keys were in my kitchen, only red ink could be used for scoring, red ink pens were forbidden outside the kitchen, they could not keep going to score the same subject 50 times a day, and we always made spot checks for cheating, since being the parents, we knew when to suspect . . . )
The kids knew how to schedule their own work each day, even. Inside the front of each text book, I would write things like: 2 pages per day, one lesson per week, one unit per month, etc. Thus, in two weeks, they should have 14 pages, or two lessons, or half a unit done, and they knew it. And they knew I knew it. This method did take some oversight.
I could not just watch soaps and eat bonbons.
However, we had a schedule that we lived by for nine months of each year.
We had a schedule their dad or I could check on and see if laziness was creeping up.
We had a schedule anyone could step in and help for a day or two if we had to be gone.
We had a schedule that so freed me that after the sixth child was born, I began writing for magazines.
And the way we did it was to give our kids the following small chart for keeping track of their weekly goals. They filled in the chart. They crossed off each completed goal. They did the work. They self-taught. They finished before summer. They got summer jobs. They got high ACT scores. They got scholarships. They finished college. They got jobs.
And on and on, and I think. partly, it was because they learned the wisdom of living on schedule.
The child’s chart:
Okay. That’s all I know about schedules! If you had trouble understanding, let me know in the comments or the contact page. If you loved this, share it with those you know need it.