What sort of daily schedule do you follow? How structured is your school time? What about chores? What tricks have you found to help you manage your time?
Through the years we have moved to a much less structured approach to schooling. By nature I live in the moment and have always found it hard to maintain a schedule, especially when the children were younger. Now, with 2 older kids in brick and mortar high school, and just 2 at home it seems it should be easier to stay on track. But I can’t do it; it’s just not me. So here’s our “schedule”: before lunch, the Math and piano practice needs to be done. Sometimes we do a writing project; occasionally Science or Social Studies. Mondays are piano lessons, Tuesdays is a regular childcare job at the church, Wed. to Place des Arts and Friday to musical theatre. The rest of the time we simply live life together. Dare I say that we’ve become un-schoolers? Maybe, maybe not. I feel like I am teaching all the time but a lot of it happens on the fly and a good deal of it has nothing to do with school curriculum.
As to chores, our family is divided into dish crews, one son cuts the lawn once a week and the other does the recycling. We used to have laundry teams but now that the kids are older, we’re all responsible for our own. We pay whoever is willing to clean the bathrooms (not often enough!) and vacuum (also not often enough!).
I always tell people that we have a flow rather than a schedule. I need routine but find a rigid schedule difficult to maintain so our day is organized in time blocks around meals. We aim to start our day at 9 and since I only have a 6 year old currently doing 'school', we are usually done by 10-10:30. Then it's chore time for me before lunch prep followed by lunch. The afternoon is spent with quiet time, read-alouds, free time followed by more house cleaning. I'm definitely more of a morning person so I find that we have to get all of our 'must do' stuff done before lunch or it just won't get done. So, I try to plan all our outings for the afternoon.
We have found that sticking strictly to a morning of schoolwork is best for us. As a family we know that once the schoolwork has been completed it is fun and activities for the afternoon. In the past we have experimented with changing this around but it seems that mornings work best. I continue to search for tricks to help me manage my time!
We start the day with a couple of assigned chores that help keep our house running smoothly such as putting on laundry, the dishwasher, and garbage. After that each child has a list of their independent school assignments. They complete them on their own and then come see me for things they need help with. Then they take a break and get some outside time.
In the afternoon we do schoolwork that needs teacher guidance, then other activities as time permits. After that they have some more chores to keep the house tidy. I am slow to get organized in the morning so I find it helpful for the kids to be able to start without me. I have also found giving them each their own list has made the biggest difference as then they can see clearly exactly what needs to be done each day and week.
From the March 2013 NLHS newsletter
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