This year I have had to do a major rearrangement of our schedule. Not only is the toddler no longer sleeping late (*sob*), but a number of different factors (such as integrating our new chore schedule into our day) have made last year's schedule completely unworkable for this year. From what I hear from other home educators, this is extremely common. New year, new schedule. (Or sometimes, new month, new schedule.)
In fact, by the time you read this blog post, I can pretty much guarantee that our schedule will have changed. (It did.)
The challenges never stop!
I finally created two basic charts to show our daily schedule - mainly so that I could say "check the chart!" to the 8yo's endless daily queries of "What's next, mommy?"
Here's what our mornings and afternoons look like right now. We have various "touch point" times during the day, but no definite time-for-each-activity. My biggest challenge right now is instituting a good chore system - it is turning out to be a huge headache (and a ton of work - far more than doing everything myself!) - but I cling to the hope that it will bear fruit some day in the far, far distant future.
- Get up, get babies dressed (7:00 a.m.) - This takes longer than you'd think! It's also easily one of the most stressful times of our day. Working on it.
- Breakfast - Also takes longer than you'd think!
- Table chores - Basic clean-up of breakfast (which I try to keep simple!).
- Group chores - An area of work or cleaning in which the children and I work together (such as outside, kitchen, dusting, etc.). This changes by day. Time: 15-30 minutes.
- Chorepacks - Individual chores for older children, including grooming, rooms/beds, and a few helping-out items.
- Morning (Couch) Time - Our morning family time, which currently includes Bible reading, character book reading, poetry reading, Bible memory verses, and reading a chapter (or two) of a read-aloud. (Our current read-aloud is "Blue Bay Mystery.") I'm also slowly adding other items, such as manners, weather, calendar, catechism, etc. Due to the presence of a certain two-year-old, progress has been slow, and this time is very challenging.
- Toddler Book Time - I read to the two toddlers while the 8yo does his math. Good for the toddlers, and it keeps them out of trouble!
- Break (15 minutes) - The main challenge is pulling the 8yo back to the table!
- Table Work, then Free Time - Handwriting, Maps, Composition, etc.
- Lunch (12:00 p.m.) - I keep this super-simple. Usually it's "snack plates" - plates of cut-up non-heated items, such as cheese, meat, crackers, fruit, vegetables, etc. - or leftovers.
- Table chores - Clean-up from lunch.
- Quiet Time (1 hour) - This is truly our sanity-saver. The babies nap, I nap, the 8yo reads or plays with LEGO sets.
- Snack and Reading Time - With the 8yo while the babies sleep.
- Finish school work - This is Math Part II (we split his lessons into two parts).
- Coffee and Game Time - DH and I have coffee while the 8yo gets 30 minutes of computer time.
- Afternoon chores
- Free time - That is, free time for the children, and dinner prep plus 30 minutes deep-cleaning for me (plus however many of the five thousand items on my to-do list that I can cram in!)
- Table chores, then free time - After a good year of effort, everyone is helping with dinner chores. It works very well!
- Baths, children dress for bed, older children put their laundry away
- Snack while Daddy reads aloud
- Devotions with Daddy and bedtime (ideal - 8:00 p.m., actual - HA!)
Look for an upcoming post in which I will discuss the progress we've made so far on the topic of children's chores!