Scheduling

So far, it has worked best for us to keep our scheduling and organization tools really simple. We don't have a dedicated "schoolroom" and we don't do well with schedules that are planned out to the minute, so we've figured out pretty much the minimum of what we need to help our days run smoothly.

When planning the daily schedules of our study units, I use a simple spreadsheet program (Numbers, on my iPad) to keep track of which books and which activities we'll do each day. These unit lesson plans and schedules are in posts labeled "Unit Schedules" on this blog.

I use these three whiteboards for our family schedule, our dinner schedule, and our homeschool schedule during a given week. The homeschool schedule is just a more basic version of what's in my Numbers Spreadsheet, because the children like to look on the board and see what's coming up in our studies.

I made several magnets for each member of the family, plus some others that say "Doctor appointment" "Piano lesson" "Field Trip" etc. to use on these white boards. I just printed out little pictures from the computer, covered them with clear packing tape, cut them out, and stuck a rectangle of magnetic tape on the back. Easy and fast.

Each child is a dinner helper on one of the nights. I let them help choose what their meal will be (I have a big list of "meals we like" in a note on my iPad, which they can look at to help them decide). If there's something new I want to try, I either do it on Daisy's night, or I overrule one of the other children. Same thing if there are specific ingredients we need to use up.

The other children who aren't being dinner helper, clean up one room (each) during Dinner Prep time.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are busy days for us and we don't get home till late, so those are usually crock pot or other really quick, simple meals. Someday maybe I'll get better at planning ahead for those.

Our daily schedule right now looks something like this:

Abe's piano practice
Breakfast and cleanup
Devotional
Seb's piano practice and other children each clean up one room
Personal scripture study/Seb clean up one room/Free time

"Family School Time" (all together; optional for little ones but they have to play quietly if they aren't learning with us)

Lunch and cleanup

"Schoolwork Time"
Little ones nap
School children do workbooks (math, spelling, grammar, handwriting)

Free time

Dinner prep and Dinner
Cleanup
Bedtime

Other notes:
  • Notice I didn't put times on here. The times change from day to day but the order is pretty consistent.
  • The older boys are just starting to add Foreign Language (French) to their Schoolwork Time as well, but it probably won't be every day.
  • One day a week we have piano lessons and choir replacing the Schoolwork time.
  • We also do field trips fairly often.
  • Wednesday nights after dinner it's "Cleanup Night." We all go around together and tidy the house/put things away; it takes us about 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Thursday is Laundry Day
  • Friday afternoons we don't have Schoolwork. Instead, it's Cleaning Day---we put away our laundry (each person puts away his or her own), the boys clean the bathrooms and tidy the rest of the rooms, and we do the cleaning and polishing of the kitchen together. Jobs like window washing or vacuuming are assigned based on the week.
  • Friday night is usually Date Night for Sam and me. Now that we have a permanent babysitter (I refer to Abe) it happens a lot more frequently! The children know how to cook a few simple meals by themselves, so they prepare one of these when we go out.

3 comments:

  1. Your approach to homeschooling is fascinating to me. So, do you do most of your school work through the unit studies? When the kids have their "schoolwork" time is that when they sit down and do basic stuff like math and handwriting? I love the idea of doing unit studies like you do. You do an excellent job with those from the ones I've looked at! I do a book club with some friends and when we meet we do things related to whatever book we read. I have found I absolutely love the learning and connections that are made this way! But, it takes a lot of time to just get the book read and make plans for 1 book club a month.

    How do you find the time to do all these fun activities for your unit studies? Do you plan them out months in advance? Do they just kind of develop throughout the day as you learn more and the kids think of something they'd like to do?

    What kinds of things do they do during that "schoolwork" time? I feel like I spend hours just getting everyone to do their "schoolwork" at our house (math, handwriting, language arts, writing, spelling) and then there's not enough time left to do fun things like unit studies. I can see that you incorporate some of those subjects into your unit studies. I just can't figure out how you fit things in! When do you teach little ones to read and write letters?

    Anyway, it looks like a lot of fun. I'd LOVE to do unit studies like yours!

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    Replies
    1. Holly, thanks! I keep trying to write out a response to some of your questions, and it's just too long, so now I'm working it into its own post. I'll put up a link here when I'm done, hopefully tomorrow. But for now, I'll just say--doing unit studies is not as hard as it might seem! :)

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    2. Okay, post is up here: http://nielsonschool.blogspot.com/2015/09/how-i-prepare-unit-studies.html?m=0

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