This is part 3 of a series of posts about scheduling an effective homeschooling day. If you have missed part 1 and part 2, you should go read them first.
In the final step, this is what I did.
I bought a thick cardboard – the kind you get at the Dollar Tree and some Post Its. Then I calculated how much we could realistically get done in a day. This is highly subjective, of course and can be changed depending on the age of the child, your style, your family’s idea of what is a priority and so on, which is why I love it.
I had already made a list of everything we needed to get done in a week of school, and so at this point all I needed to do was break it up into smaller chunks and get it done on a consistent basis.
Some people like to write this down in a planner. I prefer a board with Post Its.
Why? Because I’m a neat freak. (Sigh. Yes, I know.) Post Its give you freedom to move things around. If, for example, we ran out of a time because math took a little bit longer on one day, it is possible to just move the Post it over to a day when it needs to get done. Of course, you can also do this in a planner and move things around if you prefer, but I like having a template hanging somewhere that the children and I can see every day.
Organizing our day like this has two big advantages.
It clarifies what they need to get done and reduces daily dependence on me.
This, by far, has been the biggest advantage of our schedule. At some point, the children and I decided that waiting for me to say it was time to get sit down work done was not what we wanted to do with our day. They were always trying to do something rousing and enjoyable like play in the dirt and I – silly me – wanted them to think about math problems and how many tomatoes or pineapples a mythical person in a book received.
They had had enough. And, honestly, so had I. Now that we have this chart, they are free to get their work done whenever they want through the day. They choose to do it the night before it’s due. I only take a look at it and make sure it’s done and looks good.
It leaves us with lots of free time.
Getting everyone together is the largest time waster in the world. Look at how much time government schools spend every day taking attendance and enforcing discipline.
The reason homeschooling is so efficient is precisely because we are not spending time herding cats. So why would I want to stick a routine of collecting everyone, bringing them to the table and making them do sit down work when it kills me slowly and painfully on the inside?
This way leaves us tons of free time. We are free to pursue Bible reading, singing, learning to play the piano, learning to cook, Science experiments, reading aloud and, yes, video games.
The drudgery is done. The promise of homeschooling is finally ours.
All because of an effective schedule.
No talk of scheduling is complete without the mention of the fact that it must be one that is adaptable. That is, after all, the beauty of homeschooling. I do occasionally fall into the trap of making a schedule and then regimenting it so rigidly that I begin to dread and hate our day. When that happens, I know something has to change. Usually, it’s that same schedule. It is the combination of flexibility and habit that makes our homeschooling work smoothly.