daily schedule

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

 {looking mighty pleased with his work!}

People ask all the time if we have a schedule and what it looks like. This is the easiest question to answer about homeschooling. It is pinned up in the kitchen. You can go and see it for yourself. It looks good on paper!
But, as I am sure you have guessed, things don't always (almost never) go according to 'THE SCHEDULE'.
As much as I wish I were one of those naturally flexible fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of people I am not. I have had to learn to be malleable along the way. I am a task master, a check-it-off-the-lister. After 3 years I think I am just beginning to find my way through this thing we call homeschooling.
For those who ask what my advice would be, to any homeschooling mom this is my #1:
Talk to as many people as you can, research and learn yourself, take the pieces you like and that you think will work for you and your family, leave what you don't, try new things, be patient - this is a process, and don't ever try to be someone else. Only you will know what is right for you. And even then sometimes you won't. It can be scary. But it will be okay.

So as far as the schedule is concerned - I do have one. It looks something like this:
Monday - math, music, piano lessons
Tuesday - language arts, library, fine arts
Wednesday -  more of a free day (swimming lessons, life skills) Cubs and Achievement Day Girls
Thursday - science, health and career (my 8 year old upon hearing that we were doing a health and career class told me that she was far too young for a career! I couldn't agree more. But since we get money from the government we have somewhat of an outline to follow. So 'Health and Career' can be anything like, stranger danger, computer safety, fire safety, simple accounting, ect.)
Friday - social studies, second language, ballet, date night
Saturday - tap class, field trips, family swim and movie night

See, It looks good on paper. Now take this list and schedule in every temper-tantrum, every dirty diaper (or worse, underwear from the 3 year old who knows better where to go!). Schedule the laundry and the dishes, and the phone calls, and the errands, and the kids who just don't want to! ("I'm not interested in that", has become a common phrase these days.) I might have missed a few things, but it doesn't matter because they wouldn't fit anyways. Now take the schedule and throw it out the window, for today at least. Or better yet, clog up the toilet by flushing it down there! Tomorrow is another day and I can always try again. But for the most part the schedule is for my piece of mind. If I have a basic outline it helps me at least organize my thoughts and general direction, even if no one else is interested.

Now if I have completely scared you off homeschooling, don't be fooled. This homeschooling thing (whether it is right for you or not only you will know. Do what is right for YOU) is so rewarding. I love seeing my kids grow and learn and suddenly get a concept. I do love having them home. I don't love the noise and the chaos, but that is part of this imperfect and wonderful package. I do worry if I can give them enough, if I am smart enough, if they will be okay. The answer is yes and no. But we will figure this out together.

Days where I would love to be lost in my own little world doing something I want to do, are lost in books and equations, scissors, markers, and mess. But when your child comes to you and asks, "Can you teach me how to.....?" what could be more important than that?

If this is the path you have chosen, don't try and make your journey look just like Mrs. so-and-so's down the street or half way across the world in Blogland. This is about so much more than schooling. At the root of it all is simply relationships. These are the things that will be tested. These are the lessons that will help your children understand whatever else they need to know. You can't make them learn, but you can try to create an environment where they want to learn.

Now for the practical advice. (I still want someone to just give me something - anything I can put into practice today, without having to discover by it myself)
Schedule free time and stick to it. You will catch up later, or you won't, but you will be a better teacher and mom and you will have more attentive kids if everyone gets a break.
I get breaks in 2 ways.
First of all: Wednesday is our free day. This is the day that I can catch up on housework, or sewing, or blogging, or nothing. This is a day reserved for stories and games and knitting and curling up for hours with a book. We use to have this day scheduled on Friday, but I heard through a friend that she knew someone who took their breaks on Wednesdays, and it has been working out so much better for us. It provides a break in the middle before we need it instead of pushing through until we NEED it.
Secondly: I have a very supportive husband who allows me to have guilt free time doing things for myself. This year in particular I have had the opportunity to learn fencing and rowing. But even walking around Walmart or going to the library or a movie can do the trick.

Good luck!

If you are a homeschooling mom I would like to share one of the best articles I have read on the subject. No I take that back, moms everywhere can gain something from this. Enjoy!

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