Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I've Got Rhythm

"...who can ask for anything more?"

The first topic in our Homeschool Series is Daily Schedule-yay or nay.

My first reaction would be to say "nay". I am a rhythm girl through and through. I'm mean, Hippies are all about rhythms, you know. My days have structure, patterns and rhythm, but we are not bound to the clock. But, after you read my post, you may call all of that semantics, and accuse me of being a schedule freak.

Our days do have a pattern, and are rather sectional. Before school, school, afternoons and evening.

I get up before my kids probably 99% of the time. I get up at 4:30 to swim 2-3 mornings a week. The other 2-3 mornings I am usually up, with my eyes propped open, drinking a cup of coffee by 6:15. That is soon going to be by 5:48, because it is spring, and it's time for our spring running schedule. We are coffee-d and out the door by 6:30 at the latest for spring and summer running.

I will share more on this in a few weeks, but in the time between the early hour and 7:45/8:00 when I wake up my kids and get them fed, I generally do my devotions, start a load of laundry, shower (though sometimes I pick that up while they are eating), start the kids' breakfast, and do blog link ups. I will insert here, that with our spring/summer running schedule, I do my devotions and link ups after family devotion time, while they are reading.

Our mornings and school time are rather structured, though I don't assign a specific amount of time per subject. A subject is completed and they move on to the next one.

Our afternoons are more unstructured, and our evenings are spent at home or abroad, depending on the day.

I am going to list our schedule, but bear in mind that these are what I am aiming for. If we are early or late, it doesn't derail everything. We just pick up and keep going. The first segment is about 15 minutes. The next three each run about 30 minutes. Formal school generally takes 3 hours-give or take. When school work is done, they are free to play.

7:45-kids up, dressed, brush teeth, make beds. I dish up their breakfast.
8:00-8:30-breakfast and breakfast clean up
8:30-9:00-group devotions-read Bibles, memorize verses, sing, pray
9:00-9:30-individual reading time.
9:30-12:30-formal school. Mondays-Thursdays, spelling, math, grammar, writing and Bible all happen during this time period. On Fridays we use this morning period for spelling tests, history, geography and science. I often will start my chores or baking/cooking after LC is finished with her work.
12:30-1:00-literary lunches. I read to the kids while they eat.
1:00-3:00-quiet time for the 3 oldest and finishing any school work loose ends, nap for Meres, writing time for me.
3:00-6:00-library time, Bible club, chores, making dinner, grocery shopping, art, correcting school work. Differs by the day and week. Not structured time. I do what needs done that day.
5:45/6:00-ish-dinner, family Bible reading, clean up.
After dinner until 8:00-after dinner activities, etc.
8:00-kids' bed time.
9:30/10:00-ish-my bed time.

Looking at this, I guess I would say we are rather scheduled. But, I also know my life. And I know that devotions hardly ever start right at 8:30 on the dot. Quiet time might not get started until 3:30. While this is our schedule, it is hardly inflexible. Also, in defense of the rhythm method, I only have 11 segments per day, and the afternoon and evenings are pretty loosy-goosey.

That is the thing. I have found that if I am too detailed and specific, I get discouraged when I am missing the mark. Knowing what needs to happen, and approximately when it needs to happen, gives me the structure to get back to, even when I've slept in, or run at a different time, or have to go to the doctor. The million and one things that change up our day.

My advice to you if you are thinking of scheduling your day, is to make a schedule and then keep a time diary for a few weeks. Are you actually spending 30 minutes for breakfast, or is it a longer/shorter affair? Do your kids need longer than 15 minutes to get dressed? Is school work running longer or shorter than your projected time segments. Adjust your schedule and expectations as needed.

So, what about you? Are you a strict scheduler? Do your days have a certain flow, like my before school, school, afternoon and evening rhythm? What are the best features of your method-scheduled or not? What could use some shoring up?


For different perspectives on daily scheduling, please click over to Julie's post on Spreadsheets, Chareen's post on finding balance, Hwee's post on evolving schedules, and Savannah's post on life-home schooling, chores, meal planning and more.