Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Creating a Homeschool Schedule

For this last year of homeschooling we haven't ever really had a schedule. Life has been fairly loose and open as The Barracuda was so young and I was so new to all this. We have let whimsy take us as we may go. Now, with me working from home and The Barracuda becoming so much more active, a schedule has become necessary in order for everything to get done. An active boy means that there are many more things he wants to do, much more dirt in the house, and lots more stuff flying around to clutter up our worlds. Also, I used to be able to completely leave the house and be isolated from family when I worked. This is definitely not preferable in some ways, but it meant that there were no interruptions.

Jules has become much more frustrated lately with how jumbled our house is and with my admitted lack of balancing ability. A schedule makes Jules nervous. He wants The Barracuda to be able to assess and prioritize things which need to be done and then complete them accordingly. He feels that timers, schedules, and specifics will hinder The Barracuda's ability to think for himself. Life is constantly changing and lots of gray area will help prepare our son for that fact.

I don't do gray areas very well. Balancing and juggling multiple things with a thousand different variables leaves me constantly surprised and with no direction. There is almost nothing I hate more than surprises. The distaste is so strong that Jules has been directly informed I do not want to be proposed to without some kind of warning. If I'm going to be accountable for something I want to know exactly how something should be done and exactly when. Things stay the same, I do them the same way, in the same order, and conclude with the same result. When that doesn't happen, I get all flustered and distracted or I make completely the wrong judgment call. Projects go unfinished, stuff gets left out, and I don't follow through with anything. A flustered, distracted, whimsical lifestyle suits me very well as there aren't too many things I honestly care much about. We need to be happy, healthy, and together the rest is just small stuff. Jules grew up in the military (born and raised either on base or just outside) and it doesn't suit him at all. All that small stuff makes him stressed.

Jules and I discussed it, again (this is a recurring conversation). The lists I have made myself weren't working; stuff was still overlooked and mis-prioritized. I was getting discouraged. Compromise was necessary somewhere in the middle of itemized life and complete open blank slate.

This morning, The Barracuda and I sat down to write a schedule that will hopefully meet all our household needs. The Barracuda got to list all the things he feels are important for our day to include even if they weren't fun things (like cleaning). Once the list was formed, he separated them into Morning, Lunch, Dinner, and Evening activities. Next, I came in with specific times for these activities to start and end. This created specific timed transitions for me to be able to have a definitive ending and starting for activities. The time is chunked out into subjects but not specifically itemized so The Barracuda will still have to prioritize and assess how things should be accomplished, but time won't get away from us. Together, we decided that everything seemed reasonable.

Daily Schedule


get dressed
I still don't know why this takes him ten minutes, but it does.
8:10am -- make beds
I literally have to say "I don't care if you are naked, it is time to make your bed!"
eat breakfast
oatmeal or fruit

brush teeth
9:00-9:45am -- Walk the dog

10:00 -- 2 hours quiet time
The Barracuda gets to play quietly with something that doesn't require batteries while Mommy writes

clean up

Lunch: 12:00
eat lunch
left overs, soup and quesadilla, or veggies and tuna fish

brush teeth
12:45 -- 45 minutes Barracuda's self school time
Self directed learning is an important part of our homeschooling. Math work, copy work from essays he has dictated, Rosetta Stone Spanish, finishing science or book report pictures, etc. are all things he can do without my direct assistance. The Barracuda has to work on school completely by himself unless something in his room is on fire or there is a serial killer outside his window. At that point he can call for me.

brush teeth

1:30 -- 2 hours play time
Outside, Inside, on the computer, loudly, with the neighbors, whatever. This is also Mommy housecleaning time.

Afternoon: 3:30
Dad gets home and decompresses from crazy, high schoolers that have only 28 more days of school.

Walk the dog up to the park and play

Mom makes dinner

Dinner: 5:00
eat dinner and talk together about our day
brush teeth

6:00 -- 1.5 hours of school time
This is time for The Barracuda and I to work directly one-on-one and discuss new school concepts or connections between concepts. During this time we can read a chapter or two from his novel as well. Jules uses this time to grade papers, plan, and do his school stuff as well.

Evening: 7:30
Family time to do something fun together.

8:30 -- brush teeth and jammies on
brush teeth
Barracuda goes to bed while Jules and I eat candy and go crazy while doing daily crossword puzzle together.

You may notice that brushing teeth is written quite a few times and is a schedule event. After a couple mortifying fabulous trips to the pediatric dentist I have learned quite a bit more about my horrible dental genetics and why Gatorade is as bad as soda for a child to drink. I'll post about it soon when I really wrap my head around the disastrous fabulous situation. Now, we have scheduled teeth brushing for both the Barracuda and myself a minimum of four times a day. Fun! Fun! Fun!

The only day this schedule doesn't happen is on Wednesday due to The Barracuda being with Grammie and Grampie all day. Other than that, library story times, movies or circus days at the local parks, homeschool meet-ups, and even spending time with the other grandparents fit into the time blocks so that there is a definite flow to our day. Hopefully, this will allow for us to have a much more seamless day rather than a choppy time of crazed events where much is being overlooked.

3 thoughts:

renee @ FIMBY said...

I love reading homeschool schedules. Love 'em. I always glean ideas to work into our own. I'm amazed your son can handle 2 hrs on his own in the am. My oldest can do that no problem, always could. But my younger two are more "intense" shall we say (smile).

And 5 minutes to get dressed. you lucky woman. My 11 year old, who has a very limited wardrobe, takes 15-20 minutes. I think some morning I should stand and watch to see exactly what takes so long. She must do a lot of nothing during this time. But she is not a girl to be rushed, so she just has to get up a little earlier to have this cushion of time to get dressed. My 7 year old gets dressed in 2 minutes, kind of like her mom.

PS. Loved to see the photos of you two. Barracuda is so darn cute!

renee @ FIMBY said...

Forgot to add... enjoy that 8:30 bedtime while it lasts. Our kids now sometimes go to bed later than us. Makes candy eating and other "fun stuff" more difficult.

babbaapril said...

Choked up at the picture of The Barracuda doing his math. Love your hair!!

This whole thing about you and Jules having different styles with regard to planning and executing schedules is, I think, one of the hardest compromises to make when living with another person. What seems natural and right for one can be absolutely counter intuitive to another. Sigh...

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