Scheduling can be one of the most challenging parts of homeschooling. It takes lots of practice to find a routine that flows smoothly and works for you. As mothers, we must plan for real-life interruptions, diaper changes, feeding babies, and sometimes sunny weather that simply can’t be neglected.
I have found it works best for me to have a list of the things I want to get accomplished that day rather than try to abide by a strict time schedule. We have a goal for our children to finish their individual schoolwork before lunch each day. This leaves the afternoon for them to have free time, work in some family group studies (science, art, music), sports, and family activities.
I use this visual schedule (available in my Free Homeschool Planner) to plan our daily routine. I have a Good Morning chart that I keep in their room reminding them to get dressed, make bed, say prayers and comb hair before coming to breakfast. The rest of the routine remains pretty flexible but generally after breakfast we brush teeth and go for a walk then gather for devotional. The boys start on their individual schoolwork and have until lunchtime to finish it. If they get done early they have time to go outside and play. After lunch they have free time until we come together again for afternoon work (music, art, geography, nature study, etc.). Then it’s chore time and more outside time until dinner.
As far as organizing schoolwork- My boys each have their own folder with their individual schedule. We use the schedules from Ambleside Online, I just cut and paste them into my own Weekly Schedule which makes it easier for them to manage. I think it is important for children to be responsible for their own individual work so they get out their chart and check off each item as they complete it. A great idea for older children is to give them a list of what they need to complete that week and let them manage their own schedule. We like to take most Friday’s off so I purposely schedule our days heaviest on Monday and progressively lighter until Friday.
I create these schedules BEFORE we start the new year so the entire year is already planned each day. I do this also for things like Hymn/Folksongs- I create my playlists and print off words before the new year, for Artist study I print off the pictures and put in our artist binder before the new year. This makes our year go smoothly and the only things I am personally responsible for each day are the things we do as a group such as foreign language, folksongs/hymns, artist and composer study, science, geography, etc…
We now use these 60-day charts to keep track of individual school work (blank template available in the Homeschool Planner). This allows more flexibility with our traveling so that we don’t have to take off the entire week before and after a trip or other mid-week interruption, but allows us to stay on track even if it’s only two or three days of that week.
Be sure to also check out our Day in the Life post about how our day typically flows.