Thursday, July 26, 2012

Making a Good Schedule Great!

This year, our homeschool consists of ages 13 (high school), 11 (middle school), 8 (elementary) and almost 3.  This is by far the trickiest year of our 10 year journey.

I received some very wise counsel by a veteran mom who told me our mornings would go much better if I started with my toddler first.

She was right!

Last week, I discovered that if we take 'scheduled' turns with our little bundle of energy,  our DAYS are so much better!

Though we don't have a set start time each morning, here's a basic formula we follow:

My oldest (high school) gets up between 5-6 am to start his work.  It's quiet and he can cruise through his work without hindrance.  (And yes, he thrives on this schedule!) The rest of the crew gets up between 7:30-8:00.

We all eat breakfast together around 8:00-8:30 and we begin our schooling after cleanup.

1st Half Hour
Mom and Nip Napper
Puzzles, Counting and ABC Games
(Oldest 3 kids work independently)
2nd Half Hour
8 year old and Nip Napper
Drawing, Coloring, Painting, Creating
(I do Spelling with 11 year old)
3rd Half Hour
11 year old and Nip Napper
Building - Blocks, Legos, Trains…..
(I do Spelling & Reading with 8 yr old)
4th Half Hour
13 year old and Nip Napper
Story and Snack time
(I continue working with 8 yr old)

The addition of these scheduled play times has made such a difference!  Everyone benefits!!


  1. I love how you have the Bigger kids helpping the little too. I have always liked seeing that rather than the bigs not having anothing to do with the littles. Thank you for sharing.


  2. Yes we benefit from something similar in our schedule. Our youngest always enjoyed the time alone with each sibling. It looks like our children are somewhat similar ages though our youngest will be starting K in a few weeks, which I am actually a bit nervous about, eventhough we've homeschooled them all from toddlerhood onward. Silly to be nervous, I know :-)

    1. I can understand Dorie - relax and enjoy your first day of Homeschool. You'll do great! Thank you for visiting!

  3. This is what I recommend for everyone who asks, and what has worked for me for going on 6 years now. I don't have my own littles - my girls are 10 and 11 - but I've done daycare for my girls' whole "school careers," so I've always had at least one - sometimes as many as three - little ones around. And, yes, I start our official "school time" each day with me spending time with the littles while my girls do independent stuff. Then throughout the day each of us has time with the littles, similar to what you've described. It gives the older girls a regular daily break from their work and really fills those little ones' "love tanks" because they have so much attention from everyone. In between their time with one of us, they are then very content to play (relatively quietly) on their own without seeking any of us out. It's been great.

    1. I'm glad to hear it works so well for you! I wish I would have implemented it sooner!! Thanks for visiting Tina!

  4. Okay, what if my older kids are nearly 4 and almost 6 (youngest will be 6 months old when we officially start in Sept.)? What kinds of independent work can I assign? It seems like every time I try to give "seat work", they can't work the page I've given or they take on new atrocious handwriting habits.
    I love this idea, but I can't seem to make it work.

    1. Tracy - you are indeed in a special season! In this season, you don't need to be pressured about supplying a heavy schedule for your children. For this season, concentrate on doing some phonics, some math and some handwriting with your 6 year old. Spend the majority of your 'school time' reading aloud to both your children. And, then, read aloud some more! Your goal in this season is to birth a love for reading within them --- because it is that love of reading that will carry them through their junior and senior high years! Don't burn them out on endless worksheets. Take lots of field trips and build relationships with them. Give yourself (and your household) time to adjust to your new little one. Take it slow and enjoy your children. Structured play time and independent work WILL come later!!! Thank you for visiting Tracy and I pray for a great start to your homeschool year!

  5. I have 2 children, ages 10yrs and 5yrs. I could not imagine starting my day so early lol! My children and I are not early risers ;) We are just getting up between 9-10am. Then my children watch TV while I am make brunch. After we eat we start our school day. Since we do a mix of online, unit studies, and work books our days vary, but for the most part this is how it goes.
    ~> I first get my youngest on the computer, so he can work on his Time4Learning work. While he is busy ( thank goodness) with that I start my oldest on some of the work book seat work (handwriting, math & English) then after they are both done we take a snack/play break. After break/play time they switch! My oldest gets online to do her Time4Learning and I work with youngest on things like learning and writings ABC's and the 123's. Then after my oldest is done with her computer work we work on what ever unit study we are doing or we have art/craft time. Because we school year round we do only 3-4 days a week and only do school for about 3-4 hours on avg total a day.
    Thanks for sharing and letting me share :)