Finding Our Groove

One of the things I love most about homeschooling is its flexibility. It grows and adapts as our family’s needs change and I am perpetually tweaking things so that they fit our lives/Brady’s learning style just a little bit better. Our schedule is no exception and I had lately been wanting to do away with Brady’s visual schedule  for a number of reasons. First it was definitely showing signs of wear after 9 months of use and I’d had to rehang it and reinforce the corners more than once. Secondly I realized soon after I made it that the 4 categories I chose did not really make sense. Having “afternoon” come before “schoolwork” was a confusing and unnecessary separation and the cards I made for our subjects wouldn’t work for the upcoming school year anyway.  Third I wanted to add times to keep us on track and to allow Brady to practice time-telling in a real-world setting.  We’ve been using the new schedule for a few weeks now and it has been working really well for us so I thought I would share it. Here’s what it looks like, I didn’t bother with pictures since Brady is reading now and I attached the cards to our fridge with velcro dots so that it would be adjustable (I also made cards for days we have a playdate/playgroup/have to run errands/etc) and in a centralized location:

 

(Now that I know this schedule works for us I will likely laminate the cards and attach them with magnets so that they last longer, you can see they are already bending a bit)

That picture may be a bit hard to read, but the schedule for a typical day is as follows:

9-10: eat breakfast and get dressed. During this time period I start a load of clothes and Brady feeds the cats and waters our vegetable garden as well.

10-11: PE/snack Sometimes this is outside play time, but in the morning it usually involves our PE card game (various activites like “slither like a snake,” “hop like a bunny,” “do 10 jumping jacks,” etc written on index cards and then drawn out of a bag and done together), dancing to music, or playing one of our Wii exercise games. Brady usually has a small snack after his workout because he is not a big breakfast eater.

11-12: Chores. We struggled for a long time to find a cleaning schedule that worked for us. I tried once a week deep-cleaning, cleaning 1 room a day,  15 minutes per room, etc. Here is what we finally found works best for us (and I wish I could find the post that inspired it, I’ll keep looking)

Monday: Dust/wash sheets (Brady strips his bed and puts his own sheets in the washer)

Tuesday: Vacuum (that isn’t to say that we don’t spot vacuum throughout the week, but this is the day we make sure to do a thorough job)

Wednesday: Kitchen/wash towels (I try to make sure I get the fridge and pantry cleaned out and that Brady gets to help with the dishes on this day.  He loves to help, but I don’t always have the time/patience to let him. He is now responsible for folding washcloths and hand towels as well.)

Thursday: Bathrooms/wash area rugs (I give him a cloth with just water on it and he cleans with me)

Friday: Sweep/mop (as with vacuuming we spot clean as needed throughout the week and do a thorough job just once. Brady loves to mop and does a pretty good job at it.)

This schedule means that we do not usually spend more than 30 minutes on housework per day (I schedule an hour because this is, ideally, also when the l0ad of laundry I started in the morning gets folded and put away and just to give us a little cushion in case something runs over) and have weekends off except for general straightening/laundry.

12-1: Lunch break/free play

1-3: School and specials.  Currently we spend about 20-30 minutes on actual seat work (this will likely be closer to an hour in the Fall when we are doing a full course load again), the rest of this time is spent doing art projects, science experiments, reading, or playing educational games.

3-4: Rest time.  Brady has never been much of a napper, but our days are very full and I find he is much less grumpy around bedtime if he has an hour to re-group after schoolwork.  I fix him a snack and he is allowed to read or play with toys or watch a movie, basically anything that is a)quiet and b) can be done in his bedroom.

4-5: PE. This block of “PE” is usually spent outside

5-6: Dinner break

6-6:30: shower/bath and pajamas. This is a change, too, I used to get Brady ready for bed much closer to bedtime but having him all bathed and pajama-fied right after dinner means that we have the whole evening to play.

6:30-8:30: movie/game time.  Brady has been in a big board game phase lately, it is not at all unusual for us to play 5 or more games in a single evening, so we sometimes use this time block for that or we snuggle in my bed with popcorn and a movie or dance around to music.  This pre-bedtime wind-down has quickly become our favorite part of the day.

8:30-9:  Clean up and tooth brushing.  Brady has been expected to pick up his toys since he could walk and can do so with less and less help/direction from us.  In the main areas of the house there is a one-toy-at-a-time rule, but he can leave the toys in his room out until bedtime.

Once he is done with brushing his teeth he gets one bedtime story and then listens to the radio in his room until he falls asleep (something that takes much less time now that we are making sure he gets at least 2 hours of physical activity a day. We have had a rough couple of weeks for various reasons and having this established schedule kind of pulled us along and guaranteed that we remained productive even when we didn’t feel like it.  And now I’m curious: what does your typical homeschool day look like?

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