January 17, 2006

Scheduling and Screen Time

I discovered this little gem of a blog post at Ian's Messy Desk a while back:

In his classic book, The Time Trap, Alec Mackenzie identifies these 20 behaviors that lead to wasted time:

Management by Crisis
Telephone Interruptions
Inadequate Planning
Attempting Too Much
Drop-in Visitors
Ineffective Delegation
Personal Disorganization
Lack of Self Discipline
Inability to Say "No"
Paper Work
Unfinished Tasks
Inadequate Staff
Confused Authority
Poor Communication
Inadequate Controls
Incomplete Information
I thought this list would be great to share today, even though it hints of office-life and this is supposed to be a homeschool blog. We homeschoolers and homemakers have a lot of the same issues with being side-tracked as the office crew. Today, I seem to be constantly distracted by everything (it might have helped if it had not snowed briefly today and we didn't hang our hands and heads out the window trying to catch and eat snowflakes). I guess it's a good thing we don't have good television reception here, and don't pay for cable, because I know that four hours of the last two days would have been wasted in front of the telly had I been picking up 24! I'm a big 24 junkie, but alas, this year, we won't be watching it, it seems. I guess I'll have to buy the series later or rent it from Netflix.

Struggling with post-Christmas holiday homeschool blahs, we have started a new method of getting things done with our homeschooling/chores/life in general that I shared with another homeschool mom via email earlier this week. Here it is for you lurkers and blog buddies alike:

Sprittibee's Star Chart
I started a new way of getting things done with the kids. I am doing a new type of “star chart” which helps me considerably (as much as it helps them) to accomplish our daily goals. Before, I was telling them what to do after each assignment and they would balk at me and whine. Now, I am writing a daily list on their white-board (and printing it out for their notebooks with little checkmark boxes beside each item) that they have to complete which includes chores (laundry, dishes, cleaning rooms, etc.), hygiene items (brushing teeth, getting dressed, taking showers, etc.), and schoolwork (Konos activities, Math, Language, Writing, etc.).

I block the items off in groups of five in a long list and write them in the order I want them to be done (i.e. Bible first, bedtime at 9:30pm last). They are to complete the items in groups of five things and put a checkmark by each item. When they complete five, they cross through the section and add a star to their chart. Each star is worth one hour of screen time. They can use the screen time when they are done with the list each day, or at other times when I approve them using it, or on weekends. Screen time consists of Gameboy time, PC/Computer game time, TV time, or movie time… and is also used up for free play (Legos, My Little Pony, etc.), but not for reading. Even for fun, reading is not considered star time.

This system seems to be working better than any other system we have used in the past (now if we can just keep it consistent - that's where the prayers are going to come in!). Each day, when they use the computer or watch a movie, we erase their stars they have earned, and each day, as they complete the list, we add them. This is really helping them to take more responsibility and it has given me more free time as well. I don’t always have to be on top of them to remind them of things, other than a warning now and then like, “Have you completed your next five?” or “You know, the fun project is on your last five, so you had better hurry so we can get to it before Daddy comes home.” Or “There’s only three hours left in the day, so let’s see if we can get another five done and get a star before Daddy gets here.”

We had a hard day yesterday (maybe that's just a Monday thing?) and only got the first five items on our list and a random smattering of other things done... so we are working on redeeming the time today and getting a lot more done! If you are looking for a new system or one to adjust to your own scheduling needs, please, by all means, take mine and make it yours! Seize the day... Carpe Diem!

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Anonymous said...

Read the comment by Lester Hinson at this blog:


This kind of stuff infuriates me!

Linda Kelley said...

We're HUGE 24 fans! Didn't watch it until this year. Then bought seasons 1-4 and watched them all. Season 5 is off to a great start. But, I think it's better from the DVD anyway. You can rent them at the library or blockbuster too!

Anonymous said...

Do I have to schedule? Can't I just declare my off-task behavior the new standard and therefore make it on-task? The rest of the world seems to be successful at "solving" problems by redefining the terms, so why can't I?



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