January 13, 2009

Juggling the Homeschool Schedule

My old schedule was pretty strict. I could count on one hand how many free hours were in the week (on weekdays). [poor kids] It was burning us out. I think I talked about that some in my 'why we're starting Charlotte Mason' post. So I'm doing a new thing this semester and the peace and weight lifted off my shoulders are making me realize that it has been a long time coming... and the RIGHT thing for us.

HOWEVER.... and this is the big stumbling block for me.... It is something NEW. After nearly 7 years of homeschooling, NEW is like starting over. Scary, hu? [Kind of like throwing a newborn in to the mix after 8 years out of diapers!] While we 'detox' from our strict schedule, I'm trying to get organized so we don't fail at this new endeavor.

Yesterday's planning task was to get all my educational subjects and activities down on paper so I could categorize them for a prospective schedule. Below is what I came up with (in no particular order). I've tried to put them into broader categories per Cindy Rushton's "Charlotte Mason Primer". Now that I have them all on paper, I have to figure out how often they can get done... and when they will fit in our new 'laid back' schedule. Realistically, progress will be slower on some subjects, but the joy will be HUGE - and after all, joy in your learning is what makes it all worthwhile. No drudgery here. We're all about enjoying the journey!

Educational Activities and Subjects

Daily Chores
Organization and Goals Review
Paid chores

Prayer Journals
Read Bible
Bible classes at church
Sermon notes weekly
Ministry and Hospitality
Character Clubs: Keepers/Contenders

Finish penmanship workbooks
Grammar workbook
Spelling corrections
Excellence in Writing

Science Reader
Nature Journals and Walks
Research and Projects

Math Workbook
Tests and Speed Drills

Memorizing scripture and poetry
Narrating after we read
Library books
Free reading

Period/Composer Study

Italian software

Learning software
Big IQ
Corel Draw
Lego Robotics

Reading living books and biographies/autobiographies
Timeline Box (index cards)
History notebooks/binders
Movies and documentaries

Visualize World Geography
Co-Op Culture Fair (once a year)

Creativity Express
Art Textbooks
Period/Artist Study
Draw, Write Now!
Interior Decorating and Design Projects
Drawing and Painting
Art Classes

Field Trips
Park Days
Co-Op Activities
Social Opportunities
Community Activities

My problem has always been trying to figure out WHAT to cut out of the day... trying to cram everything I could in to 12 hours. You just can't do it. Imagine trying to get even half of all that done in a single day!

I'm trying to circle my priorities and figure out an orderly progress schedule for the rest.
So far we have been doing pretty well, but I know I'm going to start feeling like a flop if all our wonderful projects start falling by the wayside to make room for free time and a less stressful schedule.

Are you a Charlotte Mason mom? I'd love to see your daily routine and schedule... to read your advice on how to set up a routine that works. It is hard to teach an old list-fiend dog new tricks... to mellow her out and help her let go. I'd love your thoughts.

I'll check back later after we visit the OBGYN and get back from Choir. We're about to embark on our carschooling Tuesday. See you when we return!

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Amber said...

Hi! One of the ways I keep my day flowing is to rotate the hard stuff with the easy stuff. (CM has a fancy way of putting this, but I can't think of it!) We start the day off with a read-aloud, next is math, then they do their scheduled reading, then grammar, then art, etc...

Our Family Work consists of Music (on Mon.), Art (on Tues), Poetry (on Thur) and Geography (on Fri). I love concentrating on these subjects once a week, instead of daily.

I hope this helps you! I don't really blog about our schedules, but maybe I should...

carrie said...

we do things a little bit different every semester. This one looks like this: Every day- read a Bible chapter, poetry, copywork, spelling, math, typing for some of the kids, 2-3 read alouds from library (this year we're using the book list from Sonlight catalog)

Then on Mondays we read a chapter of Child's History of the World and a portion of Exploring Creation-Astronomy

Tuesday-Exploring Creation and The Aesop for Children or some other tales

Wednesday- A Child's Geography and Nature Notebooks (if the weather allows, if not, we read Nature books)

Thursday- A Child's Geography and Art/Music (I'm not using anything for art and music, just flying by the seat of my pants)

Friday- we did have homeschool group here, but we aren't going this semester, so we'll play catch up on this day or go for nature walks or something.

It looks different every few months, but the idea is to keep the lessons short and make sure they have plenty of time to be kids in the afternoon. Charlotte Mason felt that was pretty important and I'm starting to see why.

oº˚ Homeschool Mom˚ºo said...

Just found your website! I am a homeschool mom to 3 and this is our 3rd year. I'm moving away from the textbook/school style learning. I want to do more classical learning this year. I was wondering what do you do for grades. I started checking their papers and making them correct them. When they master something we move on. I don't like the whole grade thing so we must mastered or need more work. I have them tested every year just to make sure they are doing good. They do test a couple of grades ahead. Anyway nice to meet you.


Darcy @ m3b said...

My friend Jennefer recently posted her new CM schedule on her blog.

Here's her link:

She is a gem and traveling this same path.

Rhonda said...

I think I've already shared my schedule with you, but one of the best suggestions I've ever seen is for a type of structured free time in the afternoons. Basically, give them a list of activities they can choose from for the afternoon - art projects, notebooking, lapbooking, PE, etc. So, the morning is "school" time, but the afternoon is much less structured.

Anonymous said...

Hope this helps.


Jen F. said...

Thanks for this post. I am going through the same thing and just got done, doing ~yet again~ another schedule. Only to look and realize that their are things that we are missing that I would like to get too. I like your idea of progressing and getting to it eventually. I have started CM this year and Oh,I love the freedom. Yet, I find my self pulling back to my old stressed out ways. It's nice to know I'm not alone. Sorry,this is not very helpful for you... only to say 'You are not alone'. Everyone's comments have been helpful to me, so thanks!

Marybeth Whalen said...

Thanks for posting this list-- I am going to come back to this so I can make a similar one. We are coming back from Christmas break next Tuesday so I will be using this in my planning between now and then!

Anonymous said...

We have been using the CM method for a year now and we still are tweeking away. We love the shorter lessons and narration is comming along really well. We have had huge success with the picture study CM way. Please visit my blog as I post on CM on Monday - Charlotte Mason Monday.

Jacque Dixon said...

I had to laugh when I read "After nearly 7 years of homeschooling, NEW is like starting over."
You are where we were about 5 years ago... home schooled for about 7 years, and ready for something more relaxed and better for the family. I looked into Charlotte Mason too, and tried it for awhile, along with studying the Classical approach (like the Bluedorn's, from a Christian perspective). We did that for about a year, maybe two, but it wasn't a good fit either. I am glad we did it though. :)
Blessings to you on your journey!



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