I LOVE planning. I LOVE scheduling. Putting activities in compartments of time is like putting a puzzle together for me! I'm even weird enough, I'll admit, that planning my college schedule was one of my favorite parts of the university experience! It's the same thing for me now when I want to plan the next year's activities and classes. I just thrive on making schedules!
Now, I'm also one to stress out when trying to follow a too-scheduled schedule, if you know what I mean! :-) I like to have control over the general schedule of the household, with room to change as needed or desired. However, Randy Pausch, college professor and author of The Last Lecture has said, "You can always change your plan, but only if you have one."
Here is a taste of our own family's daily schedule. We basically break the day up into "Compartments of Time" (I will put actual times here for the sake of giving you an idea of what we do, but keep in mind that the events generally stay in the same order but the times vary according to our needs and interest levels).
6:30am Mom wake up, walking and/or gospel study time (kids do likewise if they wake up)
7:30am Kids wake up, Mom gets ready (shower, etc.) while kids clean rooms & get ready as well
8:30am Breakfast and Devotional
9:00am Family Work Time (see below for exact plan; if done before others, work on individual studies)
10:00am Group Learning Time (see below)
11:30am Lunch time/Mom works on her 'to do' list (phone calls, emails, etc.)
1:00-4:00 Free Learning Time
4:00pm Cleam up activites, prepare for dinner
5:30pm Dinner & Clean up, Evening activities (vary by day)
Our NEWEST Family Work Schedule (I'm loving this)
Thanks to my great friend, Jessica, I rearranged our family work into quick clean jobs and deep clean jobs. Still, I was finding our cleaning time to take way too long in the mornings, resulting in too many melt downs and a lot of leisure time wasted. So, I revamped and came up with this plan.
Each child has a room they are in charge of each month. Each day they are to do a quick clean of that room. Each room also has a list of deep clean jobs. I will choose a child each day with whom I will help clean their deep clean jobs. For example, if the bathroom is in need of deep cleaning one day I'll tell that child it is their day to do the work with my help while the others simply do their quick cleans. I have found this to work wonders because a) it is not too overwhelming for the kids and b) I get some quality one-on-one time with each child throughout the week as I clean with them (and I'm not trying to race from child to child the whole cleaning hour).
Deep Clean: wash banister on stairs, vacuum stairs and family room, dust/wash TV and center, wash walls as needed.
Deep Clean: Dust piano and table, vacuum rug, wipe down couches as needed, wash windows & sill, wash wood floors and entryway, wash doors & walls as needed.
Deep clean: toilet, mirror, sinks, cupboards, floor & walls
Deep Clean (choose one or two each week): microwave, stove/oven, dishwasher & cupboards, fridge, mop floor, wash windows.
Group Learning Time: This is my time to teach the children what is mine. This may be a history or science lesson, reading from our family read aloud book, going on a nature walk or hike, taking a field trip, running errands, playing games, or whatever I feel the kids need to do with me that day. I usually have themes for each subject. I love unit studies.
Free Learning Time: This is when the kids basically have time to play and/or work on their individual studies. I try not to monitor this time too much but the simple rules during this time are no computer/video games and no movies. This is when I will read with individual children or help the kids with their own work (math, writing, etc.). Also during this time I do my best to create 1-2 hours of time for ME to work on my own studies or get some good reading in!
Again, this schedule is flexible. If a neighbor is in need and it's family work time, I'm not going to say, "Oh, sorry, it's family work time, I can't help you." These time compartments are easy to shift around. And if something gets pushed out one day, it's not going to be too detrimental! So, be flexible and make time work for you rather than the other way around! With that said, I firmly believe that by scheduling our time we can strengthen relationships, give our children a sense of consistancy and stability, and end the day without being overly exhausted.
For Public Schoolers: This "Time Compartment" scheduling can work for you, too. Especially as summer nears and your kids are coming home, figure out what works naturally for your family. Next year, as my oldest enters the public school rhelm, I may have new stuff to say here! So, stay tuned. :-)