I remember first seeing that quote in high school. It really struck me and helped me to understand the importance of setting goals. But what good are goals without some sort of plan to accomplish those goals?
Dare I say the dreaded word?
It’s amazing how strongly people react to schedules. Some people swear that everyone should have a schedule in which every day is planned down to the last minute, while others are adamantly opposed to scheduling at all. If you want to see a fight started among Christians, just bring up the topic of scheduling infants and things can get ugly really fast.
Schedules are necessary components in meeting goals. However, the type of schedule you implement is directly related to what your homeschooling goals are. Your schedule type is also influenced by your personality, your children’s personalities, the ages of your children, number of children in your family, your outside committments, etc.
We are classical homeschoolers with 4 children. The oldest is in 5th grade. The youngest is 2 years old. I chose to design a very exact schedule before beginning this school year.
- We are teaching quite a few different subjects and I needed a visual summary of HOW we were going to fit them all into our days.
- A schedule makes me think about what each person, including the 2 year old, is doing at each time of the day. It helps me to consider potential conflicts and messes.
- I need to see when I would be assisting my children and stagger their times with me, so that I could have one-on-one time with each student.
- A schedule is the plan that shows how we are using our time to accomplish our learning goals.
We followed our schedule fairly religiously at the beginning of the school year. By sticking to the schedule, we built some good habits. Gradually we have let our schedule relax to more of a routine. The kids know what subjects they need to get done in the morning and they have their daily assignment sheets to guide them. Sometimes, ok maybe often, I do have more than one child needing me at once, but I can usually point them to an independent task while I’m working with someone else.
I do not think that it is necessary for every homeschooler to make a schedule with as much detail as I have. But, it is useful for every homeschooler to go through the thought process that I use when making my schedule.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What subjects are my children studying this school year?
- How long do I want to spend using a particular resource?
e.g. If you want to finish the math book in a year, see how many lessons there are, and see how much needs to be done every day in order to finish.
- Approximately how long will it take for my child to complete a lesson in this resource?
- What is child #2 going to be doing while I’m working with child #1?
- What extracurricular activities do I need to plan for?
- What important things do I never seem to find time for?
e.g. I have struggled with having a reading time with my little ones. I found that when I scheduled a time into my day for it, it was much more likely to happen.
So, even though we don’t stick to our schedule, (and I don’t even plan to), I do intend to make another schedule for next school year. Everyone is a year older and I’ll be looking to figure out how everything will fit together. For me, having a schedule actually reduces my stress level.