Aug 17, 2010

To Schedule or Not To Schedule??????

Today, on our online homeschool group, the topic of schedules came up - it has been really interesting to read the different responses on this topic .... a few of them made me laugh, was really thankful that I wasn't drinking my coffee at those times, lol.

For us, we do have a school schedule (that's about the only thing in my life that does get scheduled, lol ... other things in our life, well, if there is an empty day on the calendar, we might be able to do something that day, lol, I'm actually a bit more structured than that ... not much, but a bit, lol).  When we first started homeschooling, in 2005, we tried doing up a schedule - both the kids were fresh from public school and that's what they were used to .... unfortunately, schedules and I didn't really get along in the beginning of our homeschool journey (even though I knew they were beneficial).

Second and third year were much the same as our first year .... not much success with the schedule - I think it was around our fourth year that I decided to toss that scheduling business out the window .... I mean, my kids know what they are supposed to do for school!!!  We didn't need a schedule to tell us what we needed to be doing every hour of the day - besides, schedules are waaaaayyyyyyyyy to rigid and since we were homeschooling, we were more relaxed than that, right?????? WRONG!!!!!!!!  Because we didn't have any schedule that year, we fell behind in soooooooo many of our subjects - our facilitator got stressed, I got stressed because she was stressed, the kids got stressed because I was stressed, etc.

Enter our fifth year - I sat down and figured out what time we wanted to start our school day, what time we wanted to finish our school day .... then how much time we needed to spend on each subject for each day of the week.  Once that was all figured out, I wrote up our schedule, printed it off and handed the kids their own copies to be posted at their school desks.  I think it was close to the end of the second week and they came to me asking, politely, if we could tweak the schedule .... there was some subjects that they needed to spend a bit more time on and some that they were finishing before the set time was done.  So, we tweaked it, and the rest of the school year went more smoothly than it had in the past three years, lol.

Sixth year - was pretty much the same as our fifth year .... except, we had had one year of successful scheduling under our belt so the kids had more of an idea on what to expect with this year.  Again, it was close to the end of the second week and we ended up tweaking the schedule.

We are now in our seventh year (wow .... time really does fly when you're having fun, doesn't it, lol).  This year I plugged in all of the information (subjects, times, days, etc.) in a chart I made on the computer, called the kids over and asked them what they thought .... did we need to change anything or could it stay as it was.  Well after much discussion, and a little bit of changes, the schedule was printed out ..... we are in our second week and so far it is looking like we might not have to change anything about it.

One of the things that I had read on the homeschool group, was, schedules didn't allow for real life to happen (my words, not the exact words of the person who posted the comment).  At first glance, our schedule does look very, very rigid:

On the contrary - for us, it isn't rigid at all.  When we follow our schedule, faithfully, we aren't thrown for a loop when real life happens (death in the family, sickness, relatives unexpectedly showing up, etc).  As Josh put it:  "the schedule is a guide .... it doesn't control us, it just lets us know what's going on".  Because it is a guide, if, for example, swimming lessons get scheduled for Tuesday mornings, oh well, we go to the swimming lessons and do the morning schooling when we get home - the day is not shot for us because something didn't line up in our scheduling .... it's a guide, not the gospel.

During lunch today I asked the kids if they thought our schedule was too rigid - they both replied that they would be lost without our school schedule .... Charlotte told me "the schedule enables us to complete what we need to do for school each day".  They also both agreed that if they didn't have the schedule, nothing would get done.  I really think the success of our schedule is the fact that they have ownership of it .... they helped to decide what they wanted on it, when things were scheduled, etc.  I think that makes a world of difference - rather than Mom saying "you have to do this, this and this, by this time", they have a say in their education .... it makes it more real to them.

Our schedule has also been a real blessing for me, as well .... when the kids are busy playing a board game, or reading - basically, not wanting to do their schooling, they are directed to the schedule ..... how can they argue with a piece of paper, especially when they helped design it, lol.

No comments:

Post a Comment