A Schedule Question for Four Children

Heart of Dakota - Dear Carrie

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Dear Carrie

Carrie, how do you make your schedule for your four children?

I’m trying to come up with our schedule with Heart of Dakota. We started on Monday, and we are having a great time with the activities! However, I can see I need a firm schedule. I noticed in reading a past scheduling thread where your kiddos were younger that you rarely had your children scheduled together doing the same thing. They also did chores at different times. I’m thinking this probably helps cut down on any bickering or boisterous behavior (issues we are working on with my 3 year-old son and 6 year-old daughter). Was this intentional when you designed your schedules? Also, where do you start when coming up with a new schedule? Do you come up with oldest’s schedule and then the next oldest, etc.? (I have four children also.) Thanks so much. We are really enjoying Little Hearts for His Glory and Creation to Christ so far!

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me with My Schedule for Four Children”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me with My Schedule for Four Children,”

(Note: The following answer is taken from a post Carrie did when her children were younger and more the ages of the person asking the question). I start by making a list for each of my four children that is labeled “Teacher Directed,” “Semi-Independent,” and “Independent.” I list each task under one of the headings, so I can easily see how much of me is required. I do strive for a sort of balance among the three lists.

By listing activities/tasks this way for each of my four kiddos, it is easy to see who is lacking what type of activity. I then add tasks accordingly to help fill-in any holes that I can see on that child’s list. I know the first time that I did this it was a dawning to me to realize that some of my kiddos had no semi-independent or independent tasks on their lists! So, how could I possibly expect them not to interrupt me when I was teaching?

I write a flowchart schedule for each of my four children.

Then, I begin scheduling my “Teacher Directed” time in 15-30 minute chunks. I take into account that when I am teaching, the other kiddos need to be doing either a Semi-Independent task quietly nearby me or need to be doing an independent task away from me in another room). I write a flow chart type schedule for each of my four individual children, making sure that the Semi-Independent or Independent tasks are tasks that can go on for awhile, rather than having an exact finish time (like educational computer, or audio books, or playtime in the crib, etc.). In this way I am not continually interrupted during my teaching time by a child who has finished a task and is now waiting on me. Also, I do start scheduling with my little ones in mind first, as they need the most from me teaching and mommying-wise.

I take my own style into account when scheduling my four children.

When making my schedule I always remind myself what type of person I am, knowing that I am NOT a morning person. So, I allow myself some grace in the schedule first thing in the morning. My older kiddos begin with their more independent tasks first thing. (This way, they can get started without me, and we can start on time each day). I also know that I tend to lose my teaching “oomph” in the later afternoon, so I make sure to schedule my teaching time pretty much back-to-back all morning (with morning recess and lunch in between) and then right after lunch to maximize my optimal teaching time for my personality. If I don’t take my own style into account, then the best schedule in the world will not get done.

I take into account each of my four children’s personalities.

When scheduling chores, I take into account each of my four children’s personalities. My oldest son is a morning person and a “get-it done” guy. So, he starts his days with his chores and heads right into his toughest subject. My next in line is NOT a morning person. So, he starts off slowly with an easier low-key subject and eases into school and his chores. My next son in line comes down for breakfast and spends time with daddy first thing in the morning, as this is very important to him. Then, he cheerfully heads up to play in his room for 45 minutes to an hour after that (keeping it quiet downstairs for my older sons).

I look at what each of my four children truly desires first thing in the morning and try to match that with the schedule to get everyone off on the right foot (including me)! Anyway, these are just a few tips that may help or may not help you. But, hopefully this will get you thinking about what may work well for your family of four.

Blessings,
Carrie

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