From Our House to Yours
A Flexible Schedule That Still Has Set Key Times
Do you have a night owl who likes to stay up late and start school late? Or, maybe you have an early bird who likes to go to bed early and start school early? Or, maybe you have a child who is just “in-the-middle” who likes to start school mid-morning and end school mid-day? Then of course, there’s YOU (as a homeschool mom) to consider too! You yourself might be an early bird, a night owl, or an “in-the-middle” person. In our home, we have a night owl, a few early birds, and an in-the-middle person. So, how do you make a flexible schedule that still has continuity for everyone? Well, you choose set key times for everyone, but allow flexibility around those key times!
Key Times for All to Make a Priority
Below you can see the key times our family has set for all to make a priority:
8:30-9:00 Shower/grooming, chores, room (30 min.)
9:30-9:45 Breakfast (15 min.)
11:25-11:45 Cocoa break (20 min.)
1:00-1:30 Lunch and cleanup (30 min.)
2:20 Leave for work
Key times keep us moving forward and make us aware if we are falling behind or wasting time.
We need key times in our days to keep us all moving forward. Key times make us all aware if we are falling behind or wasting time. They act as markers for each of us within our own schedules. The early bird who got up early to finish school early can see he is off track for his goals if lunch has arrived for everyone and he still has a lot of his school left to do. The in-the-middle person who doesn’t want to do ‘homework‘ at night can see if he is off track for his goals if the time to leave for work has arrived and he has not finished his school. The night owl who doesn’t want to get up early can see he is off track for his goals if night has come and no ‘homework’ has been done for tomorrow.
Key times give us times to all be together cohesively.
Key times give us times to all be together cohesively. They give us routine amidst flexibility. Everyone can plan on doing their chores at the same time, so there is no need to be quiet as no one is trying to do school. Several can plan on having help doing bigger chores, such as clearing snow, watering flowers, or feeding/watering/exercising the pets – because they know they won’t be interrupting each other’s schoolwork. Everyone can plan on breakfast and lunch being ready at key times, so all work hard to arrive on time. All can look forward to having cocoa together mid-morning, so everyone knows they have that break in their day just to talk and hang out. Everyone can plan on wrapping up their school day by the time they leave for work.
Key times are planned in an order that helps the day go smoothly.
Key times are planned in an order that makes sense. For example, chores must be done before breakfast, as unloading the dishwasher and setting the table are part of our chores. By mid-morning, everyone is needing a break, wanting to talk, and longing for beverage. A cocoa break between breakfast and lunch fills all those needs. Lunch and cleanup must be consistent so each person can make it to work on time. Key times keep order to the day so things happen in an efficient manner.
Flexible Times for Everyone
Start and end times can be flexible for everyone. That way, the early bird can start school early. The night owl can do homework at night. The in-the-middle person can structure work time in the middle of the day. Each person can have a snack whenever he is needing it. As the homeschool teacher, I can be flexible with how many teacher-directed meeting times I plan with each child. I may want to meet more often for shorter segments of time with a child who needs help staying focused. Or, I may want to meet fewer times with an older student who works well with large blocks of uninterrupted independent work time. For the child who struggles with transitions, I may add extra time in the schedule for transitions. If I need my teaching to be done by 1:oo PM, I may only schedule independent work after 1 PM.
I hope this post helps show how having set key times in the homeschool day promotes unity but also respects individuality! Try having set key times in your day, while still allowing flexibility in the rest of the day, and see if you like it!