Do you have a routine or a schedule?
I am a scheduler by nature. Yet, the more years I have taught, first in the classroom and then at home, I discovered a routine is more important than a schedule.
How does a routine differ from a schedule?
A routine is a consistent flow to the day that easily becomes a pattern. A schedule can feel random and pattern-less, requiring more concentration and energy to implement. A routine becomes something you can do without thinking. A schedule often leaves you constantly referring to a written order of things.
Can a schedule become routine?
I always make a time schedule for each of my boys and myself. For my schedule to become a routine, the most important part is the order in which things are done. I have my boys keep the same order of subjects each day. Following the same order allows my boys to memorize their schedule until it becomes “routine.”
What are the benefits of a routine?
A routine makes it easy for me to check on my boys and see how far along they are in their day. A routine takes less thought to implement. It allows the child to really find ways to make the day flow more smoothly. Following the same order also makes gathering books and supplies easy. This is because even very young students begin to know which books they’ll need when. If you are constantly changing your schedule, you may never truly reap the benefits of having a routine.
Try developing a routine!
Try keeping the same order of subjects in your day for a month! See if you notice an easier flow to your day as your schedule becomes a routine.
PS: If you want a more in-depth look at creating a routine, have a look at this blog post:
Please Explain How to Set Up a Routine Instead of a Schedule
A Charlotte Mason Moment:
“The habit of regularity is as attractive to older children as to the infant. The days when the usual programme [sic] falls through are, we know, the days when the children are apt to be naughty.”
(Home Education by Charlotte M. Mason Vol. 1, p. 132)
A Firm Home Rule
Does your child have an easy-to-follow schedule that can be seen at a glance?
Do you love schedules or loathe them? Either way, there is one helpful item that we have found our students need. It is a list of subjects in the order the subjects “ideally” should be completed each day. Without such a schedule, the child remains completely dependent on you to dictate the day.
A schedule doesn’t need to be fancy.
This listing of subjects can be hand-written or typed. It is helpful to use the subject names from the boxes in the Heart of Dakota guide. It also helps to note a time allotment behind each subject. This way the students have some idea of how long the subject is expected to take. On our list I also include the room of our house where I expect the child to complete the subject. I write start and end times next to each subject (but this part of the list is purely optional).
You can use the same list all year!
We use the same list all year. We place the list in a plastic page protector. Each day our students check off each subject with a dry erase marker. At day’s end, they use a dry eraser to clear the schedule for use again the next day.
Freedom comes when the order of subjects remains basically the same.
Keeping the subjects in the same basic order each day really pays off in setting a routine. Your student will come to expect which subject comes next, saving both of you time. The actual time on the clock when each subject occurs is less important than the routine. Even if the time of day at which you complete those subjects varies from day-to-day… the order remains the same. Try making a simple, easy-to-follow schedule for your child and see what you think!
Please Explain How to Set Up a Routine Instead of a Schedule
Consider your child’s personality when scheduling artistic subjects.
Do you have a child who loves to take his/her time when doing any assignment that requires drawing? If so, you may wish to consider placing subjects that require drawing or artwork as the last subject. One of our sons really enjoys doing each art-related assignment meticulously. While this results in beautiful work, it can also make this mama want to constantly hurry him along! This results in stress for both us.
Schedule art-related subjects last in the day.
The solution for me was to schedule any art-related assignments within my son’s HOD guide after lunch. This was when he did his last subjects of the day. In that way, my son could take as long as he wanted to complete the assignment. He’s on his own time then, and I am not rushing him. This is because I try to be done with most formal teaching from his HOD guide by then.
Various assignments can fall into the artwork category.
Notebooking assignments and lab sheets for science often fall in this category. Timeline entries and Draw and Write entries fall in this category for us too. The painting assignments in CTC, the composer study in Rev2Rev, and the nature journal in MTMM are also in this category.
Even if you don’t have a child who is artistic, any assignment with drawing typically takes more time.
Once you figure out which drawing assignments are taking more time, consider placing these last in the day. This will help keep the rest of your schedule on-track. And, when your child is on his/her own time, he will be less likely to drag an assignment out. Try a schedule redo and see if it helps your day run more smoothly!
As you begin planning a schedule for school…be realistic!
It is so easy to make a perfect school schedule on paper that falls apart in practice! So, here are a few tips to help you make a more realistic schedule.
Consider whether you are a morning person.
When making a “school” schedule, be sure to take into account whether you are a morning person. Then, set a realistic start time for your days. I am not a morning person! So, for me breakfast at 9:00 with teaching at 9:30 is realistic. It is better to make a plan you can stick to rather than a “wishful” plan that quickly falls by the wayside.
Consider your child’s best work times.
It is also wise to take note of your child’s best work time. Is your child a morning person? Or, does he/she do better with a slower start? It is a good idea to schedule accordingly. For example, don’t schedule a child who has a hard time getting going in the A.M. with his/her hardest subjects first.
Consider your little ones first.
When planning for school, often our first thought is to schedule the school-age children. If you have a 2 or 3 year old, it is more important to schedule that little one first. If we expect our little ones to just “go with the flow,” what will happen? A busy 2 or 3 year old can drag everyone else along as he/she quickly derails the day!
Spend some time over the next week noticing when you and your children are at your best.
As you begin mulling over a schedule, remember to be realistic with your expectations! Your year will run more smoothly if you schedule both you and your children when you are at your best!
The way you handle breakfast sets the tone for your day
A streamlined lunch is a huge help in the homeschool day