Tuesday 19 March 2013

Homeschool Daily Schedules

Personally I have a love hate relationship with home school daily schedules.  On one had I know how valuable they are and on the other they annoy me endlessly.  I love flexibility to the annoyance of my family, who do not cope with sudden and unexpected change. I have spent the last year without a formal written schedule and the fruit of this decision shows my time has not been as productive as when I have used a written formal schedule. At the moment I have the skeleton of a schedule brewing in my thinking. I have baulked at creating a schedule partly because of Sir N's make up.  He thrives on schedule but if anything changes even by one minute the world comes to an end and I end up spending hours trying to calm him down and get back on track.

Today at our home school mom's meeting we discussed the chapter Inconstant Kitty in A Charlotte Mason Companion it could not have come at a better time. It always amazes me how these sorts of things 'happen' across my path when I need them the most.

"Every lesson must have its own time, and no other time in this world is there for it. The sense of the preciousness of time, of the irreparable loss when a ten minutes' lesson is thrown away must be brought home." - Charlotte Mason Companion page 93

There are many hidden dangers to having a formal schedule. I have found often times we purchase a curriculum and feel driven to check every box in order to say we have achieved X,Y of Z. Or we say I have paid good money for that I will use it. Often times this is much to the determent of our home atmosphere. I have learned that a home atmosphere determines the length of a home school journey.

However the counter balance is "What you are allowed to meander through all day, you will; what must be done, is done." - Charlotte Mason Companion page 92.

Another danger is becoming a slave to the schedule and loosing all sense of flexibility.  A Schedule can be your ruling tyrant or active servant. Over the years I have found that it is important to keep it in the appropriate place of servitude. Sally Clarkson says: "There are many varieties of personalities and possibilities of home organization, Each of us simply has to find the combination of routines that suits our lifestyle and desires."The Mission of Motherhood.

Home school groups / friends can be another source of danger. At times there can be a sub culture of comparison within many home school groups. Over time I have come to understand that this happens because as home school mothers we feel inadequate. So we constantly compare ourselves and what we are doing with what others are doing.

For many years I did this (and sometimes still do) and the result was constantly changing my home school to look like someone else's. The fruit of this is adding in many excellent ideas that were working for other families and in the end I had so many things I was doing I couldn't possibly do them well. There just were not enough hours in my day to do so. I constantly have to prune in order to do a few things really well rather than a myriad of things at 25% capacity.

When setting up your individual schedule keep in mind your own families needs and character.  Trying to adhere to someone else's schedule is a recipe for an unhappy home. Remember your children are being tutored therefore they do not need to have a six hour school day.  Typically a 7 year old can learn a full day of school in 2-3 hours. In the high school years an average of four hours is all that is needed. Here are a few things to consider when formulating a schedule should you choose to have one:
  • Your personality and those of your spouse and children.
  • You spouses schedule and needs
  • Learning Styles
  • Family needs
  • Break times
  • Deadlines
  • Extra curricular classes (children's, yours and your spouse)
  • Ages and stages of your children
  • Your personal style.
  • Why ? What's your motive for that choice? 
  • Know your purpose. 
  • Consider all or your priorities.
  • What are your goals ?
  • Limit and cut back on all fronts because everything takes longer than you will expect.
Remember a schedule needs to grow and change with your family.  Your children are growing, changing and maturing. What is working well today might not work so well in six months time. Take regular time to reevaluate your schedule and tweak it to suit your family.

There are many methods of structuring your day out there.  Here are some ideas for you to consider when developing your schedule

On the WWW
Last thoughts

Once you have structured your plan and have embarked upon your new adventure be aware that you will need to make regular small course corrections to stay on track.  The winds of time, health, seasons, understanding and interruptions will blow. On occasion the storms of life may blow you off track so it is imperative to take some regular time to course correct and refocus and move forward.


This week
  • Bernadette shares I've got Rhythm and wonders if you could ask for anything more?
  • Julie has a Highhill Education Daily Schedule and uses spreadsheets to keep organized and help her children become more independent.
  • Hwee shares about their Daily Schedule or Lack thereof and talks about their journey from being formally structured home schoolers to find their loosely structured approach.
  • Savannah shares Our Daily Schedule including daily life, meal planning, school and all the extras

Linking with
Hip Homeschool Hop Button The Homeschool Village

Title Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles


  1. I love the links to resources...great post!

  2. I couldn't function without a plan, or without our timetables / schedules! Not that we EVER stick to it - not even close - but hey, at least we have a plan!

    1. Hear! Hear! Linda I agree :) The last year has confirmed this for me :)

  3. I am a very scheduled person, but I agree totally that there has to be balance and a schedule shouldn't be a ruling tyrant! I let my boys who are 11 and 13 make their own daily schedules, but they know what has to be done and turned in each day. I still manage my 7-yr-old daughter's time, though. :)

    1. Brandi I ♥ schedules but I hate feeling tied down. I can see that finding balance is key for me. I am impressed with your older two being able to govern themselves. Wow. That will serve them well long term.

  4. Very good advice here, Chareen, with many wonderful links! :-) Great post!

  5. This is such sensible advice, Chareen! I've found that we achieve more with a schedule, too, but it falls apart if we're not flexible. When we get the balance right, our days run really smoothly!

    God bless, Chareen:-)

    1. Thank you Vicky. I do confess that finding that balance is the hardest.

  6. Oh the balance, and finding that balance. Just tweaked ours recently again;) and really happy.

    1. I agree Erin it changes constantly and my micro grams at a time it's so sensitive :)

  7. I have to have a schedule but get frustrated when my routine gets interrupted. My husbands work schedule is such that he is sometimes home during the day at random times and he has 3 weeks vacation a year that occur at any time. I have found a way to feel my need to be scheduled and organized as well as flexible. I schedule on a 5 day rotation. I have a schedule for each of those 5 days. Instead of sticking to a M-F timetable. So Monday might be day 1, something comes up tuesday, so we then pick up on day 2 for wednesday. This has worked great for me so far.

    1. I think that is key. Not to play catch up but start at the point you need to be at that day.

      My husband works a nine day week so I agree with you it can disrupt things

  8. Love your post on the subject! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Good post with many good thoughts. :)


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