Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chatting about the new routine

I know many gasped at our new schedule when I posted them up earlier this year. Having each quarter hour allotted to some type of activity is a daunting prospect, and it's taken a little getting used to here as well.

I must say, though, that I'm actually very glad that I've made the decision to do follow this through. After three weeks of aiming to stay to the schedule, most of the routine has become automatic.

As we've been working through this, I made note of some points for some consideration when writing up such a schedule:
  • It helps to write down how long a subject actually takes to complete each day, so you can average out the time allocation.
  • Realise that sometimes a child will need help when asked to work independently and change to accommodate.  This happened with Maestro needing help with his violin .. he needed help with playing some passages in tune, which meant I needed to be available to accompany with the piano.
  • Some activities were left out, such as our weekly trip to the library.  It didn't take too much to work out where we'd slot that in, accounting for travel time and a possible picnic lunch if it's a nice day.
  • We don't always start the day at the time planned.  We've had to make a decision to jump in where the time sequence was and try and fit in the earlier subjects later, or (our preference) just start from the beginning and just modify/omit some afternoon activities.
I also noted that I preferred having the whole week mapped out, rather than a general day set out.  Here's what I now have printed out (a segment of the document, as I couldn't fit it all onto the page to capture and take to 'Paint').  One copy for the diary, and another for the fridge:

You'll notice there are some nice big empty spaces in the afternoons, especially for the children.  I do like some flexibility here, and filling it in with some gardening, sewing or reading is lovely.  The coloured blue boxes are where I'm teaching piano or singing, and one or both of the children often have a friend over to play or are visiting themselves during this time.

I know that as homeschoolers that it's really nice to work at the child's own pace and allow for great lengths of creative time.  I'm not trying to eliminate those times at all; in fact, our Fridays are very much like that still.  However, having an expected routine has been of benefit here. The children have been wonderful at getting on with their learning as they know what's expected, and I know to look out for which child needs my assistance throughout the day.  Maestro has also had to get involved with his own time management with some projects he's having to submit that are not part of our home learning (eg: the Film Making course has required him to do homework that we've set mini deadlines for to help him achieve the time goals).  Having his own diary and writing weekly goals has helped him along his way in this area.

I'm still learning about better organisation, and have recently borrowed two of Julie Morgenstern's books from the library.  I started with "Time Management from the Inside Out" (and have read about a third of it already .. excellent!!)  Her earlier book, "Organization from the Inside Out" is the book I should have started with first, and it's also the book I probably most need to read at this time.  So, I have my own homework to do for the rest of the week.  All this is aiming toward a more ordered, therefore peaceful way of living.

So, I hope you're all having a lovely week.  I'll try and pop by some of your blogs before the weekend (and say 'hi' where the comments will allow me  .. smiles!).

Thank you for dropping by!


Chareen said...

Great advice Catherine.

Am in the process of writing my routine up.

I found over the years though that the routine needed to be remade every three months because the needs of the family changed and the dynamics changed too as the children grew.

Catherine (Alecat Music) said...

Hello Chareen,

Yes, it does need constant updating. I think I've already redone this four times .. the last being when the dance schedule got overhauled AGAIN last weekend.