I’m the kind of person who has high expectations for our homeschool days, but because I have diabetes, if my blood sugar is “off” even by a little, I can lose focus and end up not following through on my original plan. My brain just can’t work through the highs and lows without some help!
I started our homeschooling journey without a schedule because I thought that we’d just integrate the activities into our everyday life in a natural way. Needless to say, that didn’t work! Between my medical condition and my children’s needs, a lot of my homeschooling goals just weren’t accomplished. Ambleside Online’s Year 1 took two years for my daughter to complete! I can give as many excuses as I’d like about why it took so long, but the main culprit was the lack of consistency in our schedule.
I wasn’t prioritizing school. I scheduled doctor and therapy appointments during our school day. If my blood sugar was off, I assumed that I couldn’t push through and I ended lessons early. If family members stopped by to visit, I just stopped schooling and enjoyed the (rare) adult time even if it interfered in our school day.
To make matters worse, we weren’t including any of the “riches” (aka “extracurriculars”) in our school day at all! I finally came to the conclusion that if I was committed to homeschooling, then something had to change.
Enter: THE SCHEDULE.
I *love* having a schedule. When we had a schedule, here is what happened:
- My kids became more independent. They knew what was supposed to come next, and they would get started!
- My kids and I kept each other accountable. In fact, because the schedule is posted prominently on our fridge, we were accountable to any family member or visitor who happened to stop by!
- Therapy and doctor’s appointments became less disruptive. I have a specific day and time when I am “allowed” to schedule therapy and doctor’s appointments. If they don’t fit in the weekly schedule, they wait until one of our break weeks (every six weeks).
- Family members learned our schedule and timed their visits during outside play time, break times or after-school hours. This one surprised me. My family even seemed to feel proud of themselves for timing it right, so I was on the hook to make sure I was being consistent!
- We completed the year in the time allotted! A couple of the more challenging books (like Robin Hood and Wind in the Willows) took a little longer, so we are finishing them as “free reads” over the summer, but for the most part, we kept on track!
I never would have guessed how successful this experiment would turn out to be!
It was really important for us to take a “break week” every six weeks. We started school in July to account for the breaks, so it’s more like year-round school with two long breaks (for Christmas and summer). During the time off, I updated the schedule. I made adjustments, assessed our progress and printed off resources as needed. I also caught up on household jobs that were falling behind, managed our family budget and planned lessons for my part-time job in the evenings. It was an intense, but very successful year, and I am so proud of us!
Click the link below if you’d like to see the .PDF schedule exactly as I post it on our fridge (with my kids’ names removed).
I hope you find the schedule to be a fun glimpse into a Charlotte Mason homeschooling week!