Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Our New School Schedule and Organization

Creating a schedule that would meet all the needs we have this school year was a challenge.  But after taking off the whole summer (and living pretty much unscheduled), we're totally ready for more structure.  I find that everyone is happier and more content when the day is planned out for them.  

Even though I can't guarantee that this schedule is going to go as planned, I decided to share it anyway.  I don't think I've ever made a schedule that didn't need some revision, so I'm expecting that.  But this is what we're aiming for.  You'll notice that we will be learning all over the house, not just in our school room.  That's because we have different things going on all at the same time.  For instance, the older girls will need quiet while they work on some of their studies.  At the same time, another child will be playing with the three-year-old and I will be having one-on-one school time with my beginning reader.  So, it will work out better to be in different parts of the house.

Also, I'll be referring to Little Hearts for His Glory as LHFHG, Bigger Hearts for His Glory as BHFHG, Creation to Christ as CTC, and Teaching Textbooks as TT, just so I don't have to type it all out!
So, here's the schedule:

7:00 to 9:00 AM:  Everyone up, showers, dress, chores, Bible reading, breakfast, clean up from breakfast, teeth brushed, laundry started.

9:30:  We all meet at the table in our school room (basement) for Circle Time.  We quickly go over the calendar, have a short Bible or character lesson, and prayer.  

9:45:  While E (13) has her Bible Quiet Time, A (11) reads  history and does cursive, and I (9) does his Teaching Textbooks lesson on the computer, I will go upstairs with F (6) and E (3) and do LHFHG Rhymes in Motion and Corresponding Music in living room.

10:00:  Time for preschool with E (3) in the basement (learning  puzzles, Kumon workbooks, activities I prepared that require help from me, etc.).  E (13) will read her history, A (11) will do TT on the computer, and I (9) will do his handwriting and English.  F (6) will do an educational game.

10:15:  I have school time with F (6).  E (13) will do her TT on the computer, A (11) will have her Bible Quiet Time, I  (9) will play with E (3) and listen to his Hymn's for a Kid's Heart and Math-U-See Skip Counting CD.

10:45:  I have school time with I (9).   E (13) will do her Language Arts, A (11)will play with E (3) in the basement, and F (6) will do Draw Write Now at the kitchen table.

11:30:  School time with E (13) and A (11)  (CTC).  I (9) will read an assigned book, and F (6) and E (3) will play together.

12:00:  F (6), I (9), and E (3) will all be downstairs with me at the school table.  F (6)will do her Fine Motor Skills workbook while I do a BHFHG activity with I (9).  E (3) will do puzzles or join in activity with us.  Then we will do F's Science activity.  E (13) and A (11) will be upstairs making lunch.

12:30:  Lunch 

1:00:  Girls wash dishes and wipe down counters and table.  I will have Science with I (9) at the kitchen table.

1:30:  E (3) goes down for a nap.  Then I have a couple of hours to work on sewing, computer-related things, reading, organizing and planning, or other things I need/want to do.  Meanwhile, the older children are having piano practice (and guitar for my older daughter), taking turns on the computer for typing practice, reading, and the older girls have independent history study and poetry/painting during this time.

3:30-4:00:  Read aloud to younger three children.

4:00-4:15:  Read aloud to older girls.  Younger children have free play outside or in the basement.

4:30-5:00:  I play with one child (rotating one child per day) in my room.  We can play board games, card games, work on a small craft, or play whatever they want.  It's just a time to be one-on-one with each child in a relaxed and fun setting.

The rest of the evening is filled with making supper, eating, cleaning up, playing outside, family worship, baths, family read aloud time, bedtime routines, and bed.  
After lots of thought and prayers for creativity, I found the solution for storing all of our Heart of Dakota school books.  Even though some of the school day will take place in the finished basement (where our school room is located), most of the one-on-one teaching time will take place upstairs in our bedroom or in the living room.  I needed a place to store the books upstairs, and I don't have a bookshelf in the bedroom.  This little rolling cart (that was previously in our school room) works perfectly for storing them, and it fits nicely in a corner of the bedroom.     

The cart  has three drawers, and all of the books fit just perfectly!  In the top drawer, I have the LHFHG books and also the math books and materials we'll be using.
In the second drawer I have BHFHG.
And there is even room for the little box of 3x5 cards holding spelling words for this year:

In an effort to be as organized as possible, I already made all of the 3x5 cards with spelling words on them.  My hand was a bit sore after writing all those out!
The bottom drawer contains all of the Creation to Christ materials:
All the additional books that we'll be using for HOD are stored in these three plastic bins that I had sitting empty in the garage, just waiting to be repurposed.  They are stored in a corner in the closet.  I keep the current read-alouds and other books that we're currently using in the rolling cart, and then the rest are stored here.  I will look ahead in the guides, and as I see that we need different books, I'll get them out and put the others away.

Each child's school supplies (crayons, pencils, glue sticks, scissors, rulers, etc.) and the books that they can work on independently are stored in their school bags.  They each have their own bag (with their name embroidered on the front).
We are planning to begin the full schedule on Wednesday, Lord willing.  Everyone's excited!

Linking to:  Not Back to School Blog Hop, The Modest Mom, and All of a Kind Family


  1. Wonderful to teach your own kids. We don't know that here in Holland. Shame. I would love to teach them the things they need, but also the things that we as parents think is important for them to learn.

    Love your scedule. Hope it will work out well for all of you!

    1. I'm so thankful to be able to teach my own. It's a true blessing!

  2. You are SO organized Joy and have wonderful ideas.I am working to do better at that this year.
    HOD looks wonderful!

    1. Thanks, Ellen! I try...but I still have areas I could improve in, too! :) I'm really excited about HOD.

  3. Joy, this post was so encouraging to read!
    Beautiful organizing & clever solutions.
    Blessings to you in your new school year!

    1. Thank you, Collette! I hope your school year is blessed, also!

  4. Praying that it works out just as you planned...enjoy the process :)

    1. Thank you so much, Maria!

  5. What a great post Joy! I love seeing others schedules and get ideas. I have a question about the alone time you have between 4:30 and 5:00 with one child a day. What do your other children do during this time? I have three children (5, 3, and 11 months) I would like to do something like this but am not sure how to work it in. Any ideas? Thank you!

    1. Thanks, Brooke!

      My children have activities scheduled all afternoon, so when I get to this point in the schedule, I have "free time" planned for the children who aren't spending time with me alone. Usually they like to play outside during this time. With younger children, maybe it would work to have an assigned toy to play with during that time. Maybe something special that they don't usually play with.

      When I had three children who were 5, 3, and 1, I would put my younger two down for a nap and then spend some time alone with just my 5-year-old. We would spend about 30 minutes drawing together (her choice) or playing something she wanted to play. Then she would have a nap (she still took a short afternoon nap) and I would have time to work on other projects for a little while until they all woke up.

      Or, maybe you could have one-on-one time with each child at a time when your husband is available. It's harder when they're younger and require more supervision.

      As my children are getting older, it's becoming even more important to have that one-on-one time with each of them. Otherwise, the days just kind of go by in a blur with nor real heart-connecting.

      Blessings to you as you mother your little ones!

  6. Angela8/29/2012

    Thank you for sharing your schedule! I like seeing how other homeschooling families structure their day. What do you do when a child does not complete their assigned subject in the set amount of time you have designated? One of my daughters works at a much slower rate than my other two children I am teaching...I am still getting used to teaching 3 and having 2 smaller ones to keep busy as well. I have a schedule, but things like that seem to throw me for a loop! :)

    1. Oh, that's a tough one! I have a child who works slower than the others, too. What I do in this case depends on a lot of different factors. If the child is really unable to complete the work in the allotted time, then I might try to allow more time in the schedule for them to complete their subjects. Or, I will sometimes decide they only need to complete part of the subject. I eliminate some of the parts that seem unnecessary. Or maybe they work better with one-on-one time with me, and we can get more done that way.

      If, however, this child just has a hard time staying on task (and they are easily distracted), I might try mixing different activities in with the academic work. For instance, do a short 10-15 minutes of math, then play with little brother. Then work on handwriting for 5 minutes, then switch activities again. For some children, sticking with short lessons and varying activities helps them stay focused.

      Something that sometimes works with older students is to tell them that if they don't finish their work in the time scheduled, they will have to work on it in the afternoon while the other children are playing outside and having free time. Sometimes that is enough incentive to help them stay on task. I never really have the heart to do this, though! :)

      Those are just a few ideas. My highly distracted child works best with a combination of these: short lessons, interspersed with more activity, and one-on-one time with me.

      I hope you're able to find just the right thing that works for your child. I know it can be a challenge!

  7. Oh you look like you have a very fun year ahead and yes things tend to be tweaked along the way. I pray many blessings on your year. I have started to transition into our school year but will be more full on after we get back from our coastal trip to visit family and friends.

    Blessings and ((HUGS))

    1. We had our first day today, and it's been going great! Have fun on your trip!

      Blessings to you, dear Mary!

  8. Thanks for sharing your great ideas for your schedule & organization of HOD!

  9. I would just like to know where you got your bags from. Did you order them from LLBean, and did you get the Medium or Large with the short handles? Thank you, Christy

    1. We got them from LL Bean, and got the medium size. We've been using them for around 3 years now, and they've held up nicely. Here's another post about them:


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