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06 January 2019

Scheduling our Charlotte Mason Homeschool Day

I think that one of the things that's hardest for me to work out as we homeschool is: how much work will fit in a day? I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure this out over Christmas break as I worked up our new schedules. It's an important question: Hero is getting to the point where I need to start helping him to develop the skills to organize himself; he needs to start being a touch more independent about his school work.

But before I can hand him a schedule, I have to make one.

We've had schedules for a long time, actually. I put them in my bullet journal, and it's a system that works fairly well in a lot of days. We've done it more or less the same way for a number of years now. I make a "six week" schedule that never, ever lasts for only six weeks. The idea is that we'll have six weeks on and a week off, and I'll make a new schedule in the off week, only we're never, ever done by six weeks: I'm too optimistic about how many minutes there are in a school day.

And each week I have one of these box charts next to a page that's got my appointments and other commitments, so that I can see them all as a glance, and color in the little boxes as we go along, which I find extremely satisfying.

But I have a super hard time telling what's going to fit into a week. We mostly follow Ambelside Online's schedules, but I made a big mess of it when we started switching, so I can't actually use the schedules they publish. Because "mostly" is an important word, and we're still somewhat using the things from The Well-Trained Mind. Also, leaving their book list as-is isn't any easier than leaving a recipe as-is: I generally intend to follow it. And the main books/ingredients tend to be the same.

So I sat down and tried counting up how many 30 minute slots there are, after we've done Morning basked (about an hour), violin and piano practice (another 30-45 minutes or so), and done math (another 30 minutes). That brings us to about 2.5 hours. I like to start at 9, and be done around 3. Which leaves us about 6-7 half hour "slots" for the rest of the day. And I carefully sat down and figured out how many slots in a week for each kid (the younger ones don't do as much), and wrote it all on my chart.

I was so happy with myself: we "weekly" schedule was going to really be weekly!

Then I started putting it all on the marker board. I put up the list of the work that's expected, and the kids erase things as they finish: they get to choose what order they do their work in (mostly), and we all can see how much still needs to be done today. Hero and I are experimenting with him choosing the order of things in the week, so he's just got numbers, rather than abbreviations for various books and subjects.

 I think I did my math wrong. I guess we'll see after we've lived the schedule I made for a few days. But I think that I did it wrong, and there's about 10 things too many on the schedule each week. So we're totally going to be going with a "weekly" schedule, more sets of stuff we loop through, rather than a legitimate list of work we'll accomplish each week.


There's so many cool things to learn.
How do you even decide what to keep and what to drop??

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