For even more posts about planning from curriculum picks, to scheduling options, to setting goals, be sure to visit my homeschool planning guide.
Yesterday I shared a peek into our homeschool schedule for the first four weeks of school. All-in-all I am happy with how our schedule has been going. There are a few spots, though, where I would like for things to improve. Here is the process I use to work through making those changes.
Homeschool Planning Changes Process
The first task in making changes to a schedule is to evaluate where you might be having problems. For me, problem areas are easy to find, because they are the areas that leave me either yelling at the kids (yep, I can be a yeller) or just generally feeling like something is “off.”
In years past mornings have done this for me, because I would try to sleep in and shower after the kids were up. It would be pretty apparent to me from the lack of direction in the morning and the resulting anger directed at the unsupervised children that I was the problem and needed to change my ways.
Looking at my current schedule, there are a few places where I am feeling things are not quite right: my lack of prayer time in the morning, my inability to fit in exercise, the fact I am still having to “nudge” the kids to get them to finish their morning chores in a timely manner, and the lack of consistent read aloud time — still.
Now that I have a good idea where my schedule needs tweaking, I sit and try to come up with a few ideas I can use to make changes. Looking at the issue of prayer I can decide to play the Liturgy of the Hours. while I dress in the morning or find an exciting new resource to use like this one or this one. Something that I am excited to try helps motivate me to do the right thing in the morning.
Sometimes instead of brainstorming something new I need to return to an old practice. Our morning chore time used the be the “Morning Chore Boogie” before I got lazy and stopped playing the music. Going back to what we were doing before should breathe new life into chore time and help it get done.
Creating a list of multiple ideas for solving a problem means that if one thing doesn’t work, I have a new idea right in my arsenal to try next.
Next I need to try out some of my new ideas. Sometimes I will be excited to try something (like the new prayer resources). Other times I will use a technique like “just do it.” I may not have great ideas for reading aloud — instead my strategy may be to just start with ten minutes each day. Simply forcing myself to begin and allowing myself to stop after a few minutes is all I need. Gradually the time I do the task increases with no effort on my part.
Other times, hanging the task on a natural hook of my day is all I need to kickstart a change to my schedule. So during lunch I read, or when we finish the school day I immediately get up and work out. By tying what I want to do to an event that naturally happens every day (lunch or finishing school) the new behavior is more likely to get done.
The only constant is change. As sure as I get some tweak in the schedule worked out, something else will need tweaking or events in the schedule will change, and I will need to start back at square one. That is why these things are best written in pencil and reevaluated at the end of each term. Then the process begins again.