When you embark on putting a schedule together, whether with paper and pen, or with an Excel type program, I can assure you of one thing....you'll be faced with a lot of 'blanks' to fill in! I can also assure you that if you did your homework, by following the ideas for 'planning', that this stage is much easier to do. You'll have an idea of the things that need to be done, who will be doing them, and how long they will take. It is best to start off with some bench markers.
Bench markers being things like wake up time, nap times, meal times, etc. By plugging those in first you have something to work around. Every family will have their differences. You may have a child who works best in quietude, or one who does better after some running around outside. For our family, with three young boys, it is important to get them outside first thing in the morning to get some outside play time in. I also spaced out their play time with their most active sister on purpose, so they would come in, have some 'work time', or play alone time for a while, then they have a play time with their active sister. This sister enjoys rough housing, or running around, jumping, etc. Then there is some more quieter activity, followed by lunch, rest time, and then outside time. This way the boys run off their energy productively! Otherwise it's taken out on my furniture, or by lovely displays of toys spewn across the whole house. Unfortunately our modern education system does not take the VERY REAL differences of boys and girls into account. My boys still have to learn to sit still when needed, but I take into account their very real need of expelling energy in very real physical ways.
After I scheduled my bench markers I figured in when and how often to do chores. This was much easier than figuring out our homeschooling. I knew I wanted the bulk of our homeschool work to be done before lunch. Knowing who needed my help with different subjects helped as well. I will say, that for us, Librivox has been a God send! It really helps with the time I have to give to each child in need. The older two girls can read on their own. Flannery can read just fine, but some of the books are a bit heavy vocabulary wise, so I (or Librivox) read those to her. Saoirse is only in an early reader level, so all books need to be read to her. Each of the girls only has about two books that are on Librivox (out of 7 possible books for the week), so that still leaves a lot to reading for me to do. After I figured out our homeschooling time, I was able to work on free time, family time, baths, etc.
Below you can see our schedule for Monday through Friday:
If you click on the schedule above it will open in a view that shows up a bit darker and slightly enlarged, for a better view.
I noticed that the 7:00AM slot for the girls was blank, it should say, "Wake up, dress, clean up room". And in a earlier post I told how we needed to switch lunch to the 12 o'clock slot, and I pushed math with the older girls to after lunch. There are a few things not listed on the schedule, like snack time, which usually happens around 3 o'clock, which is during free time (which is why I didn't feel I needed to 'schedule it in'). Where you see 'clean up' after a meal, that is when we do our room chores (each of us, except for the boys is assigned a room to clean up). Later I will share how I split up our chores, and how that is working for us.