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  1. #1
    Senior Member Enlightened
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    Default Can we talk schedules vs. routines? And how to implement?

    We have never had much of a schedule (read: I've always rebelled against a schedule and when I've tried, a la Supernanny, they haven't lasted) but I'm wondering if it would simplify our lives and be good for my kids--especially the youngest (who can be challenging, to put it mildly).

    We lost my mom in March and one of the books I'm reading about helping grieving kids is that they need a schedule to feel secure. I've heard that before, in general, and haven't really bought into that idea--after all I have four kids and they're all well-adjusted, happy and fine--mostly.

    I got to thinking we really don't need a strict or rigid schedule as much as we need routines, I think. Something that might help me find some of that elusive peace and tranquility I can never quite grasp in our lives.

    I'm a little lost on how to implement and am wondering if my plans sound feasible. This will primarily be directed at my 4yo and 6yo. I'd like to extend it to the 12yo and 15yo too but in the right way (so they won't rebel). Anyhow this is what I'm daydreaming about:

    1) starting the day off with a sit-down meal (rather than the "everyone grab what you want" thing that we do because we all get up at different times)

    2) follow it with a short period of chores (cleaning up cooperatively from breakfast).

    3) circle time sort of thing where we could briefly discuss calendar and the weather, any seasons, etc.

    4) then we could work with the pocket chart I have on its way (math, sight words and alphabet)

    5) after that I think my 4yo would be ready for a break, so they could have some free time outside before it gets too hot

    6) DD could then do her seatwork (MBTP, etc.) and DS could do readingeggs.com or he could just get into the art supplies or counting bears, etc.

    7) Next they could play and/or help me tidy up and make lunch.

    8) Lunch together...sometimes a picnic or a visit to the McD's with indoor playground, or lunch at home and then McD's for dessert + playing (indoor playing is a necessity over the summer here in Phx) or occasionally even a restaurant.

    9) After lunch I just want unscheduled time...free reading, me reading to them, perhaps baking together, crafting/sewing, etc. I of course at times would be doing housework during this time and I could try harder to engage them in that.

    10) Around 5pm, clean-up time before daddy comes home. I hate to have him tripping over our mess when he comes home after a 12-hour workday!

    11) Daddy time with the kids after dinner (he already does this usually)

    12) Baths+teeth and quiet time till bed.

    I'm even considering ONLY accepting things like Dr's/dental appts on certain days (if possible) so I don't have to mess up the routine frequently...then it could be in the plan that those days have a different routine. I.E. We're doing a summer movie program for 10 weeks this summer on Monday mornings, so Mondays could have that incorporated in...maybe I'd make that shopping day so we would get all our errands done while already out, etc.

    Perhaps this is a total fantasy but I need to change something and appreciate any feedback anyone has on my plans or the routine vs. schedule idea.
    Chelee, home educating since 2003
    Kayla, 18
    Jake, 15
    Katie, 9
    Dakota, 7

  2. #2
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    I think you're right, it's more "routines" than "schedules"... I find schedules limiting and stress inducing because when (inevitably) something messes up the schedule I feel like I've got to get it back, etc...

    That said, I think you're on a good track... maybe split the day into "chunks" and make each "chunk" a routine i.e. morning routine, break to play/whatever, afternoon routine, break to play/whatever, evening routine... and keep holding the idea that these routines are fluid and ever changing (so you don't stress out when wrenches fly in.)

    I know how hard it is when a beloved family member passes away. We lost my FIL two years ago this month. That year leading up to his death was awful... we got hardly anything done, but we are all caught up and the kids are fine. I don't think "schedules" or "routines" are as important as knowing that you are there for them... to talk whenever they need/want to about their feelings and thoughts and to support them through the grief. I read probably ten books on childrens' grief when Pa was dying and it all comes down to validating their feelings (no matter what they are.. and they change rapidly) and letting them know it's OK. There's no right or wrong way to grieve and we all do it in our own way and time.

    Hugs to you and your family

    Lo

  3. #3
    Senior Member Arrived pandahoneybee's Avatar
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    HELLLO Shellie! First let me say I am so sorry to hear about your mom, it takes a strong woman to get up every morning and continue after something like that hits you. We lost my grandma in Dec/2010 and she was like a mom to me, IT took me months to get back on track with the boys. So I am here if you need to chat at any time, granted I pass out about 8 or 9 sometimes I feel young when I can stay up until 10! HEHE not kidding but I do get up at 4am to that's the trade off right??

    OK schedules, my boys do great with them when I actually make them (a bit on the ADD side of the coin here and I get bored!), they just love to cross things out! OR with my oldest I do a google spreadsheet(or google calendar` that you both can share so you both can update it) and he goes in and highlights it when he does it, this really helps him (ADHD himself) stay on track. With him though I am trying to get him to start making his own list, ya take some responsibility for the things he knows he needs to do everyday. like... practice his instrument, PUT ON DEO! (that's a big one! or he smells like onions even after a shower, chores, online programs that we do everyday, things like that. I think this is the route I would go with the older ones, and make it about you. Mom needs some help right now to make sure we are getting everything done and that we are going to everything that you are into (sports,teen meetups,classes outside the house, etc) As soon as it is a routine for them it will just take on a life of its own Alex (my oldest) even asked for his own daily planner the other day so he could plan out projects he is doing for his other classes AND his volunteer hours. I about fell over!

    For my youngest, he likes to check of boxes so I got a template (free off google temps, i think) and I just update it to the current week and print it off. HE LOVES TO SEE HOW MUCH FURTHER HE HAS BEFORE HE IS DONE

    Totally agree with set days for out of the house activities, we SIGNED up for way too many things this year and only have Mondays completely at home. Something I am changing for next year. (since we are planning on moving out of Cary and into the country, I have figured out that I like people when I am not seeing them in the short shorts cutting their grass at 7am on Saturdays waking up my three bears!)

    OK so that's my take on what we try and do, I am sure that there will be a lot of members who can weigh in on this
    Pandahoneybee -
    Homeschooling two boys (17 and 12),3 dogs, 3 fish, 2 goats, 2 guineas and one grown man in NC since 2008! AND proud mama has 6 Rhode Island Red girls!!
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  4. #4
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    Wow! I could have written your post! I really dislike schedules.......and my Mom passed in early April. It sucks.....to put it bluntly.

    What I have implemented is a Morning "Meeting"....... a block of time where we sit down and do the stuff we can do together. Our house is very open floor plan and so the kids are welcome to quietly move around while I read aloud to them, quiz them on math, talk about family issues, etc. After our Meeting then each kid (there are 3) knows to go off and do their own work while I spend about an hour with each kid if it is needed...to read to the youngest, help the oldest with her math, help the middle with her grammar. We try to get most of our schooling done by lunchtime or just after...... then we are free to play outside.

    This "schedule" has helped me the most...... we are still doing it months after it was implemented. The whole idea is to think of blocks of time and activities....... The Morning Meeting and Independent Time...... then playtime. We have no strict times to do things.... just blocks of time when things should be done. It has allowed flexibility when I needed time to mourn......and the kids have needed some one on one time with me.

    Good Luck! Find what works for your family..... semi-organized is a good place to be. LOL I may get there eventually.

    ....and I'm sorry about your Mom. I am having a hard time with my Mom's passing..... but I'm getting through it, one day.... no.... one minute at a time. {{hugs}}

  5. #5
    Senior Member Arrived pandahoneybee's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your mom too, pamark1 I hope that you both have a great weekend! One day, minute or second is the only way to get thru it some days. {{hugs and warm wishes to you both}}
    Pandahoneybee -
    Homeschooling two boys (17 and 12),3 dogs, 3 fish, 2 goats, 2 guineas and one grown man in NC since 2008! AND proud mama has 6 Rhode Island Red girls!!
    my personal blog
    http://pandahoneybeeshomeschoolingad....blogspot.com/

  6. #6
    Senior Member Arrived pandahoneybee's Avatar
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    Oh I also wanted to let you know mama2fouraz, that I posted a link to this post on FB so if you are on there at all? There might be others reply or suggestions
    Pandahoneybee -
    Homeschooling two boys (17 and 12),3 dogs, 3 fish, 2 goats, 2 guineas and one grown man in NC since 2008! AND proud mama has 6 Rhode Island Red girls!!
    my personal blog
    http://pandahoneybeeshomeschoolingad....blogspot.com/

  7. #7
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    Condolences for the loss of your mom, Shellie.

    Regarding routines, Charlotte Mason called it "habit forming". Maybe pick one thing at a time (making beds in the morning or circle time) and work on it consistently for six weeks. It takes that long for a new habit to be formed.

    This free ebook from Simply Charlotte Mason is very helpful explaining how to form habits (both physical and moral) gently and gradually: http://simplycharlottemason.com/book...arlotte-mason/
    Mother of two monkeys...daughter age 9 and son age 10.5.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Arrived farrarwilliams's Avatar
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    One of the things that I like about having routines instead of schedules is that there's still a sense of boundaries and structure for the kids while there's also flexibility for everyone. What you're proposing, Shellie, feels a little more schedule-like to me personally. But then again, I also prefer to have routines for part of the day and not for others so that we can go out and take advantage of friends, field trips, nature, playgrounds, etc.

    We have a morning routine that takes us to 10:00ish, at which point we almost always go out to do something. Lunch in on the fly. Then we have dinner routines and nighttime routines that are pretty set. For us, having these grooves is enough and then we can fit in the more chaotic bits in the middle if we start with routines and end with routines.

    To me, having a routine is just about having things you do almost every day at nearly the same time or in the same order. It's more like habits - like, after we finish a workbook, we put it away. Or once Mama gets up, we turn off TV, finish our cereal and head to the table.
    Disclaimer: Everything I'm saying is just my own opinion, based on my own experiences teaching and with my own kids and my own life. You should just ignore me if I'm annoying you. I don't mind.

    But if I don't annoy you, feel free to visit my blog:
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Guru Ariadne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by farrarwilliams View Post
    One of the things that I like about having routines instead of schedules is that there's still a sense of boundaries and structure for the kids while there's also flexibility for everyone. What you're proposing, Shellie, feels a little more schedule-like to me personally. But then again, I also prefer to have routines for part of the day and not for others so that we can go out and take advantage of friends, field trips, nature, playgrounds, etc.

    We have a morning routine that takes us to 10:00ish, at which point we almost always go out to do something. Lunch in on the fly. Then we have dinner routines and nighttime routines that are pretty set. For us, having these grooves is enough and then we can fit in the more chaotic bits in the middle if we start with routines and end with routines.

    To me, having a routine is just about having things you do almost every day at nearly the same time or in the same order. It's more like habits - like, after we finish a workbook, we put it away. Or once Mama gets up, we turn off TV, finish our cereal and head to the table.
    I was just about to (attempt to) write a helpful post, but you already said everything I was thinking. :-)

    This is exactly how our house works. Do certain things at the same time every day. Expect a few things from them at the same times every day (e.g. brush teeth in morning, certain chores, etc) Fit all of the flexibility (that sometimes looks like chaos) into the spaces in between.
    Homeschooling The Dismantler 12, Polyhedra 9, and Houdini 7

    We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful god, who creates faulty humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes. --Gene Roddenberry

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  10. #10
    Senior Member Arrived lakshmi's Avatar
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    With 4 and 6 yo as your primary focus, I'd say what you have is way more scheduley than routine.

    Routine is bathing in the same way, as in the same person goes first, or sitting in the same chair, or reading in the same spot. My guess is that you have a lot of routines that you haven't recognized as such. Make what you already do into a routine, without times.

    Every family has some routine, so your job, as parent, is to watch for the natural routine and build out from there. Add a little discipline, like with a set library day, or set art class day, and there you have enough routine for small kids.

    I'd freak trying to work on the schedule you posted.. But then, I like you have had trouble following other people's schedule. Also in your watching, you could see, if your kids like free morning time or free afternoon time. Mine sort of like to get up and play, and then eat, and then play some more, and usually after that they eat. But all of that is just before they play. (5 & 6)

    Routine doesn't have to feel so restrictive to times, and togetherness.

    As far as morning meal is concerned I'd nix that, especially with the loss of a parent, I believe I would like sleeping in and would likely feel resentful of myself for setting up something unrealistic.

    Good luck implementing your new strategy. And very sorry for the loss of your mother, no matter what the relationship was like, losing a mother is tough.
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