This year will be my 10th year of homeschooling. During that time, I have changed many things many times. Being a former public school teacher, I took the schedule from there and tried to implement it at home. This was the first thing that I quickly realized would have to change. Having three children, all at different ages and stages, was much different than having 20 at basically the same age and maybe a few varying stages. Thus began my search for the homeschool schedule/routine that would fit my family.
My first attempt at creating a homeschool schedule was setting a time to complete each subject.
This created a wonderful routine, but I would all too often get caught up on the times listed. I always felt like I was running behind! We have Bible time together every morning. Should I cut off the kids asking questions? Should I give them a short, basic answer or really dig into it with them? Should I end the math lesson since it’s 10 o’clock, or should I continue to work with my child to figure out where he’s not getting this concept? I saw that there were things more important to me than sticking to a timed schedule. In other words, I quickly realized that sticking to certain times for certain subjects just didn’t work for us.
Then I decided to try a routine.
When we started this method, I didn’t set a specific start time or a specific end time. Math didn’t start at 9 AM and end at 9:30 AM. We got started daily as soon as we could after breakfast. That time varied depending on my husband’s schedule, my to-do’s for the morning, and the general overall health of everyone in the house (We all run a little slower when the allergies are hitting us hard, right?). My children knew that we would begin each morning with all of us on the couch together doing our “morning time,” consisting of at least Bible and adding different things in as I saw fit (which could also change from year to year, semester to semester, or even day to day).
Then, they all knew what they are supposed to do next, and next after that, and so on. We just went on to the next thing and didn’t really worry about time too much. I asked the kids to spend a certain amount of time on certain subjects, but for the most part, when they had finished what I’d assigned them for the day, they were finished with that subject—whether it took them 15 minutes or 45 minutes.
When we started using this routine method, I simply took the old files that I’d made with the times and subjects on them and removed the times. I added things and moved things around, but it was pretty easy to just take what I already had and adapt it a little. That worked well enough, but when I planned a week at a time, sometimes things happened. This child had to go to the doctor for something unforeseen; Mama woke up with a migraine; the dog was sick; or my husband needed our help with something. All of these things have happened to us at one time or another, and threw us off of the plans that I had made. So, I often ended up having to mark through a date, move this subject lesson to another day, or move everything to another day. My plans sometimes looked like a scribbled mess after all of this, and at the time, we were living in a state where lesson plans had to be kept (just in case ‘someone’ ever asked for them).
And finally I came across the sticky note method!This just may be the answer... if you are searching for an easy-to-modify lesson plan!
Then, during the summer as I was perusing Facebook, I saw this post about using *sticky notes for planning! I decided that moving sticky notes from one page to another would be much easier than re-writing or marking through something. Only 2 weeks into our new school year, this method proved to be a much easier way of adapting our plans after those “curve balls” that inevitably come along. It also cut my planning time down quite a bit! Now I’ll explain how I use this method in case you’d like to give it a try!
Here’s how it works:
- At the beginning of the week, I print out a sheet for each day of the week. (See the first photo below.)
- Then I put the sticky notes on and write the plans for the day on the sticky notes. (See the second photo below.)
- If the child completes the assignment that day, I remove the sticky note and write what was on the sticky note in the box that was under the sticky note. (See the third photo below.)
- If the child does NOT compete the assignment that day, I move the sticky note to another day OR stick it inside the child’s folder to add to a day the next week.
- After this, I put the lesson plan sheets in the 3-ring binder that I use for keeping lesson plans. (My state requires that I keep lesson plans.)
Hopefully this will give you another option to think about as you start a new school year. It makes things much more flexible for me and makes planning less time consuming.
*NOTE: For “re-sticking ability,” I usually buy name brand sticky notes with extra “stickability.” But of course you can try the less expensive ones if you like.
Hillary Gould is a former public school teacher turned homeschool mom. She lives along the eastern coast of North Carolina with her husband and three children. Her blog is very neglected and has not been updated in about 4 years. However, she hopes to revive it again in the near future. She has lived near the Atlantic Ocean, in both Carolinas, for the past 12 years and has determined that she will never live anywhere far away from an ocean! You can read more from Hillary at Destination: Proverbs 22:6.