Trial and Error Scheduling

Are you sick of talking schedules yet? Yeah, me either! :D

I'm embarrassed to tell you how many times I've changed our School Week schedule. (I have to admit, I *love* creating tables and spreadsheets, so there's that.) But there's also been a lot of trial and error. I expect there to be a lot more. Life is fluid and there are always changes to be made. I would, however, like to print more than one schedule at a time, so hopefully, I can use this one for a while!

What I had wasn't working for several reasons..

First, I had the days labeled Mon, Tues, Wed, etc. There is hardly ever such a thing as a "normal" week around here (or anywhere I'd imagine), so if we had something scheduled one day, I'd have to move everything over to the next day. It made me feel like I was getting behind. And with one student, in Year 1, that's just silly. There's no such thing as "behind" yet!

Now, instead of having Mon, Tues, etc., I have Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, etc. Ideally, we only have school 4 days a week anyway, with Friday (or the "outside activity" day--whichever comes first) being a lighter day. We do our Nature Journals, Handcraft, add to our Timeline, and a few other things on that day. We also use that day to catch up, if needed.

Which it usually is.

Another problem I had was sticking with our scheduled times. You knew that was coming didn't you? I thought with my old schedule, even though I had scheduled some margin(!), I could still stay somewhat on track. HA!

Turns out, Staying on Schedule is as fantastical as unicorns who sing you to sleep every night while playing a harp. (I have no idea where that came from but I'm rolling with it.)

We still have our Anchors--Snack Time (I'm usually reminded when it's that time), Lunch, Naps, etc--but other than that, there really isn't a set time for anything anymore. I do try to start school at 9am and that usually happens. Lately, depending on the weather, I've been letting the girls play outside after Circle Time to get their wiggles out! I also try to do things in a certain order, but some days that doesn't happen either.

What we do now is the next thing. We start out with Circle Time and that takes however long it takes. Next, we do math, then we read, etcetera! etcetera! (It's really hard for me to say that without picturing Yule Brynner. Anyone else?)

I try not to let things drag out of course; that is, after all, the Charlotte Mason way. :)

Here's my new schedule for now: (click to enlarge) (here's the Scribd link; here's a blank one if you'd like to use it.)

Now, if our homeschool group meets on Thursday that week, I don't have to shift things around. I can just go to the next day. 

Another thing I added, which I love, is the "Other Weekly To-Do's" table at the bottom. I can list any events scheduled for that week and plan with that in mind.

You'll notice a Preschool section--it's optional because I only do school with Middlest (who's 4) when she wants to. It's never required. I do try to spend time with her before we start our school day and I try to let her pick what we do, but most days she wants to "do school" with us. :)

I'd like to print a bunch of these pages and have them spiral bound, but I'm afraid I'll change my mind again! Anyone else have that problem?

Here's a GREAT post on scheduling at Sage Parnassus; in that post, she links to this one at Afterthoughts. They are both worth your time; if you're homeschooling, that is. ;)


  1. Great to hear what others use for their schedules! As always, your posts are encouraging! I love that the Charlotte Mason way reminds us to slow down and yet not drag on. And it is so right on of you to say that there is no such thing as being behind...its just, where did we leave off? Its so easy to get trapped into checking things off for "the day". I try to get things checked off for "the week" instead. That helps me feel okay with not getting e verything done everyday. Thanks for your encouraging words!! Catherine in KS

  2. Thanks for your kind words, Catherine. :)

    What years are your children (child?) in school? Are you using AO, too? :) I'm so new at this, that I'm pretty much following AO to a "T."

    That's a good idea to go by what you've done that WEEK vs. each day. Blessings on you!

  3. I have a 1st grader, 3rd grader and then a 5th grader. We're using My Fathers World but I get like to peruse ambelside and use books from their reading lists too. I am very intrigued by ambleside...I mean, the sheer concept of it is amazing! My biggest struggle with school is mainly managing the two little ones(4 and 17 months) while we do school. My 4 year old is purely doing school on his terms right now, which is fine. I don't push it.

  4. Well, I *only* have 3 (I'm the minority among my friends!) and *I* have trouble managing my little ones! It's tough some days! As you know! :)

    My little guy is 17 months too! I absolutely ADORE this age, but he's into everything!! I can't imagine schooling THREE right now. Good thing the Lord gives them to us one (or two!) at a time! HA!

    Have you read any of Charlotte's Books? I'm not too familiar with MFW, although I have heard of it. (I'm going to Google it now.) Do you use some of Mason's principles? I really love the "children are person's" idea along with narration, short lessons and lots of nature study and free time. Those are a few of the things that drew me to a CM education. :) But I know that every family does what works best for them! :)

    *I* actually was homeschooled in high school with ACE. I didn't love it, (<---understatement) but it (sort of) did it's job. ;o)

  5. Looks like there are some similarities with MFW and CM. Narration being one of them! :) That just makes sense, doesn't it? I find that I'm not great at retaining so much of what I've read, so I'm hoping that by teaching using narrations, *I'll* become better at paying attention and absorbing more too. :)

    Ok. I'll stop blathering now! I promise!


Thanks for taking the time to comment. It's encouraging!