Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Beauty of a Schedule

Even though I am *not* an organized person...there are few things I love more at the start of a new school year than putting together a lovely color coded schedule.

Check this beauty out:
Now, for those of you who are wondering what alien being has suddenly taken over my body, let me explain what got me hooked on colored colored schedules (made in excel by the way).

In my second year of homeschooling, this was what I was trying to juggle--
  • a precocious toddler who wanted her own school time and school activities and learning stuff
  • my teenage sister, who mostly unschooled herself and just needed some set time with me so that we could both struggle through Algebra 2 together. 
  • private lessons for my sister in art and in literature/composition at two different locations
  • my elementary aged brother and his curriculum
  • our teenaged foster daughter, who was trying to get caught back up to grade level after missing a lot of school for medical reasons and therefore need lots of one-on-one instruction to cover the ground she had missed
  • LOTS of medical appointments and appointments with social workers for our foster daughter (lots being mutliple appointments every week)
I was going out of my mind trying to meet everyone's needs and not forget anything or neglect anyone. There seemed like there was just not enough hours in the day.

The only way, the only way, I made sure it all squeezed in somehow was to block it all out in a schedule. And then WOE BE UNTO ANYONE WHO DISRUPTED THAT SCHEDULE. It was my life boat in a turbulent sea.

Now, of course, we really don't need such a strict schedule. In fact, we rather spontaneous with our learning and our projects ....BUT.... I still like to put a schedule together. I like knowing how it's all going to fit together.

The beginning of a school year is like opening a jigsaw puzzle box, and making the schedule gives me the satisfaction of seeing all those random pieces come together in a coherent way. 

Plus, having a schedule gives me more freedom. Yeah, I know that seems like an oxymoron, but it's true. When I have a framework for our day and our week, its easier to go ahead and take two hours to build a native village out of sticks in the backyard. I can shuffle the pieces of the schedule around in my mind, and go outside and enjoy myself without worrying about how math is going to get done. It gives me permission to go ahead and let Sweetling take an afternoon to design and sew some hats for Perry the Platypus. I never have to find myself telling my children, 'that sounds like a really great idea, but it doesn't fit in our day.' Because I have the ability to reconstruct our day and our week.

The schedule becomes my tool, not my master.

This year I'm adding another component to my schedule....lesson plans!

Now, I've never seen the sense in buying a lesson plan book for the year, because as much as I shuffle and rearrange things, I'd be constantly erasing and rewriting and switching days. But, at the same time, I do like having an idea of how things are going to fit into our school calendar.

I did some looking around over the summer, and I found what I hope is going to be an awesome resource for me. It's an online planner, meaning I can type instead of handwrite. I can copy and paste, and I can include links to other online resources (which I tend to use a lot).

Here was the selling point for me: I can BUMP a lesson, or a whole day of lessons to the next day, and everything else automatically adjusts. Yeah, that's what I'm talking about!

My first week of lesson plans (minus a couple of subjects which I'm still working on)

And with the bottom cropped off, but you get the idea.

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