Sunday, August 30, 2009


We've never before "started school." This year, for various reasons, I think we're going to need to do that. Tomorrow is the start of the school-year for our congregation's academy, as well as the start of school for several homeschooling families in the congregation.

I am totally lost as to how to make a schedule work. There is more to fit into a day than is fit-innable. Schedules have always failed in the past because we (well, okay, I) over-committed the time. There must be time in the days and weeks for housecleaning, laundry, rest, mowing, shopping, visiting with friends, being with Gary in the evening, and phone calls to Katie, Mom, & Paul. If we don't allow time for those things, the schedule isn't sustainable.

And yet, when I look at the schedule and take into account the realities of everyday life, we're left with only four hours for schoolwork per day, scattered throughout the day. And it's just not enough for our situation of two kids -- one of whom is going to need adult interaction for wrestling with ideas and college-prep work, and the other of whom needs a lot more teaching-from-mom than self-teaching. I've been puzzling through this for several days, gathering curriculum ideas, and trying to make a schedule, and it's just not working out.

I have no idea how to plow into this tomorrow. It looks like a recipe for disaster, and I don't need disaster right now. (I've got plenty of that going on in non-school areas.) Besides, I just have this deep-seated aversion to making Real Life take a backseat to bookwork. But I have to find some way to fit in some bookwork. Don't I? I think?


  1. Is it possible to have one student work on the laundry while you work with the other. Then you could switch students and switch chores. That would free up more of your time to devote to the schedule.

    We start on Tuesday because Monday is my day off with Dean.

  2. We've already got quite a bit of that going on.

  3. Can you dedicate one hour a day to bookwork? I find that when I commit to that, we get an amazing amount done. Most days we do a lot more than that, but when life gets crazy, even an hour is worth a lot.

    Hope today is a good day for you :)

  4. I am in your boat, Susan. I have a list of what I want to accomplish and SHOULD have a schedule of one sort or another, but it makes me SUPER grouchy when we don't follow the schedule due to unavoidable interruptions. SO I just try to prioritize what I do each day and each day is so very different. Math and history and writing.

    Honestly it makes me cry when I think about how I am already set up to fail, so I just try and do SOMEthing, because that is better than nothing. Even housework or gardening or computer games is something... right?

  5. Barbara, on the schedule we had the morning dedicated to
    biking to chapel
    45-50 minutes of bookwork at church
    biking to the library
    doing Rosetta Stone
    biking home
    and then Whatever-Else.

    When we arrived at the library today, we discovered Rosetta Stone is only on one computer, so we'd have to take turns. Back to the drawing board on the ever-illusive schedule.

    So, yeah, we did have some bookwork set aside. But now we don't. However (!!) there is more time to fit it in.

    yes yes yes -- crying when you think about how you're already set up to fail. There is NO way I can do this right, no matter how efficient I am, no matter how I tweak the schedule, no matter how I juggle things. It cannot be done. I know I'm supposed to learn that I am weak and God blesses in spite of our inability and screw-ups. I know that I should believe that it is His GRACIOUS blessing and not anything we earn. And yet I just keep chafing against that, trusting in the obvious cause-and-effect in the left-hand kingdom.

  6. Susan, I was going to say something along the lines of what Barbara said. Baby steps. Think Flylady for homeschoolers. But instead of shining the sink, it's setting aside one hour a day for directed or "book larnin'" (as opposed to all the learning that's going on in the course of daily life--and let me remind you, that counts for a lot).

    So maybe come up with a schedule that lays out each day the things that are schedule for you (such as chapel & meal prep and such). For me that is comprised of things like my accompanying job and choir practices and getting kids to scheduled activities. Then once you've laid out all the stuff that you know you have to do at certain times, see what time blocks are left. And try to pick one each day that you can set aside for the things you most want to do school wise. Don't shoot too high. Maybe it will just be a half hour or an hour. But try to keep that time slot as religiously as you can--just like you do with chapel. If circumstances allow it to be longer on a given day--maybe two hours ::cue Hallelujah Chorus:: instead of one, then great. But if not, no biggie. And if you don't even get the one hour, don't beat yourself up about it. That's homeschooling, right? Real life is always butting in. It's a given. So you try again tomorrow. And then congratulate yourself for having made the effort!

    We have been "doing school" for a week now (after several weeks of summer break) and already I am off schedule. I couldn't get the kids' checklists printed off before I left this morning because I haven't synched the new computer with the old printer. And I haven't thought through the week at all for the 5yo. Not that there's a lot to think about. But I haven't written out his Bible verse for the week to hang in his room, etc. Right now according to the schedule I should be doing Bible with him. And I'm being naughty by typing this comment to you. But I just got home a little while ago, and I need a little decompression time before I start thinking about school. So things are going to have to adjust. Bible time will be just a little later. And that's okay. But tomorrow I'll try again to have it when I have scheduled it.

    Don't know if any of this helps. It's hard to find the right balance, so that the schedule is a tool that helps you and not a constant reminder of how you failed. Just remember--YOU are the queen, and the schedule is a servant. And the Queen is always right.