One of the big homeschool questions on the internet is: What does your schedule look like?
Ok, so here's my schedule:
6am-7am: Wake-up and have Mommy Alone Time
7am-8am: Get dressed and get kids ready for the day
8am-9am: Throw in laundry, eat breakfast and drink coffee with Himself
9am-9:30am: Morning clean-up
9:30am-10:00am: Together Time: reading stories from Torchlight and singing songs.
10:00am-10:30am: Kids have snack, I put CE down for nap
10:30am-12:00pm: Kids play and I do chores
12:00pm-1:00pm: We eat lunch as a family
1:00pm-1:30pm: Reading lesson
1:30-2:00pm: Math lesson
2:00pm-3:00pm: Quiet time for big kids, nap for CE
3:00pm-5:00pm: Torchlight activities, subscription box activities, or free play
5:00pm-6:00pm: Kids' screen time, I cook dinner
6:00pm-7:00pm: Family dinner
7:00pm-8:00pm: Putting kids to bed (later on Fridays, Family Night)
8:00pm-10:00pm: Clean up and prep for next day then: Work (Monday-Wednesday), At-Home Date Night (Thursday)
(On our days out, we are usually gone from 9-2 and do lessons at 3 instead)
Oh look at that pretty schedule.
This is the schedule I have written on paper. Here's what happens more often:
7:00am: Kids jump on me and wake me up. I struggle to wake up because I stayed up too late the night before or had trouble sleeping.
9:00am: I am still in my pajamas. 2-3 kids are still in their pajamas. I still have coffee left in my mug. Himself heads downstairs to work. CE is already ready for a nap because she was up early. I leave the kids running amok and go put her down for nap.
10:00am: I have finally gotten CE to settle down for a nap. The kids clamor for a snack. I microwave my coffee.
10:30am: We start reading aloud. I hear complaints that they didn't get to choose the books or requests to watch television.
10:32am: There is a fight over who gets to sit where on the sofa. We manage to recover and read for awhile.
11:00am: I remember my coffee is in the microwave and hit the button again. I put on podcasts or music while the kids fight over crayons, Legos, or play dough.
11:30am: I wander downstairs to talk about lunch.
12:00pm: We eat lunch. Or rather, the grownups eat lunch and the kids abandon food on their plates.
1:00pm: We might read, play a game, or do lessons.
2:00pm: Quiet Time. Sometimes it happens early. But Quiet Time is a pretty firm part of our day. It happens pretty much every single day that we are home because I'm an introvert. I might not get my full hour. CE might not nap. But I will lie on the floor and zone out if I can. It's vital.
3:00pm. Snack. My kids know 10:00 and 3:00 are snack times, and they hold me to it. Usually they ask to do projects in the afternoon, until AW starts begging me to watch TV
4:59pm: Close enough. I put a show on the TV. The kids alternate days for who gets to pick. I cook dinner.
7:00pm: I'm pretty regular on bedtime. We start on time unless dinner took longer than expected to cook, and we are almost always done by 8:00 (officially, not counting children wandering downstairs because they "can't sleep" in the two minutes since I left the room).
We are pretty regular with our evenings. I'd like to be better about the clean-up and prep part. But joking aside, I do have pretty solid anchors in my day. We are done with breakfast by 9:00, when Himself starts work (and we often leave the house at that time). We eat at 10, 12, 3, and 6 pretty much everyday. And like I said, quiet time almost always happens and it's usually close to 2pm. But in between those times?
I love the idea of Tidal Homeschooling. It fits our family pretty well. Sometimes, the kids are really independent and creative. Because of their ages, I rarely interrupt imaginative play, art creation, or peaceful sibling interaction to do any sort of formal lessons. We've been more in the unschool groove in the past few months, as CE has taken fewer naps and declined to follow a predictable schedule. They are still learning all the time. My main goal is to be present, available, and strew materials for them to explore. When they say, "Mommy, can we do a project," I want to be ready to grab that moment.
They love being read to, so that is really a major part of our day. If I can remember to stay calm myself (which isn't always easy), the best solution to non-stop squabbling is to find a way to sit together on the sofa and read. Sometimes, just with one kid. We do Poetry Teatime several days a month because the kids love it (mostly for the snacks and sweetened tea, I suspect, but they seem to like the poetry too). We listen to podcasts and music regularly in the car.
We have been taking a purposeful break from Logic of English because she's hit a bit of a plateau. So we play board games like Happy Hats and Super Why's ABC to practice. She reads BOB books to me, to her sister, or to visiting ducklings. She writes letters and labels drawings. I point out phonograms in the environment.
One of my favorite bits of wisdom: Curriculum is the servant, not the master.
So I love having all of these resources ready to go, but we aren't doing school at home. My vision involves having my kids love learning, know how to find information, pursue their passions, and keep their curiosity and imagination intact. It's not a race to learn to read, multiply, or recite the Gettysburg Address. So we do what's working in the moment.
And I do refer to the pretty schedule when I'm feeling lost in my day. But it's not posted or enforced. It's a guideline. Just like curriculum, the schedule is the servant, not the master.