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Flexibility in time and schedules is one of the most heralded benefits of homeschooling, as indeed it is. Flexibility allows lingering in a lesson when a student needs more time for mastery or simply because it is a subject matter of great interest. It also allows skipping or spending less time on lessons and activities that either have been mastered or are not deemed essential. Non-academic benefits include spending time with grandparents on weekdays, going to museums, movie houses, doctors' clinics, and supermarkets when most parents have to report for work and their children have to go to school, and being able to tweak schedules when family emergencies arise or predispositions and interpersonal dynamics are not so favorable (read you are having a bad day).
Unfortunately, flexibility in time and schedules is the one homeschooling privilege that I tend to abuse. Yup. There. Principally, I refer to overscheduling activities, prioritizing house chores over lessons, taking time to check submitted requirements (ouch, ouch), and the like.
So at the risk of leaning towards "bringing school home", I'm setting me right on this issue (brave words).
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1. In the homeschool, home and school are so closely intertwined that sometimes you cannot properly label an activity to be "strictly home" or "strictly school". Now, I am not going into any philosophical discussion if only because I am not qualified. However, because of this intertwining, there is the demand for balancing the concerns relating to home and the concerns relating to school. This is my argument for setting a sensible and doable daily schedule and by all means, sticking to it.
2. A schedule should help us accomplish our family goals, but we should not be slaves to a schedule, running here and moving there like robots. While I truly admire people who work out and successfully follow schedules with exact times for each activity, I operate better on a sequenced-type of schedule. This means listing down what I should do for the day, in the order that I should do them. This, of course, assumes that I have some sense of urgency and will commit myself to finishing each task as far as practicable (this is beginning to read like a manual).
3. I need to incorporate "time pegs" into our schedule. Right now, these are rise and shine, Angelus at noon, dinner preps, and bedtime. Thus, a daily schedule includes what should be done after rise and shine and before Angelus, after Angelus and before dinner preps, and so on. By dividing the day into segments, I don't overwhelm myself and my children. Tempers are kept at manageable levels and I don't metamorphose into the old woman who lived in a shoe and I avoid doing what she did in the end.
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5. One can only do so much in a day, in a week, in a month, in a year, and in a lifetime. Therefore, I will choose what I have to do and do them well. This entails a proper appreciation of priorities. On a daily basis, I will give priority to faith, family, health, and learning.
6. If only of utmost necessity, we will limit leaving the house for extracurriculars, chores, and social activities to one weekday a week. Weekends are more fluid, and Sundays will be spent as they should be spent.
All these may strike you as "duh", but I am an organizationally challenged person, just trying to get on from one day to the next...
Thank you for keeping me company while I rambled :-)
How do you manage your days?