Sunday, January 23, 2011

More on Scheduling

In my last post I shared how I've made a schedule and life is good - relatively speaking.  My friend Susan asked some good questions and I thought I'd share some more of my thoughts in a new post.

She wrote:

 "'re basically saying that you set up your schedule with the acknowledgment that you can't fit everything in, so you make the decisions about what will go by the wayside, and schedule the rest accordingly. I think what I do is to make the decisions day-at-a-time (or week-at-a-time) as to what becomes a priority, so that it stays in a state of flux. This has the benefit of allowing everything to get some attention, but the downside that nothing gets abunch of attention."

Yes this is right.  For me, right now, my schedule is made so that I know what schoolwork needs to get done and that we do it.  For a year and a half now or so I've not had a real schedule, we just flew by the seat of our pants.  And although we still got things done, it didn't run smoothly. I felt like I was always yelling at the kids and they were always bickering or arguing with me.  I was tired of that (you would think it wouldn't have taken me so long, but I am a bear of very little brain and apparently thick skin) and so back to a schedule I went.

So our days are filled with fitting in our subjects amongst instrument lessons and practice.  Playtime and computer time are now delegated to after hours.  On our days off from school work, I have a list of chores I want the kids to accomplish that day before they're free to do whatever they'd like.  Those I usually list on our whiteboard the day before or the morning of and when something is done, the child puts his initials beside so I can quickly see and check.  I've also taken to putting my own list on the whiteboard, so I can see what I need to do and the kids see that Mom's not just sitting around while they do all the work.

My chores are typically laundry, planning the meals for the week, planning the school schedule for the week, baking bread, and cleaning the bathrooms (a chore I actually like).  I also like to grade anything I didn't do and make sure I have copies of things ready for the upcoming week.

Susan also asked me about how I handle interruptions and she gave me a few examples:

"Family funerals. Kids' (or my) illness. Computer virus so bad that everything has to be wiped and reinstalled. Putting in the garden when the weather allows. Dad dying. An intense stint of speech therapy. Car shopping. "

These are tough and they really do throw the schedule out the window.  Illnesses, death, computer viruses are all things we can't plan and they seem to always happen at the worst time.  I think I would simply do what I could given the situation.  If only one child is ill, what can I get done with the others?  If more than one is down for the count, how can I keep the healthy ones staying on track and what can I accomplish on house chores that I normally don't get to? With a funeral, especially of family, I can see that the schedule would go out the window as we mourn for however long we needed, and somewhere down the road pick back up where we left off.

Then Susan wrote:
"Sometimes I can get our version of schedule/routine going for up to 8-10 weeks, but never have I managed longer without some sort of wallop to the routine. (I almost wonder sometimes if an organized schedule is a marvelous tool for some people, but would be an idol for me, and so God will not allow me to have it in the way I desire.) "

I want you my dear friend and all my readers to understand, this schedule/routine never stays for very long.  The last time we did a school schedule was by far the best and it lasted for about four months - which isn't much longer than your 8-10 weeks.  My advice in writing was that I find I can accomplish so much more in my children's education if I have a schedule to follow.  Once we're done with the current books for the year, we always take a break and I no longer have a schedule.  Instead I decide day to day what is going to happen and what is going to get done.  This is probably one of the biggest reasons I donate so much to the library during the summer because I don't have to be in that town each week for piano lessons, so we don't go and books become long overdue.

So my scheduling is mostly school work related.  I want to work hard and I want my kids to work hard so that we can finish the Math book, the Latin book, the Science book, get to the certain point in History, and whatever else so that summer time is fun time.  I'm budgeting the time I have now with the things I need and want to accomplish.

If it works for you to make those decisions day to day or week to week - do you see that you are scheduling?  It might not be on a fancy color-coded spreadsheet with timers.  It might be chicken scratches on the back of slips of paper, but if it is helping you stay focused to get things done (whatever those things are) , they you're budgeting your time.

And I think that only the Queen of England or tv sit-com moms are the only ones who can successively do a schedule for any length of time.  The rest of us do what we can, when we can, learn from the ebbs and go with the flow.


Susan said...

Y'know, I sure do love reading your posts. The last two have especially been thought-stretchers. Thank you.

Glenda said...

Thank you Susan, that is such a nice compliment, especially since I often think I haven't much to say, and I learn so much from you and your posts.