Homeschooling Schedules, Routines and Lists (Oh My!)

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I am very much a list & schedule person. I put things on a list just so that I can check them off (I know, I’m weird). My oldest is a schedule person too, so much so that he will check the schedule, then check the clock and tell me what we should be doing exactly at that time. I have had to learn to be more flexible with time and schedules since I’ve had children. They don’t sleep for exactly 2 hours, eat for 30 minutes or want to read for 45 minutes. Even as I am typing this, my youngest (22 months) is on my lap reaching for cords, papers and anything else he can get his hands on. As he is grabbing at things, he keeps pushing the Caps Lock key on the keyboard, and so as I am writing I have to keep erasing it so that it doesn’t seem like I’m yelling at you :).
Homeschooling has thrown a whole other loop into MY schedule. School takes a different amount of time each day. We don’t always start exactly at 9:00 and end at 12:00. We start after my husband leaves for work and we get our morning chores done. We end when we’re done with our activities or one of us is mentally turned off. I don’t believe in killing the point with multiple “busy work” type activities and I don’t believe in continuing with the lesson plan if he isn’t “getting” anything because his brain has shut off. I don’t want to waste time on something that he already understands and sometimes I need to rethink how to teach him something that he is having trouble with.
Anyways, I have said all of that to say that I have had to adjust how I think of a schedule. I have had many talks with my husband and my parents about what to do about this “problem” that I’ve been having. It comes down to having a routine, not a schedule. A schedule to me is a time-based list of what needs to occur throughout the day. A routine is more of a list of what needs to occur throughout the day – just without the time list. I find that when I follow a schedule, I stress over the time. If something takes more time, I feel like I am behind (which I hate!). But, with a routine, everything gets done, just in their own time.
My mom told me that we probably already follow a routine throughout the day, I just didn’t have anything written down. She was right. We do the same things (mostly) in the same order (mostly) most everyday. My problem is that I was trying to make a minute-to-minute schedule that I couldn’t live up to. I continuously felt bad about myself and what I wasn’t getting done instead of feeling accomplished for what I did do.
As I am a list person, I have tried to write many a schedules and routines. These will continuously change as my boys keep growing and their needs change. I am putting the lists and routines that I currently use or have recently used. I hope this helps someone!
Routine: This is our daily routine. I have kept it general because if I don’t, I’ll have it too specific and not realistic. I keep it in a plastic protector sheet (with magnets on the back) up on the refrigerator.
Chore List: This is my oldest son’s (6) list of things that he is expected to do daily, without (much) reminding. He does other things, as I ask, but this is a daily list for him to go to. I keep it in a plastic protector sheet (with magnets on the back) up on the refrigerator.
Attitude Chart: We were having a really hard time with our oldest son’s behavior. It was getting so bad that I wanted to ban him from doing anything fun, ever. I came up with this chart so that he could “earn” video game time. He loves playing video games and I don’t want him playing all day, so this is a win-win. He earned a certain amount of time for each part of the day. We added up the times and that is how much he could play on the next day. This really helped us to work on his behavior in smaller amounts of time, instead of the entire day. We aren’t using this currently because his behavior has been great lately. He figured out what I wanted from him (behavior-wise) and he gets to play when I tell him.
I’d love to hear back from other homeschoolers out there. What routines, schedules, and checklists have you found helpful? Where do you find good schedule templates for homeschooling? Just click here to leave a comment below.

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