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As a freelancer, I’ve been asked a lot about my daily schedule. The questions range from “How do you get it all done?” to “What’s a typical day look like for you?”
Let me fill you in on a little secret.
You won’t find a strict schedule anywhere around this house. We do not thrive with schedules. Want to know why?
- With this many kids, something is going to go wrong. On a schedule, I always felt behind.
- My special needs child has frequent medical emergencies that need handled promptly. Interruptions are my life!
- The cows tend to get out just when I feel like the schedule is perfect.
- It takes a really long time to create a schedule and I always felt like it was a waste.
But despite the reasons a schedule won’t work for me, the kids thrive when they know what to expect. When I get down to it, so do I. It’s nice to have a plan.
Without a Daily Schedule, How Do I Get Anything Done?
When life gets crazy, my productivity takes a sharp drop. The kids get antsy. I get cranky. The TV gets turned on way too much. And our house is a mess.
We enter survival mode, which isn’t pretty.
So I had to find a balance between a strict daily schedule and being loosey-goosey with my time. My solution?
A Morning Meeting
Each evening, I take a look at my schedule for the next day. I jot down a couple of notes on a piece of paper, to prepare for our morning meeting the next day. I’ll note things like:
- Articles due
- Other deadlines for my business
- Unusual school projects for any of the kids
- Scheduled doctor appointments
Then, when morning rolls around, we follow the same routine until breakfast.
I tackle farm chores and get started on breakfast while the kids get up and moving on their own.
They all have their morning chores and school that they can work on until breakfast. They know what to do and start getting things taken care of.
Once breakfast is eaten, we stay at the table for a few minutes to make a Plan of the Day. We call this our morning meeting.
Here, we work together to sketch out a basic plan for that day. Here’s our typical order:
- Table chores
- Finish morning chores
- Bible time (group)
- Finish School
- Free time
- Table chores
- Family Writing Time
- Family play time
- Quiet time
- Afternoon chores & 15 minute cleanup
- Dinner prep & free time
- Dinner & Table chores
- Family time
Of course this changes frequently. Some days we have to head out for groceries or to take a child to the doctor or dentist. Sometimes I have a midwife appointment.
On those days, we decide what to cut. We minimize school, cut a couple of afternoon chores,and rearrange family play time so we still get to play.
I try to prioritize quiet time when possible. Everyone does so much better when they have a little time to pursue their own interests or rest. I know I do better too!
We Are a Routine Family
Since we aren’t a scheduled family, you could call us a routine family. Everyone knows how each of the above segments of our day are supposed to look.
They’ve been instructed in what “Table chores” looks like. Everyone knows what to do during our 15 minute cleanup.
So then it’s just a matter of stringing together the segments into a daily plan each day. It gives us the flexibility we need, and the predictability that we crave.
Some families do best with schedules. They’re more productive, and that’s great!
But, if you are finding yourself a slave to your schedule, it may be time to reevaluate your plan. Sometimes strict schedules aren’t the most user friendly when working with real live people.
I used to feel like I should have a schedule. Because most of the other homeschooling families I heard about online did. Because a schedule is pretty and ensures you get a lot done.
But you know what? A schedule just didn’t work. So if you find yourself floundering even with a schedule, it may be time to try something new.
I’d love to hear how you tackle schedules. Do you create a schedule? Does a plan work better for you? Maybe you have a routine?
Please share in the comments section. We’re all different, so there’s not one right answer to any of this!
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.