The following is a guest post by homeschooling mom Kelli Rizutto. She has three children, ages 11, 9, and 6.
I wanted to share what we do to help plan our days during the homeschool year.
I do a homeschool/chore daily schedule for my kids on Microsoft Word. I’ve done it for a few years now and can’t do home school without it.
The form is very basic but very effective. Having this system keeps the kids on schedule, and because they have a daily list, they don’t ask me every day what to do next. They go and go and go until they are done with what is specified on the list that day.
(This helps because my children work differently, and we have to have a fluid schedule (not by what time it is) because we get busy sometimes. So, we don’t go by “time” as much as we go by what’s on the list for today for each child. If we are out most of the morning, we might do homeschool until 7 pm, until it all gets done. If it was my fault or we need grace for that day, we just don’t finish.)
They love the stickers. They love knowing what they have to do for the day. It helps them prioritize and learn about how to order their day. They learn how getting side-tracked sometimes costs. They now ask themselves, “Do I want to get side tracked because I will have to finish my work.”
For example, I wouldn’t allow my kids to go to their scheduled gymnastics class or ball games if they didn’t have their work done. Yes, I’ve even had to bring my poor son to gymnastics to sit at the table and finish his work while the others were in their class. It was so hard to do…
Then he said, “Oh, I just won’t finish and will skip this gymnastics class.”
I said, “Then you’ll owe me $10 because that is how much it cost for me to bring you this class per session.”
He went to work (with tears) because he knew I would do it. However, 10 minutes before class was over, he finished so he didn’t ‘owe’ me. Please know I was helping him and motivating him that it was okay, he could do it… lets just get it done instead of being upset and not focusing on the work, etc.. 🙂
I just used a motivator besides yelling at him to do it. In the end I was his cheerleader, instead of the mom with the rough, mean, threatening voice.
I try to find those natural consequences to motivate my kids because I really don’t like conflict and yelling. This story is for those who struggle like me, too — who have a child who is hard to motivate to do their work in a timely manner. We all have areas we struggle in, in some way, but the Lord is good to help us get through it somehow.
Anyway, here is how I do it:
- To make the list, I insert 4 columns and about 12 rows. I lower the table and head the form Name: and Date: for each child.
- Below I add the child’s name, for my sake, so that I know who I am filling in the list for
- I add the ‘day’ (not date) so that I know which day I am filling in and what the homeschool work and chore list will be for that day. I make five different days and save it because they don’t do the same thing everyday.
- The first one is much wider (for me to fill in the work to be done) than the second one (for them to put a sticker in the box for when the work is complete.
- I label the first row, “Homeschool Work Today.”
- The 3rd and 4th columns are the same, but labeled ‘Chores’ in the first row. Now, we list all chores to be done, and if the chores have an * next to them, that means they are chores that earn money. (On payday, when the husband and I are making our budget envelopes, the kids’ earnings are in that and we pay them then.)
How we pay them:
- We add up every day’s earnings and put the dollar amount largely on the paper somewhere.
- Then on the day they get paid we tally up all of their earnings by transferring each day’s amount onto the back of the sheet of the day they are getting paid.
- By doing it this way we know when the last day they got paid was and how much they earned, to glance back or in case we need to know. If we did it on a separate paper we might forget the last day they got paid, and sometimes it might be a month before they get a ‘pay day’ … which makes it big. They like that! 🙂
I print out 18 weeks (or 36, your choice), punch them, and put about 9 weeks at a time into a 1-inch binder. It’s important to print a lot out because the weeks will fly by, and you’ll be busy and feel too busy to go and print more out, and the kids will have to either compromise, not work, or double up on their weeks (speaking from experience).
This is just a helpful tip I wish I had the first 2 years I was homeschooling, so I want to share it with you guys in case that is one of your hardest areas — ordering the kids’ day. It brings much peace and order to our day. I don’t ever have to tell them to do this or that, even with the chores. When they ask if they can do something, I ask,”Do you have the freedom to play or go outside?” which means, “Did you do all of your work?”
Here are some samples of how I did it. You can save these, change what I’ve typed in, then fill it in how it would work for your family. Finally, save it as your own document.
- Jordyn – Fall
I sure hope this helps some of you moms out there!
Kelli is writing children’s books. She says of her books, “It will be something like ‘Read With Me Bible Stories’ using the ESV version of the Bible. It is my desire to write 1st-2nd grade level, *accurate* Bible stories for our younger generation. I’ve started on my first book and have felt nothing but ‘thrill’!”
This is a very practical and useful way of “scheduling” the children’s daily duties. No expensive planners needed. Thanks for sharing Kelli!
After receiving these forms from you I put them into practice. I’ve had success with the older cild (9), and hit a snag with the younger one (6).
My older one likes knowing what’s on the agenda and being able to see how close he is to being done for the day. My younger one, however, still can’t read so she’s still bugging me about what to do next. In an effort to get them to work together, I had her go to her older brother – wrong answer. So the one needs to continue reading practice, the other needs to continue in-depth character training.
Thanks for the forms, though. Just another step in a more smoothly-running home!
When my children were younger we made lists with pictures. I used sketches or clip art. Today with digital cameras you can have them help you take pictures of what needs to be done and put the on the list.
What a great idea! I honestly NEVER thought of digital pictures. My mind is going with ideas now… 🙂
I’m humbled, thank you Anne ~ for sharing my thoughts on how we plan and organize our day. By the way, love the lady and title of your book about what to order.. Naomie, make your 6 yr olds schedule have few short words and, yes, be willing to tell him what on it… Stickers when done… He’ll learn the words in no time…maybe by Dec./Jan you can ween him… I’m sure my 6 yr old will be the same way this year at first, too. We start next week. Nevertheless, good luck!
I love the schedule without the times. I am not good at creating or following the schedules that are coordinated every 15 minutes. Yes, we get up at the same time, yes we start school at the same time, but some things take 5 minutes one day and 30 the next. Then my schedule is completely shot for the day, but if we just have a list ready for the day, we might do better. (After teaching in the classroom for 5 years, you would think that homeschooling my first grader and preschooler would be easy. Alas, a lot of what works in the classroom is why I no longer teach there and my children don’t go there.)
Thank you for samples. Those are very helpful for the very visual people. I also like the chore suggestions as I struggle with what a 6 yr old and 3 yr old can do.
Shannon Runnels says
I had been doing something similar, just writing it out each day. I like the idea of customizing these pages, though, and printing them daily.
Another idea is to print a basic form (without the details/specific homeschool assignments, pages, etc) and put it in a plastic clear page protector. Then you can use a dry erase marker to mark it up, add to it, etc. At the end of the day, wipe it clean and use it again the next day.
Thanks for sharing these!