I must say that for us, our schedule is invaluable. About 8 1/2 years ago our fourth child was born. I was at home with 4 children ages 3, 2, 14 months, and newborn and I was barely surviving. Then someone introduced me to the book Managers of Their Homes and my life changed. I went from wondering if I would be able to take a shower, to having time each day to sit and work on a fun project. The idea is to pray about what you want each person in your family to accomplish and then to schedule that into their day. Each person has a schedule, no matter how young.
We often don't stick strictly to our schedule, but we usually stick with same basic flow for our day. For example, we may not eat lunch at 12:00 per the schedule, but we will eat lunch after we finish our school and then play outside after lunchtime.
We have had the same basic schedule for over 8 years now. Generally our day looks like this:
- Get up and read the Bible (for readers) or work on the catechism with daddy (for non-readers)
- Get dressed, clean rooms, and before breakfast chores (empty the dishwasher, make breakfast, care for the animals, etc.)
- Eat Breakfast
- Family worship
- Chores (the whole house gets cleaned during this time)
- Nap for little kids / Music and reading time for bigger kids
- Free time (sometimes I assign projects, sewing, art, cooking, carving, etc.)
- Prepare for Dad to get home
- Eat dinner
- Family worship
With that skeleton in place, we simply add specifics in and figure out times for each child and mom to accomplish what needs to be done.
So how can you come up with a schedule that will work for your family? Before you start, pray that God will guide you through the process and that you will make wise decisions about how to spend your time. Think of the priorities and goals you have for your family, does the way you spend time reflect these? Then:
- Start a list of everything that you need to do each day and the amount of time that the activity should take. One of the main purposes of this step is to make sure that you are spending time on the activities that are most important to you and your husband. Make a list for each member of your family. (I don't schedule my husband.) My husband and I usually take several days to a week for this step and pray about everything that we add or eliminate.
- After you have your lists for each person, start putting the activities into the time slots in your day. Are there some activities that obviously will work well if they are done simultaneously? i.e. I always schedule a young child to read to me during one of the time periods that I'm nursing the baby. Do you like to clean your house in the morning or afternoon? What time will you get up in the morning? What should your small children be doing while you are busy with other things?
- As you are fitting the puzzle together think about things that you don't need to accomplish everyday and customize your days a bit. For example, we have had music lessons at various times during the last 8 years. Sometimes I have gotten rid of the afternoon free time and other times we have changed to a four-day school week.
- Try it out, slowly and then adjust and re-adjust. When we first started, we were doing excellent to stay on schedule until lunch time. Give yourself and your children a week or two before you start changing things too much. Then figure out what works and what doesn't and change things around.
Don't get discouraged. I think that going through the process of making a schedule is helpful even if you never stick with it. It gives you the opportunity to think about how you should spend your time and encourages you to prioritize and spend time on things that are most important.
I hope to post some hints that we have learned to come up with a workable schedule. If you have any questions that you would like to have answered, please feel free to use the comments section.
To see How We Do It Part 2- Daily Chores click here.