Last night was our homeschool group's monthly parent support meeting. I love going to the meetings and make it a priority. If you have the opportunity to attend a support meeting, I highly recommend it. I put the dates on my calendar as soon as I know them; that way I don't forget about them.
Anyway, I was asked to post a summary of the meeting. (Thanks, Michele, for that idea!) The topic was scheduling and routines. We had about 10 parents (1 dad!) there. (and one very active toddler! lol) Since one mom there had just pulled her 7th grader out of the public schools, we took time to address her questions and concerns before moving on to our scheduled topic.
We discussed Managers of their Homes (MOTH) by Steve and Teri Maxwell, which describes a very structured approach to scheduling. Every half-hour segment of the day is scheduled and color-coded by child. I did a MOTH schedule a few years ago, but found that being that strictly structured was not something I could stick to easily. I also had a few issues with some of the themes in the book, the one I remember most clearly being scheduling breastfeeding times for your baby. (I firmly believe in breastfeeding on demand.) But, this was the beginning of my scheduling journey.
From there I have moved to a spreadsheet schedule, based on my MOTH-type schedule - still color coded, still mostly 30 minute blocks. However, I use it more for planning purposes (ensuring there is enough time in our day for what I want to accomplish) rather than a timeclock (I don't move on to the next thing at the chiming of the clock).
Sarah, the parent support coordinator, had asked me to share some of my scheduling & lesson planning methods, so I showed my spreadsheet schedule and my lesson planning sheets and described how I manage my time and lessons.
As I've mentioned, I have started doing a month's worth of lesson plans at a time. For David, I give him the whole month's assignments at the beginning of the month. I give the other kids a week's assignments at a time, divided into daily assignments. Any of them is free to work ahead, if they so choose. (They usually do not.)
I have described lesson planning on this blog before recently, so I won't reiterate all that here. But it's working well for us and I described that method at the meeting.
Sarah also discussed her loop scheduling method, which I find intriguing. At some point, when we need a change, I may implement this, especially with the younger two. If you are interested in loop scheduling, here is another blog post about it that I found on doing a web search.
All in all, a very rewarding and valuable meeting! Put the next one on your calendar!