Monday, August 13, 2012

What ‘All’ Might Look Like (aka: The Unrealistic Routine)


So, I have my list of ALL the things I want to fit in our school day. I KNOW from painful and repeated experience that it isn’t possible.

‘All’ may be possible for someone else, but the truth is I’m undisciplined. I know this about myself. I HATE this about myself. Every few weeks I am determined to CHANGE this about myself. And then I don’t have the self-discipline to change.

But that NEVER stops me from making awesome plans for fitting it all in. And then sharing it here. Because it makes me look so productive. Ha!

Without further ado, the routine I will never stick to:


  • 6 AM  Wake up. Shower. Devotions. Put in a load of laundry. Check email.
  • 7 AM  Wake the boys. Put in a classical music CD.
    Morning tasks: get dressed, make beds, empty dishwasher, help make breakfast.
  • 7:30  Breakfast. Latin prayer. Clean up kitchen. Brush teeth.
  • 8 AM  Levi and Luke alternate piano and math.
    Leif reads aloud to me for a few minutes and then plays with Lola while I prep for our day.
  • 9 AM  Sing hymn together. Bible memory work (CC and God Our Provider CD).
    Telling God’s Story (1x week). Hymns For a Kid’s Heart (1x week). Children’s Illustrated Bible (2x week).
  • 9:20  Head down to studio.
    Review memory work (CC and IEW Poetry) (with games and mini trampoline).
    Work on logic puzzles if we have extra time.
  • 10 AM  Spelling with Levi and Luke.
    Leif works on Spanish independently. (Lola in play pen with toys.)
  • 10:15  Spelling with Leif.
    Levi and Luke work independently on Spanish or typing.
  • 10:25  Geography (CC: 3x week, workbooks: 1x week).
  • 10:40  Break (run around, veggie snack).
  • 11 AM  Latin (Leif does math independently.)
  • 11:30  Grammar (Leif plays with Lola.)
  • 12 PM  Lunch (play educational music CD), everyone helps with clean-up, and then recess.
    I put Lola down for a nap and switch the laundry.
  • 1 PM  Back down to the studio.
    Writing (I work with Leif first and then he watches a show in the house.)
    Levi and Luke work on Spanish or typing while waiting for writing instruction.
  • 2 PM  Science (1x week). History (3x week).
  • 3:15  Snack.
  • 3:30  Wed/Fri: Levi and Luke go to swim practice with Russ.
    (They swim back-to-back hours, so I’ll send assigned reading for their non-swim time and CDs for the car ride.)
    I do chores/errands/grocery shopping/lesson planning.
    Tues/Thurs: Possible history activity or science lab, then free time for boys.
  • 5:30  Dinner prep. Leif sets table.
  • 6:30  (Boys home.) Dinner. Family devotions. Everyone helps with clean-up.
  • 7:30  Bed prep/baths.
  • 8 PM  Read-aloud.
  • 8:30  Silent reading or audio CD. Lola in bed. Check email.
  • 9 PM  Lights out for kids. Exercise for me.
  • 9:45  In bed and reading for me.


Monday is our day for Classical Conversations classes. Our early morning routine will look similar. We need to leave the house by 8:45, so we’ll skip math/piano and have a few extra minutes for lunch-packing, stuff-gathering, and presentation-reviewing.

The Foundations classes for all three boys (and Lola in the nursery) are from 9 AM until noon. Then we’ll eat lunch with the other families and the kids will have gym time. At 1 PM Levi and I will head to the Essentials class while Luke and Leif go to play class. (I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with Lola. If possible, I might have her take a nap during that time.)

Essentials finishes up at 3 PM. We’ll try to get out of there quickly so we can be home in time for the boys to grab a snack and leave for swim practice at 3:30. Evening routine will be the same.


Now that I think about it, ‘ALL’ isn’t an accurate term for this schedule. Notably, I see no time for blogging. Or Spanish. Or typing. Or staring at a wall in happy silence and inactivity. Or watching White Collar or Drop Dead Diva. Or hiding in the bathroom with chocolate. This is not good.

ETA: I added in typing and Spanish thanks to the great advice from a reader in the comments!

We’ll have to mesh our CC presentations with our other lessons to maximize our time. I’ll have a shelf filled with books for the boys to choose from when I’m occupied and they don’t have a task or are waiting for help. This will include picture books for history, science, art, poetry, math, etc.

I MUST work on a meal plan.

Play time will happen on weekends. A few school days will be interrupted with field trips or other activities. Sunday afternoons are for family Costco and library outings when we aren’t busy with a swim meet or other activity.

I was hoping to have the boys do Lego League and an art class, but I don’t know if our schedule (particularly swim team) will allow for that.


We are going to go somewhere fun September 4th or 5th for a not-back-to-school ‘party’ (that is when local schools begin), spend the 6th cleaning house and getting organized, and practice our routine on the 7th (with a yummy breakfast and pictures). Then it is off to our favorite Renaissance Faire and my niece’s birthday on Saturday the 8th. Sunday we’ll get our stuff together for our first day of CC on the 10th. Tuesday the 11th will be our first official day of school at home. (The boys will have a break from swim team practice the first couple weeks of September, which will help us ease into our routine.)

I’m planning 13 weeks of lessons for our first trimester. We have 12 weeks of CC with a week break half-way. That will give us 4 weeks (December 10—January 6th) for a Christmas break with light lessons and Christmas reading/activities. We’ll resume our full load on January 7th.


I’ve spent some time deciding how to integrate our Classical Conversations memory work topics with our weekly studies, particularly in history and science.

After looking through the CC history sentences, I’ve decided to simply make our way through The Story of the World: Ancient Times without any manipulation to fit with the memory work. I’ve scheduled our first 13 weeks to cover chapters 1-17, which means we’ll finish up with ancient Egypt before Christmas and begin with ancient Greece in January.

We are creating a master timeline (we’ll have one nice history timeline for the family, and the boys will each make their own paper timeline) where we’ll enter all our history sentences and CC timeline card titles as well as other information from our studies in all subjects so that we’ll have a big picture idea of how people, events, ideas, and cultures unfold and interact through time. And, as usual, the boys will break into song whenever a chapter from The Story of the World brings to mind a history sentence or timeline card.

Science will be much easier to integrate. There are 10 lessons in Real Science 4 Kids Biology, and we will rearrange them to correspond with the CC science memory work topics, spending an extra week on ecosystems and the natural cycles. I’ll be supplementing with Christian Kids Explore Biology, and, of course, extra books and videos. (We won’t be doing a huge amount since the boys will have a science experiment or project every week with CC and a friend is putting on a 3-day biology science camp this month.) I’m up in the air about how to proceed with science studies in January.

Geography studies will consist of mostly CC work, with a day of working through The Complete Book of Maps & Geography. I haven’t decided whether we’ll add in the history maps from The Story of the World Activity Guide. I will probably pick out a few key maps and do those during history time.

Math and Latin memory work will just serve to solidify what we are learning in those subjects. Speaking of math, the boys will do an independent math lesson over the weekend.

Grammar will be work from Classical Conversations Essentials. I plan on having Luke work through the material at home as much as possible even though he won’t be in class on Mondays. Leif will only work on the CC grammar memory work. Writing for Levi will be ancient history-themed IEW assignments through Essentials while CC is in session. Otherwise he’ll be working on Writing With Ease with the other two boys. I have some outlining workbooks that we might work on during history so that they can start outlining from the history encyclopedias. (Leif will just do copywork for history.)

The boys will have fine arts at CC, so during the week we will listen to CDs, read picture books, memorize poetry, and practice the piano.


What am I forgetting? (Other than my sanity?)


The Crib Chick said...

Hey, we're using RS4K Biology this year, too, and I've also went through and linked some of the Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia entries to the rest of the CC year, for science. (It really doesn't go through the *entire* year; I've left some space for nature study, etc.) I can send it to you, if it would be useful. (I think your schedule looks great, but it would still look good if you didn't get all of that done, every day. ;-)

Christie said...

I am also non-disciplined ... something I didn't know about myself until homeschooling! I think I must be concrete-random or something. I can't remember the exact descriptions from Cynthia Tobias's book "The Way They Learn," but I remember I shared one side of it with my concrete-sequential son and one side with my abstract-random girl. At least I can sort of identify with both of them. ;)

Its funny that you posted this today, because I'm hoping to go to Starbucks in the early evening (to get out of my HOT 85* house) and "finalize" my school plans. :D

Anonymous said...

Heidi, You absolutely amaze me with your plans. Even if they don't all work out, just the fact that you can plan and work it all out like this is incredible. Of course we remember you always were a good planner from when you were little. I do hope you all have a good year!!! Grandma

carole said...

I bet it feels good to have it down "on paper" - - all those plans and hopes and thoughts swirling around in your head start making you feel crazy. That is the stage I'm at: nothing written down yet. I think the realistic part of me knows that I will write an unrealistic plan, so I choose one side of crazy brain over the happy plan that might not ever really work. :) haha Just looking at your list with numerous parenthesis detailing what so and so will be doing while his brother is doing this and the other brother is doing that makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time! Aaaaahhh!!

But seriously, you have to start somewhere, and you will have time and flexibility to recalibrate. It's part of life. Best wishes to you on the start of another school year and thanks for the inspiration to get the swirling plans out of my brain!

carole said...

I have to add: I do have a year plan but not a daily/weekly "How We Will Actually Accomplish This With a 2 Year Old in the House" plan. LOL

Hannah said...

I know what you're forgetting ... Quiet Time! :-) That's when the reading, blogging, and chocolate consumption can take place. Consider it a survival class for everyone. ;-)

Heidi said...

Ah, yes. Quiet time. But when?! In place of what? I think quiet time is at 9pm. I should be eating choclate and blogging instead of exercising. YES!!

Jessica Stock said...

I'm so glad you posted this. I refer to your blog a lot as I plan our first year of homeschool. And thank-you for admitting that it is unrealistic, and even that you are undisciplined . . . I am unrealistic and undisciplined, I always have ten thousand more ideas than I will ever have time to pull off, and plenty of good intentions . .. it is so good to know that other homeschool moms wonder when they will fit it all in, and are going to keep doing the best they can even if it's not always perfect. It gives me hope! Thanks!

Robyn said...

Love your schedule and your acceptance that you're not going to get it all done. I am homeschooling 4 kiddos and have such high hopes and expectations that are dashed to pieces daily. I am undisciplined too. We always have a really great time with whatever distracts us though. Thanks for sharing!

CC Jen said...

I made a spreadsheet for our ideal schedule this year. I'm hoping we can actually stick to it, but I'm sure I'm forgetting additional practice time for piano, Tae Kwon Do, etc. Ugh!

shannon said...

We are doing CC for the first time this year. I love seeing your schedule, it is inspiring. I'm working on mine this week :)

Cathyb said...

I feel like you were inside my head when you typed the intro paragraph. I too feel like I am undisciplined and don't have the self-discipline to change. However I have always admired how disciplined you all are! That said, I do have a few suggestions. Of course, my disclaimer is that I have not made my own schedule for this year yet and I am probably more undisciplined than you. But sometimes it is easier to see answers to other people's problems than to your own. You may be able to squeeze in typing and Spanish. I used Rosetta Stone for Spanish last year and I found that it really only took 5-10 minutes each day. My boys did one lesson a day (two if they were very short, and very rarely they would break a long lesson into two days). They were able to do the lessons completely independently. My rules were that they had to redo any lesson that they scored less than 80% on before they could continue. You can check their progress/scores on the computer. My boys progressed at different speeds due to age, but it worked well and tracked them both individually. I usually had them do a lesson of Spanish and a typing lesson or game every day and together it usually only took each of them around 15 minutes. I figured that short but daily repetition was best.

My other thought is that it seems like some of your time frames are a little long. It seems like we usually spend more like 10-15 minutes on All About Spelling or our geography work. I know we don't spend an hour with writing. You might also try listening to Story of the World audio while kids are driving to swimming. Perhaps if you condense a few things you will have more time than you realize? I do think you are going to burn out quickly if you don't have some more time in your schedule.

Maybe these suggestions will be helpful; but as always, you know what works best for your own family and should follow that.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Heidi said...

Cathyb~ THANK YOU for the suggestions! I'm inspired to fit in Spanish and typing as independent studies in the cracks of our schedule. :) I did purposely schedule longer time frames for each subject. The #1 reason? I ADORE my little girl, but every task takes twice as long and is twice as difficult with an almost 2 year old around. Ha! The other reason is that I'm juggling 3 boys with various levels of ability. (And also because I hate feeling behind schedule and always fighting to get back on track!)

But I think I'll take your advice. We'll steal a little more time for spelling on either end and I'll work with the older two first and then work with the younger guy while one does Spanish and the other does typing. We'll reverse that during the writing hour. (I have to work with each boy individually, so I'm pretty sure it's going to take an hour of MY time.) We'll see how the time frames work out during the first couple weeks of school. We may find that one subject takes longer, and one takes less time. I may give them a longer morning break. Or we'll begin history/science earlier and end our day earlier.

I am going to send CDs for listening in the car on the way to swimming, but it won't be SOTW. I have really enjoyed reading that aloud to them. I have to learn history with them! Especially since they do almost all the supplement reading on their own.

Thanks for the feedback!