Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Planning for Fall 2012

I’m going to hit the ground running at the end of August with some new ideas to start off the new “school year.”  The last couple of years have been rather chaotic due to some family drama, birth of a baby, and moving a number of reasons, and while we still managed to get school stuff done, I wasn’t nearly as organized as the kids needed me to be.
I admit, I am NOT a structure person—the thought of keeping to a calendar or committing to regularly scheduled ANYTHING makes me hyperventilate.  I blame it on an artistic disposition—but my children all inherited their father’s need for routine, and frankly, I’m tired of hearing:
“What are we going to do today?”
or more likely: “Can we watch Netflix?”
or more likely: “Can I play games on the computer/Wii/phone?”
or most likely: “I’ve done my morning chores and the other kids aren’t done with theirs and haven’t even eaten breakfast, and it’s not time to do school yet, so can I play games on the computer/Wii/phone?”
I’m tired of telling them no (and feeling guilty when telling them yes) and I realized that despite the copious amount of reading the kids all do—they are BORED OUT OF THEIR MINDS!
Now, I realize it’s summer time, and that a little boredom is a good thing—it forces the kids to use their imagination (or get chores done on the off chance Mom catches them moaning about their lack of activities/entertainment.)  But that’s a different post.  My point here is—we gotta change this up for the school year, or we’re going to go out of our ever-loving minds.
Enter The Visual Schedule!
One day, while scrolling through friends’ statuses on Facebook, I noticed a buddy had commented on this post over at Simple Homeschool.  Normally, I avoid anything that even remotely resembles a formal schedule, but for some reason, I latched onto the idea and became obsessed with creating my own visual schedule—one I could point at when the kids ask “What are we going to do today?” and they don’t buy my default answer: We’re going to try to take over the world.”
I won’t go into the nitty gritties of explaining how I put it together, it’s beautifully done here, in a post by Stephanie at Keeper of the Home and is the model I used to create our own.  The only difference between Stephanie’s set up and mine is that I opted to arrange our schedule on the fridge using magnets I bought at the dollar store, rather than using a teacher’s pocket wall chart.  I’m cheap, what can I say?
Each night, I (or one of the kids, under my direction) put together the next day’s schedule.  The kids love this because they get to see what’s coming up and can anticipate how things are going to roll once they crawl out of bed toward the Fruit Loops.  I love this because the kids know what I expect them to get done before we start school, and it helps keep me focused and on task in making sure the kids are getting in the work (house and school) that needs to be done.
Of course, most days don’t go EXACTLY as planned.  We change things around if the flow of our day needs some tweaking.  We occasionally add or subtract activities if needed.  So, the schedule is flexible, which keeps me from having to breathe into a paper bag while bringing a bit of order to the place!

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