Over the last several years I have tried a ton of different schedules. I have asked other homeschool mom's with many children (as in more than two) what their schedule looks like and tried to copy it as if it were a magic cure. I have found schedules on the internet and tried them too. The schedules would always fail after about two days or so. They simply weren't for us.
Over a year ago I finally got a clue. I was sick of trying new things and failing and I wanted some fluidity in our days. I asked Dad as the head of this home to take a look at our schedule and let me know what was missing and what was there that didn't need to be. He told me the things that were the most important to him and I was able make some changes, add some important things and cut out the rest.
After we revised our schedule, our days began to flow pretty smoothly. It also took a lot of pressure off of me and not worrying about what I wasn't fitting in wasn't a concern anymore. As long as I finished the things that were most important to Dad, I could relax.
We still have to revise our schedule on a regular basis, as needs or circumstances change, but the basic format stays the same.
Here's a peek at our current schedule:
7am - Everyone's up and getting ready for the day. We have to turn our bedroom back into the living room and kitchen, get dressed, get our teeth brushed, and get the table set for breakfast. We either have soft music or an audio bible playing in the background. I like my morning to start quietly since I am not really a morning person ;~) (this is a change from our normal schedule since I normally start my day at about 5:30 but since we are sharing a small space I don't want to wake everyone else up. Actually, I am pregnant and tired.)
8am - Breakfast. One of the three older children are responsible for getting the breakfast made. While Boy reads the morning bible, a Proverb for the day. Eat and clean up.
9am - MWF is American History or History of the Horse (Beautiful Feet). TuTh is Character Training (Beautiful Feet)
10am - MWF is Math (Mammoth Math, LOVE it!) TuTh is Language Arts. We do a writing and dictionary assignment I create using Instructions for Righteousness.
11am - Lunch made by one of the three older children.
12pm- Quiet Time. Mom and the two littlest take a nap while Guys and Sis do the dishes and Boy clears the table and picks up the the house. Once the chores are done they get to read quietly until the littles wake up. (This is another change, we usually have another hour of school before lunch and quite time, but again, I am pregnant, hungry and tired. I had to modify the nap time too, since living in the travel trailer. During the day all the beds are blocked except mine, so the littles had to learn to nap together and not play with the stuff in mom and dad's room. This is such a sweet time for us!)
2pm- Project Time. PlayDoh, science projects, building birdhouses and feeders, sewing (beginning soon), legos, lincoln logs, meal planning, whatever. This is our time for learning through living life.
The rest of our day is really flexible, especially since Dad's schedule is different every day. We do try to have dinner around 5 with family worship right after, and bed time is 8...
It is easy to get caught up in schedules and checklists, but for our family, character training to bring glory to God is always the primary focus of our day. We could "do school" all day long making academics our primary focus and raise scholars and professionals, but what good does that do if they are selfish fools?
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” ~Matthew 16:24-28