Our Winter 2013 Schedule

I've mentioned before I've tried doing life with a schedule and without a schedule and we do MUCH better on a schedule.

So I dusted off my old schedule (I think the last one was dated Spring 2011), updated it and am ready to give it its first run.

{Click to Enlarge}

It's Flexible

This will most likely be tweaked and updated a bit more as we try it out, seeing that things might work better in different time slots or certain activities may need more, or less, time.

Although this schedule is broken into 30 minute increments, that doesn't necessarily mean I will follow it perfectly. I am quite open to being flexible and moving activities around as needed on any given day.

With 5 children, the simpler a schedule is, the better. It takes a bit longer to get through certain activities and doing too much can simply be overwhelming for everyone.

In slots labeled "Free Time", any number of things can fill it. The children may play freely or I may have a more organized activity available (such as a painting project). It pretty much depends on how much direction they need that day. Sometimes too much free time leads to trouble {fighting with siblings, for example}.

At other times that spot might be best filled with extra time with me. They can also offer a little more breathing room if something is taking longer than the allotted time. We don't necessarily make a hard hault when the half hour is up. Unless there is a specific reason, we push through until the task is done.

Specific reasons could include being overwhelmed with a math lesson. We could take a break from it, and come back to it later (most likely during a "free time" slot).

Know Your Family's Needs

It's important to have a finger on the pulse of your family so you know their needs well.

The schedule is meant to be a guide. If I have a guide telling me what needs to be done and which times are best for getting those things done, it takes the guess work off me day after day. Without my schedule, I was lost and overwhelmed not knowing where to start.

Additionally, my children thrive on the routine and predictability. When our two girls come home from Ghana, this will be a much needed asset for their security as well.

Having a schedule not only helps me know what I need to do and when it's best to do it, but it allows me to do things I like to do, such as read and write. I get up early to do my writing because that's the best time for me to think clearly. For the most part, I'm hit by the evenings--drained of anything inspirational that I need to create.

I also love to read, so I created a time for me to be able to read in the afternoon and require that my children have a quiet reading time as well. I tend to read some before bed as well.

This schedule runs Monday-Friday. The weekends are my "days off" of any formal schedule, other than our normal, daily rituals (meals, chores, bed times)

What Program I Used

People have asked me what program I used to create this schedule. It just a simple Excel Document (which I moved over to Numbers when I got a MacBook Pro for Christmas).

I used Manager of Their Homes, an excellent resource on scheduling, to help me create my first schedule several years back. I've been updating it ever since.

What questions do you have regarding scheduling?