Today I want to take a minute to talk about schedules vs. routines. As a person who is a little too type A, I like schedules. Nothing is more satisfying that figuring out the perfect schedule and being able to stick to it. Schedules help us stay on task and get more done with less wasted time. They should be made to make things more efficient. And that’s what I thought I was doing last school year when I made this schedule.
Oh and it’s that a thing of beauty? I was so hyped up over it I made one for each of us tailored to our own needs.
I also made one for my husband, but I think you get the idea. Shout out to Confessions of a Homeschooler for these great scheduling forms she makes for the community. They are lovely and useful to the right people. What I found out, and what frankly shocked me, was that I was not one of them.
The problem with schedules
Shocking, I know, but try as I might to stick to this schedule it felt like there was always something coming up that threw my schedule off significantly several times a week. Sometimes it was bad enough to be several times a day! The schedule is like a perfect snapshot of what I want my week to look like, but in actuality it will never be that perfect.
Some people would adjust the schedule on the fly and just start again tomorrow. And I tried that for a while, I really did. I even went back and revised the schedules. A few weeks it worked pretty well, but for the most part it was a total flop. For me this felt like I was failing. I was failing at keeping homeschool on track, failing at accomplishing all the tasks I wanted to achieve…I was just failing.
Finally I realized that as much as I wanted to be a schedule person, it simply wasn’t practical in this setting. When how much time handwriting takes that day is out of my hands, when I have left little margin for a phone call or a little unscheduled fun, when dinner time can’t always be set in stone because your husband’s schedule fluctuates….well a rigid schedule just does. not. work. When it came to schedules vs. routines, the scheduling just left me feeling like a defeated, failing mom. It was time to try just finding a good routine or rhythm to our day.
Finding a routine
That was last school year and we ditched the schedule after several revisions and putting it on hold for one reason or another. We just never came back to it and I realized it was a losing battle and made me feel like a failure. I finally just decided to stop beating my head against the wall and look at my desire to organize mine and my son’s day a little differently.
First, I already plan what I have to teach each day through my homeschool planner, so do I really have to put it in a specific order with times attached to it? No. I finally realized the answer is no. I naturally fell into an order with our subjects after some tweaking and in general I knew we would start sometime between 8:30am and 9am. This typically meant we were done with school sometime between 10:30am and 11:30am.
Naturally after that we would have lunch and a little free time. The one thing from my schedule that we’ve been doing for a while that wasn’t going to change was a 2pm quiet time. That one piece of our day that wouldn’t change helped me naturally establish a routine in the afternoon as cleaning and dinner prep naturally fit after that quiet time.
Our evenings were still controlled by what nights we had to go to Taekwondo practice, and on the other days we still had family time, albeit a little less scripted. We’ve kept things like doing family outings once a month and family game and movie nights, just not so rigid on the when.
So where do you come down on the schedules vs. routines debate? I know it has to work from some households. Maybe those with stable work schedules and kids who are always cooperative? 🤣 Seriously, I can’t imagine how it works for most people. Maybe I am just too type A, but failing at my schedule was worse than not having one.
So this school year there was a loose routine and while no, I didn’t get everything I want to get done in a day, I’ve learned my expectations are just too high for myself. I’m happier with a routine that can be flexible. It can accommodate that 30 minute call with a family member or randomly playing a game with my son. In the end, those are more important than obeying the clock.Thanks for reading!