Friday, May 15, 2009

Working Out a New Routine

Anyone with children knows there is no such thing as a definite schedule! Naps are constantly changing, lessons and commitments come and go, and you have to learn to bend with the the season of life you are currently living. That said, having a structure to the day is important, and something my kids thrive on when I manage to be diligent and create that structure for them.
To that end, since all of our "regularly scheduled programming" has suddenly changed, I am taking a fresh look at how and when we accomplish our learning. While I love much of Charlotte Mason's philosophy, I do not agree with the idea of lots of little subjects in 10-15 minute lessons. That is too all involving for me, too complicated to keep moving, and does not allow for us to dig deeply into a subject. I tend to lean towards longer blocks of time, and am learning to allow those blocks of time to float through the day, without always tying them to a definite hour. So, taking the concept of lesson blocks (a waldorf term), the principle of multum non multa and some suggestions from an old curriculum guide for Classical Conversations, I have come up with a flexible schedule for us to follow. I did include target times to help me focus, but I also realize that many of those times will have to shift. I am trying to maintain my consistent wake time and bedtime, and currently have a set workout schedule with a trainer, and of course piano, karate and gymnastics are all fixed. Around those peg times, I want to fit in 3 or 4 lesson blocks. Traditionally a Waldorf lesson block is longer than an hour, but I think we are going to work in one hour time chunks in the morning, then allow for longer blocks of time in the afternoon for pursuing history and science.

6:30 - mom up, start laundry, breakfast, morning prayers
7:00 - kids up, dressed, chores, breakfast, prayers and lives of saints
8:00 - 3 days/week - leave for my workout
2 days/week - introduce new memory work, go outside, or start 1st lesson block earlier

9:30 - home, shower, girls play with the baby, crocodile hunter begins Latin
10:00 - 1st lesson block - Math - everyone will work on math, I will begin by teaching the littlest, and slowly dismiss the younger ones to play, moving my way up to the oldest
11:00 - teatime - I have decided to shift this to morning snack time, because our afternoons have gotten busy with outside lessons - this also allows the baby to get an early lunch so she can go down for a nap midday - during this time we will cover poetry, composer study and picture study on a rotating basis
12:00 - 2nd lesson block - Language Arts - this will be the time we cover copywork, spelling, and writing
1:00 - lunch time - listen to CD's - Story of the World or Shakespeare plays
on days we have errands, this is also the time they are to gather what they need for their classes and make sure they are appropriately dressed
2:00 - 3rd lesson block - this will be History or Science, we will alternate which one we cover

3:00 - 6:00 we run errands and the kids have lessons

3 days/week
3:00-4:00 - outside time - naptime for the Queen
4:00 - 4th lesson block - this will be for projects, literature, reading aloud, whatever needs to get done, followed by free time and independent reading

7:00 - dinner - time with Daddy, reading together, evening prayers


  1. We've started to incorporate other things (besides just poetry) into teatime, including some literature read alouds. It's working great.

  2. Thank you for sharing. I have struggled with this all my homeschool/mothering career and am working on it constantly! (despite MROL and MOTH)
    I really like your "lesson block" idea a lot!!!! I'm going to think about this more and see how it might work here. I LIKE IT!

  3. I too began with Charlotte Mason's short lessons and quickly became overwhelmed with the sheer amount of planning involved. I felt pulled in too many directions, especially when I added school-aged child number three in the mix.

    I then moved to lesson blocking as you have mapped out. Now with four school-aged children I am working with a Waldorf-LCC hybrid of two blocks per day. Math and Language (which is Latin for the older and English grammar/phonics for the younger) happens in a block every day. As for the other subjects we only cover one block a day: Monday is History, Tuesday is Literature, etc... That way I am assured that I can give the topic the amount of attention it needs and not spread my self so thin that we never cover anything well.

    With love in Christ,

  4. Katherine - thanks for sharing a peek at your schedule, I would love to see a more fleshed out schedule (in your free time :) routines are one of those things I constantly am tweaking and striggling with, so it is always nice to see what is working for someone else.

  5. As a former teacher, I found that the kids learned the best in blocks. They were definitely more successful.

  6. What you are doing sounds wonderful and inspiring! I see that you listen to CD's with your children and wanted to know if you know about my Orthodox Children's Music. If not, there are three CD's (all original music for children) plus one math CD for middle schoolers. The titles are "Fruits of the Spirit," "Celebrate the Feasts," and "The ABC's of Orthodoxy." All of the music is on iTunes if you want to hear samples (just type in my name: Gigi Baba Shadid).

    As an Orthodox Christian mother and an educator, I saw that we are lacking in music that teaches specifically about our Orthodox Christian faith. I hope you will be able to check it out if you are interested.

    Thank you for letting me share this with you and God bless your ministry!

    Gigi Shadid if you have any questions.