If you’re a homeschooling parent, particularly a parent of a high-needs child or multiple children who are all at home with you at the same time, you likely have a schedule. These things will get done at this time, these things will get done at this time, lunch happens at this time, chores need to be done by this time…scheduling is important. The better your schedule-making abilities, the smoother your day will run!
Then you discover the truth: the schedule is a lie.
There will be appointments. Field trips. Illnesses. Children will oversleep. You will oversleep. Temper tantrums will derail your entire day. You’ll take spontaneous visits to the ice cream shop, or decide to throw in the towel and spend your entire day working on art projects. That science experiment will take twice as long as you thought it would…or the project that you planned to spend all day working on will flop in about fifteen minutes flat. Some days, you will spend the entire day running from one activity to the next without any idea of how you’re going to get everything done.
The schedule is a lie.
On the other hand, having at least a basic schedule in place will make all the difference between chaos and sanity. Knowing what you’re supposed to be doing next—even if you end up doing it on the fly, or shoving it in between those other two activities that are really more important—gives you a guideline that will keep you moving through the day.
Having a schedule also lets your kids know what to expect. Remember being in school and counting down the minutes until you could finally go to lunch, or recess, or get on the bus to go home at the end of the day? Kids who are homeschooled are doing that, too. They need to know what’s coming next: when there are things to look forward to, and when there are things that they are dreading coming up that they need to know about. They need to know that there is a finite amount of time that will be spend on those activities, and that eventually, they will come to an end.
You need to know those things, too.
So write your schedules. Piece them together one little bit at a time. And then acknowledge that they mean only as much as the paper that they’re written on—but at least it’s a step in the right direction.
Maybe someday, you’ll actually follow it for a little while.