Monday, January 28, 2008

Blocking the time in your day.

So far my goals of getting the house and my life in order this month in January are coming together. Some goals, such as getting my photo albums up to date, may not be accomplished but that's OK. I do tend to set rather high goals for my self but I'm not discouraged when I get only half of them accomplished. It just means I have the next set of goals already to go without much forethought.

One of the things I wanted to share with you is how I have been planning my time during the week in our homeschool. (I much prefer the term home education or home discipleship) I have found that blocks of time dedicated to certain tasks work really well for me and my way of thinking.

I have a "morning chores" block with includes the following, approximately 2-3 hours

Up, make beds.
My quiet time (Morning devotions)
Exercise, usually a half hour walk or a 50 min exercise video.
Prepare our morning smoothy or porridge (Canadian term for cooked oatmeal or other grain)

Start the days color of laundry

(Monday-dark laundry such as jeans etc)
(Friday- whites)
Odd days are for overflow and time to do folding if behind on that.

Start preparing for dinner, decide what to take out of the freezer or other prepare ahead tasks such as marinades, or dressings etc. General tidying.

Make any phone calls, or appointments that may be necessary. Pay bills, enter purchase amounts into budget forms, etc.
Generally get caught up on responsibilities before read aloud/discussion time. My boys have gotten up on their own (in my dreams), done their chores and made their beds (hopefully) and have started their table time work that they can do without me. My sons are responsible to accomplish some subjects on their own like Math, Spelling, Grammar. (if we are focusing on that right now)

Family worship/Read aloud/discussion. About 10.00Am- till 12 or 1:00. We all sit down with blankets and we read several books and generally enjoy ourselves together and read and discuss all of it. We have had some really great discussions that can carry on and on into the afternoon. Generally we read the Bible daily along with enjoying some hymns including one that we are learning the parts. We have been reading the The Thinking Tool Box, Truth Quest History, Whatever Happened to Justice by Richard Maybury, and some great literature after all that. We finish our read aloud time off with lunch and a table game of some kind, Word-i-go, Banana Grams, Boggle, or Yahtzee, or Clue just for fun.

Productive Free time
Afternoons are for any carry over work that I need to help them with such as drivers ED training for my oldest, or extra math help-generally from 1-3 or 4:00 pm

Sometimes we all work on writing improvement but generally this time is what we call Productive Free time where as our time must be used productively and actively in pursuit of an interest or passion, engaging in a project or study that is delight directed and individualized. This time also includes time for my individualized study that I am pursuing right now such as a new cooking method or pursuing my interest in raw food preparation, etc. At different seasons I use this time block to do a word study or read an information book in order to seek knowledge on a certain subject. It is important for your children to see you pursing your own education as well, and maybe even producing a product. (Further posts on that producing products in the future).

Graydon usually is found brainstorming a new game and creating it from scratch. Recently he has been turning to the creation and maintaining of a blog. (good writing skills) Jonathan has been working on his scroll saw projects lately or sometimes listens to GA Henty on tape.

Paid Work generally around 3-4:00PM. My boys have several paid work projects that they have developed, one of which is our book selling business on Amazon. They print the shipping labels and pack up any online orders that we have gotten over the weekend or throughout the day. I generally answer any customer service issues or inquiries as well at this time. In the summer my oldest has a lawn mowing schedule that he carries out on specific days.

4:45 Sharp! I head out the door for the 5 min drive to the post office and when I return and have processed our own mail, get dinner going full speed. The boys have free time till after dinner when they take turns cleaning up the dishes.

Family time (evening) is to be spent as a family but honestly most of it is spend watching my husband sleep in his chair. He has long hard days and is generally done with his day when he gets home. I usually get on the computer at this time and pursue any left over business of the day, answer personal emails, write a few new ones and post to my blog, list any new inventory, research new products to sell on line, list on Ebay, etc. If I get to bed by 10 or 11:00 it is a miracle as I am a night hawk and much prefer the silence of the night to type and think than the noise of the day. (private confession)

That pretty much wraps up the routine and the blocks of our day, with some variations, of course. Our 1 day of the week outing- Friday afternoon where we do all the errands, grocery and Walmart shopping which we all look forward to. We also make this our paid work time as we are often out scouting for new inventory on Fridays.

Friday night is movie night, if I can find a good one. If not we do something else, like play a game.

The benefits of Blocking the time on your day is the ability to switch around the blocks to accommodate flexibility without compromising focus. If an appointment happens in the middle of the day, you can adjust your day by moving Read aloud/discussion to first thing the morning and then having Chores or PFT when we come back from our appointment. Paid work will be done before we leave as well so we can mail out any shipments as we pass the post office. Focus and responsibility is maintained while preventing the realities of life from writing off the whole day.

Anyway, that's the ideal day. It doesn't always happen that way but when off schedule for various events and circumstances we do have something to work back towards.

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