To Schedule, or Not to Schedule? - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

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To Schedule, or Not to Schedule?

{photos by Molly Trapp}

For our parents who are doing the homeschooling piece: do you use a schedule on your home days? Do you work off the grid or make your own plan? Or tweak the grid to fit your family’s needs? How’s it going, now that we are just over halfway through the school year? If you have multiple kids at SLOCA, you know that sometimes it can be tricky to get everything done when more than one child needs your help, and not everyone can read the grid or even knows what they are supposed to be doing… especially on weeks when you don’t feel organized or prepared! 

This is one area where the more we share ideas and strategies, the better! So today we have a guest blogger who relates some of the trial and error she’s experienced in her years at SLO Classical Academy, with multiple kids in the program. Track A mom Molly Trapp and her husband Brian have 3 children at SLOCA: Calvin (Intermediate), Heidi (Primary) and Bridget (Preschool). This is their 4th year here, and we are so happy that Molly has agreed to share some of what she’s learned about scheduling their home days (including images of schedules she’s tried!).

If you are struggling with time management on your home days, or just want to freshen things up a bit, we hope this post will be helpful – it’s totally okay to try new things mid-year! Feel free to adapt any of Molly's ideas to fit your kids and your needs. But also remember, there's no pressure to set a schedule if this kind of thing just doesn't suit you. It's always interesting to see how others make it work, and there are many ways to do SLOCA life at home. Here's one way:


Last school year was our third year at SLOCA – Heidi (turning 7 in February) was in Kindergarten, Calvin (now 8) was in 2nd grade, and Bridget (now 3) was at home with me. The first two years at SLOCA I just worked off the grid, having only one child to teach. Once I had two to teach, every night before a home day I would go through their grids and piece together a “personal grid” for the day which incorporated their extra-curricular activities like Awana, dance, martial arts, etc. It was a lot of work for me, but it helped them see what they needed to do and it helped me get organized:

 

Last spring we had the blessing of traveling to Mexico with my entire family for a week. The first day home was a Saturday and Calvin woke up saying, “Let’s do school today!” My response, because we had a tad bit of work to still complete before Monday was, “Great! Let’s get to it after breakfast!” to which Cal replied, “No, not with you. I want to do school with Heidi.”

He then proceeded to write out an extensive schedule (“skegewel”) out on our white board including things like rest time, science (“siens”), building a pillow castle, and student of the day (note: Heidi was his only student):

The adorable boy then set up a school classroom in our living room and went on to teach Heidi, for about an hour, everything she needed to know for the rest of her life. 

I sent a picture of Calvin’s “skegewel” to my husband, Brian, who was out and said, “Isn’t this so cute!” He responded, “I think Calvin’s desperately trying to tell you that he needs more structure on his home days!” “Oh! Really?! More?!” 

So as I tucked Cal into bed that night I asked him if he wanted more structure in his home days. His face lit up as he replied, “Yes! That’d be awesome. Can you put up a schedule like Ms. Fragasso does every day with the times and everything?”

I was hesitant to adopt a hard-line schedule with times and structure. Life happens – What if Bridget had to go to the bathroom? What if math was just not happening early morning but grammar was? What if a project ran long? When would I get laundry, dishes, or a shower (ha!) done?! 

I spent the next week putting together a schedule I was hoping would work. As the weeks went on I tweaked it as our grids or abilities changed. This is what I ended up with:

 

I also changed their “personal grids” to reflect the daily schedule, putting the topics in the order of the schedule, and in a form that was easier to read. 

 

The prep work became routine, and in the end, the schedule SAVED us… 

I used to spend the mornings anxiously cramming in a much as I could in any slightly willing brain (they learned to avoid eye-contact in the morning), constantly in fear that I wasn’t going to find the time to get everything done. With this schedule, I knew when everything was going to get done. The kids knew what was expected of them and when. And God taught me how to be flexible when it took longer to get Bridget down for her nap, or I had to drive to school to get a book because I forgot to get it the day before (Oops!), or when an assignment took longer than expected. As for home responsibilities, I built them into the schedule – eating doesn’t take 1 hour but prep, eating, reading, and dishes do. Ends up, my littles ones appreciate the opportunity to take ownership in the management of their time and responsibilities. 

All this was fine and dandy last year. This year, teaching three, it’s been challenging to come up with a schedule. That said, the older kids are more mature and we understand our abilities, needs, each other and our responsibilities more. Working without a set schedule has been okay… for now.


Thank you Molly! It’s so helpful to see how other families schedule their day, and to get ideas. We hope this will inspire a few parents out there with multiple kids who are trying to make it all work – don’t give up! We’d love to know how many parents out there use a schedule, or who is trying something new mid-year. Please share your thoughts in the comments below! 

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