It's August! That means that lots of Mamas are doing some thinking about planning and scheduling for the upcoming school year. Whether your little ones are off to school, preschool, or will be staying home with you, August invites some analysis and restructuring of things! It's no different around here. I've spent the last couple of weeks brainstorming, making notes and lists, planning, and generally trying to sort things out.
We greatly enjoy the flexibility and freedom that we have because the girls do not go to preschool outside the home. When official kindergarten begins next year, we'll certainly have to be on a bit more of a structured schedule. Until then, however, we are only planning to do 2 or 3 days of school per week at home. However, there are a few school-y things that DO need to happen every day, so I have planned a time in our daily rhythm for those things as well.
Before I designated 'school' and 'non-school' days in my head, I always felt a little guilty when we were out doing things or spending our time at play dates or lessons. I felt like I should be at home 'doing school' with the girls. Now, I just make sure to have 2 or 3 days a week at home, doing school with a weekly learning theme approach. That way, I can enjoy the rest of our time without feeling guilty. For the record, I do believe that most of my girls' learning happens during our life together, and not necessarily during our school together. But I also realize that there are academic skills that they need to work towards. It's all intertwined.
Our mornings and afternoons are essentially the same, whether or not we are having a school day or a non-school day. It's the part in the middle that changes.
This is not so much of a schedule as it is a rhythm, since I can't bear to put us on an hour-by-hour rigid schedule. Lena is a young 4, and Maggie is almost 2 1/2.
5:00-7:00- Personal time for me. I know! It's early! But my husband has to get up this early anyway, and I can't really sleep in once he's up. So I just get up and make some good use of the time. I write, plan, shower, drink my coffee, and eat breakfast.
7:00-8:00- Lena is awake, but Maggie is still sleeping. We use this time for Lena to practice her reading, to finish a few morning chores together (packing a lunch for Dad, unloading the dishwasher), or for me to read aloud from a chapter book.
8:00-9:00- Maggie is usually awake by 8:00. The girls have breakfast and then help me to clean up. I try to read aloud during breakfast, since I have a captive audience. Then we move upstairs to do some quick chores like laundry or vacuuming. If we have time before the day's school or adventure, Lena practices violin.
- School Days
- 9:00-11:00- Dedicated school time. The girls work in their Daily Notebooks. Then I typically take turns working with each of them individually on whatever skills or activities they are doing. They both do the same crafts, and many of the same gross motor and fine motor activities, modified for their individual abilities. If we finish with all of our planned activities before 11:00, we read books together.
- 11:00-11:30- The girls watch TV while I prepare their lunch. If I have any patience left, they help me get lunch ready. Normally, though, we are ready for a break! I try to find things related to their weekly theme for them to watch.
- 11:30-12:00- Lunch. Sometimes I read aloud.
- 12:00-1:00- Lunch clean up, room clean up, and nap prep.
- Non-School Days
- 9:00- 1:00- Adventure! Sometimes the girls' grandparents or aunt comes to play with them while I run errands. Other times we go to the zoo or the aquarium. Lena has a couple of lessons during the week. Sometimes we run errands all together. We try to be home by 1:00 for nap time.
1:00-3:00- Nap or quiet time. Maggie naps regularly. Lena naps about every other day. On days when she has quiet time, she colors or draws in her room, or plays quietly by herself for an hour. Then she comes downstairs and usually just hangs out with me and whatever I'm doing (chopping veggies for dinner or folding laundry).
3:00- 4:30 - Both girls are up from their nap. They have a quick snack. The girls play. I do chores. We may do a theme related craft or science project.
4:30- 5:30- We try to make the house look presentable. Lena finishes any chores she has to do for the day. I start working on dinner. If I can muster the patience, I let the girls help. Otherwise, they play with each other or watch TV if they're having trouble getting along.
5:30- 6:30- Dinner and clean-up.
6:30- 7:00 Lena practices violin, if she hasn't already. Maggie and Dad play together.
7:00- 7:30- Family time.
7:30- Bedtime routine begins. The girls get a bath every other day, or if they've gotten grungy.
8:00ish- Mom and Dad collapse on the couch.
Interested in establishing a Rhythm, Routine, or Schedule (affiliate link) with your little ones? Start with this fantastic e-Book written by Rachel Norman of A Mother Far From Home and Lauren Tamm of The Military Wife and Mom.
While you're into planning your home preschool, be sure to check out this
You May Also Be Interested In:
From Other Great Bloggers:Daily Schedule With An Infant And Toddler from Munchkins and Moms
Our Home Preschool Schedule from Fantastic Fun and Learning
The Perfect First Calendar For The Home Or Classroom from Preschool Inspirations
Setting Schedules For After School from The Educator's Spin On It
Check out my Pinterest boards for TONS of great preschool resources!