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    A Schedule for an Average Day

    September 3, 2013 by Brandy Vencel

    I‘m going to share my schedule–something I haven’t done for a few years, I just realized–as long as we’re clear on a few things. First of all, I don’t actually stick to the hours on it. That was my best guess when I drew it up before the school year started. It was a guide. It is correct up until it says “preschool” and then anything can happen.

    The chores never take as long as I blocked out. Really, I was just too lazy to try and break it up to accurately represent what we do. The general rule is: work before play. If you have finished your chores, and there is nothing else {like lessons} you are supposed to be doing, then you may go play outside.

    Sometimes Year One takes longer. Often Year Three takes longer. Sometimes I have something scheduled for my Year One and Year Three students to do together. Many times in the past two weeks, we haven’t eaten lunch until almost 2:00 pm.

    Also, I’ve been throwing a quick snack in there somewhere, but it’s not on the chart, and it hasn’t been at a consistent time, just when it seems to fit. A glass of milk and some fruit or cheese really make the morning go better!

    The afternoons include other things, but they aren’t on the chart because it was the morning I felt the need to plan.

    My Year One and Year Three students need more structure for their free reading. {Ambleside Online has free reading lists, if you didn’t know it.} What I did was use an old plastic three-drawer tower that I have. I put the preschool books in the top drawer, the Year One free reads in the second drawer, and the Year Three {and some of Year Two as well} free reads in the bottom drawer.

    Why the bottom drawer?

    It’s the biggest.

    I’m practical like that.


    So. Each normal afternoon, they have to read a book from their free read drawers for 20 minutes. They can read longer, of course. They have to choose a book from their drawer {any book–I don’t tell them which} and they have to read it daily until they are done. That’s the structure. They can do their 20 minutes when they like and where they like and choose the book they like out of the pile.

    It’s working for us.

    A-Age-Eight recently read a book in a day for the first time. I think it was actually a Year Two book she wasn’t ready for last year. She decided she liked it and read all day on Saturday. It was cloudy and we weren’t doing much. I think this is the first time ever that she “wasted” a day on a book.

    But I digress.

    So the afternoons have “things” in them–instrument practice, various instruction from me, free reading, etc. But it’s all much more unschooly and unstructured and there’s no chart required.

    The chart is for me. The children don’t even see it. I was trying to figure out how to juggle four students. How to give them individual time. Only my Year Six student is able to work independently. My girls need strict oversight–even in things people think of as independent, like letter formation. I keep careful watch when a child is learning letter formation {both print, and later cursive} because bad habits are so hard to break. But this means that this year is especially hard–I’ve two students needing lots of time alone with me.

    But it’s working out fine. I’ve scheduled it out where each child, beginning with the youngest and working to the oldest, gets their needed time with me. My oldest is also able to catch narration moments with me while I’m working with other students. For example, if my preschooler is coloring his letter of the day, that’s a good time for a narration.

    So, even though this chart isn’t exactly what happens in reality, I’m sharing it. I’ve been asked how it’s going, how I’m juggling everything this year, and the answer is: this really works for me. So much so that I keep thinking perhaps I forgot something important. It’s gone very smoothly for the past two weeks.

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  • Reply Amanda September 5, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    Brandy, I’m working on something similar as we have 4th grade , 2nd, year 0/K/ Prep twins and a toddler. Thanks for sharing. Is math part of your morning instruction and fit in to 1 hr for your year 1 student? I know you said the times aren’t exact. Or is that part of your afternoon? Our math lessons start out teacher led and I’m trying to work out where everything fits.

  • Reply dawn September 4, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    I’m glad we’re not the only late lunchers …

  • Reply Kelly September 3, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    You can make lunch in 15 minutes? I am definitely doing something wrong. Tell me your secret!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel September 3, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      Well, most of the time–probably 80-90%, we eat leftover dinner. So I’m not “making” lunch. I’m reheating something, getting it out of the fridge, etc. If I have to truly “make” lunch it takes much longer and I make everyone help when possible.

    • Reply Kelly September 3, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      Sheesh. I’ve given that advice to people before myself! I haven’t been having enough leftovers from supper for a long time. Definitely need to remedy that.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel September 3, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      When I make enough, it goes really well. When I don’t, I *consistently* bomb lunch. The past two weeks have gone okay, but during the summer I have huge lunch issues. Part of it is because I just *don’t* buy food for lunch. Dinner is supposed to last. But everyone was growing and eating more, and it threw me off. Now I’m tripling recipes I used to double!

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