The following is a guest post by homeschooling mom Kelli Rizutto. She has three children, ages 11, 9, and 6.
I wanted to share what we do to help plan our days during the homeschool year.
I do a homeschool/chore daily schedule for my kids on Microsoft Word. I’ve done it for a few years now and can’t do home school without it.
The form is very basic but very effective. Having this system keeps the kids on schedule, and because they have a daily list, they don’t ask me every day what to do next. They go and go and go until they are done with what is specified on the list that day.
(This helps because my children work differently, and we have to have a fluid schedule (not by what time it is) because we get busy sometimes. So, we don’t go by “time” as much as we go by what’s on the list for today for each child. If we are out most of the morning, we might do homeschool until 7 pm, until it all gets done. If it was my fault or we need grace for that day, we just don’t finish.)
They love the stickers. They love knowing what they have to do for the day. It helps them prioritize and learn about how to order their day. They learn how getting side-tracked sometimes costs. They now ask themselves, “Do I want to get side tracked because I will have to finish my work.”
For example, I wouldn’t allow my kids to go to their scheduled gymnastics class or ball games if they didn’t have their work done. Yes, I’ve even had to bring my poor son to gymnastics to sit at the table and finish his work while the others were in their class. It was so hard to do…
Then he said, “Oh, I just won’t finish and will skip this gymnastics class.”
I said, “Then you’ll owe me $10 because that is how much it cost for me to bring you this class per session.”
He went to work (with tears) because he knew I would do it. However, 10 minutes before class was over, he finished so he didn’t ‘owe’ me. Please know I was helping him and motivating him that it was okay, he could do it… lets just get it done instead of being upset and not focusing on the work, etc..
I just used a motivator besides yelling at him to do it. In the end I was his cheerleader, instead of the mom with the rough, mean, threatening voice.
I try to find those natural consequences to motivate my kids because I really don’t like conflict and yelling. This story is for those who struggle like me, too — who have a child who is hard to motivate to do their work in a timely manner. We all have areas we struggle in, in some way, but the Lord is good to help us get through it somehow.
Anyway, here is how I do it:
- To make the list, I insert 4 columns and about 12 rows. I lower the table and head the form Name: and Date: for each child.
- Below I add the child’s name, for my sake, so that I know who I am filling in the list for
- I add the ‘day’ (not date) so that I know which day I am filling in and what the homeschool work and chore list will be for that day. I make five different days and save it because they don’t do the same thing everyday.
- The first one is much wider (for me to fill in the work to be done) than the second one (for them to put a sticker in the box for when the work is complete.
- I label the first row, “Homeschool Work Today.”
- The 3rd and 4th columns are the same, but labeled ‘Chores’ in the first row. Now, we list all chores to be done, and if the chores have an * next to them, that means they are chores that earn money. (On payday, when the husband and I are making our budget envelopes, the kids’ earnings are in that and we pay them then.)
How we pay them:
- We add up every day’s earnings and put the dollar amount largely on the paper somewhere.
- Then on the day they get paid we tally up all of their earnings by transferring each day’s amount onto the back of the sheet of the day they are getting paid.
- By doing it this way we know when the last day they got paid was and how much they earned, to glance back or in case we need to know. If we did it on a separate paper we might forget the last day they got paid, and sometimes it might be a month before they get a ‘pay day’ … which makes it big. They like that!
I print out 18 weeks (or 36, your choice), punch them, and put about 9 weeks at a time into a 1-inch binder. It’s important to print a lot out because the weeks will fly by, and you’ll be busy and feel too busy to go and print more out, and the kids will have to either compromise, not work, or double up on their weeks (speaking from experience).
This is just a helpful tip I wish I had the first 2 years I was homeschooling, so I want to share it with you guys in case that is one of your hardest areas — ordering the kids’ day. It brings much peace and order to our day. I don’t ever have to tell them to do this or that, even with the chores. When they ask if they can do something, I ask,”Do you have the freedom to play or go outside?” which means, “Did you do all of your work?”
Here are some samples of how I did it. You can save these, change what I’ve typed in, then fill it in how it would work for your family. Finally, save it as your own document.
- Jordyn – Fall
I sure hope this helps some of you moms out there!
Kelli is writing children’s books. She says of her books, “It will be something like ‘Read With Me Bible Stories’ using the ESV version of the Bible. It is my desire to write 1st-2nd grade level, *accurate* Bible stories for our younger generation. I’ve started on my first book and have felt nothing but ‘thrill’!”