Our Term 3 Schedules – Thoughts

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  • missceegee

    I’m working on our term 3 schedule which starts next week. I have DD11’s schedule done. It looks pretty good and is ~ 3.5 hours per day not counting piano and exercise time or our family work time. The trouble is that family work adds another hour to our day. I know as she gets older, she’ll need more time on her own and wonder how best to handle it.

    I enjoy studying the same period of history together, but honestly, this year has been a struggle to get the family work done with the little ones to care for, too. It seems 3.5 hours should be about right for her age, but I’m just trying to figure where to add another hour of piano/exercise and another hour of family work. Maybe I need to make a point of doing the family work during meal times.

    Any thoughts welcome.

    DD11’s Work and Family Work Term 3 – http://www.box.com/s/a3b675f128a91c2fed1e

    DD11’s Daily Checklist – shows breakdown of each day’s work –http://www.box.com/s/1ea586c27aa15d35a670


    Christie I just wanted to commend you on your great organizational skills, that schedule is so nicely planned and thought out, just wanted to say…think it is great. Linda


    Wow, I ditto Linda.  Could you come do my schedule?  :)Gina


    P.S.  Do you use the free personal option on this program?  I’m interested:)  Sorry I’m not much help w/your qu.  Your schedule looks great.  Your dd spends more time on piano, math, and history readers than my 12yo does…but not saying that’s a bad thing:)


    Christie – I feel unqualifed to offer you advice but…

    What about doing the memory work and poetry at meal times? With the littles in my house (nearly everyone!) meals themselves sometimes an effort and I’ve tried devotions and read-alouds at meals but it became frustrating to try to do much else than eat (although I really want to do our scripture memory at breakfast!) Maybe when mine are older. I’d opt for the family subjects that could be done orally (memory work and Friday reciting) and just one other subject – poetry. It might shorten the total family work time to move those two subjects to a meal. Also when do you do the family read-alouds? Can those be done at bedtime or do you already do that? 

    Do you mind if I ask – how long did it take to make the schedules? Are the checklists for them to use or do you keep track of their progress?


    I think it looks good too.  I hear you about finding the time though.  My continual struggle.  There’s supposed to be plenty of time w/ this method (which I love) but somehow i so often fail to redeem it.  Balance is tough.  Family work during mealtime cleanup works somewhat well at out house – kids clean up while I read.  Sometimes I quiz/teach drill type things while we eat – can’t say they love that arrangement always…but they do prefer that to having an extra hour to do on their own at other times!  And I think they are enjoying it more the more we do it and the older we get.  Biggest challenge for me is keeping the little ones from constantly distracting.  My new rule is going to be a silent table activity ready for when they finish eating and no talking unless you are spoken too.  Wish I’d have seen the value in that rule when my older kids were young and used it faithfully all the way through! LOL



    Thanks Linda and Gina.

    @gina, My dd is quite mature and loves to read. Math, not so much, so we spend extra time there. I do use the free box.com account and I’ve been pleased with it.

    @morgrace – family read aloud (currently The Hobbit) is at bedtime. We’ve done different things re. timing of family work incl. meal times which is sometimes challenging. Memory work during meals was one big no-no. Nothing like trying to teach good table manners and recite scripture at the same time. I quickly moved it to the end of breakfast. Sounds ridiculous, but it was a problem at first bc I hadn’t put 2 & 2 together. 🙂

    Oh, my charts. Well, I love neat and organized charts and borrow the ideas from wherever I can. My term chart layout was from an AO yahoo group. It’s quite simple after going through the SCM planning book. My daily checklist is from chalottemasonhelp.com and will be new this term. I do not want to copy over page numbers that are already on my term chart. Like lindafay at cmh I will put both charts on a clipboard never to leave the school room. My kids will check them off themselves. This one took a brief time to make, too. I have used the CMO and loved it, but I’m trying to have as much simplicity and as little computer time in my life as possible. I realized I was spending too much time making either the cmo or my own charts to include every little thing when I simply need a record of our work done to fulfill legal requirements. Im choosing simple and printing 1 paper for the whole term as a check sheet is it for now.

    @julie – preschoolers are tough. I find myself torn and wanting to play with them and do the little kid things with them like I did with my older two AND the necessity of teaching the older two. I have not ever found the right balance. I get loads more accomplished when for some reason the littles are occupied (out with Daddy), but I miss those things with them. The struggles are tough at times and I wish for 2 of me.

    Poetry is good for meal times. I think we could just do Bible, scripture memory and poetry before we leave the table from breakfast and do our after breakfast clean-up. That leaves only history/geography. Hmm, maybe for after lunch?

    Hope that makes sense as its late and I’m for some reason still awake and using my phone. Tiny screen and my eyes don’t always mix well.

    I appreciate the feedback.

    Blessings. Christie

    Btw, I made the term chart with a simple table in pages and the checklist in numbers on a Mac, but I can export templates to box.com in word and excel if someone wants them. I think you can get write in versions from CHarlotteMasonHelp, too. Look under organization.

    Family Work is my hardest time of day too. I try to include it, but many days my desire to do so is not fulfilled. I include poetry with meals, and also artist study is easily done at that time. My youngest is almost 3. She is very well behaved, but it’s still hard for her to remain still for too long. I have learned to let most Family Work go, and I’m less stressed, and so is she! We will hopefully get back into it in a few months.

    Here’s another thought. One day a week, my MIL takes care of my youngest child. The kids and I spend that day doing the extra school that doesn’t quite get done on other days. If you have a similar option, I highly recommend it.

    I would love your templates, if they are user-friendly to fill in! 🙂


    Wow! I love how you’ve got this organized!  Is there a template for that chart I can find somewhere? 

    I’m trying to sort out my son’s grade 6 schedule and would love to have him doing a solid 2 hours of independant work — I’m still sorting out all of that because he still needs a good half hour of my time per day as it is for guided work.  It’s only been our first year of hoeschool and I’ve kept things pretty light with a real focus on skill subjects and habits, so we seldom go beyond the 2 -2 1/2 hours a day counting independant, guided and family work.  The following year we will do less family work because they will split for science.

    I am going to try to find something audio we can listen to in the car on our drives to and from the office (about 12 min each way).  I’ve been thinking French lessons, SOTW audio or Adventures in Odyssey as part of Character study.  Also, I think if we can do lit occassionally in audio at meal or snack times would be great.  I do lessons then mysel, but it’s hard to eat my own lunch while reading from the day’s lesson.  Don’t know about the rest, yet, either.  Sorry.


    OK, if you want to save time, these are the things that stand out to me, but remember – I don’t have an 11 year old yet, so this may not be very valuable.  Does she need to do a written narration every day?   – You don’t need to answer me, just a question from an outsider and an opportunity to ask yourself how important is it to you…

    The other thing I would notice is your literature.  Is it possible for her to just read literature on her own during her free time for enjoyment and without having to narrate it, but perhaps doing a project when she finishes the book, like a report, or an oral report or a skit or a review on Amazon etc…  You’ve got lots of good literature in your schedule already so having an actual subject for it may be a place where you can save a bit of time.

    Also – You may not want to count piano practice as part of her schooltime (in your head anyway).  Lots of traditionally schooled kids practice the piano every day after school so it’s really an extra curricular activity even if she’s not always loving it.

    BTW – the schedule IS beautiful… if you saw mine, you’d never even bother to read my reply because you’d see how unworthy I am to comment!



    I will post the templates as soon as I finish tweaking. Wink

    I do not count piano or exercise in our daily totals, but I just want to see that they aren’t skipped. Also, I think by reading while they clean the kitchen from meals, the family reading will get done, which is not in her total time either. That means she has about 3.5 hours of work per day which is definitely doable for her. I don’t expect that to go up much in the next year or so, though. 

    As to literature, well, she loves reading and reads quite a bit on her own that I don’t track, but I do think it’s important she have something going that she narrates from and reads at a slower pace. Side note, I’ve got to replace Alice in Wonderland – she read it already. 

    We have been doing written narrations for a good while and I want her to do one per day, which she doesn’t mind. She draws and labels for her science journal and often draws along with her history narrations, as well. Literature, she writes and Bible will be new this term. 

    I think it will work for her. I appreciate the feedback and thoughts. It really does help me to process through what I’m going for.




    Hi Christie,

    One thing that jumped out at me that might save a bit of time during the Family portion of the day would be to save Master Skylark for a bedtime read aloud during the summer. It also seems like the family history & 5th grade chart is very heavy on literature. Maybe some titles could be saved for another time (a second run through the modules?) to free up family/her individual time some?

    I do our main history read aloud while the kids are cleaning the breakfast dishes. They take turns washing, drying, & putting away.  They always seem to need to do something with their hands while I’m reading anyway, so why not do the dishes?  ;0). It has worked out well because if there is clutter, we stay distracted during the rest of the morning (mainly me dreading all the work yet to do).  I also have to admit that we don’t have an evening read aloud, so you might move something from history or literature into that spot after you finish The Hobbit to free up some time during the morning or afternoon. 

    I love your charts. Are the colors preset?  Thanks for sharing about computer time. It drives me to distraction and actually keeps me in perpetual planning mode, I think. 

    I had already decided that I need to stick to paper vs computer/cmo in because of this and your post solidified that truth in my mind. Only having an iPhone and very rare signal strong enough to get much accomplished means I keep trying again, or check to see if a page of a site finally loaded, etc.  

    I’ve been working to consolidate all our schedules onto a chart similar to a condensed version of the charts in the modules. I like the clip board idea, too!  I think it will help to have it posted vs. stuck in a binder. It’s always great to read other ideas and tweak things little by little to fit our own families. 




    I love charts and color-coded, esp. It seems I’m always making charts for some thing or another. I work on a Mac and use either Pages or Numbers to make them and I just choose colors from the crayon color box and adjust opacity. 

    The clipboard has worked well. I need to replace one that was recently broken and I would love to find one with a small storage box AND a timer. I can find them with calculators, but I don’t want or need that. 

    I am determined to move myself OUT of perpetual planning mode. This year, I planned one term at a time and while it was ok, I greatly prefer planning the year and tweaking as needed before each term. I’ll be doing that when we have a 3 week break in August. 

    Family Read-Aloud is simply a book we enjoy as a family, including Daddy, when he’s in town. He’s reading The Hobbit to the kids and I’ve missed to much of it, but usually it’s just all of us enjoying a story. No one narrates. I have moved school books to that time slot on occassion and may do so again, but it will be a while. The kids want to hear the Lord of the Rings trilogy, including the ~5 yo. 

    I’m definitely going to redeem the kitchen chore time. They’re old enough to get it done well and it will be a good way to fit that in. I like this more than reading when I’m supposed to eat!

    One thing that jumped out at me that might save a bit of time during the Family portion of the day would be to save Master Skylark for a bedtime read aloud during the summer. It also seems like the family history & 5th grade chart is very heavy on literature. Maybe some titles could be saved for another time (a second run through the modules?) to free up family/her individual time some?

    We school year round, mostly 3 weeks on/1 week off with a few extended breaks, so I try to even everything out over the year. I don’t save anything for summer, since we don’t take summer break. However, I can see where this would be good for those that do. 

    Some Checklists, if they’re helpful.

    Here is the 3 Week Checklist that I settled on.

    Each 3 week mini-term has a front and back checklist that I print on cardstock color-coded per child. There is space for adding extras – books, field trips, misc. It also includes a “general schedule” of the day. We will likely never hit that exactly, but it helps us to have a flow to the day. This will go onto their clipboard with a copy of their Term Outline Chart and Yearly Calendar. Here’s the chart in iWork Numbers b/c it lost formatting when I changed it to excel – 3 Week Checklist. Each 3 weeks was formatted as a sheet with each day as a table.

    Here is the 12 Week Checklist in Numbers that I started with. Here it is in Excel.

    Here is the Term Outline Chart in Pages. Here it is in Word, but some formatting is lost, including colors.



    ETA: Let me know if any links are broken. My brain is tired. 


    Christie, you are too funny!  Where i get nervous looking at these beautiful charts and time allotments you thrive on them!  I love this in theory, but I’m not sure I could really do it.  I want to help my 11DD to be more efficent this year because I’ve noticed her struggling a little to complete her assignments in a timely manner.  Maybe schedules are the answer?  Currently I “sketch” my days so that I know what I want to cover both as a family and for each child individually.  I usually use a white board to write this up each morning for all of us.  But I don’t allot time very well.  And I don’t have a set daily time for school (for example from 9-12).  I love that this came up here because I’m right in the midst of preparing my next term/year. 

    My question is this – What do you do when things pop up?  Say a phone call you can’t miss?  A child that really needs physical exercise breaks every couple of lessons?  A friend calls with a good opportunity for fun/learning?  Or just “life” things … super sunny days with birds hatching or some such?

    Would there potentially be blanks in this chart where things like that happened?  How would you make them up? 

    I forget if you school year round or not.  Does that help so that if my scenerios happen you can “catch up later”?

    Thanks for any thoughts Christie/everyone.

    Typing this I realize that we are in a major transition from doing a lot of lessons together to each child having more independent work.  Maybe that shift answers a lot of my questions?  I find this transition awkward.  Can anyone speak to their experiences with this?


    I agree that the charts are beautiful, and I love the outline.  My older son in particular thrives on check-lists, so I will be borrowing some of these ideas, however, I love the flexibility of homeschool — where we can drop everything for an hour or two and explore something facinating going on outside or whatever the case may be. 

    Christie, do you really need to have literature narated all the time? I can sort of see where you are coming from, but maybe fewer books to narrate isn’t such a bad idea, especially when so many history books can count as literature as well.  What are you really gaining from the extra narrations?  Also, why 3 different math for 45 min? It seems very long for a CM lesson.  Do others usually have such long math lesson times? (Not trying to be critical or antagonistic, just trying to understand and sort it all out in my own mind where I’m still so new at homeschooling.)

    Just a thought, if you school 4.5 hours a day (3.5 indep. then another hour family), and you school year round, you are spending at least as many if not more hours schooling than PS, aren’t you?  Your kids are already learning 3x as much, so dropping a book or two, or moving it to the optional bin shouldn’t hurt one bit.  I tend to want to do it all, and I’m really recognizing that’s not possible.  It’s not good for me or my boys. (But maybe your family thrives on all the books and still finds time for the extra fun stuff that pops up or gets thrown in last minute?  If so, tell me HOW do you do it?!)




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