Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Keeping a Schedule with Charlotte Mason

First off, let me say that I am definitely NOT a "schedule person".
I tend to rebel against them; preferring instead the nonrestrictive freedom of spontaneity.
I would much rather go with the ebb and flow; to have no routine to follow; no demands on my life. I would much rather feel moved by the creativity of the moment.
And so I resolved to NEVER have a schedule.

Here is my confession: "never having a schedule"
doesn't work so well when you have 3 children at home.; two of which homeschool, and 1 of which, is a nurse on demand baby.

In anticipation of this very problem, this past Spring I resolved to finding the perfect schedule.
I am happy to say, that after Long Last... I have found something that works.

After reading and re-reading Charlotte Masons thoughts on schedules and habits, I have come to a deeper understanding for the importance of a schedule. It actually dawned me that I was doing a tremendous disservice to my children by not having a set routine for them.

Now, I am not advocating for a routine that turns children into lifeless robots.
You see, THAT was my biggest fear.
I was always afraid of being stuck in the monotony of a perpetual Groundhogs day.
Having to have the same day over and over would, no doubt, destroy the very breadths of the soul.

No, that is not the kind of schedule that would work for me or my children.
What we needed was a comprehensive list of Goals to accomplish from day to day.
What we needed was to be able to have the freedom to go on a whim, without feeling bogged down by our daily "To Dos".

Charlotte Mason gives us the perfect opportunity to do Just that!

She advocated, with good reason, for "habit training". Which is, of course, essential in training
up a child who is disciplined.
It makes good sense that we cannot have a virtuous child, if the child is undisciplined. It is impossible for an undisciplined child to fight the temptations of vice without, first arming them with knowledge and good habit.

Yes, good habit is essential... and so I endeavored to ensure good habit when creating our schedule. The practice of good habit would come first thing in the morning with:

making the bed, getting dressed and brushing the teeth.

Charlotte Mason Also said to give a child something to love. It is important for them to have someone or something in the home for a child to tend to and care for. So, in our new schedule I included "Feed the Pets".

This leads us to morning prayer and breakfast... and then, my favorite, Morning chores.
The children are in charge of unloading the dishwasher and cleaning up after breakfast. I have also broken the house down into "zones" which we rotate throughout the week.

Some of the things that the children are in charge of are:

  • separating dirty clothes by color
  • loading and unloading the washer machine
  • vacuuming
  • Dusting
  • Washing base boards
  • and general Tidy up

We have a list of school goals to accomplish... so we can mix and match our learning according to our mood, or according to the learning opportunities that present themselves. The Children can also pick one weekly activity to do per week. More about that in a sec.

So, now that I have gone into a big THING on schedules...
I would like to share with you my latest project.

Being that I am NOT a creature of routine... and being that my children have taken after my example, I sat for a LONG while trying to think of the best way to lure ourselves into looking at a written schedule.
After a LOT of brainstorming, I came up with an interactive schedule that the children cannot seem to separate themselves from.

Using some left over fabric, batting, and some scrapbook odds and ends I created a hanging Pocket chart.
First off, I typed out our weekly schedule headed with the verse: " A Place for everything and everything in its place. I always put my things away that I might find them another day."

I then mounted the schedule on scrapbooking paper, and slipped into a page protector.
I sewed the schedule on to the hanging pocket chart using 4 buttons. 1 per each corner.
Under the Schedule. I sewed 3 pockets. Each one of the Pockets is labeled.

The first pocket is entitled: "Weekly Activities."

Using Cardstock, scrapbooking tags, and yarn; I mounted activities that we are either involved in through our homeschooling group or that we enjoy doing at home.
Some of the activities are as follows:

  • Nature Notebook
  • TimeLine
  • Tea Time
  • Fine Arts Study
  • Craft time
  • Snack time with Winnie the Pooh
  • P.E
  • Pickwick Society
  • Little Flowers
  • Blue Knights
  • Travel Log

The children are in charge of pulling out the tags that have, both, the activities that we have planned for the week, and the daily activity that they would like to do that day. They then hook the tag onto one of the schedule's corner buttons.. and it instantly become part of the schedule.

The next Pocket is entitled "Narration." I added the title on this pocket after seeing a interactive narration station from one of my fellow bloggers.
Kudos to you for such a brilliant idea!!

I have a set of Narration Recipe Cards by Karen Radcliffe. They are Chalk full of narration activities and ideas. I select One narration Recipe card per day, and put it into the narration slot to be completed.

The 3rd Pocket is entitled "weekly Chores". There are 4 scrapbooking tags in this pocket. Each tag is labeled "week 1", "week 2" etc. I have listed certain monthly chores on each tag.

Some of the chores include:

  • Flipping mattresses
  • cleaning out cars
  • organizing the pantry
  • cleaning out fridge
  • organizing upstairs closets
  • spraying for bugs
  • cleaning of the porch

Every Saturday we accomplish the list of monthly chores on our tag. The Tags are tied to a set of ribbons, which I have sewn onto the corner of the pocket. The Children pull out the tag of the week every Saturday... remembering to rotate them so that we can accomplish all 4 sets of chores every month.


At the bottom of the Chart I have sewn 3 double pockets.

The first double pocket is labled for my son,
The second pocket is labeled for my husband and myself,

and the third pocket is labeled for my daughter
(the baby is currently sharing pockets with mom and dad ).

We use these pockets as mail boxes.

This past year our Charlotte Mason book club gave us the idea of making or buying mailboxes for each of our children. The mailboxes were to be meant as a way to send notes of encouragement and love to our children. The children would then be able to respond in letter to their parent's mailbox. I thought this to be a wonderful Idea to create keepsake letters for my children. I will eventually scrapbook all of the letters for my children to have as a reminder of our love for eachother.

It is also a wonderful way to encourage and inspire the reluctant writer :).
I write notes to my children every evening and place them in their "mailboxes"... or pockets. The first thing they do every morning is check for a letter.
I always have a reply by lunch time.

The back portion of the double pocket is where the children place their narration assignments that they have completed from the narration recipe card. This way, at the end of the evening, I can grab the written narration, and type it up.
We then place it in their notebooks or use it for copywork for the next day.

All and all, I will say that the schedule has been a wonderful success. I cannot begin to explain how wonderful it is to have the children share in some of our household responsibilities. I have to admit that the schedule has freed us up for more free time in the afternoon. With less stress, and more productivity in the mornings, I have been able to focus on the joy of my children, rather than what has yet to be accomplished.


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Scarlett, and for the link to that beautiful blog! I hope to try some of this since I too dislike schedules!

  2. Very nice! Some really great ideas here.

  3. My schedule keeps our day running smoothly.
    You will find,over time, that the schedules get to be such a routine (habit) that you AND they don't feel a slave to them...but a master!
    I like that pretty striped material!

  4. When we look at God's creation; government; etc.. we are forced to see how very highly organized he is.. and so we should be..

  5. You are so right. The Lord God has provided us a perfect example of all that we should endeavor to be.
    I only wish that it did not take me as long to break out of my own bad habit to see the value of a schedule.

  6. Love that pocket chart!!!
    So functional, AND pretty! :)

  7. Your ideas are wonderful, Scarlett! I am definitely a schedule person but feel I need to loosen up a bit and "go with the flow." You've inspired me!

  8. I love this. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing and inspiring me.


comments welcome :)

"A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it
down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by
acting."- Henry David Thoreau.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
-Proverbs 22:6