What Is the Perfect Schedule for My Home/School?

How to Make a Permanently Perfect Schedule for Your Home/School!

How to Make the Perfect Homeschool Schedule

 

The Problem

You are sick of rescheduling your children’s day every day? I don’t blame you!

Sick of arriving late, due to lack of schedule? I don’t blame you!

Sick of never getting it all done? I don’t blame you!

Your problem may not be what you think, though.

The Remedy

Things may not be as bad as you think.

You may not be a failure as a home schooling mom! And your children may not be lazy bums!

You simply may need to learn how to make a good schedule that works for you!

The Three Parts of a Perfect Schedule

One thing a schedule often fails to provide is a way to remember it. After all, interruptions and our overtaxed minds might be working against us a lot, right? And who usually has the schedule all mapped in the mind, anyway? Not I!

Therefore, in order to actually serve any purpose in your home, a schedule must be:

—Memorable

Make a schedule that’s easy to remember. Of course, any new habit will take a while to gel, in everyone’s memory, but there are ways! Make your schedule MEMORABLE.

  1. A perfect schedule has the same elements every day. I know, I know, your days vary. Of course they do! However, with a perfect schedule they will vary less, believe me, and with that schedule firmly in place, variations will become “ho-hum”. Really. Just keep reading!
  2. A perfect schedule is written down. How much easier to remember something with a cue card! Don’t worry; this is a ten-minute job on a computer. Or copy and print my graphic below! Trust me; that’s all there is to it.
  3. A perfect schedule is enforced. At first, implementing a schedule will go against everyone’s grain. After all, having lived unscheduled, or differently scheduled, can make this change seem too drudgy. I mean, look at it! It’s just as if no one even knows how to make a spreadsheet! However, after you’ve fought the good fight to get there, you will be so glad. Give yourself and everyone else 21 days to make/break this into your lives. That’s 21 school days, please.
    Announce it with apologies for never thinking of it before.
    Print it on interesting paper, set an amazingly cheery example, ask husband for reinforcement, and GO!

What? Stopped already?

Oh, you haven’t even begun yet? Oh. You know why? Possibly it’s because you’ve piled everything you have been delaying all on the first day of your new schedule. Not going to work, you realize? Rather impossible, you say?

Right. So, the next thing your schedule must be is based upon sound reasoning . . . .

—Reasonable

Make a schedule that is reasonably doable. The schedule I will discuss on this page was how WE did it. It was exceedingly doable for us. We thrived on it. I was ecstatic about it. I even . . .

Okay, here’s how:

  1. Your perfect schedule includes every activity your family performs. List them on paper, ask for input, and add to it if you remember more. And by “every” I mean: bedtimes, meals, church, chores, field trips, piano lessons, etc., and school work. It will help if you list it in groups such as: daily, weekly, twice weekly, monthly, etc.
  2. Your perfect schedule is pared down. Many mistake home schooling for hunting—that is, hunting down someone to give lessons on every imaginable subject. If you are seldom home (as in home school) rethink a bunch of the outside activities.
    Or rethink being one of those who arrives on time and gets everything done?
  3. Your perfect schedule is amenable to gentle management. Once it’s in place, quiet reminders will be enough. Once it’s in place, your children will adopt your schedule with contentment, will self-start according to it, and may even thank you. Once it’s in place.

And the pared-down, gentle schedule will be received with great calm, if it is . . .

—Purpose-able (That’s not a word, I know, but read on!)

A schedule that works, will create beautiful things for you and your children. You sense that; probably that is why you are reading here. And you are right. And that is where the acceptable and doable schedule is so self-promoting!
There is a reason airports, hospitals, and even God do things on schedule:

It creates beautiful things for those involved.

  1. A good schedule benefits its administrators. That’s you. You’ll have a reasonable idea of where your children are, in their studies, or where they need to be, at any time. Because you are the enforcer, you also are the one who can adapt your schedule at any time. Oh the joy of redirecting an entire day, calmly and effortlessly, with just a few words! (as I will explain.)
  2. A schedule benefits students. They eventually fall into the plan and begin relaxing and working on math, because they know that they know: Park Day begins in three hours!
    ALSO—and this is big—they learn how to schedule themselves. They grow up to understand the wisdom of deadlines, how to meet them, and why. This will carry over into such adult scenes as college, the workforce, paying debts, milking cows, planting in spring, and many other extremely important facets of real life. They will learn that getting up and getting going, with cheer, is what it’s all about.
  3. A schedule benefits truth, justice, and the American way! Joking!
    However, if you show up at a meeting on time and even remembered to bring the cookies as you said you would, your schedule will win friends and admirers for you!
    If your school allows for field trips, lessons, and play days, AND finally is over for the year, your schedule will win your children over!
    If your husband comes home to children ready to play with him or learn man chores with him, guess what! Your schedule wins again!
    And just think if you actually had a chance for quiet time almost every morning…

My Perfect Schedule

Need help making a really good schedule that works for your home/school days? Look no farther!While I have a tendency—as do many others—to think my way is the only available highway, I realize we have friends who have other (gasp!) schedules that are perfect for them.

For instance, we know a family of which the dad was an ER physician who came home every night at 11:00 or so. He wanted to teach the upper-grade science in their school. So the older children stayed up until Dad got home for their science lessons. Therefore, school for them began at 10:00 every morning. Reasonable, don’t you think?

Not so for me!

I’m sure you would be squawking, too, if I said you had to arrange your schedule as I did. Still, I think you can learn from the old schedule we always followed, so I offer it for your consideration. It’s natural to be curious, too, so I include it here.

Feel free to read it and say, “Nope! Not going there!”

That will be very good, in fact, because it will mean you are gradually forming in your own mind what your own schedule ought to be for your own family and purposes. In spite of the fact that I love my adoring fans to slavishly imitate me. Ha!

Seriously, study it, in all it’s naked glory and glean:

The Schedule!

Morning

5:00 – Mom awake. Quiet time. Breakfast for Dad. Start Mom-chores.

6:30 – Kids awake. (alarm clocks) Kids dress. Quiet time. Feed pets. Feed selves. Clean kitchen. All in that order.

8:00 – Opening exercise. (hymns, Bible memo)

8:30 – School work begins. Mom works with K-2 students. Older ones self-schedule goals and self-start.

10:00 – Break for P.E.

10:30 – School work resumes.

Evening

12:00 – Lunch break. Eat. Kids clean kitchen. Free play.

1:00 – School work resumes.

3:00 – School over. Dawdlers begin “homework”.

5:00 – Dad comes home. Examines, praises day’s work. Still dawdling? – Lecture from unhappy Dad!

6:00 – Supper.

6:30 – Clean kitchen.

8:00 – Bedtime for littles.

9:00 – Bedtime for olders.

10:00 – Bedtime for Juniors and Seniors, if needed due to trig, calc, or research paper.

11:00 – Bedtime for Mom. Yes, I worked on six hours of sleep during the week, usually.

What About the Rest of It?!

I’m so glad you asked! That part is coming!

First I want to explain a bit. (The bit that makes it adaptable, flexible, and usable!) You see, just as English forms the past tense with “ed”, except when it uses “ought” or “ank” or “ang” or . . . , our family also used our wonderful schedule, except . . .

Except on Tuesdays, Fridays, and once a month on Thursdays.

Why?

Because on Tuesdays we had lessons with home-schooling friends (Spanish, bowling, tennis, piano, and/or art) and I took time to shop in the big city, then, and treat them to pizza out.

On Fridays, we cleaned house, which threw the schedule off usually about an hour.

Once per month we had Park Day with our support group, which included picnicking and playing wild (rollerblade basketball?) and fun things in the fresh air with homeschooling friends. On a different Thursday of each month, we had our home-school group business meeting at night, which meant very early supper.

Therefore, on Tuesdays, with the MWF lessons skipped, they usually did not do Spelling, either. On Fridays, the house cleaning was their P.E., when they dusted and vacuumed their own rooms, and I fixed no supper since it was our popcorn and movie/game night. Once a month, during Park Day, they only did Math and maybe English on that Thursday, and then off we went.

Whenever we chose to skip lessons for outside activities, we made them up via extra work on each day or even on Saturday. It was our school; we could do whatever we wanted and we wanted to make up missed lessons.

Regarding my chores, I did:
laundry on Mondays
ironing on Tuesdays (followed by activities and shopping, remember?)
church night on Wednesdays
special projects on Thursdays (sewing, special baking, etc.)
house cleaning on Fridays
All of this was woven between cooking and the help the kids needed. On Monday, I would start the washer, teach a reading lesson, load the dryer and reload the washer, teach a phonics lesson, etc., sometimes asking a child to wait a moment while I added bleach to a washload, or something. It was always like that. I often ironed while administering a spelling test, the teacher’s book right there on the ironing board as I worked. At 11:30 each day, I began lunch and no one was allowed to ask questions about schoolwork. The teacher had clocked out; I was the lunch lady, a private joke of ours.

For Field Trips, I gauged the day according to the schedule for the trip. Once a year the Field Trip was to the County Fair, and I closed school. When we stayed up nights for meteor showers, we slept in the next day. Mmm . . . .  Many times I told them the Field Trip would be exactly like a Tuesday.

Get this: because my kids were constantly plugged into this schedule, I could say, “Don’t forget the Field Trip today; it will be just like Tuesday, only we’ll leave a half-hour later…” and I could know they would know exactly what to do about it.

Of course, when they are little, you just tell them what to do. After they learn to read is when all this locks in, as you will see, shortly.

Now that we’ve mentioned the little ones, let me confess I almost never stood up and lecture-taught my children. After they learned to read, we handed them their books and required them to read for understanding and follow directions. The olders were free to ask me when they had troubles, but not during the littles’ math, reading, or phonics lessons. The beginning of each school day was for getting the littles squared away and working and I taught the littles on the couch in the cuddling mode.

Exceptions? Yes, when they worked on Mapping the World by Heart, I jumped right into it with them and we all learned this alternate method for learning. Loved it. Also, when they began typing, I started them in the summer so they could learn the way I’d learned, which included dictation.

They got their practice at taking notes from lecture in church. I required they take notes from the sermon, for which we always received a helpful outline, anyway, so that was tailor-made.

In my school, if they had a problem with a lesson, they did not interrupt someone else’s lesson, nor my lunch preparations or phone conversations. They re-read or set it aside for something easier, until a better moment to get help.

Indeed, from the time they were in 3rd grade, on, they worked independently. They self-taught. They learned to prefer that, because it was faster. And they scored their own work (except essays) with the goal of learning quickly what mistake to correct. Each paper was reworked to 100%.

(Don’t worry. The score keys were in my kitchen, only red ink could be used for scoring, red ink pens were forbidden outside the kitchen, they could not keep going to score the same subject 50 times a day, and we always made spot checks for cheating, since being the parents, we knew when to suspect . . . )

The kids knew how to schedule their own work each day, even. Inside the front of each text book, I would write things like: 2 pages per day, one lesson per week, one unit per month, etc. Thus, in two weeks, they should have 14 pages, or two lessons, or half a unit done, and they knew it. And they knew I knew it. This method did take some oversight.

I could not just watch soaps and eat bonbons.

However, we had a schedule that we lived by for nine months of each year.
We had a schedule their dad or I could check on and see if laziness was creeping up.
We had a schedule anyone could step in and help for a day or two if we had to be gone.
We had a schedule that so freed me that after the sixth child was born, I began writing for magazines.

And the way we did it was to give our kids the following small chart for keeping track of their weekly goals. They filled in the chart. They crossed off each completed goal. They did the work. They self-taught. They finished before summer. They got summer jobs. They got high ACT scores. They got scholarships. They finished college. They got jobs.

And on and on, and I think. partly, it was because they learned the wisdom of living on schedule.

The child’s chart:

Child's goal schedule

Okay. That’s all I know about schedules! If you had trouble understanding, let me know in the comments or the contact page. If you loved this, share it with those you know need it.

❤ K

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Make a soup from that poor day-old salad. You'll love a warm-up with an un-cold salad! :)

Sad Salad Soup

I was telling a bunch of friends about this soup I made three nights ago. I wanted a health-giving snack just at bedtime. Not fruitcake! (Well, I really did want fruitcake—sighs!) There was a day-old salad in the fridge, but you know how arctic it’s been around here, lately. I did not want something cold to eat to comfort me to bed; I was already cold.

Then I thought of it.

Long ago, when one of my sons married, we had grilled chicken breast and a salad bar for the rehearsal dinner. Not as many family members made it to the dinner as had been planned and we had bags and bags of mixed greens left over, along with all the sliced and chopped veggies that usually occur on a salad bar. Plus the chicken. Lots of it.

So I decided to try something I’d read about somewhere, long ago:

Sad Salad Soup.

Turn your cold old salad into a lovely hot lunch!It is a British thing, I think I remember, and not really so very complicated. You just cook your salad and it becomes a lovely, warm meal.

So I mixed all those bags of salad and dishes of chopped veggies and then added the grilled chicken, which I had cubed, and a lot of water and a bit of seasoning, and ended up with 15 quarts of really amazing soup.

Which I then canned.

We loved it! The kids loved it! I could not believe it! Fifteen times, in the dead of winter, we had this lovely homemade soup for lunch. It was such a joy!

So, the other night, I mixed that sad salad with a bit of chicken broth I had, and added onion, a dab of mushrooms, and some herbs and spices and simmered it until all was soft and I was shocked at how good it smelled and tasted. How warm it was! How comforting and filling! How health-giving!

So let me tell you what it’s like, so you will believe me.

You know how carrots, beans, corn, etc., are when they are in soup or cooked alone. You may not know cooked lettuce will pass for cooked cabbage in a soup—milder, but the same idea. Cooked radishes turn out a lot like very mild cooked turnips. My salad that night also had celery in it. That was a great addition.

You probably can guess that this is not going to be a really real recipe. It’s a chance for you to be creative! Just toss the salad into a pot, add liquid, and simmer.

But I can tell you what I added to make it marvelous: I browned some onions and mushrooms in butter, a while, before I began, which I am sure added to the flavor. I am really fond of cumin, so I dosed it with that, plus a goodly amount of powdered cayenne and black pepper. Did I toss in a dried basil leaf? I think so… I almost forgot to add salt. Do use a bit of salt.

You can see, I am sure, how the options are endless. If I’d had some cauliflower and broccoli, I’d have added that, too. If I’d had left over cooked green beans, they’d have gone in, along with their broth. I actually had saved the broth from some creamed corn, for such a time as this, and it was a perfect addition.

In the end, I created two servings of very lovely soup, which I ate all gone!

I am so sorry I did not get a photo of it for you! I was thinking with my tummy that night! And I was cold!

Warm up a cold day by turning your salad into a soup!However, as I said, I shared this experience with some friends and one of them had some lettuce that had gotten way too cold in the car after shopping. (It’s cold out there, folks!) So we discussed it and she made her soup (which her children loved—it cannot be coincidence!) and sent me a photo of HER soup. Not only that, but she graciously gave me total free permission to give you a peek at her soup! I am so thankful, but she is thankful, too, at being able to save that poor frost-bitten bag of salad. So, the soup you see on this post is hers, not mine. (Thank you, Heather!) And she ingeniously added a side of udon. Mmm!

If I could throw a soup together after only reading about it, and if she could do the same thing after only hearing about it, I KNOW you can do this, too!

It is so fun!

Have some fun!

And share with us how yours turns out!

Rosemary Pound Cake Recipe photo

My Big, Beautiful, Rosemary Pound Cake!

It’s finally happened. I’ve let myself get talked into sharing this amazing recipe I only had in my head.

I had the rudiments of it on paper, but it was inadequate. You know. Lots of things I did differently than the person who shared her own version of it. Lots of changes I made, if I remembered. Lots of special things I made sure of, that no one could have known by reading the recipe.

Rosemary and me…

Cozy up with something warm to drink and let me tell you all about it!

Is rosemary the world’s most favored herb? I don’t know; maybe not. However, it is one of my faves, and in my cooking adventures it shines like a star. I love it so much, I grow my own so never to be without.

If you were to visit my herb gardens, you’d notice two robust rosmarinus bushes (alba and sativa) both in easy reach. I like to think they are hefty branches to guard the doors to my kitchen, but really they mostly supervise the frolics of the latest kittens.

They say the size of a rosemary bush carries great significance. Supposedly it indicates the strength of the woman in her home.

I’m not sure about that, either.

I have landscaped around my house with the useful, herbal plants, for over 20 years. My gardens have varied from move to move. There was the glorious stand of dill in a raised bed. For my birthday, once, a son helped me set in a semi-circular hedge of 70 lavender plants. And when we spent a short time in Mississippi, I created an entire enclosed convent garden featuring a beautiful nighttime white-garden section. (That one did let a few non-herbals in for the sake of the flutter-byes.)

But the four-inch diameter twisted trunk of the rosemary right by my back door remains my favorite expression of my love for herbs: Always at hand. Shelter to cats. Exuberant. Generous. What more could an herb lover desire in a true friend?

Rosemary in the kitchen…

We eat lots of Italian food; that is an understatement, really. However, even when we cook something as simple as a pot roast, or baked chicken, a lot of rosemary goes in. It’s the natural additive, here, to the point that when my son’s friends thought the lavender cookies I had sent him smelled like pizza, he just chuckled, knowingly.

How few guess the redolent education that is inherent to owning rosemary!

Now. It’s not as though a cookie with rosemary could not be astonishing in its goodness, but today, we are going to make a cake, a simple pound cake, and we’re going to make it astonishing. So read on . . .

Rosemary in a cake?

I’ve mumbled and fumbled my way through many a delicious pound-cake recipe, including this one, and the variations I offer here I have acquired on the journey. I lost the original recipe, even, and have had to concoct this current iteration from memory and by refashioning a few I had lying around.

Funny, it turns out to be the best. I think you’ll like the results.

In my opinion, there is nothing in the kitchen that compares to creating this cake. The satisfaction is complete.

Noticing recipes for cakes with a sugar crust built in to the pan coating, I dared myself to try it. Using butter instead of shortening or oil would surely add perfection to the immaculate flavor of a fresh pound cake. Doting on its plainness, I realized it would play well with a hint of rosemary and the playwright in me took flight.

This cake is not hard, at all and it will leave you speechless.

My first attempt was not impressive. The recipe I used to build this project had faults. I do not appreciate that when it happens.

  • First, there was nothing in the recipe about the absolute importance of having all ingredients at room temperature. I’m telling you now; it’s absolutely important if you want the ingredients to mix well, and if you want a high cake with delicate crumb.
  • Next, the oven time was simply wrong. I kept checking and checking until I thought surely it was burned up, but no. I’ve corrected the time, now, realizing any cake this full of goodness would need at least 75 minutes to reach perfection. Also, I devised a method for you to know if your cake is done (toothpicks and such just do not work) and I’ll explain that soon.
  • Finally, the directions were not explicit enough and I actually made it wrong on the first try. It did make a cake, but I had a time keeping it all on the counter, at one point. (Sort of a Julia Child moment, that.) I’ve fixed it so you cannot make the mistake I made and you can thank me later.

So the first one fell just a smidgen—it came out of the oven too soon, I am sure, and there was that episode all over the counter…. It was scrumptious and everyone loved it—especially the slightly-fallen-cake-lovers—but I was not proud.

I might be a bit too proud, now.

However, this cake is a hit everywhere it goes, its lovers stealing extra pieces to take home for seconds the next day, then later confessing and offering huge compliments to get back into my good graces. So I’ll make one again, soon?

I just laugh—it’s a life!

And now is the time to make this darling, since rosemary is blooming right now and that’s the best time to harvest, so here goes!

(Oh, and you’ll need a stand mixer and a Bundt pan or other tube pan.)

That Scrumptious Pound Cake.

For the Crust. (Have ALL at room temperature):

1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup) (Should be almost soft enough to shed oils.)
1 cup sugar (approximately)
the leaves from two 5” sprigs of fresh rosemary, rinsed well, and DRIED


For the cake. Have ALL at room temperature. I’m not kidding:

A mixture of 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, poured into 1-cup liquid measure with milk added to fill the cup. This mixture will be divided, later.
1 ½ cup butter, not margarine (3 sticks)
5 large eggs
3 cups sugar
¼ teaspoon soda
3 ¼ cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon vanilla


For the glaze (optional). Have ALL at room temperature:

1 small can frozen orange juice concentrate
½ cup powered sugar


First: Prepare pan.
Slather butter thickly over all interior pan surfaces. The goal is to create a surface to which the rosemary leaves and sugar can stick. Do not ignore the hollow core part of the pan.
Sprinkle the rosemary leaves randomly over the butter. They will stick pretty well if the butter is very slicky-soft.
Over that pour about 2 Tablespoons at a time of sugar into the pan and twirl it around gently, to spread sugar all over, trying to keep leaves in place. If one or two rosemary leaves dislodge, it is okay.
Continue adding small amounts of sugar and spreading until absolutely no more sugar will stick. May take even more than a cup; that is fine. Set aside in a cool place such as an unheated room, or near a window, but not the fridge.


Second: Prepare the batter. (Pre-heat oven, now, to 350 degrees.)
Milk and vinegar should be well-combined, and set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, beat butter until pale and fluffy. Add sugar, gradually, until all is incorporated, beating until fluffy after each addition.

Add eggs to butter, one at a time, beating until fluffy after each addition, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.

Stir and divide milk/vinegar mixture, putting half into a 2-cup bowl. (The 2-cup bowl is mandatory.)

In a small dish, combine baking soda with one tablespoon of water, stirring well, then add to the ½ cup milk in bowl. Stir well. This will gradually foam up to about one-cup size or more, so watch it, being ready to place a plate under the bowl, if needed.
Add vanilla and mix well.

Beginning with the flour (!) add flour to egg/sugar mixture, ½ cup at a time, alternating with the soda/milk mixture, 1/3 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition until soda/milk is gone, continuing with the rest of the milk/vinegar mixture until all is mixed in (beginning and ending with flour!) Beat very well, until completely incorporated, after each addition.

Ease batter into prepared Bundt pan or tube pan, using a large spoon to place batter directly into bottom of pan, and not disturb sugar/rosemary coating. Place pan in middle of oven in all directions. Bake at 350 degrees for 75 minutes (one hour and 15 minutes.)

The test for doneness is to notice that the top of the batter will crack part-way through the baking. When the raw dough that is revealed in these cracks, begins to brown, the cake is done, especially if the cake is pulling from the sides of the pan. See photo:

Rosemary cake, showing baking step: checking for doneness.

This cake is beginning to brown inside the cracked places and to separate from the pan, indicating doneness.

Cool cake for ten minutes, in pan. Turn onto plate to finish cooling.


Mix orange juice concentrate with powdered sugar to desired consistency and serve as topping for cake, if desired.

Rosemary cake with glaze ready to eat!

You can thank me now! 🙂