I also rely on a few other items for keeping our homeschool organized: a Daily Schedule, a Weekly Planning Page, and a Chore Routine sheet. I'm going to share them all here in case they are helpful to you.
Obviously, your schedule will likely look nothing like mine--it is very particular to our family rhythm. But so many of you have asked what our school day looks like and for copies of our scheduling template, so I thought I'd upload a downloadable set in case you'd like your own versions to fiddle around with. (By the way, when you open it in Google Drive or as a preview, the formatting doesn't come through correctly. You need to download the file and open in Word to get the correct format.)
Brace yourselves--this is a long one! I thought about breaking it into a series but then I figured I should just get it all out there now. (And I have pregnancy insomnia to thank for actually making that happen!) So grab a cup of tea and make yourselves comfortable. ;)
I described the basic set-up of our weekly checklist last year, and that remains the same:
:: Daily Work for the Bigs. Each student has his or her own list of daily work at the top. My older two kids (Year 4) do their daily work on their own. Their responsibilities are listed in more detail on their personal assignment sheets (shared below)--for example, I list out there what "binder work" entails and how long they should spend on each item. I don't need that level of detail on my list because they are the ones responsible for completing it.
:: Daily Work for the Middles. Cate (Year 1) and Xavier (my kindergartener) do all their daily work with me.
:: Daily Work for the Family. And then there is the daily work we do together, including poetry, Italian, memory work (reading of the selections we're currently learning), and recitation (review of the selections we have learned in the past). We still use our Evernote "notebook" to organize our memory work, and poetry is part of our Morning Basket.
:: Memory Work. I have our current selections (as well as our current read-alouds) in the daily work section too.
:: Weekly Work for the Bigs. At the bottom left, I have the Year 4 assignments broken into two sections: what we do together and what they do on their own. This is more productive for me than divisions by day because I appreciate the flexibility and because I really only need to keep track of the items I am responsible for doing alongside them.
For readings, the first bubble is for completing the reading and the second is for narrating it. (You can see that some readings only have one bubble--this is because they aren't responsible for narrating those.) For non-reading assignments like Latin, Grammar, and so on, the number of bubbles corresponds to the number of days per week each is scheduled. So as you can see, we do four days a week of Grammar/Dictation, two of Latin, and one of Written Italian. And you'll see on the bottom that they also do Written Italian once on their own. (The first might be a guided assignment with me and the second might be copywork, for example.)
:: Weekly Work for the Middles. I do all Cate's Year 1 readings aloud, so hers are listed in one box. I also have there "First Communion Basket" with four bubbles, which means that I choose a book to read from daily from a basket I have of her First Communion resources. (More on that when I get around to sharing my Year 1 plans.)
:: Weekly Work for the Family. This includes all our Keeping, as well as music study, picture study, etc. At the bottom of that left column, I have our Morning Basket readings listed since we do those as a family too. I aim to read one of those per day, and they are not narrated.
The older two have their own weekly checklist to work from (shown above). Each week, I cut and paste that "Year 4 Assignments - Independent" section onto the little half-sheet and print it for them. Everything else stays the same week to week. The top details their daily tasks, including the work for their morning block. They do those items four days a week, leaving the fifth for a morning nature study outing. The top also has their chore checklists--they each have a "Bathroom/Other" and a "Floors" chore scheduled daily. In the middle are their weekly assignments. They are responsible for about two readings daily. The Keeping we do together, but I like them to have it printed there so that they begin to take ownership.
At the bottom is the scheduled afternoon block, which they do during the babies' nap while I'm working with the middles. Each day has a certain schedule because I need them not to interrupt during that block, so I have it all laid out there for them and let them move through it on their own.
I'm going to share now our Daily Schedule so that you can see how all of this looks in practice:
On the left is basically my schedule, and on the right is my two older kids'.
We only use this schedule four days of the week. One of those days we have our homeschool park day, but luckily it's in the morning, so it basically just shifts our usual backyard time to the park and we're home in time for naptime lessons. And one day a week we don't follow this schedule at all: we meet up for a nature study outing with friends in the morning and then spend naptime working on our nature journals and listening to an audiobook. But as Brandy would call it, this is our "average day chart." :)
In truth, our days are not on so strict a timetable. We have hard stops like naptime and our afternoon play time, but we make lots of adjustments. I do find the daily schedule useful laid out in this level of detail for a few reasons, though:
:: When the baby comes, I can just hand the kids this chart and let them direct themselves. ;)
:: It keeps me beholden to time limits on our subjects so that we are hitting all the items that I want to over the course of the week.
:: I know that all I have scheduled *can* realistically fit into our normal day.
Each week I also print out the following:
I am loving this simple Weekly Planning Sheet that keeps me accountable to doing some pre-week planning. At the top are all the items I need to do each week to ensure smooth school day--you know, so I don't realize on Monday morning that the kids don't have new math drills, I forgot to pre-read a couple books, and I haven't a clue what we're doing for Italian. I print this on Friday and aim to hit all the items by the end of the weekend. It's working great so far.
In the middle is the Weekly Meeting section, which we haven't begun in earnest yet. We have been doing all the items, but we haven't been doing them in as organized a fashion. I really want to take just twenty minutes or so each week with my Year 4 students to sit down and touch base regarding their school assignments, including the topics I have listed there. This is a habit I want to begin starting in Term 2.
And at the bottom is my weekly menu. I have pretty faithfully written weekly menus for years now (it keeps me sane to know what's for dinner in advance), but now that the kids are helping more in the kitchen, I take some time to go over the menu with them too. We plan breakfasts and lunches and consider any prep work they'll need to do, and then I plan the dinners on my own. It's great to have it all in writing. (Not that it keeps me from getting the "what's for dinner?" question dozens of times a day. Ahem.)
A lot of organizational talk, I know! Let me know if you want to chat about anything in particular. You can find the bundle of downloadable templates here. (And remember, as I said at the top: You need to download the file and open in Word to get the correct format. In the preview and in Google Docs, it will not format correctly.)