Per a request, I’m posting how our timeline is set up and flows during the day.
The black shelving unit below was originally the kids’ shoe bin complete with baskets. It was a place to stick their shoes when they come inside instead of all over my house. This was especially important for me when they were little and I didn’t want to go hunting for their shoes when it was time to leave. Now, they are big enough to do it themselves thus I turned it into the school bin instead. On the bottom shelf, they keep their math workbook, their binder (houses all their paper work/projects throughout the year), their pencil box, and any other books/notebooks they may be using at the time. On the top shelf, they put their completed work that needs to be put into their binder – anything from math to handwriting to artwork.
I decided to make this the home base for their days. Les hung up an art line and clips we got from Ikea above the boys’ school bin. I had originally intended to print out and laminate each card but that quickly proved to be unrealistic because I kept thinking of additional and different tasks for each new day. Getting to the computer, on demand, is not so easy these days with Mr. Gabriel. So…I found that index cards and a marker kept next to the timeline is the best option for us. I also keep my extra clips in the bucket as well.
There are some basic tasks each day that don’t seem to leave the timeline – Morning Chores (which is secret code for a way for mom to get a shower in the morning and keep the boys occupied with making their bed, getting dressed, and picking up their room to avoid mischief), Meals, Bedtime Prayers, Bedtime, and Chores. The rest of the tasks will rotate in and out of my little bucket.
I try not to leave idle time between tasks which means I have to think about realistic transitions for the boys. Many years ago, I saw Dave Ramsey live. He tells you to be realistic with your budget. If you’re going to blow money at Starbucks, write it into your budget – don’t pretend you’re not going to do it and then do it anyway. I’m taking the same philosophy with the boys. I don’t use the tv as a transition while the boys are waiting for the next task or me. I’ll specifically put TV Time on the timeline.
The basic set up is this:
- Something for them to do while I’m in the shower
- Meals (Breakfast = Mom’s making it. Make Your Own Breakfast = Cereal. Brunch = Sundays if we don’t get something to eat after Liturgy.)
- School projects or tasks throughout the day. I don’t just have them in the timeline for the “normal school day hours”. It’s throughout our entire day. I put group tasks after a meal or coming together task (such as drawing, tv time, or outdoor time) so it allows for the boys to work at their own pace on their math, reading, etc. It also provides incentive to not take 10 years to finish something so you can have more time doing something like playing outside.
- Chores, Free time (but I never call it that – I always give them a task to do during free time)
They move their clothes pin after completing each task. These days, they mess with each other if they forget to move the clothespin. “Hey Zach…you’re doing 30 math worksheets today.” I also reserve the right to change the timeline during the day if it needs changing.
Here’s an example schedule:
- Morning Chores
- Make Your Own Breakfast
- Mad Libs
- Greek/iPad Time (One is doing Greek on my computer while the other two take turns on an app on my iPad)
- Chores (They usually have 3-4 chores each. Such as: empty dishwasher, empty dryer, take out trash, pick up the floor, sweep, etc)
- Nature Study
- Run Errands with Mom
- Mama’s Helpers (Bring in groceries, weeding in the garden, etc.)
- TV Time
- Evening Chores (Put up chickens, clean off table, etc.)
- Where in the World is Dad? (Talk to dad via Facetime and they ask him questions to figure out where he’s at on their map)