Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Scheduling to Grow With Your Family

Schedules! The word alone gets me excited. I love organizing, scheduling, and making lists, and that's all fine and dandy, but it kind of defeats the purpose of scheduling and list making if all your time is spent making them and not following them.

So, I thought maybe some of you could benefit from some of my time consuming work, maybe it will help you get started on a routine, maybe it will give you ideas for one of your own, maybe it will give you ideas of what NOT to do, who knows. 

My prayer is that it helps someone in some way, including my own family.

What seemed to be lacking in my schedules, routines and lists is the fact that we are an ever growing family, and so my schedules were changing constantly with the addition of each child, and the changing of each child from one age to another. It seemed a schedule would be made, and then become useless or not accomplishable within weeks. This has led to chaos in our home, and with the thought that my second would be officially entering her homeschool years at about the same time we welcome our sixth child into this world I wondered how to organize it all and I had finally had enough. God put on my heart the idea of priority living, so I've used that wisdom combined with traditional schedule and routine ideas to make one big grow with us plan, the Sustainable Schedule. I will need to make subtle adjustments through the years, but the bulk will always be the same. Just a school schedule added for each child that enters, and some chores or priorities added to the pile as they become needed or change.

Here is what our Big Plan consists of: (Click on the links to go to that form or schedule and feel free to print and use any of these as needed)

  • A Basic Schedule (Posted on our fridge and in my home management binder)

  • A School Schedule for each child (or for combined ages if possible). Here is our 3 day rotating schedule for my oldest (I've talked about this before), and our schedule for the littles. (I have a copy of these schedules in my School management binder, and in each of the children's school binders)

  • A Chore Card system (using cards and magnetic pockets. I like something removable and out of reach for when not in use. I started with this master chart, which I can add to as needed. Each chore is then written on a card, and added to the pockets). There are 3 pockets for each person (including myself) Morning Chores, Afternoon Chores, and Done.

  • Morning and Evening Routine Posters (posted in the kids bedroom and in the bathroom. We also have assigned bath days for each child listed under bath times). They go to these posters during that time on the schedule.

Other additions to help us with our Sustainable Schedule:

  • Outlines for each school subject for each term (I find these great for children able to read and work independently. They go to the subject they're supposed to be on, and follow the checklist, simple as that. It's a great way to keep track of what's next, what you have accomplished and what you have left to get done for the term. I will also be able to use these for each child entering that grade if I choose to.) Here are a couple examples: A very simple Bible Outline, and our current Socials Outline.

  • Littles School Planner (This so far is the most time consuming part of the schedule, only because I have yet to do all the planning here, but once it's done, I can reuse the lesson plans as new littles enter the family).

  • A weekly menu plan (I just search google and pick my favorite, then post it in a plastic page protector on the fridge and fill in weekly).

  • A grocery shopping sheet in a plastic page protector on the fridge. (Again, my favorite from a simple google search).

Hints and tips for making your own Sustainable Schedule:

  • If it's going to be used by a young child who can't read (don't forget to include possible future children) add pictures.

  • Wherever possible, organize things into age categories instead of for a specific child, this will save a lot of redoing things over time.

  • Most important tip of all make sure God is first in all your schedules and lists!

There it is. TA DA!! Hopefully you find something useful among it, any questions or ideas please feel free to leave a comment. I'm always ready to learn, and I know a lot of you have been doing this a lot longer than me, and may have some great ideas to help us all fine tune our plans.


  1. Came here by way of Teach Me Tuesday. Wow-a lot of work went into these schedules. Well done!

  2. This is awesome - and very organized Jessica. I have seen how children thrive under structure and consistency and I think with a larger family such as yours having this kind of organization would be very helpful and necessary. Great job! -Nicole @ Working Kansas Homemaker

  3. I really like your idea of using age categories instead of the individual child when making schedules.