Dr. Raymond Moore, and his wife Dorothy, often spoke of creating a schedule. They focused on what they called “anchors”. These anchors are the parts of life that need to be regular. Think of rising and sleeping times, mealtimes, nap-times, a spouse’s work schedule (if regular), etc. These are things that you will work your routines around. These are the “stable” parts of life. You will see after creating a schedule with anchors that you still have quite a bit of your day that is empty. These empty places in your schedule are where you get to add in the parts of the day that have a little more flexibility, things like chores and study routines, music lessons, church activities, and more.
Be careful not to try to schedule every minute of your day for you will become a slave to your schedule. The schedule is there to help you, not to make you miserable. If you haven’t worked with a schedule before, give yourself some growing time. If you notice that you are not good with the anchors, don’t try to change all your ways at once. Try choosing one and being deliberate in making it work. Put your attentions on that one routine until it becomes common to you. Once it is a regular part of your day and you don’t have to think so hard about it, move on to the next one.
Another thought is that a schedule is just a way to organize your daily routines. This helps you see if you are getting everything done that you wish to get done. Just as a financial budget helps to keep you from overspending, a schedule helps you from taking on too much. If you can’t get everything done, you probably are trying to do too much.
We also need to be temperate in our daily activities. We can’t spend 4 hours exercising and still get everything done in a day. We need smaller increments of time for some of our activities and we need to learn to set aside things when our time allotted is up. This is especially important for those activities which tend to be time stealers, leisure activities like internet browsing, TV watching, reading emails, etc. However, we can also choose to do “good things” to excess, as well. Practicing music for several hours a day and not getting any exercise is not good for us either. Balance is a very important concept to keep in mind as you plan your schedules and routines.
Schedules and routines are very enjoyable for a child. Children like having some control in their days. Schedules and routines give them some control. They know perhaps that when mom starts making dinner that it is time for them to wash their hands and help set the table. They don’t have to be told to do things all the time and when they remember to do things they’ve been taught, they feel some sense of control and a sense of responsibility by being able to follow those routines. When we live in disorder and our kids do not know when breakfast will be eaten or when school will start or when family worship will be done, our children become restless waiting. They are waiting for some favorite parts of the day to happen. They are waiting and sometimes those activities never happen. It is discouraging for them, as well as us, to live in constant chaos. They become irritable; we become irritable. They struggle to listen and respect us, because it seems that nothing gets done when it is said to be done. We get distracted and our kids get distracted as well. Sometimes we then yell at our kids when it is “us” who needs the talking to as it is our example that has created a child that has no sense of responsibility.
There is hope. God loves order and He will give us order in our lives. Sometimes we just need a little reminder, or maybe we need to learn in an area that we were never taught about why something is important to implement in our homes. Either way, do not be discouraged. Take a deep breath, say some prayers, get some resources if you need some help, and let God direct your paths.
*As a disclaimer, we are not asking anyone to have a rigid schedule or routine. We all must be flexible to the things happening in our lives. A flat tire can set an entire day off. A sickness or death in the family can create a temporary setback in our routines. An emergency call for help should not always be ignored because we did not schedule it in. We just need to be aware of how often these unscheduled interruptions happen in our life. Sometimes others learn that we can be easily swayed to talk on the phone when it’s time for math. Sometimes others call on us for help because we’re “home” and not working. Once in a while is okay, but you may find that it is happening all too often and you are struggling to keep your home clean, you are struggling to get studies done, you are struggling to live the homeschooling life that you had once felt strongly called to. It is these times that we need to reevaluate our lives and reorganize them, if needed, so that we can continue to do that which we feel called to accomplish. It is times like this, where we can change our schedules to allow for a phone call from friends, to help an ill family member, and still get the other things done, rather than setting them aside and being frustrated that we never get it all done. Remember schedules and routines are just tools to help you keep your life less stressed and more on track.
Resources for Schedules and Routines
Adventist Home by Ellen White (helpful topics to consider)
Child Guidance by Ellen White (helpful topics to consider)
Fly Lady (main program is helpful for cleaning routines) – they even have a free app!
Managers of Their Homes by Terry Maxwell (helpful especially for large families)
The Moore Formula Manual by the Moore Academy Staff
The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook by Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore