Purple, Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow. What in the world am I referring to? The color-coded goodness that is my new schedule! I followed the steps and am thrilled with the results.
I’m doing two major home-life upgrades simultaneously; schedules and chores. The information regarding scheduling comes from Managers of their Homes while the chore information comes from the Managers of their Chores book. I can see that some would find going through both of these books simultaneously would be quite overwhelming so if you are considering looking into this and are not at all scheduled or your kids are not at all doing chores, pick the activity you most desire changing and start there. You may want to go ahead and order both books to save on shipping and the wait time but focus on one change at a time. I already had a working schedule and a basic chore routine so I’m expanding both of those and making them much more detailed and it’s taken me a week to get it done. (And notice I started the planning steps at the very beginning of Christmas vacation so I had a few weeks to work on it. Be prepared for a little work and putting some deep thought and prayer into your schedule and chore plans, because this is heavy-duty stuff. However, I would not be investing this time and energy if I didn’t believe fully it was going to be worth it. I see how well my boys do on the mini-schedule we use for school hours and now I will be able to see that in the other hours of our days as well.) They highly recommend that you don’t try to sit down and accomplish all the scheduling work in one session, which was really difficult for me! I wanted to open the book, read it and START. Right then. But it was better to keep a list of things I wanted to change or add to our schedule/chores and then go back to the list when I had time to focus.
Okay, now for the good stuff.
I went through each step, one-by-one, and was very happy with my results.
In the picture above you can see that I was working on my own schedule. The kit comes with three large pages that have enough columns for mom and seven kids. At the top are places for color-coded names and along the left hand side are thirty-minute blocks of time. In one of the steps you place your tasks into either thirty-minute or one-hour boxes, then cut them out, placing them on the schedule using tacky stuff. That makes it easy to remove and rearrange when you realize you’ve double-scheduled yourself.
I think the hardest part is that on Thursday afternoons we have PE so it doesn’t fit the master schedule. Same with Tuesday evenings, with AWANA and PWOC. If you look at the orange (they didn’t have red and Hayden is always red… I had to pick the closest thing) “Nap” tag you can see that I have written MTWF, meaning that on TH we won’t be napping at that time. (Parker’s should look like that, too, but I forgot to write it on his.)
I went to Excel and created a rough draft of my list. They sell an annual membership to use their program but I was willing to just make my own. I may end up purchasing the membership but for now, I’m happy with my own version.
I’m going to show a picture of what I’ve got done so far, but please understand I’m in the very beginning stages. These pages are not cut straight and will be taped down much more neatly once I have worked out kinks we are undoubtedly going to find.
Remember I mentioned that the hardest part was that on Tuesdays and Thursdays we have a bit of an alteration in our schedule? What I did was create one master list that would be our perfect day with no breaks in schedule. Then I created a separate Excel tab (same worksheet, different tab near the bottom) that was for the AWANA night. I only needed to adjust those few hours, but it was important to create a different schedule since we will not do evening chores that night and we needed to begin dinner preparations earlier. Same with Thursday afternoons for PE. We completely miss nap and I needed to include a day for running errands, which the authors recommend doing on one specific day a week, to simplify your life. Since we were already out and about for PE I added an hour and a half for errands. If you look in the picture the four pages on the left (there is a fifth above that is not pictured) represent the master list. To the right are the two “alternate” schedules.
If you were to replace me for a day you could use the Master list for any day of the week and then if it were a Tuesday or Thursday, just glance to the right for the alternate schedule during those hours. I placed the alternate schedules beside the hours they replace… does that make sense?
Some really neat things I’ve scheduled that we’ve always just left up to chance are the boys’ bath days and washing clothes days. My kids love baths but they always want to take them at the strangest times. Especially right at bedtime. So, to combat that I’ve got Bailey taking his during the school block I’ve scheduled him for Jonathan Park, which is an audio adventure Science series. I can let him listen to that while he’s in the bath if I get the iPod dock set up in there. The other boys will take baths MWF and TThS. No more, “I get to get in FIRST!” or “But he’s been in there an HOUR!”
Each of the bigs is responsible for his own clothes and has been for years. Now I’m just scheduling WHEN they wash. I’m setting them up, for now, for a twice-a-week schedule. If they don’t have quite a full load they can throw the towels in with their clothes and make a full load. If, after a few weeks, I find that they can get by with only washing once a week, so be it. But this way I can ensure that they have clean clothes rather than having to hear one say, “Hang on… I gotta get some pants out of (fill-in-a-brother’s-name) room!” Oh, and I’ve also scheduled Hayden to wash Parker’s clothes once a week! I’m down to washing almost NOTHING!!
I’ve already begun the chore packs and can’t WAIT to share that with you. Stay tuned!!
To read the other installments in the MOTH series see these links:
MOTH 2 – You are here.