Here at the Happy Elf Homeschool, we've been following a "schedule" since Monday. It's had mixed results. It sure isn't nearly so strict as the schedules you'd find in a larger school, but I am learning just a little bit about WHY those big-bad factory institutions schedule things so strictly in the first place (hint: it's called "getting the stuff you planned to do ... done").
I am discovering that there are small time-wasters during the day, little rabbit trails we keep hopping down, and that sort of thing. And that was wonderful and good while the children were little and needed to learn so much about the world; however, it's not necessary now to interrupt our studies for further investigation on a topic that pops up quite so frequently. This week I scheduled an entire day for cooking, chess games and assorted "fun" or elective subjects after our math was done. When I did that, I found out that the children really need a bit more direction than your average third and fourth graders would. I think doing the math first thing in the morning is a good idea, but I also think one other subject thrown in later in the day might balance out the mostly unstructured "fun" stuff. It would also give me an opportunity to play catch-up with whatever we might have been lagging behind in that week.
I'm posting a few pictures of what I do with the younger children while the older ones are doing a more self-directed activity. I can get all kinds of little boxes full of blocks or baby things (spoon, bowl, bottle, blanket, etc.) and let them play with each thing for a bit. Then I will switch the children's activities so that each has a turn doing a puzzle or matching bears or whathaveyou.