One skill I’ve learned that has been particularly useful to my family is the skill of keeping a type of schedule called “time blocking.” It has dramatically changed how I run my days and how I relate to my kids. In fact, I think time blocking is the perfect scheduling solution for large families and homeschooling families--whether you are a very scheduled person, or you struggle with having a plan for the day.
I’m super type A about being on time to appointments, and that had spilled over to my home. I was even setting timers all the time, and it just honestly got very toxic. I feel like time blocking has brought a lot of peace to our homeschool days, and we are still equally, if not more, productive. With time blocking, we’re not throwing away scheduling altogether—just reimagining it. And the good news is, if you are on the opposite end of the spectrum from me, and you struggle with being on time or being productive in your day, this is a gentle system that you can adopt as well.
Time blocking is very much how it sounds. It’s blocking out chunks of time throughout your day. It’s different than the rigid scheduling, though. I think it is the best type of scheduling system for large families because it compensates well for all those disruptions and objections that I’m sure you’ve thought of when it comes to having a daily schedule.
Rigid scheduling like this is good in a lot of environments that have meetings and bells—like a workplace or school—but when you’re home during the day and you’re the only adult around, it just doesn’t always work so well. You’re always one poopy diaper blowout away from derailing your whole day. It’s easy to see why moms can feel so harried and defeated by the idea of scheduling their days!
You're always one poopy diaper blowout away from derailing your whole day.
Time blocking, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily list out each individual task or a specific time (although it can). Rather, it marks off chunks of time for specific routines, and adds in some cushion of time between each routine (that's the secret sauce!)
It Starts With A Routine
Time blocking revolves around the idea of having routines to accomplish different tasks. If you don’t already have routines around chores, school time, homework time, bedtime, or more, that’s the first place to start. And when I say routine, I mean an order in which you always complete a certain task.
For example, my kids’ morning routine looks like the following: wake up, get dressed and pick up bedrooms and bathrooms, and have breakfast with me so we can read Proverbs together at the table. And from there we move into our school routine. So, I would create a time block from 7:30-8:30 for them to complete the morning routine. Some kids finish quickly and some take their sweet time.
Some Tips For Time Blocking
We need to build in a little grace into our day! Time cushions make time blocking a comfortable, gentle, and dare I say balanced form of scheduling for families.
The other really important part of time blocking is to treat each block as an appointment or commitment.
A word to those of you new to scheduling your day
Finally, as you create your schedule—especially if this style is completely new to you—be sure that you don’t see your new time blocks or routines as permanent. Definitely give it a lengthy enough trial period so you can see what works and what needs to be changed. But it is not written in blood. You can absolutely tweak things as needed.
Want more help with scheduling? I'll be sharing more tips on this blog over the coming weeks, so stay tuned!