A friend of mine posted this schedule online the other day, after school closures had been announced in a few parts of Canada, and I just thought how hard people make things for themselves. I predict that any parent using this schedule is going to wind up doing one of two things: giving up after five seconds and dealing with the heavy anxiety of failing their children; or regretting all their life choices and hating their children. Possibly a little bit of both?
Where did we get this idea that military-like scheduling is the best way to live a life? Public school may have been originally designed to prepare the working class for factory life, but at this point is that really something that we want our children aspiring to?
Not to say that some level of routine isn’t valuable for just knowing what to expect out of life. But allowing your children to experience a little autonomy and creativity is worthwhile, and generally produces less headaches.
Personally, I like the format proposed by the DeMilles—creators of the Thomas Jefferson Education system: schedule your life in broad, generous blocks, allowing for random adventures. And however you structure things, schedule time, not content. So for instance, here is my “Covid-19 Daily Schedule” (aka The Usual):
6:00 am-8:30 am: wake up. Unload dishwasher. Use media as desired.
8:30 am-12 pm: no video games or shows, but otherwise explore interests as desired (other tech use included).
12 pm-3 pm: have lunch. Do clean up jobs. Play video games if desired.
3 pm-7:30 pm: no video games, but explore other interests as desired. Possibly be sent outside for a while. Eat supper as a family.
7:30 pm-8:30 pm: listen to mom reading a book. Go to bed to read, or listen to podcasts, or try out this novel thing called “sleep”.
That’s us, broadly, with lots of random daily variations. This is not the military. I am not a drill sergeant. Neither are you! Give yourself and your children permission to actually enjoy life a little! You’ll be so impressed with the educational value of joy!