It's far enough into the school year now to assess the schedule thing. The benefits of a more structured schedule are outweighing the drawbacks. So, I'm definitely glad we're following a daily plan.
The extreme preciseness of The Managers of Their Homes recommendations are definitely a bit much for us. We watched the clock like hawks when we first started, and I was constantly making announcements like "It's 9:00, is everyone doing what they're supposed to right now?" I was kind of like the old town cryer... 10:00 and all is well, look at your schedule and checklist. The relief of not always being asked "what should I do now, Mom?" was replaced by an urgency to keep the kids moving... chop, chop, chop.
We've now moved to a pace that suits our home style. The kids pretty much know the order of the day now. So, we do more of a system where I check in with everyone as I get chances to take my breaks. Like, I'll make sure everybody is up and eating by 8:00. Then tell them to go straight to morning chores. The biggest kids automatically go to their schoolwork after they're finished chores, following the time chart and order of subjects posted on the schedule. So, they stay on target for the most part. Andrew needs more prompting, and I give him more leeway. I've added more freetime and breaks for him than I originally had, because Macy needs him as a playmate more in the mornings than I had anticipated. And he has so much energy in the mornings, that it seems to fit better for him too.
The original schedule I made tends to fall apart in the afternoons. I had planned to keep up extra studies (like art history and extra reading) toward the end of the day. Realistically, I should have known that we would be tired by then and that I would release the kids to their freedom. I probably did know that I would end up doing that. But it felt good to have such an ambitious goal. Oh well. The new plan is to take one afternoon a week to go crazy on extras and have fun with it.
Another adjustment I made is to let the kids have delight directed days every now and then. They are particularly interested in burying their noses in a good book after we've taken a long weekend or been running like mad for a couple of days. I just can't get myself to enforce the schedule when I have the chance to watch them love learning! Those kind of days are also a great chance for me to really focus in on some extra time with Andrew and Macy.
Overall, I love having a schedule. It has become my ally. I'm not so sure that other, more strict "schooly" moms would be impressed. But we are finding what works best for us. Oh, the benefits of a tailor-made education!