Why is Scheduling So Important During a Shelter-in Situation

Why is Scheduling So Important During a Shelter-in Situation

It was obvious the first week of Zoom teaching that my students were like fish out of water. They had been trained to independently manage 45 minutes of homework each night, but they had never been trained to manage a business day. That was something I did with college students. So, I put my curriculum away and adapted my daily time sheet designed to empower them to manage their day. It took two days of training, and they were off and running. There were tons of questions, which I love. The training they received beginning in September transferred easily to an on-line environment. I enlisted the help of my parents to continue their "hands-off" role in learning. They were struggling with working at home, they were glad to be freed of that responsibility. 

As I do on a regular basis, I did a check-in with the class. I asked my third graders if they were glad they were forced to create a daily schedule for the time when they awoke to when all their work was due at 3 pm. I was surprised to hear the following:

"I am so glad you made me do it. I kinda put things off, and once I put things on my calendar I felt like I needed to finish them." 

"I was wasting a lot of time playing, until I did the schedule. Once I did it, I got my work done faster and had the whole rest of the day to play. I loved it, because I didn't feel guilty."

"I felt grown up."

"I didn't worry anymore."

"I liked being in charge of myself. I hate it when my mom is on me all the time, "Are you done? Have you done your work? Did you turn it in?" Made me crazy. Now she leaves me alone, and I like it better."

"I pretended I was in my office and had appointments I couldn't miss, so I felt more important doing the time sheet."

"I don't like doing a schedule, because I know what I have to do. I don't like putting things off." I asked this child if he sees the schedule in his head.

He replied, "I never thought about it, but I guess I do." This type of student only needs to experience a schedule once to internalize time. They are a rare breed, and I have only had a few every year in my class for the past 47 years. 

There are others who will need to record their assignments, outside activities, and family obligations well into adulthood. I am one of those. If I don't make a schedule and list what I have to do, it's out of sight, out of mind. 

Discovering at the age of 8 that they do best with writing down assignments, will reduce their anxiety. They will also be more likely to experience success when they are totally on their own.  

Meeting deadlines is not necessarily naturally understood. Students can learn  the need to backwards plan in order to turn in projects, arrive at appointments, or pay taxes on time.

But, before one can do backwards planning, they need to understand how much time little tasks take. The first activity I do with my students is have them time themselves doing ordinary activities. They need to know how much time it takes to brush their teeth, tie their shows, get dressed, eat breakfast, and shower, How can one get to school on time if they don't wake early enough to do everything they have to do?

One student was struggling with getting to the Zoom class on time. We spent a half an hour on how to manage the things he needed to do to be ready for school. As he began to place the activities in time slots, he took a deep breath and said, "I guess I don't have cuddle time every morning unless I get up at 5:00."

I received a call from a mother, "Ms. O. I don't know what to do. I told Alexander that lunch is at noon and he told me he had scheduled it for 1:30." She wanted to have eat it while it was hot. My advice was to allow him to schedule lunch whenever he wanted and suffer the consequences of cold food. She did and he decided to find out when his mother was planning on serving lunch the next day. He didn't want to eat cold food.

What can parents do? Begin by talking to your children in terms of time. For example, "I think it will take us five minutes to brush out teeth, let's see how long?" "It will take us forty-five minutes to get to Grandma's." "How long does it take you to take out the trash?" "Let's see how many minutes it takes you to put on your shoes?" Young children love races. They will respond to,"Can you beat your time from yesterday?"

My children were on a neighborhood swim team. It was just for fun, but they were timed when they raced. They quickly learned what seconds felt like. Their time management is a hundred times better than mine. 

Next blog: Teaching Fiscal Responsibility. If you have things you have done to help children learn the value of money, please share. 


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