Well, I survived my 1'st week (of my 9'th year) of homeschooling! Yippy! I stuck to my schedule, I am so proud of myself! lol.
I think that really is the key. Distractions are attention suckers! I set my answering machine so that the outgoing message explains that I won't be taking calls during school time; politely of course. I also got up one hour before the boys to make sure that 'my stuff' was out of the way. My routine is to I get up, read my Bible / scriptures, check my email, check facebook, check our homeschool page and then my weekly schedule. I make note of what is on the schooling agenda for the day and wow, my day goes so much better.
Here is a sample of how our schedule is for those who are still trying to create one.
7:00am Wake up with COFFEE ;) dress, Bible time, check email, etc.
8:00am Wake boys up, dressed, breakfast, brush teeth.
8:30am We start school with Bible.
9:15am Math/ Algebra
10:15am Language / Grammar
11:00am Biology / Science
1:45pm Spanish / etc.
Now for my 4'th grader, his times are a bit different; shorter. But we usually end up finishing around 2:30pm.
I know some of you may not like a schedule or it just doesn't work for your family. That is ok. I feel the number one rule of homeschooling is 'Do what works for your family!' Every child and family is different. Last year we started with a schedule and then tossed it. But I do best when I follow one. And the boys like a schedule too because it helps them feel a sense of accomplishment to check off each subject as they finish it.
I do the same with chores. Although I don't 'assign' the big chores by name. In other words I write down 'this' needs to be done today and choose a child to do each individual chore. It works best for us that way. Although dishes and garbage removal are always set in stone. Otherwise there is confusion and bickering ;)
You choose your schedule by what your family needs. If your children don't care about checking things off, then just set a timer and tell them what is next. My children like to look ahead and KNOW what they have for the day. They like the SAME schedule (subject order) everyday.
Bottom line is, all children need structure. How you create that for them is up to you.
1 Corinthians 14:40
"But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way."