We're trying something new here today. I just read "Large Family Logistics" by Kim Brenneman. This book is huge and is packed with lots of good ideas for keeping things "sane" in the home, whether your family is really large, somewhat large, like ours, or even a small family.
In year's past we had used the MOTH (Managers Of Their Home) method of scheduling our days. While it worked for us in the beginning (fewer animals, fewer kids' activities), I had not used it for the last year or so. MOTH has every minute of every day planned, and I am sure that works for families that don't have farms or husbands whose schedule has no rhyme or reason to it. We were forever "off schedule," either trying to play catch-up or abandoning the charts all together.
Large Family Logistics takes a different approach as it is written by a mom who lives on a farm. She understands that most days have a plan, but the amount of time it takes to feed the animals can change depending on the season, the weather, or the animals. Her philosophy is "Just do the next thing". If we have a plan, written down for each day of what the next thing is, we are less likely to become distracted, flitting from one half done project to another.
The times for those projects are loosely structured. For us Chore time is always 6AM and 4PM. After the AM chore time is finished we are supposed to have our Family Bible time. In the past if chores went late, we skipped it in order to catch-up on the schedule. Not a great idea! Now it doesn't matter when chores get finished, we start Bible time when chores are completed.
One of the premises of the book is setting habits. We all have habits of how our days progress, it's just that some of those habits aren't good ones. With her system we start replacing those bad habits with good ones: setting a timer for Internet time, making the bed and getting dressed BEFORE getting that cup of coffee, and my favorite: 4 Laundry loads by 4PM.
I had been slowly implementing some of the LFL's ideas that pertained to only me over the last few weeks, as I checked out Kim Brenneman's blogsite, while waiting for the book to arrive in the mail. I was surprised at the results. It really did work. So if I can do it, so can the kids. The only thing I can see being an issue is Sam's schedule. But he's in agreement with the plan as I have it set up right now, we'll just have to wait and see what tweaking we'll have to do to adjust for his rotating schedule.