Welcome to the final post of The Organized Homeschool series. The goal of this series is to encourage homeschool moms to prepare for the upcoming school year by completing a few tasks over the summer. So far I’ve shared information about creating a DIY Homeschool Planning Binder, Planning Content for the Year, and Making a Student Supply Station. Today’s topic is time management.
At the end of the day, the girlies and I often look back and wonder where the day went. The hours between breakfast and dinner seem to zoom past in the blink of an eye. Since time flies by very quickly, the homeschool mom must learn to make good use of her time. If you’re a homeschool mom who is concerned about or is wondering how to use time most efficiently, here are six homeschool time management tips you may find useful.
- Get organized. It’s hard to accomplish things during the day if you’re trying to work in a cluttered and disorganized space. An organized homeschool space is a must have. Precious time is wasted when you have to search for teaching materials and supplies or if you have to take time to clear out work spaces for the kids. If you’re not sure how to organize your homeschool materials, this post, Homeschool Organization, may help you.
- Limit distractions. Phones, computers, and other people (even those we love!) can gobble up precious time. A 25 minute phone conversation, an hour long internet session, and a 20 minute chat with a neighbor can swallow up nearly two hours of valuable teaching time. If this happens five times each week, a homeschool mom will have lost over nine hours of learning time! Limit distractions by telling callers you’ll contact them later or let voicemail do its job. If you must use the computer, set a timer so you know when to get offline, and save personal chats for after you’re done teaching.
- Have children help out. In addition to homeschooling during the day, many of us also have household chores to complete. Dishes need to be washed, laundry needs to be done, floors must be swept, and meals must be prepared. Don’t kill yourself by trying to get everything done alone. If you take on too much at once for long periods of time, you may experience burnout. Lighten your load by having your children take on some of the household responsibilities. When taught how to do so, children can wash dishes, fold laundry, sweep the floor, and even do some light cooking.
- Prioritize. Prioritizing will help you determine which subjects should be completed first and which subjects can wait until later, if need be. At our house, Bible study, Math, and Language Arts are always our first educational priorities. If something pops up later and takes me away from schooling (unexpected doctor’s appointment, traffic jam, etc), I don’t get upset because I know I’ve already completed the most important subjects.
- Create a reasonable schedule. You’ll want to have a schedule so you have a good idea of how your day will progress. For me, I strive to teach 4 core subjects before lunch, teach 3 more subjects in the afternoon, and get at least 2 loads of laundry done each day. You can make your schedule as loose (like mine) or as rigid (laundry load #1- 7 am, Bible study 8 am, Math 8:45 am, etc) as you wish. A rigid schedule stresses me, so I use a loose schedule that tells what tasks to complete in the morning and in the afternoon. My goal is to have a productive but calm day.
- Use a calendar. Whenever I try to keep track of things using a mental calendar, I always forget to do something and forgetfulness always results in wasted time because I have to back track and take care of the issue I neglected. Set your mind at ease by keeping track of appointments and activities using a calendar. A wall calendar will work, but since I need to access my calendar at home and while on the go, I prefer to use Google Calendar. It syncs my calendar on my home computer and on my phone, so I always know where I need to be. Not a fan of Google? You can find a variety of other tools (like Cozi or Zoho Calendar) that will do the same.
This post brings us to the end of The Organized Homeschool series. I hope this four part series has given you some useful tips and helpful ideas. I encourage you to use the summer months to prepare for a brand new homeschool year. The organizational seeds we sow now will yield a harvest of blessings when the busy school year begins in just a few short months!
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