On this homeschool podcast episode, I give a recap of this week’s blog posts and updates here at CHM. Then I get into our topic on homeschool time management.
What I’m going to share with you are some general tips that can help you with managing your time. While you may not consider these actual homeschool time management tips, these are ideas I think that that can help lead you into managing your homeschool time better.
Free yourself to be you.
Know what your limitations are and follow through with them. Know who you are, what you can contribute to your family and what you need a little help with, and be okay with that. Rest in the fact that God understands you and embrace who you are today.
This is relevant in my life because I know my limitations as a homeschool mom- what I’m capable of doing all on my own or not. There are certain topics I won’t try to teach without help, and as much as I love lying out on a beach, I wouldn’t consider myself particularly outdoorsy- at least not in a traditional sense.
I mean, you wouldn’t find me rock-climbing or hiking much, and believe it or not, I’ve never been camping. So these are my limitations. My kids know that, and if they ever want the outdoors experience they’ll have to look to girl scouts for that.
Anyway, I just think it’s important to know yourself and be patient with yourself and give yourself the room and flexibility to grow into who you want to be. But for now, just be content with the “you” that you are. The sooner you embrace yourself the sooner your family will be aware of your needs, but first you have to be aware of your own needs and accept that as part of who you are today.
Set your priorities.
If you have several kids with different school schedules, setting aside a specific time during the day for school can be tricky-especially if you have older kids who may pretty much set their own schedules (practice violin when they want, do their math at some odd hour at night). If it works for them and it works for you, then great! But if your school days seem scattered because you’re needed at odd intervals throughout the morning and evening to help with schoolwork, you’ll need to set school hours or “office hours” in place (for your older kids mostly) for when you’re available to help with schoolwork.
It’s no different than college students checking in with their professors during office hours for extra support. Giving yourself the right to have a break from school is essential to your sanity and it gives your older kids the responsibility to seek out your help during proper times.
For your younger kids, you may want to set aside a specific time each day for the main academics where you’re very personally involved in their school time. During this time, there are no interruptions unless it’s an emergency. In my home, I turn my cell phone on vibrate so it doesn’t completely interrupt our school time but I do check periodically to make sure it’s not an important call. If it’s important I’ll call back right away, but usually they’ll leave a voicemail and I can call back in an hour or two. Stopping to take phone calls to chat with friends in the middle of school definitely doesn’t work for the younger kids and their attention spans, nor can they really achieve what they need to without your full, undivided attention and support. So, taking some time to set your school schedule as a priority each day is important.
I know some families who use a wall calendar and block of their school times in a specific color so they don’t schedule anything else during those times. Just do whatever works for you, but be sure you make your homeschool time a priority for your family.
Rearrange your schedule as needed.
If you’re finding that soccer practice twice a week, a weekly ballet lesson, plus your homeschool co-op meeting, and mid-week church service are making it nearly impossible for you to breathe, then it’s time to rearrange your schedule. In this case you only have a few choices: you can have your spouse help you with the kids’ activities and school, you can change to a different curriculum which might make it easier for you to keep a more active lifestyle, or you can simply cut out some of the other activities and invest more time in your homeschool activities…it’s really whatever choice is important to you. No choice is better than the other. The seasons of your life will determine your choices.
Maybe the kids love workbooks and online classes- well, it’s possible you’ll have a lot more time in your day to do other things if you choose to homeschool this way. Meanwhile, there are families who thrive on the meaningfulness of spending time reading and working together at home and could care less about workbooks or computer games…if that’s your kind of family, then your daily schedule would certainly be affected by the lifestyle you’ve chosen. Perhaps the ballet or soccer wouldn’t be so important to you, or maybe you would have your kids choose just a few activities that the whole family can be involved in so you’re not split in different directions all week long.
So, look at your priorities and your lifestyle choice as a family, and then arrange your schedule to fit within the the framework of your family identity.
(Additional links and resources mentioned in this podcast are):
Homeschooling In The City (at Hip Homeschool Moms)
Top Three Reasons I Love Homeschooling (at HSBAPost.com)
Homeschool Workboxes (my new system, video)
Reference to the podcast Homeschool Organization: Avoiding Burnout And Achieve Balance, Episode #22
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