Time. It's a homeschool family's most precious resource--but the claims on a homeschooler's time are many and noisy!
School work, housework, sports and family activities crowd the calendar.
How do you get it all done each day?
Here are OrganizedHome.Com's best time management ideas for homeschool families:
Build a plan...with a planner
Homeschoolers, parent or child, need a beacon through the busy days. Whether you call them planners, activity calendars, schedules or daily assignment sheets, all homeschoolers need a guide for daily, weekly, monthly and yearly activities.
Brush up your planner power with these tips:
- Teach time management first. Nursery schools know that small children thrive on a routine. Homeschool runs more smoothly when everyone knows what's on the plan for the day. From a simple picture-based schedule for little ones, to a sophisticated student planner for high schoolers, bring your student up in the planner habit.
- Learn what you teach! Parents must set the course where time management is concerned. Do you use a planner properly? Brush up on basic planner skills here: Tap the Power of Planners, then visit our Printables Library for a wealth of free printable planner pages.
- Get a realistic grip on time. The biggest single time management mistake most people make is misjudging the time necessary to complete a task or finish an activity. Take a week to note the time your children need to complete spelling worksheets or finish a Saxon math assignment. Build success into your scheduling by being realistic with time estimates for homeschool activities.
- Pad the time budget for smooth transitions. Even with a realistic view of the time needed to complete each task in a homeschool day, you'll need to take a tip from structured schooling, and plan for between-class breaks. Whether play periods for young children, meals or scheduled recess, don't forget to account for the "time-between" each day's list of school tasks.
Skill with scheduling
Homeschool demands scheduling, and the devil is in the details.
An organized parent of one or two children may succeed with a very flexible, very sketchy schedule, but the older the child or more numerous the students, the more important scheduling becomes.
Here are some ideas to help with homeschool scheduling:
- Start big--and work backward. To schedule a homeschool student, start with the year. List all courses, coursework, books and service activities necessary to complete the year. For each task, develop list of monthly goals: so many Saxon lessons, so many books, so many hours of service, so many worksheet pages. Break down each category by week, and review each week's goals with your student. From the weekly goal comes the daily school schedule. Working backward prevents both make-work and over-scheduling, because it focuses on the big goals, not separate time increments.
- Get feedback from the student. Time management bottlenecks can often be solved by the students themselves, if parents are willing to be flexible. So what if you feel math should be done first thing in the morning? Your sleepy-headed teen may do better when permitted to tackle math last thing in the day. Give your child a chance to solve scheduling problems. He or she may surprise you!