As a homeschool mama, I find several things pretty challenging about the actual homeschool day. If I’ve ever made it seem like homeschooling is a breeze for us, it was just a miscommunication because some aspects of this life are just tough!
I never want you to think that I have it all together, because I could write you a book on all of the things that I find to be just plain hard.
One homeschool challenge I struggle to stay on top of: finding enough time for each child in my homeschool day.
These are full days, to say the least.
I’ve noticed in our 6 years of homeschooling, that the demands on my time grow greater with each passing year. We are in our 3rd week of the new homeschool year, and again, I feel like I’m drowning and must re-evaluate.
♥ My 5th grader is very independent, but is a people person and wants to tell me every little thing he’s read.
♥ My 3rd grader still isn’t very independent and needs my help with most every subject.
♥ My 1st grader is still a new reader and is also a people person. She desires lots of interaction throughout the day.
♥ My 4 1/2 year old needs my attention for K4 learning and the interaction that all 4 year olds need from their mamas during the day.
Because I absolutely detest that feeling of not being able to give each child what they need, I do three specific things when I know I need to be more efficient with my time.
Please know that these are the strategies that have worked for me during our early elementary years and these early seasons of homeschooling. I’m sure the strategies will change as my children grow older. 🙂
If you’d rather not read and listen instead, you can watch me talk about this same topic on Periscope. Go follow me there for more homeschooling Q&A!
I Determine What is Necessary During My Homeschool Day
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When I am drowning in a lack of time during the homeschool day, I first take a hard look at my schedule and see what is truly necessary.
Do we need to do our regular English AND Latin Roots?
Do we need to complete the lap book AND a notebooking page?
Is it necessary to do science AND history every single day?
As I mentioned in the scope you can watch above, my 7 year old was very into Little House on the Prairie during 2nd grade.
Perfect! An easy learning opportunity!
We read the book together, and I downloaded a Little House in the Big Woods lap book to work on as we read each chapter.
My mistake was that I had her continue with her regular English curriculum.
There were several problems with doing both the Little House study and her regular English book:
– It was overkill. She was learning lots of grammar and all about sentence structure through the writing activities in the lap book.
– It took up too much time.
– I squelched her love of learning for a bit. Because I rushed her to complete her daily assignments so we could fit them all in, I made the Little House seem like drudgery in the first few weeks instead of feeling fun.
As a result, I paused her regular English work during the rest of the study and we just picked right back up where we left off 6 weeks later.
I Analyze Each Hour of My Homeschool Day
This is going to sound just a bit extreme, but when I feel like I’m drowning, I analyze every single hour of week.
I use the same hourly calendar that I’ve included at the bottom of this post.
I go through each day (in pencil!) and write in the standing commitments that we have as a family – homeschool hours, when I prepare meals, church, violin lessons, etc.
It helps me to see at a glance exactly where our time is spent.
Next, I take my cheap spiral bound notebook and write down every single thing that I do in a 24 hour period. And that includes everything – even the mundane tasks like scrubbing toilets!
I don’t do this to be critical of myself, but to get information about where my time is going.
If I’m squandering my time away, I want to know it.
Once I can see where those pockets of dead time are going, I can decide what should be in their place.
Scroll to the bottom of this post to download your own hourly planning schedule!
I Work Hard During Homeschool Hours
I try really hard for only school to take place during school hours.
Yes, it is incredibly tempting to make a grocery list or outline my next blog post or start planning school for the next week during that school time.
However, I have found that the harder I work during school hours, the more focused my kids are. The benefit is that we get school done in a timely fashion, which leaves us time to play and have free time.
Being diligent during school hours also limits the time that we do school in the afternoons, because I really dislike school in the afternoons! In my ideal world, school would be finished each day right before lunchtime. But that’s practically impossible when teaching four kiddos!
So how do you find more pockets of time in your homeschool day? Share your wisdom in the comments!
Click the image to download the free hourly planning schedule: