One of the biggest struggles homeschool moms share with me is time management and organization. Why would I say that homeschooling is easy to organize if most moms say it is their most difficult aspect of homeschooling?
Homeschooling IS easy to organize when you have these two things: perspective and tools.
What’s Your Perspective on Homeschooling?
On Monday morning, look at your weekly calendar and you’re already overwhelmed. Too many activities. Too little time. What do you do?
Either you bulldoze ahead with an overcrowded schedule and get burned out. Or you give up and don’t do anything. Which one are you? Or, are you somewhere in the middle … where most moms are?
When my kids were in elementary school, I caught myself driving my daughters from one practice to another, on the same afternoon. I realized we had too many activities, on top of homeschooling.
We decided to limit our children to two activities each year. They were five, eight and ten years old, the perfect age to begin learning how to make decisions. Each of them chose their two activities. This simple change in our family truly simplified our lives and allowed me to focus on what’s most important.
My perspective on homeschooling was not to be involved in lots of activities or compare myself to other homeschool families. I wanted to give my kids the best education possible, centered on God’s Word.
As we journeyed in homeschooling, I narrowed my perspective to raising kids that could think critically and Biblically, making wise decisions as Christian leaders.
To keep my homeschool organized, I looked at that long term goal to decide if an activity, a lesson, or a curriculum would help me fulfill my goal. If it did not fulfill that goal, it was a secondary activity. If we have time, we can do it. I wanted to keep the main thing, the main thing.
What is your long term goal for your kids?
If you’ve never thought about it, I suggest you go to a coffee shop by yourself and think through your goals. Trade babysitting with another homeschool mom so you have time alone. Pray and listen to God because He will let you know what perspective you should have with your kids.
Once you have long term goals for your family, take a half-hour for each of your kids and write down goals for this year. You can use goal setting worksheets to help you set long-term and yearly goals.
Why set goals?
Where there is no vision, the people perish. Proverbs 29:18
Or where there is no vision, the homeschool becomes overwhelmed and burned out. You need to know where you are headed so you can make wise decisions each week and each day.
Setting goals is absolutely necessary to keep your homeschool organized. Once you have goals set, it’s time to use organization tools. I promise these are not fancy, but they work.
Use a Timer
Have you ever set a timer for your kids to complete a task?
For them to clean their room?
To empty the dishwasher?
I use a timer for myself, as well. In fact, I set a timer when I sat down to write this post. I wanted to stay focused and complete my task as quickly as possible. How can you use a timer in your homeschool?
Set a timer for your read aloud time.
We start each day with Family Group Time. In that hour, we read poetry aloud, sing a hymn (to introduce them to other types of songs), review Bible study or history and end with at least 30 minutes of reading aloud.
Family Group Time is non-negotiable. Reading aloud is a top goal for me, one of the most important activities in our homeschool. It provides bonding and shows my kids the importance and fun of reading great books.
Set a timer for your individual time with each child.
After reading aloud first thing in the morning, I spend individual time with each of my kids to teach or review what they are learning.
Set a timer for cleaning up your desk or kitchen table or wherever you homeschool.
If items are picked up, your mind doesn’t feel so cluttered.
Set a timer for your child who gets distracted.
Reward him when he finishes a lesson or task before the timer goes off. Look for what is important to that child as the reward. Don’t need to buy the reward! You might give that child an extra hour playing in the fort or having a special friend over to play.
You can find free timers online or in your app store.
Weekly Lesson Planner
Since the beginning of my homeschool, way back in the 1990’s, I used a simple spreadsheet to organize our lessons. I printed new ones each week. One for me to see all the kids’ lessons. One for each of my kids to see what was expected that week. There were no cute pictures or borders. It was simply a spreadsheet with their activities each day.
Why so simple?
If you have a lot of fluff (pictures and borders that moms think are cute for pinterest or instagram), your child can be distracted. Just give them the facts…give them what is expected of them so they don’t get sidetracked.
Across the top of my homeschool lesson planner were the days of the week. In column one, I had their school subjects. On Sunday nights, I penciled in their lessons. Each child had a page protector for their lesson planner.
As they completed an activity, they checked it off with a dry erase marker. I could quickly look at their lesson planners to see what was completed that day or that week.
Two simple tools can help organize your homeschool. Using a timer and planner consistently will help you stay focused each day. Plus, writing down your goals will help you stay focused for the year.
Kerry Beck is a veteran homeschool mom, homeschool blogger, and convention speaker. She is also an author and contributor for Homeschool Today. You can find Kerry at How to Homeschool My hild as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube.
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