What have you found to be the best homeschool time management tips for your family?
We found the answers right here among our area community (so please join us with any extra ideas in the comments!):
Enlist your kids’ help.
Just a few suggestions:
1. Let them do textbook scoring and correcting if they’re old enough.
Who says teachers always have to do the marking? Students can do it, too. Just make sure they’re mature and trustworthy, so you may have to conduct random spot checks for a while.
You may be surprised at how much this empowers them to make sure they’ve got it right.
2. Let them create their own school schedule.
Some children don’t need to spend an hour on math. They prefer to have three 20-minute sessions interspersed with some playtime.
Why don’t you ask them and see what they come up with?
They’re more likely to follow a schedule they’ve created, too. (See other early homeschool mistakes you can avoid.)
3. Organize your school items in one place.
One homeschooler used to have a school room in her basement, but found that her kids always ended up at the kitchen table!
Rather than insisting on her original arrangement, this wise mom decided to make a kitchen-area cabinet her “school cupboard.” This saved her from constantly traveling back and forth from kitchen to basement and back again.
You can follow the same principle! In summary, the nearer your school items are to school, the more time you’ll save.
(Discover more ideas for setting up an effective homeschool classroom.)
4. At home, let them make their own meals (breakfast, lunch, etc.).
Children can help slap together a lunchtime sandwich, stir oatmeal for breakfast, and do a host of other culinary responsibilities.
In addition, even preschoolers can feel empowered to help mommy pick out and wash fruits or vegetables.
However, you might add a towel or mat below to catch the water!
5. At home, let them help with the housework.
Ideas and suggestions abound on making household chores an integral part of your home economics course!
Check out this free printable on Pinterest for a simple chore chart to get you started.
6. Organize your household storage around your children’s abilities.
Try seeing the world from your children’s eyes. Can you move things around so your kids can reach them easily, without having to ask you?
For example, one homeschool mom has rearranged her kitchen with the main dishes in a lower cabinet, so her children can reach them without stepladders.
7. Let older children teach, play and read with younger siblings.
This is one of the best-kept secrets of homeschooling, and one that homeschool pioneers Dorothy and Raymond Moore put to good use.
Often kids learn best from other kids, not from adults! In fact, your job is sometimes just to delegate the instruction part of your homeschooling to one of your older children.
This can be a win-win-win: it frees up your schedule while your children get valuable bonding time together and learn from each other in the process.
Set your priorities.
8. If devotions are important to you, make them first.
Many homeschool moms have found that prioritizing is key to effective time management, especially if they put devotions at the top of their list.
As one mom writes, “Putting devotions and God first somehow gives me enough time to get a lot more done. Just like tithing except with my time.”
9. Use your alarm to help meet your priorities.
Sometimes this is as easy as setting your timer to go off just a few minutes earlier than when your kids usually wake up.
For example, this can be to remind yourself to log off Facebook, turn off that TV or eliminate other distractions that suck your time. (See other tips for managing screens in your homeschool.)
10. If you have a spouse, make sure you’re on the same page.
This can be as formal as writing a mission statement or set of goals together, or just asking your spouse to list their top three “must-dos” for your family.
As one mom writes, “It was freeing for me to know that my husband wants school done and dinner near ready when he comes home from work, but is happy to help with laundry or running the vacuum when he gets home.”
11. Set a timer for the hard subjects.
Especially in the early years, sometimes a concrete deadline can help overcome children’s initial resistance to schoolwork.
For example, one mom stops whining in its tracks by setting a timer in front of her child. “Just 10 minutes of math,” she says, “and then you can play.”
Watching the minutes tick down helps her child focus more quickly on doing the hard work so they can get to the more pleasant playtime afterwards.
12. Refuse the “good” to receive the “great.”
There you are – permission to say no!
In other words, no to all the activities, extra curricula, opportunities and other good things out there.
“If you are too busy doing all the good stuff,” writes one homeschooler, “you won’t have time to do (or maybe even recognize) the great stuff that God is trying to lead you toward.”
13. Leave wriggle room for life’s emergencies.
Even if you don’t end up following your schedule to a tee, it helps most families to have one in place.
“For my family, no schedule leads to wasting a lot of time or spending way too much time on one thing,” writes one homeschooler. “It’s fine to decide to spend double time on math or science or whatever, but if I have a schedule at least I can easily see that I will need to rearrange or drop something to make up for it. “
(See some ideas for making a homeschool morning routine unique to your family.)
14. Organize your school day around your family’s unique routine.
Perhaps you’re a homeschool parent who also works another job, or your spouse works a night-time shift or weekends.
Instead of getting stuck in the 8-to-5 mindset, try shifting your homeschool to the times when you (and your children) are most ready to learn!
For instance, do math and other school subjects on the weekends while your spouse is also working, then take some time off during the weekdays as a family.
Conversely, move some school subjects to the evening and afternoon, and let your kids (and you) snooze during the mornings if those are the times you need to catch up on sleep.
15. Celebrate what you did achieve.
So maybe you didn’t finish that entire curriculum set, or cross out all those math problems in your textbook. Furthermore, your goals may have been a little too lofty.
Just tweak them and congratulate your kids on what they did finish, even if it was just the first quarter of that science textbook or memorizing multiplication tables!
At times it can be as simple as extra playtime or a happy dance to their favorite music. As a result, one wise homeschool mom wrote, “Celebrating progress is important for motivation.”
Similarly, we couldn’t agree more.
We have updated this blog post, originally published in 2020, for timeliness and detail.
Any homeschool time management tips you have that didn’t make our list? Let us know in the comments!
A couple more tips: Think of your schedule like a workout, with warm-ups and cool-downs. Starting the school day with something light helps get the kids’ momentum going. We tackle the tough subjects second, while their brains are still fresh. Last comes the fun, easy stuff like art and home economics. In the same manner that a kid will down a spoonful of spinach to earn their dessert, our kids keep better momentum when they have something fun to look forward to as a reward for a good day’s study.
Also, consider inter-personal dynamics. A homeschool alumna myself, my siblings and I thrived when studying subjects together. However, my own students seem to distract each other constantly unless I separate them to different tables. Realize that each child is unique and “classroom dynamics” can play a big role in how quickly and smoothly your school day goes.