Even though I like to be flexible, a plan gives us a place to start. Here are 5 tips, or keys that help me organise my homeschool days so that we stay on track with our goal for our family.
1–Remember you are more than a homeschool – you are a family
Before you plan your lessons, or your homeschool time, know what you have to do in your whole life, as wife, mother, homemaker, and homeschooler. Look at all areas of our life, and where we can incorporate our children into our life, and count those activities as learning. Then plan formal homeschool lesson time. Make time for life to be a part of your children’s education.
2–Do as much as you can together or at the same time
It is exhausting when every person in your family has a different schedule. For as much as possible do things together or at the same time. EVen as my children have grown up, and work more independently, we still have the same focus at the same time. For our family we had set chore time, starting focus for the day, and meal times. These activities shaped our day regardless of what we were doing.
3–Use blocks of time for each focus
When doing ‘school’ or focus/study as we call it – have blocks of time with a main focus, eg-
- Discipline studies are the things that need daily practice – eg math, handwriting, typing, music, drawing etc (may be different for each child.)
- Discovery studies – or general knowledge – this is social studies, science, history, etc… About the world and the peoples in it. If you can use the same resource for all age groups is the most time effective, and I believe has learning benefits as well. Once you’ve spent time together then each child can have some time working on their own, at their own level, to write or create or do something with the lesson.
- Relationships studies – we do Bible study and Character studies each day – this is done much like the discovery studies – lesson taught as a family and then each child has time to record their learning in either oral, written or creative ways. (These are actually our priority so should have been first in this list!)
4–Do what works for your Family
Recognise where your family is at – and the uniqueness of your family. Don’t try and copy someone else – learn from them but tweak it always to fit your unique family. Learn to recognise learning opportunities in your family life and don’t let your plans hinder those learning opportunities.
5–Plan your whole day not just homeschool subjects
Plan your afternoon, much like you plan your morning, but instead of a learning focus plan for other aspects of your child’s life (we are educating the whole child – spiritual, moral, social, physical, mental and practical) It is all too all too easy to let the afternoons slide – we think we’ve done the important part, the homeschooling part to our day and now we can relax but we’ve got hours every day after lunch where we can continue to train our children to be all that they can be. Our afternoons have been like this:
- Individual time – Rest or Reading, personal interests (I’m not available to help them – this time is spent by themselves and was 1 hour when they were 6yo and 2 hours by the time they were 10yo.)
- Productive time – I’m not always with them, but I am available. The rule is they have to be purposeful and productive. Reading, playing together, making stuff, etc… (Sometimes this would be outside the home commitments too).
- Free time – a very short part of our weekday routine where they could do whatever – even be unproductive!! (of course their favourite activity is screen time – though they only have 30minutes each day.)
- Chores/Family time – getting ready for dinner etc…
Top Parenting Tip to teach so you stay on track:
There are any number of things that we can teach our children to help us get through our day – they need to have a happy heart, be obedient, be enthusiastic, be punctual, have self-control and so forth. I think one of the biggest character traits to teach my kids, in terms of staying on track with our plan for the day – especially our homeschool plan – was availability. I taught my kids that to be available meant that you needed to be in the right place at the right time, ready to do the right thing. Which meant, if a child finished their assigned tasks he/she had time for reading or quiet play – as long as they are nearby ready to go when the family is ready to move onto the next block.
One of the biggest frustrations when you are trying to do homeschooling together as a family is that you are constantly chasing one child. One child finishes and goes off to play while the other finishes their work. Then when it is time to come back together, mum goes to find the first child, and by the time they come back to the table, the second child has gone wandering. It is a constant chase. By teaching your kids to be available to the lessons of the day they need to stay close by and do something they can stop doing instantly, the lessons can move on at a pace that is consistent but also giving room for each individual.
I found reading, drawing/colouring, lego, handiwork were the best activities to use as ‘waiting’ activities, mainly because they could be done in the vicinity we were studying, they were quiet and not distracting to those still working, and they could be walked away from without delay.
Over to you:
How do you keep your homeschool day on track? Love to hear your tips (in the comments)
Organising my Week to Meet my Goals: When I know my goals I can start organising my week to meet those goals instead of just following someone else’s system.
When you Establish a Routine it will help your Child’s Behaviour: A routine is about intentionally using your day to teach and train your children – it will change your child’s behaviour.
The Unexpected Purpose of Margin: Margin helps us manage our projects as much as our energy. Do you have margin in your day or do you run from activity to activity?