With the growing amount of digital curriculum and multiple devices that most homes have now, you’re suppose to get more time in your homeschool day. But I find the opposite is true. More than ever, homeschoolers are stressed to the max with growing to-do lists.
When I read that some homeschool days are 8 hours or longer, I’m shocked. And all I can think of is how every bit of learning is sucked out of a day. I shudder to think if the homeschooled child will grow up loving to learn.
Having started homeschooling where we only used the computer for after school time and homeschooling now where things have changed to family members having multiple devices each, I have 3 ways to help you instantly gain more time in your homeschool day.
Minimalist Game is not for Mindless Morons
ONE/ I talk many times how everything we needed for living overseas had to be packed into just two suitcases per person.
One small thing that gave me big time-savings results instantly without overwhelming me in ridding myself of clutter in an almost 4,000 square foot house was to play the minimalist game.
On the first day of the month throw away one thing. It can be anything, a homeschool book or something in your kitchen. On the second day, chunk two items. On the third day, pitch three items and so on for every day of the month.
What works best when you’re overwhelmed in the day is to have a solution that is easy and simple to implement. Solutions that require tons of energy just don’t work because of our homeschooling lifestyle.
The return on the minimalist game is that less to organize and less to clean in your day frees up time in your day for other things like spending time on yourself, on field trips or just resting.
In addition, instead of feeling like you’re paralyzed before you start a project like sorting through all of the books at the end of the year and deciding whether you need it or not, it becomes a doable and easily conquerable project.
TWO/ Set up your children’s learning area where they can manage it, not you.
Another mistake I’ve seen which wastes value time is rounding up the curriculum for the day.
Even preschoolers can be taught to take and return their learning toys to the right places. By training my sons from the time they were young that everything has a place, I’m spared stress in the morning.
For younger kids, use rolling storage. True, you may need to roll it out in your learning area, but they learn to put it away and learn from a young age to not leave things out.
It takes time to set up a learning area, but it’s so worth the effort. I start by measuring every book and every item that each child will need for the year. Then I decide the storage containers.
Some years, we used stack of drawers and other years, I used baskets on bookshelves.
Start slowly, again, by measuring every item so that it fits into a storage container.
Your day should start by your children getting their own supplies while you enjoy some last minute time to yourself. Your day gets off to a much better start and you don’t waste time collecting curriculum.
THREE/ I’m not saying switch your homeschool approach, but I am saying to tighten it up.
I’d like to tell you that there is one homeschool approach that works better, clutter wise, than the other, but there is not.
Each homeschool approach brings its own amount of curriculum clutter. And then add to that enthusiastic teachers and we can over teach. We’re just doing too much for our student.
In addition to your children having their own learning space setup to suit them, you need to see ways that you can slash your teaching.
There simply is no need to do every math problem or to assign homework in homeschool.
Look at these practical ways that have worked for me through the years.
- Never cover one subject when you can cover two subjects at one time. If you’re going to survive and thrive in homeschooling, you must abandon the thought of keeping subjects separate. For example, if your child loves science, then his reading assignment or literature should be about famous scientists and how-to books. Forget trying to cover the extra reading of literature if you can get a two-pher out of it. The same idea applies for history. Leave the reading of literature that you couldn’t work into your day to your child’s spare reading time or for leisure. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that readers don’t need to be channeled to read literature that you have removed from your formal day. It’s okay to not leave all the choices up to the kids for what to read during leisure time.
- At a certain stage, my boys always seemed to want to start to fighting when our day began. One remedy was to have one or two of them do their chores while I worked with the other one at the table. This not only worked off a bit of energy, but it kept them from not being around each other constantly. The added bonus was that chores got worked into the day and made my day shorter.
- If your child is steadily doing math, which should be done every day, cut back some lessons to half.
- In addition, if you have a strong math guy like I have, then focus on reading a living math book for the day and move on to another subjects that requires attention. Sure, my math lover didn’t mind doing extra lessons and he could from time to time. But also, as the teacher, I needed to guide him to using his time to investigate other subjects and strengthen in skills in them. So if covering a subject orally can be reinforced that day through a book or audio book, do it.
- Give each kid his own printed schedule. Teaching your kids to stick to a routine helps them to move through their day quicker too. Are you using my teacher and student schedules?
Expect the Unexpected – Roll with It!
THREE/ School like you live life. Plan for the unexpected.
I have a method for cooking each week. I cook a bit more at the beginning of my week. If I cook chicken, I make a bit more in the beginning so that I don’t have to cook at the end of the week. I already have my chicken cooked for my chicken tacos at the end of the week.
Homeschooling is the same. Unless you need to, quit trying to balance the days.
My advice is if you can squeeze more school into the beginning of your week before it gets busy, then it’s less that needs to be done at the end of the week.
Homeschool from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m for three days and then for the last two days quit by noon.
You’ll gain way more time in your schedule by pushing a bit in the beginning and the best part is if that something unexpected comes up, you’re still rocking on fine.
Let go of stressful homeschooling because I’m telling you in the end what matters most is the time spent together. Make room now for more of it.
Also, you’ll love the tips on these posts: Teach Your Homeschooled Teen the Art of Studying (without nagging), 7 Homeschool Lies I Want to Tell My Younger Self, and Should You Switch to a 4-Day Homeschool Schedule.
Hugs and love ya,
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