Avoiding busywork in homeschooling is one of the lures that drew us to homeschooling.
We understand busywork to be any resource that goes beyond what the child needs to master the material.
Should our Homeschool Schedule Include Planning Every Minute?
Simple enough. But, does busywork have practical value or is it – well just busywork?
Look at these 3 smart tips to avoiding busywork in homeschooling and knowing when to turn busywork into meaningful review.
Measure the work for your child and not a classroom.
I made this mistake when using curriculum.
For example, one of my favorite grammar programs is Rod and Staff during the younger grades.
Shortly after using it, I realized that there was an enormous amount of review for a classroom setting.
There was way more review than my sons needed to master the concepts.
Key to avoiding busywork was to find just the right dose of work needed for each of my sons to master the material. It was different for each of my sons but it wasn’t ever close to what a classroom needed.
Can busywork change to meaningful learning?
Too, I learned that I had to change my thinking about some of the activities I had planned.
For example, doing a craft by a child could be meaningful or meaningless, depending on his personality or needs.
I have shared many times that coloring pages didn’t particularly make my boys squeal with delight at any age.
Coloring then became a valuable part of our learning day instead of busywork I added at the end of the day.
Create balanced lesson plans that work.
The last tip has to do with your experience in balancing your homeschool day.
If your day is too short, your children may have too much time on their hands. In other words, sibling rivalry may follow because children are not busy.
The value of play and time alone to stimulate their imagination is an intrinsic part of homeschooling.
However, while children are being trained to wisely use their time with meaningful projects they savor like legos, creative play and pursuing hobbies, they still need help to make their day productive.
If you find that your day ends too short, then add activities to guide your children to make their time purposeful.
When an activity is adding no value to your day, then it’s busywork. It is a time drain and busywork can be at the very heart of why it can be hard to get done all that is planned for the day.
Don’t forget to look for ways to turn activities into meaningful learning.
The learning style of your child is important because you may need to add more crafts and activities or he may be the type of child that rolls his eyes when you mention crafts. Give him a book instead to read about what he needs to know and move one.
It takes practice to gauge the amount of work each child needs to master concepts. Remember you can always add more review if they are not grasping a point. But you don’t want to breed a resistant learner from constant review or busywork when it is not needed.
Lastly, if you find that your day is too short and the children are not filling their time with productive play, guide them to the activities you want them to do.
My boys knew I didn’t like a messy house but I was hindering them from spending productive time exploring a broken computer they wanted to take apart. Sometimes they need a little coaxing from you and too they need to know that it’s okay to spread out their hobbies.
How about you? Can you use the 3 smart tips to measure your homeschool day?
Hugs and love ya,