How to Schedule for Busy Homeschool Moms
I would love to read a hub on how you handle the normal daily task of mother hood and home schooling. I'm really interested in home schooling but sometimes the thought overwhelms me.
That comment was left on an article I wrote entitled, 10 Tips for New Homeschoolers. I had to smile because I can remember being overwhelmed by the thought of parenting, homemaking and homeschooling. In fact I can remember it clearly because it occurs every single day.
Choosing to home-school your children will give you neither a stress free life nor will it give you time to pursue a lot of your own interests. You will, each and every day, put the needs of your family ahead of your own. Some days you will cry, some you will yell, and some you will give everyone the day off and have pop-tarts for lunch because you are about to lose it. And then, one day, one of your children will grow up and leave home. At that moment you will know that you would do it all again in a heartbeat. It was all worth it.
Know Your Priorities
What are your priorities going to be? There is no way you can do it all, and even deciding what to give up is not going to help over the long haul. What you have to have is a clear idea of your top five priorities. Think about the things that you feel are most important in your life. The things that must be done or taken care of or society as we know it will collapse. Everyone will have a different list but mine looks like this: God Husband Children Household/ Job Friends
Going by that list I can see that school is a number three on the priority list and washing dishes is a number four. If I have a stack of dishes and a child needs help in math then the dishes wait. However, if a child needs help in math and I am reading my Bible, the child waits. It is truly that simple.
Be Self Disciplined
This is so easy to say and so hard to do.
If you are not self disciplined then your children will not be self disciplined and your home will be chaotic. It is absolutely impossible for you to sit at the computer playing Suduku and expect your children to get chores or schoolwork done. They won't. Children learn by example.
The way a child acts is, in a large part, an exaggerated version of the parents' weaknesses. Children are creatures of habit and whatever habits you allow to develop in their lives will determine the way that your day goes. If you don't want something to become a habit then do not overlook it. You are always fostering habits in your children either good or bad.
Get in the habit of getting up before anyone else and having at least an hour of time to shower, dress, put your make-up on, and prepare for your day emotionally and spiritually. I do not always do this; however when I do things go much more smoothly.
Keep it Simple
Make a schedule but keep it simple. School activities do not take all day in most cases. For elementary age students three to four hours is plenty. Once your child is reading well he will be doing most of it on his own anyway. Understand that you are facilitating learning not forcing learning.
So, if you start your day out explaining the new math technique, then that should take only about ten minutes. While your child is working the math problems you can be cleaning the kitchen, folding laundry, or doing other chores that allow you to be attentive to your child at the same time.
The problem is that all too often we sit and watch our children work the problems, hovering over them like large, academic vultures. This develops bad habits in us and in our children. When they get used to having someone right next to them they don't learn to work independently and think for themselves. One of the major benefits of homeschooling is the opportunity to raise independent thinkers!
If you are anything like me then reading helps but you want to see the thing you are reading about! This is the basic schedule that I used for years. It has changed and I will explain why in the next section.
- 6:00a.m. -get up, dress, makeup, pray
- 7:00-. breakfast prep/kids up and begin their chores
- 7:30 -breakfast
- 8:00 begin school-Bible
- 8:45-phonics for younger kids/older kids continue math
- 9:00-history-read aloud
- 9:30-handwriting for younger/creative writing for older
- 10:00-break for snack.. Talk about different composers/listen to music, or observe artworks and discuss the artists or work on French, Latin or Spanish skills (we have done all but mainly as vocabulary not serious language study at this level)
- 10:30- grammar
- 11:30-kids do a quick pick up of the house..I get lunch started.
- 12:00 lunch (I read aloud during lunch)
- 12:30- projects (science, art, crafts etc)
- 1:30- free time 4:00-snack, maybe music or art, or a read aloud...or maybe a picnic and nature observation...
- 4:30- pick up/chores/dinner prep
- 6:00 -dinner
- 7:00 -clean up
Using this schedule we did school four days a week, deep cleaned on Friday mornings and did something special Friday afternoons. There is plenty of time to handle interruptions and et back on track. With the house being picked up twice a day it doesn't get overly messy. This schedule works.
When Chaos Comes to Call
Remember I said I USED to use that schedule? Well last year my husband became disabled. The he got fired from his job. Although he is a veteran (as am I) they have him at only 20 % disability because so far they have been unable to diagnose the cause of his pain and weakness. Currently 20% is about $230.00 a month. You cannot support a family on that, especially not a family the size of ours.
We had no clue what we were going to do when all of a sudden the freelance writing I had been doing for "mad money" began to take off. I was offered several writing assignments and long term writing assignments and behold! we had grocery money.
While the writing is interesting and I am grateful for it, some days I sit at the computer and write for sixteen hours. Sometimes more. So how do I work my schedule then? I don't. You have to be flexible.
Remember the priority list? When life throws you a curve then you go back to that list and decide what is essential. Obviously making money is pretty essential but I want to continue to homeschool. Now my schedule looks something like this...On a good day.
5;00 a.m. up/Bible/dress
5:30- turn on the computer and work
7:00- breakfast prep/kids up and doing chores
8::15- give assignments , make sure they understand them
8:30- back to work but I am available for questions and problems
The rest of the day is much the same. The older kids help the younger ones as needed and all of the kids help with chores. My husband is also available to help.
My house looks nothing like it used to when I had my spices alphabetically organized but it is all working. And...no one has called the Department of Health yet.
Don't Lose Focus
Too many homeschoolers look at all they have to do and lose the focus. They get overwhelmed.
You must concentrate on the next thing. If something doesn't get done it is o.k...there are other days. If it never gets done you probably did not need to do it.
Too many homeschoolers play school at home. This will not work for a long term homeschool. In order to homeschool successfully you need a lifestyle that allows education to be integrated into your life. In every other area we do several things at once. We cook, do laundry, and talk on the phone at the same time, right? In that same way we can cook, do laundry and help our children to learn to learn.
I hope this has helped you. If you have any questions leave them in the comments section and if I can't answer them succinctly I will write an article.