Whether you're just starting out, homeschooling temporarily, or you've been homeshcooling for a while - these time management tips are perfect for homeschool moms to get the most out of your day.
The question I get all of the time as a homeschool mom is "How do I know what to teach them?"
Before starting this blog full-time, I was a full-time preschool teacher - so I sort of knew what a healthy and active "school" schedule looked like for their ages.
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As time went on and the kids got older, I had to take some time to research different curriculum and find which one fits us, our learning style and schedule the best.
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There's no ONE-fits-all here. The entire purpose of homeschooling is to do what feels best for you and your children. You can take as much time as you need to sort out the curriculum, the schedule and so forth. It doesn't have to be perfect, EVER - and after seeing what doesn't work, you'll find the things that do.
I go further into detail about curating a DIY homeschool curriculum, here. But for now, here are some effective time management tips. These time management tips can apply to everyday tasks as well - whether you're a teacher, a mom, and even for families as a whole.
Start with where you waste the most time.
By starting with your pressure points, you'll know what to improve on when it comes to time management. Do you find yourself spending too much time scrolling through social media? Are you spending too much time texting, catching up on emails, or talking on the phone?
Most of us can usually scope this out pretty well. If you've found yourself saying "It's been an hour already," after scrolling through social media - then you, my dear, are spending too much time on that and need to delegate.
From here, you can move forward to our next time management tip. You can also check out some productivity tips for stay at home and work from home moms, here.
Create a time management goal.
Now that you know where you're wasting the most time, you can consciously set a goal to STOP.
If you find an hour is way too long to scroll through social media, make phone calls, or respond to text - try setting a goal for only thirty minutes. You can always come back to these tasks during nap time, outside time, or when the kiddos are finally asleep.
Now that you've been able to identify exactly how you spend your time, where you need to delegate and eliminate - now you can prioritize your time on more productivity.
Write down what needs to be done daily, or weekly and knock those things out FIRST! You also need to make sure you have a homeschool schedule.
Some of those things on your to-do list are way more important than others. So get the most important things done first, then move on to the others.
When it comes to the kids, start with the easier subjects first. You'll want to ease your way into teaching and their brains will want to ease it's way into learning.
You can even start with some outside time, or arts and crafts at the top of the day. This can also give you some extra time to check emails, start laundry, prepare lunch, or whatever else you have on your personal 'mom' to-do list.
Make a plan and stick to it.
The ultimate trick to time management is setting a routine for yourself and your kids. This makes knowing what to do, around what time to do it, when to stop and move on to another task, much easier.
Now that you've eliminated texting and scrolling through social media for the first part of the day, you'll find yourself ready for something more productive for yourself and your kids. This can be as simple and fun as letting them help you cook breakfast - which is also good for learning.
Or, if you don't like to plan ahead, this extra thirty minutes can be used to sort out and prioritize your tasks for the day.
Maybe you need some time to print out school work, or prepare lunch for the day, or turn on the crockpot so dinner can be ready later, or start the laundry, fold the laundry, set up a craft, check work from previous days, etc...
Anything other than waste that time, mama!
Because homeschooling can be super relaxing, it can be tempting to just sit around. This is where self-discipline comes in and you'll want this to trickle down to your kids as well.
As mentioned above, it's so important to stay busy. And I don't mean just moving around for no apparent reason, but staying intentional throughout the day, makes for a much more productive day.
You'll be able to rest better at night knowing you were intentional and actually accomplished most, or all of the things on your to-do list.
We're not striving for perfection here. So don't stress yourself out if you don't get everything done. That's ok, too. Just know you did your BEST! That's all we want at the end of the day anyway.
By staying busy and intentional, you're pushing yourself to actually complete the tasks, versus wasting the time.
If you find yourself saying "What should I do next," then this means you actually have time to complete another task, versus falling into the time trap of social media, or binge-watching TV.
If you're fortunate enough, you can delegate tasks to other people.
Whether it's cleaning services once a week, or month. Or ordering prepared food for dinner, or even using grocery delivery services to help you save even more time - this can help you spend time on the things you actually love to do, while still marking the things you don't love to do, off of your check list. Win, win!
If these are tasks that you don't favor, or really don't have the time to do - then outsource them!
If you can't afford these services - ask for help! Do you have a neighbor, or friend, or family member who can pick up a few grocery items for you while they shop? Or, try ordering groceries online and pick them up for FREE!
That saves you at least an hour and a half at the store - with kids in tow!
Or, have your kids help with laundry and cleaning. In fact, you can make that apart of their homeschool day!
You can also search YouTube for fun and interactive learning channels for your kids. Do you have a craft in mind, but don't feel up to the task of teaching the craft?
Are you still trying to figure out how to teach reading, telling time, or multiplication?
Now, don't be so hard on yourself or uptight. There are plenty of certified educators, artists and library organizations that have YouTube channels.
YouTube isn't just for watching kids open toys! It can be put to good use for homeschooling, if you do the proper research beforehand.
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Now, the kids are learning and you can take a break for a day, or two - outsourcing at it's finest!
Don't wait around.
This time management tip pretty much sums everything up.
Do not wait! If something can't be done right then and there, MOVE ON to something else! This is the ultimate time trap - waiting.
Whether you realize it or not, you'll end up finding something else to do, that may not be productive.
Just don't do it.
Personally, I find myself waiting for the 'perfect' time to do something. Or I may have a project in mind for the kids, but don't have all of the materials on hand. So I wait. Then I wait some more. But you know what?
The kids don't know I have a project in mind. They already have enough! They're just as satisfied with paper plate crafts, as they are with a fancy DIY science experiment.
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So instead of waiting to get things that I don't already have, I work with what I do have. If I run out of laundry detergent, guess what? I skip to making sure all of the bathrooms are clean.
If I'm short on cleaning supplies, I make sure the laundry is done.
If I'm running out of school supplies, I use free learning websites until I can visit the store, or our online order comes in.
That way, I'm still being intentional with my time. This is where the to-do list and 'sticking to the plan' comes into play. Make sure you're always adding to your list as you see fit.
You can check out some DIY command center ideas, here. By having a marker board, or a notepad in the common areas, you can add to your list as you see fit - making the process of elimination much easier as your week goes by.
Now you may be saying to yourself that your intentions aren't to just sit around and common sense would make sure you're doing these things anyway.
But here's the thing,
When you're a new homeschool mom, it can be very tempting to relax and let things pass you by. Trust me, I know.
You want to research curriculum that fits your family's learning style.
You want to make sure you're engaging with your kids, helping to guide them through their lessons and make sure they're getting the proper attention.
What also happens during this time, is the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Now that the kids are home full-time, you have to think about them AND your normal household duties. Which can be hard.
So you want to make sure you're PLANNING to be intentional. Otherwise, you'll procrastinate due to fear, anxiety or just being plain frustrated.
When you're getting the intent of being present into your head, then your body will soon follow - causing you to be on top of your game.
And get this...
Everyone in your house will respect you more for this. They'll follow suit on making sure tasks are completed. They'll want to help more, causing you to want DO more. So that is why getting the basics of time management is key.
So there you have it. I am hoping these time management tips are helpful in your homeschool journey!