I am sure when you started this homeschooling thing, the idea of having to find time for lessons didn’t even cross your mind. Without pick-ups and drop-offs, what could possibly suck up your time?
Life. Life can make things hard.
If you find yourself not getting your school work done, I have some suggestions for you.
Set School Hours
The first step for me is to set aside a chunk of time for school, and nothing else. In my house, from eight to noon, we take no appointments or classes outside of the home. I will not schedule playdates during this time, I won’t take phone calls “just to chat” and I don’t do chores during that time either. We need those four hours a day to focus.
Cut Back on Extra-Curricular Activities
Co-Ops, sports, and field trips are awesome… until you wake up one morning and realize you’ve done a lot of fun stuff out of the house, and haven’t done a spelling lesson in weeks (not that I am confessing to doing any of that…).
One thing I do is set aside one day a week for “adventures.” Our field trip day is Friday. In the mornings, we’ll go on a trip somewhere, like the zoo, a museum, or just to the pet store to look at the fish, and then in the afternoons, I run any errands I need.
Homeschool classes during the day can be a time suck too. In my area, we have homeschool Tae Kwan Do, gymnastics classes, art and foreign language, all offered during the day. They would be great for us, if I didn’t need to be teaching at home. I do better sending the kids to the regular evening classes, so I can keep the school day for school.
Maybe activities outside the house isn’t the problem. Maybe, you’re just a little distracted. It’s okay, you don’t need to feel bad, but it is important to acknowledge that Facebook and phone calls and television shows can be a problem for a homeschool mom.
Our set school hours are also “quiet hours.” I pre-schedule any posts I need to make to social media for my blog, and I turn my phone on silent, and I keep the computer closed. I know that if I can just focus and get the schoolwork done, later in the day I can have some time to veg and play around online.
Another stumbling block to successful homeschooling is not being prepared for the day. If I don’t gather supplies, make copies of coloring pages, and make sure that the house is clean enough to have a place to work, the whole day seems to slip through my fingers.
The night before (or the weekend before) make sure the school table is cleared off, and ready to go. Make sure the books are in order and the kids can find them easily. Make sure your supplies are ready to go. That way, when it’s time to do the craft, or experiment, you aren’t running out to the store, or taking a break to pull things together.
What other things eat up your time, and get in the way of successful homeschooling?
Heather Aliano is a busy mother of four, and a homeschool blogger over at Only Passionate Curiosity. Check it her blog for free homeschool resources, printables, and lesson ideas.