Do you ever feel like just going back to bed and trying again the next day? Unfortunately, not many of us have that luxury. But, we do have the ability to take control of our day and make it work for us, not against us. Here are 5 time management tips for the homeschooling mom.
The story of my life… no more!
We’ve all had those days. You wake up ready to conquer the world until you realize you’re out of milk. Just as you come to terms with the fact that you will not be having coffee, your three-year-old has a total meltdown because there’s no milk for his cereal. So, you dress the kids and head to Walmart with two cranky toddlers and a 12-year-old who can’t understand why he couldn’t just stay home.
You say a little prayer that your children hold it together so that you may preserve their lives because you really don’t look good in orange. You all make it home in one piece. Your little angel decides he’d rather have waffles for breakfast and by now you’re an hour off schedule. The rest of the day is a blur. Your husband comes home and you’re exhausted. You look a hot mess, as does the house. When he asks what happened, you respond, “milk.”
This very dramatic account obviously goes deeper than milk but it speaks to women all over the world who are fighting against nature to do it all. Guess what, ladies? We can’t! We were not meant to. But we can take control of our days by getting in tune with our family’s natural rhythm and planning accordingly.
1. Figure out your family’s routine.
The first thing you should do is think about each member of your family and what time of day they function best. If you are not a morning person, do not plan to start your day at 6:00 a.m. Instead, ease into your day with some relaxing or less demanding tasks and leave the important stuff for the afternoon or evening. Maybe you’re a morning person but your child isn’t. Avoid morning stress and let them sleep an hour later. Forcing them to start their schoolwork bright and early with you will probably only lead to aggravation and less than stellar performance. You may be pleasantly surprised when that extra hour of sleep improves your child’s mood, performance, and productivity.
2. Give every hour a name.
I don’t know if you’re familiar with Dave Ramsey, but he is an amazing personal finance guru who says you should give every dollar a name. The idea is that you should tell your money where to go rather than look at your bank account and wonder what happened to it all. I believe the same holds true with our time. We should budget every hour of our day so that we can set realistic goals and attain them. Those of you who don’t share my deep love for schedules and planning may cringe at this but I assure you there is so much freedom in schedules! It has also been monumental in helping me determine whether or not I can take on a new commitment without feeling guilty.
Women tend to want to take on the world; if there’s a way we can help, we want to do it. However, that’s where burnout comes into play and we certainly don’t have time for that. If I currently have only one hour of downtime in my day, and someone needs help, I will first have to see if I can switch something around. If that is not possible, then, unfortunately, I will have to say no. At first, it may seem uncaring but your friends will begin to respect your boundaries and appreciate that they can count on you to have integrity and only commit to things you can actually follow through on.
3. Decide what’s most important to you.
Set priorities in your day. Think about your values, goals, and what is most important to you. Have a family meeting to discuss everyone’s priorities and goals. If education is front and center, make sure your schedule not only consists of structured schooling but plan ahead to infuse learning into everyday tasks. For those of you who value ministry or serving others, be sure to put time in your schedule for that and find ways to incorporate it into work or learning. If having an immaculate home is very important to you, schedule in extra chore time for yourself and your children.
I normally look around my house on Sunday and think about what needs a little extra love. Some things I clean daily, like my kitchen and floors. Other things get done weekly, like my windows and laundry. But some things, like organizing my pantry or cleaning out my fridge, may have to wait a few weeks. I have time set aside in my schedule for loop scheduling which includes monthly chores or other things I haven’t gotten around to finishing.
Tauna Meyer has a great loop scheduling course that helped me relax a bit when it came to trying to get everything done. (This is not an affiliate link. I just really enjoyed it.)
4. Involve your children in daily tasks.
Use your everyday tasks as opportunities to teach your children. For younger learners, it is especially easy to infuse basic math and literacy skills into shopping or cooking and preparing meals. They can count, compare, sort, measure, read or write recipes, to name a few. For older kids, it may be a little different with regard to their specific educational goals. However, cooking, cleaning, mowing the lawn, shopping, etc. are all life skills they need to know. Free up some of your time by maximizing each opportunity you have throughout the day.
You can download a free planner called, “Start a Home Blessing Day,” on the Proverbial Homemaker site. It’s a cool idea about dedicating one day to catching up on household tasks and setting aside time for training opportunities for the kids. I love this so much because sometimes we get so caught up in our routines and schedules that we let opportunities to let our kids do life with us slip away. In turn, we miss out on teaching them these vital skills.
5. Re-evaluate your schedule frequently and adjust as needed.
It is good practice to have biweekly or weekly family meetings to discuss the upcoming week. I like to let my family know what I’m planning as far as food for the week and get their input. It is also a good time to discuss any extra-curricular activities my husband and I have planned such as a small group meeting or fishing with the guys. Since my husband began working nights, it has become difficult to keep track of what we discussed and what we meant to discuss. Family meetings are a great way to make sure everyone is on the same page, no one is double booked, and there is always milk in the fridge. : )
I hope these 5 simple time management tips for the homeschooling mom can help you save some time and frustration in your daily life. If you would like support creating your own family schedule or have questions about this post, feel free to email me at [email protected].