A few weeks ago I posted a question on my blogs Facebook page. The question was, “What is your biggest struggle with homeschooling?”. The overwhelming answer?
“How to actually make time to homeschool!”
And, I get it, I do. We are all SUPER busy. Homeschool mom is the one job that is TRULY 24/7. Our kids are always with us. We wear more hats than we know what to do with and we get burnt out. Quickly. We don’t even know how to make time for homeschooling.
But, we STILL have to do our job right? We have to actually make time to homeschool! But, how do we do that?
Make a Homeschool Schedule
To me, this is the most important part of making time to homeschool. You have to have a schedule. You have to have some sort of a routine. If you attempt to fly by the seat of your pants….. well school won’t get done because SOMETHING else will always pop up and take your time.
Now, a homeschool schedule does not have to be rigid. It can be flexible. I shared our real life homeschool schedule. I don’t even put a start time on our schedule. it has become more of a routine. Somedays we start at 8:30, some days it’s 9:30 but our routine is always the same and the goal is always to be done by 1. If you need help planning your homeschool day, check out Five Simple Tips to Help You Schedule Your Homeschool Day where I laid out step by step how to come up with a homeschool schedule that will work for your family,
How many times have you been ready to start school and the phone rang? How about someone knocking on the door, or the need to quickly respond to that email?
No, No, NO! These are all distractions and the need eliminated from your homeschool day. Put the phone on silent. Believe me, life will not end if you don’t answer that phone. But, what if it’s important? I kind of cheat. Because I do wonder the same thing. So, I have a fit bit. I put my phone in the other room. If it rings, or I get a text, I can see at the flick of my wrist who it is 95% of the time it is NOT important and I wait and deal with it after school.
Other distractions include child’s tablets, windows that are open, movies playing in the background. Or something else that your child is distracted by. Eliminate any and all things that may hinder getting school done.
Know When to Say No
This is the hardest part of homeschooling. Seriously. There are SO many things I want to say yes to…. but when I am saying yes to them I am saying no to educating my children. Guys, we CAN’T do that!
- Volunteering at the local food bank
- Park play dates with a friend
- Morning doctors appointments to avoid the crowds
- Grocery shopping at 10 am
- Babysitting for a friend
- Serving at a midday church event
These are all GREAT things. Really they are. But, the come with a sacrifice and that sacrifice is often school being pushed aside. For us, the answer is Flex Fridays. This allows us a day to make up things we really want to do through the week. We also plan NOTHING before 1PM. Doctors offices are still not crowded at 2PM and we get school done. That park play date is fun, but it can wait until after lunch. Believe me. The kids will be sure they get school done if they know it means a play date with friends. Volunteering is great! But, it can be done after 1, on Flex Friday or the weekends. There will always be a need to serve. Your friend needs a sitter? Remember homeschooling is YOUR JOB. They wouldn’t ask you to call off work to babysit. Why push school aside to do it? (PS: Sometimes emergencies arise. Those are different scenarios and of course require thought and consideration and sometimes means pushing school aside to help and serve another family.)
Realize Life Happens and Give Yourself Grace
I recently had a friend message me. Due to a family emergency, she had been unable to focus on school with her kids for a few months. She kept insisting she was behind. She didn’t know what to do. She felt like a failure.
We’ve all been there. Sometimes life hits us HARD. In those moments we have to put first things first. Zan Tyler from Apologia spoke on this at the 2:1 Conference and reminded us all that sometimes LIFE is the best EDUCATION. My friend’s children saw her serving her family. Saw her caring for a sick loved one, and putting that person’s needs above her own. That’s character. That’s love. That’s life. And in no way shape or form is a Science lesson going to be a better educational experience than that.
When life hits us and we REALLY don’t have time to “do school” the best thing to focus on is the basics. During these seasons do Language Arts and Math. Find workbooks that can be taken from place to place. Get an online program that they can run on a laptop or tablet. Find a way to allow your kids to do those two subjects. They can typically take an hour or less each day.
The rest will fall into place. Believe me. If you have older kids get books on History and Science from the library. Let them read. Have them write down a paragraph a day about what they learned. This requires little to no instruction from you and still allows them to do school. Not to mention it puts the responsibility on their shoulders which will happen at some point anyway right?
The key to making time to homeschool? The first step is making a homeschool schedule. This will ensure you have homeschooling in place every day. The next step is to eliminate distractions. The biggest one is often your cell phone… The third step is to say NO. By doing this you are saying YES to your first job, homeschool mom! And the last step is to give yourself grace. Sometimes life throws us basics days and weeks That is okay. Focus on the basics and the rest will fall into place.
How do you make time for homeschooling?