Do you ever feel at a loss for how you’re doing to juggle all of your responsibilities as a homeschool mom? Have you experienced overwhelm and wondered if there’s any way to add more hours to your day?
Homeschool moms have a lot of responsibilities on their plates and it’s easy to struggle with managing our time wisely throughout the day. This will be our 15th year of homeschooling my boys if you can believe it. And I’ve learned some time management tips throughout the years that I hope will help other moms feel less overwhelmed.
Here are 7 Time Management Tips for Homeschool Moms:
Homeschool moms often worry that they aren’t doing enough when in reality, they are often doing too much. Don’t try to teach 12 different subjects. Don’t teach your children from 6 am until 5 pm without any breaks. Don’t expect to have an immaculately-kept house when you have kids home all day long. Be realistic with your expectations for yourself and for your kids! Decide what your priorities are and let go of some things that don’t matter to you as much.
In a blogging class I recently took, I learned about something called the 80/20 principle which can also come in handy with homeschooling and with parenting, for that matter. Basically, that means to take a look at everything you spend time doing and try to determine what you spend 20% of your time doing that created 80% of the result. If we’re honest, there are probably at least one or two things that we do throughout the day that we could stop doing and no one would miss them.
2 – Ask for Help
This is related to point 1, but since you can’t do everything, you need to be willing to ask others for help. Delegate whenever possible. Make sure your kids are pulling their weight by doing chores. Remember that our husband can’t read our mind, so be willing to ask him to pitch in where you need it most.
If your parents live nearby, ask them to take the kids sometimes so that you can have some time to yourself or a date night with your husband. Swap kids with a close friend or someone from church so that you can have a chance to complete some projects. Be creative!
3 – Utilize Your Time Well
It’s easy to fritter away our time by texting our friends, watching the news, checking Facebook or emails, etc. When we’re doing something we should try to be intentional about it. If we’re teaching our kids, we need to try to focus on that task rather than thinking about the myriad of other things we also need to get done.
Make a checklist for your day and then try to focus on what you’re actually working on at the time. This isn’t always possible when we have young kids in the home but it’s doable as our kids get older. It still doesn’t come naturally to us moms, however, because we’re used to being multitasking experts! Unfortunately, the side effect of multitasking can be that we miss out on the moment because we’re constantly thinking about what’s next.
4 – Be Proactive
Rather than waiting until something needs to be done, it helps if we try to anticipate what we need to do in advance. We know that we’re going to have to make dinner each night, so we will benefit if we choose a recipe in advance, gather the necessary ingredients, thaw the meat, dice up the veggies, make sure the pans are clean, etc.
We also know that we’ll be teaching homeschool lessons during the day, so we are much better off having our lessons prepared in advance than trying to wing it. A lot of time can be wasted with us trying to figure out what we’re doing at the last minute rather than having our plans in place. Even though lesson planning takes time, it actually saves time in the long run.
5 – Be Efficient
Have you heard of batch processing? It’s much more efficient to group our responsibilities together and do several of them at once rather than trying to do one of everything on a rotating basis. It takes some time to get our brains focused on lesson planning, so once we do, we’re better off planning the entire week worth of lessons rather than just doing one day. It’s also faster to plan all of the math lessons for that week before moving on to reading lessons.
This also holds true in the kitchen. If you need to cut half an onion for tonight’s meal, cut up the other half as well and store it in the fridge for the next time you need some onion. If you’re using a food processor, cut up two or three onions instead.
Also, try running all of your errands at the same time. You’re much better off taking one trip to five different places than to take five separate trips to one place.
6 – Combine Subjects
Rather than teaching 25 subjects to your kids, try combining a few of them to make the amount you’re trying to teach your kids more reasonable. For instance, you can have your child read a book about WWII, write down any words with which he isn’t familiar, and write a short paper about it, combining history, reading, grammar, and writing. Keep it simple rather than having lots of unnecessary overlap!
It also helps our kids to retain the information longer when we’re able to intertwine subjects in this manner. That’s one of the reasons why we love using unit studies so much around here!
7 – Combine Kids
Whenever possible, teach the same lessons to all of your kids at the same time. Bible, science, and history are subjects which are easy to combine. You can require different things from each of your children if there is a large age range, but the presentation part can at least be done together.
Also, if you have older kids and younger kids, consider allowing your older kids to do some of the teaching tasks for you. Younger children generally look up to their older siblings. And one of the best ways to learn is to try to teach the material. So, this is actually a WIN-WIN for the kids and can even be done if there isn’t much of a difference in their ages.
Even though this coming year will be my 15th year of homeschooling, I still have to be intentional to apply the above tips or I very quickly find myself sliding back into not using the above techniques which makes everything take longer and makes my job harder than it needs to be.
As August arrives, I’m feeling more urgency to get my homeschool plans in place for this coming year. I know that this month will fly by as we have a family reunion to attend, my boys have a camping trip and film camp, and our family will be taking a vacation. That doesn’t leave much time left for me to get my act together! So, this week, I’m determined to be intentional about deciding what materials we will use in the coming year. I’m also trying very hard to be realistic as I put together our routine.
While you are finalizing next year’s plans, please keep the above techniques in mind. When we are doing things as efficiently as possible, it helps relieve some of the pressure that we’re feeling. Homeschooling our children is a huge responsibility but I’ve learned that with the right methods in place, it doesn’t have to completely overwhelm us.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all of your responsibilities as a homeschool mom? Do you have any time management tips or methods that you can share? Please leave a comment below!