Stay on Track in Your Homeschool Day
There are lots of ways to have a successful day and have an organized homeschool day. You have to decide what works best for your family ahead of time. Is your goal to do every subject every day? Or is it important to you to finish the whole lesson before moving on to something else. Or maybe your goals are bigger and you want to finish the math book by the end of the year.
Remember priorities are different then goals. Priorities will help you decipher what to focus on not only daily but when everything is going array. If a child is sick for a week and the schedule is thrown all off but you still have other children to school, thats when your previously set priorities come in. Basically you cant get it all done this week and you have an hour so what will you choose. Everyone is different and will have different priorities so that is why its good to have these in place ahead of time. That way your not “instagram influenced” like I like to say. Meaning dont feel guilty seeing what everyone else seems to be doing, just stick to what your goals are.
Some different priorities people may have:
- Get outside everyday
- Do math everyday
- Read aloud everyday
- School 1 hour everyday
- Bake together once a week
- Practice math facts everyday
These are just examples. Make your own list according to your family
Clear, Realistic Expectations
It’s so easy to get caught up in what we think everyone else is doing, what we see on social media, what we think we “should” be doing. One thing I learned is the disappointment of not meeting my own goals was worse than not getting to the actual work. So I learned real quick to set clear realistic goals.
Your goals can even be vague if that’s what works for you. Instead of …“pages 30-35 in so and so math book”, it could be “do math today”. Whatever works best for you. Just have a list so you’re not searching for what’s next, but be realistic so you don’t feel like you’re falling short everyday.
Don’t be silly like me and think you’re going to remember to stop and do things. I only set alarms for lunch time, snack time, what time to stop school, and sometimes I set timers for how long we will spend on a subject. This helps to keep the day moving and to not get stuck on something, unless of course you want to. It also allows your mind to immerse into the teaching and one on one with your child without always having to check and be aware of what time it is.
Google Calendar has been my big secret to seeming like a competent adult. Any calendar app will work of course, just use one. Once I put it in the calendar I’m basically clearing my mind and allowing myself to think about what’s in front of me, which is schooling my children.
Even if it doesn’t seem “calendar worthy” but it’s cluttering your mind, just throw it in there! I’ve written things like ”daughter 1 needs to practice multiplication facts over 10”. I’ll come back to it later and I have that note plus the date it came up. I either leave it there or move it to where I need. Being able to put that note down somewhere helps me to stay focused , stay on track, keep moving on with out day. Trust me it’s a magical tool for a busy mom.
We can schedule all we want but a lot of unplanned discoveries will happen within our days. Be sure to write down those things, and all things learned at the end of the day. Whether they be from free exploration or an unplanned rabbit hole you went down. Not only can you look back and see all the things accomplished, you can use this for future planning. Continuing on things that popped up or that interested them.
I hope you found this helpful. As I always say every homeschool is different so you will come up with your own organizational homeschool things but these tips will get you off to a good start and will help avoid much frustration, like I had in the beginning.
The beautiful thing about homeschool is we can do it in the comfort of our own home. We can school anywhere we like but depending on our child we may need to make sure the environment is not too distracting. We need to make accommodations, in a sense, for each individual child.
For a small period of time my daughter needed headphones with relaxing music and a poster board in front of her for her concentrated work. She asked for help in staying focused and this worked so well. Also make sure your space is organized, that will help your mind stay organized. I have a post here on ways to organize all your homeschool books because we all know that’s what we have piles of everywhere. Different things will work for different children. Here are some ideas:
- Personal desk or work area
- Keep all electronics off
- Keep work interesting
- Be available as a teacher
Keep it going
I’m putting this one last because it won’t work for everyone but it’s something I found was pretty important in our homeschool. I need to keep the schooling going to keep the children in the school mindset. At first I would finish a subject and say something like “ok go take a break, I’ll call you when it’s your turn again”. To them that meant you are free to go for the rest of the day.
I’m not talking about not taking breaks because that’s pretty much essential.
When children take a break with nothing specific to do or with no time limit they tend to immerse themselves in something else. This causes disruption to their concentration and learning having to pull them away from that. But of course the book work does need to be done sometimes. We want to keep them on track to peacefully have both of those experiences.
Giving children sort of “structured” breaks could look like themed bins to play in, reading time with a book of their choice for only a specific amount of time, a long term project of their choice that they can come back to over and over, and of course just a simple timer when they go outside to play.
I would say things like sleeping, beginning brand new projects, or free time without any time limits are going to cause frustration. Make it clear that the school day is not over and we will be coming back to it.
I hope these tips help you to stay on track and achieve your goals.