I’ve been there. That place where you find it hard to juggle all the “homeschool scheduling stuff”. I mean, seriously, how do you fit it all in? Why is it so hard? What can you do to make it all fit!?
Right now, I have a fourth grader, second grader, first grader, and also a preschooler. As I’m writing this down, I’m sitting here thinking, “Whoa, I’m crazy. For real, I must be insane, right!?” Well, I’m not going to make this sound prettier than it is. As much as I love to teach my kids, sometimes they drive me nuts, and sometimes I feel like I’m on the edge about to fall into the abyss of insanity.
When I’m at the edge, it’s then I review our homeschool schedule. As I go through the schedule, I remind myself of what I’ve learned in the past. These tips help me gather myself again. It forces me to chill out and not freak out.
Tip #1 is to be flexible.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve changed our homeschool schedule-it’s too many to count. Why? Because our lives are constantly changing. We went through the newborn phase, the potty training phase, and also the wretched terrible threes (they say it’s the terrible twos-they’re wrong!). In those times of life, it’s good to be flexible. Babies need diapers changed. Potty training doesn’t happen magically, unfortunately. Those moments when your three year old chooses to go crazy with a temper tantrum-well, those are opportunities to train them in character. (Also, remember education without character is worthless.) Be flexible when the obstacles come. Be willing to veer off course in order to catch your breath. Ask yourself these questions: What are our homeschool priorities? What is overwhelming me about homeschool? Do I need to be more flexible in this area?
Tip #2 is to train yourself to be a morning/ night person (whatever floats your boat).
I hate mornings, but God gave me four little monsters that rise at the crack of dawn. I had to train myself to become a morning person. It was that or become insane – just kidding (well, half kidding). Get a friend to keep you accountable. I asked a friend if we could text each other every morning for a certain amount of time. The accountability helped me train myself to be a morning person (Beth! You are awesome!!). I also recommend getting a Bible Study. I love waking up knowing that I get to dig into God’s Word. It gives me something to look forward to. Another suggestion is to make a routine checklist. I’ve mentioned it before, but I LOVE LISTS! Write it down and stick to it! Ask yourself these questions: Do I need to train myself to be a morning or a night person? What do I want to get done at this time? How much time do I need to get it done?
Tip #3 is to set a timer as you teach each subject.
In others words, budget your time. This tip changed my life. I tend to talk, talk, and talk some more. It drives me crazy, so I know it has to drive my kids crazy. I used to think that I couldn’t stop the math lesson until my kids understood the lesson for that day. But kids learn differently. The time it takes one child to learn a concept may be different for another child. Not every child learns the same way or at the same speed. A timer helps me to focus more on the quality of what I teach. Ask yourself these questions: Do I tend to over-teach a certain subject? Would setting a timer help? If yes, how much time do I need for this subject?
Tip #4 is to focus on quality over quantity.
The goal is to have my children understand the material so well that they are able to teach it to me. Don’t misunderstand me – quantity matters, but not at the cost of quality. Ask yourself these questions: Am I rushing to get through the book? In what ways can I balance the quality and quantity of the material? ( For us, this meant going to a year-round homeschool schedule. But every family is different. Find what helps you balance quality and quantity.)
Tip #5 is to spend time with Jesus.
If we want to be great teachers, then it makes sense to follow the greatest teacher of all. Without Jesus, my days explode. Teaching becomes empty and worthless. My homeschool fails when I fail to live in His grace and power. The days I spend in God’s Word are full of Him and His hope. His Word keeps me grounded, His Word is my hope in homeschooling. His word is your hope, too. Fill yourself with Jesus. The more we learn from Christ, the more we will teach like Him.