Time Management for Homeschoolers
Time Management for Homeschoolers
Many of us struggle with time management. Bad time management can make us late for appointments, meetings, gatherings, or work. We might miss important deadlines. The consequences of poor time management can be disastrous for adults–it can mean losing a job and a primary source of income. This is why teaching time management to children is so important. Developing time management habits early in life makes it easier to stay on task as an adult. Make time management a priority in your homeschool journey with the following tips.
Consider how you can implement schedules into your homeschool, and how to teach your kids responsibility and accountability for staying on task. To be successful, schedules need to be appropriate for age and maturity level. For the youngest ones, it can be as simple as play time, meal time, nap time, bed time, etc. As they get older, it could be a specific order or times for subjects like math, writing, and science, with designated times for chores, meals and bedtimes.
Make it Visual
Creating a daily schedule can be a fun activity if you turn it into an art project. Let your children have fun with color and design on their own calendar. Calendars can be in a notebook, on a dry erase board, or even on a huge poster on the wall. Older children may like to use technology to create an interactive daily schedule. Use your children’s personality and preferences to make a calendar they like. If they like it and have had a part in creating it, they will be more likely to use it.
Young children need adults to decide much of their schedules, and for all children, mealtimes and family times are usually non-negotiable. However, giving them power to choose in other areas can help children want to stay on task, since they were part of the decision making. This is especially important in older children as they become independent. For example, if math is a difficult subject for your son that requires him to concentrate more, he may want to do it first thing in the morning, or maybe just after lunch, depending on which time of the day he feels more focused. Allowing him to make that decision will help him make similar decisions when he is an adult. Of course, there are limitations here. Children can’t spend all day doing only things that are easy for them. The difficult subjects must be done. Their choice is what part of the day to do it.
Flexibility is a part of homeschooling. While schools need to stay on rigid schedules to move many children around throughout the day, a homeschool journey is a flexible life. If one child is sick and needs an unscheduled doctor appointment, everyone often goes along. Schedules likely won’t be met that day as planned. This is the perfect opportunity to teach flexibility, which is critical for success as an adult. Everyone needs the skills to get everything done when a situation suddenly takes them away from their plans. Some things can wait for the next day, while others need to be completed in the evening. Avoiding an over-scheduled calendar can help build in some of this flexibility. Keep a good time margin in mind as you and your children plan their days. Include plenty of quiet times where children can pursue their interests on regular days or finish their chores and missed subjects on busy days.
Be a Coach
To teach time management, think of yourself as a coach. A soccer coach, provides training and guidance in order to teach the players how to make their own quick decisions on the field. As a time management coach, you train your children by giving them the tools they need to succeed, like calendars and clocks. Guide them to get everything done and move on to the next thing on time. Letting your children experience natural consequences is difficult, but important. If they don’t finish their work on time, there must be things that they cannot do until it is finished. Start teaching them now, and once they reach college or begin working in their careers, it will be easier for them to stay on task. They won’t be one of those students who struggles to get all their assignments in and wishes they had been taught how to do it. Instead, time management will become a more natural part of their day.
Children will greatly benefit if they learn how to be diligent and finish projects to completion. We all know that the natural flow of each day makes this difficult. We can help our children by giving them tools to make it easy to see what is expected of them, empowering them make choices to customize their day, and allowing them to experience rewards and consequences that come naturally. With so many fun things to do as a family, we all would love to have more hours in a day–but managing the time we do have is a valuable, irreplaceable lesson.