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managing time in your homeschool {free printable!}

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As homeschool moms, we aim to be intentional role models for our kids and enhance our personal growth. It’s crucial to take breaks, avoiding the trap of excessive screen time. Before the constant availability of phones, people engaged in healthier breaks like conversations, reading, napping, or outdoor activities. Such alternatives are more fulfilling than mindlessly scrolling on phones. Even a small indulgence like dark chocolate can be better than succumbing to the dopamine addiction of excessive device use. Personally, I’ve committed to avoiding phone use from 9 to 2 during homeschool hours, except for essential tasks like listening to audiobooks while doing chores or taking quick photos. You can hear my podcast episode about this topic here!

To enhance focus during homeschool hours, I’ve optimized my phone settings, particularly turning off notifications. I’ve selectively enabled only essential notifications from my husband, mom, or husband’s mom. By eliminating distractions, we can concentrate on the present moment and prioritize what truly matters. A personal friend, Nancy Ray’s quote resonates with me: “I wanna happen to my day, not have my day happen to me.” While kids naturally influence our day, especially during various life seasons, establishing habits and routines can bring structure. Whether handling lessons, addressing a whiny child, or managing daily challenges, we have the power to choose a positive attitude and control what’s within our grasp.

Some aspects are beyond our control; however, we can manage our responses. Personally, I resisted having a homeschool schedule initially, especially with younger children. Yet, as my kids grew older, particularly with a middle schooler, I embraced a structured schedule. Child psychologists support structured schedules for children as it helps them thrive by providing predictability. Even Gandalf in Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of the Ring” stated, “So do I. And so do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” Today, let’s discuss avoiding wasting time on unproductive activities. We have the opportunity to model effective time management for our children and shape their habits. In the age of distraction, where various factors compete for our time, especially with smartphones, it’s crucial to be mindful. Advertisers capitalize on our screen time, exploiting dopamine hits to keep us engaged. Matt Perman, author of What’s Best Next, emphasizes aligning our values with how we spend our time for a satisfying day. When we claim not to have time, it often signifies a lack of priority or willingness, as time is ultimately a choice.

homeschooling time management

Acknowledging that time is a choice can be challenging. Often, our lives derail due to unexamined habits. Breaking these cycles requires intentional effort. To seize control of our day, setting daily goals is crucial. The Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt is a valuable tool, guiding you through your day and emphasizing three key tasks. These tasks need not be monumental; they can include simple yet significant activities. The planner extends this strategy to weekly and monthly goals, fostering intentionality and preventing days from slipping away. Even during seasons with demanding responsibilities, setting achievable goals is essential. Prioritizing childcare and self-care can be just as commendable. The planner’s structure aids in maintaining focus and even supports broader objectives like monthly date nights and individual time with each child.

Prioritize intentional moments with loved ones, whether it’s a short walk, an ice cream date, or a phone call with a friend or family member. Extend this focus to quarterly and annual goals, encompassing family, financial, and educational aspirations. The Full Focus Planner offers a structured approach to aligning daily, weekly, and monthly objectives. Set three weekly goals every Sunday and three daily goals each morning to ensure a sense of accomplishment. Additionally, schedule time for those who matter most—immediate family, spouse, and close friends. Craft a list of people you want to connect with more, aligning your time with meaningful relationships and discarding unnecessary elements.

homeschooling time management

Avoid overcommitting to your calendar by learning to say no. Acknowledge the struggle for people pleasers and recommend reading “Crucial Conversations” for guidance. Create a script to gracefully decline requests, using responses like “yes, but,” “no, not at this time,” or “I need to check my calendar.” Encourage others to respect your boundaries. Make a list of things to eliminate from your life, such as overcommitments to co-op activities or unnecessary afternoon plans. Prioritize time with your family and children by carefully considering each commitment and understanding that saying yes to one thing means saying no to something else.

I’ve found great value in activities like swimming and joining a co-op, especially in my son’s middle school years. However, there are seasons in life when intentional yes and no decisions are crucial.

The metaphor of rocks, pebbles, and sand emphasizes prioritizing important people (rocks) and tasks (pebbles) over less crucial ones (sand). Fill your jar with large rocks first!

Planning our weeks involves allocating time and energy to these significant aspects. Consider using tools like the Full Focus Planner to set weekly goals. Another effective strategy is scheduling your entire week down to the hour or minute, providing clarity on how time is spent. This may seem tedious or overwhelming, but it offers valuable insights into your time utilization.

Reflecting on how I spend my time, I’ve realized the need for a time awareness log. Here is a link to this tool that you may like to try and use!

I’ve struggled with phone distractions but found that having visible schedules and setting priorities, like focusing on family and personal goals, helps me stay on track. While I’m a work in progress, the Full Focus Planner has been a helpful tool. Try the suggested homework tasks, such as setting weekly and daily goals, prioritizing relationships, eliminating unnecessary tasks, and using a time log. Make your schedule visible for accountability. Remember, each family’s schedule is unique. I recommend incorporating your children into a schedule during school hours. Here is a wonderfully impactful video by Jordan Peterson:

And here is Laura Vanderkam with a Core Habit for better Time Management for additional insight. The author of several time management and productivity books, Laura Vanderkam hones in on a particular habit you can introduce to improve your time management skills.

As you navigate your time, consider Jesus’ words about doing the work of the Lord as long as it is day:

This is a story of Jesus healing the blind man with his own spit and mud from the ground. I’m gonna read this to you. “As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi who sinned this man or his parents that he is born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sin,” said Jesus, “But this happens so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day we must do the work of Him who sent me. coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Jesus says here, as long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me.

Homeschooling is a noble act of worship.

As long as we have breath, let’s use our time to do the work of the Lord and to honor Him. Homeschool and raising our children is the work of the Lord. It is worship to God. We’re raising our little ones and this is a noble thing to do. Dear your friends, we are in this together. I am cheering for you and I truly hope that this episode has helped your homeschool day.

You’re in the grind. You are fighting the race, and you are fighting the good fight.

You’re not alone in this journey, and I’m here cheering for you.

Grab my Call to Action: Importance of Time free poster here!


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