Homeschooling asks a lot of us as parents. Especially when it comes to time management. Having a flow or rhythm to your homeschool day can go a long way to giving you peace and confidence. And what homeschooling parent couldn’t use that?
Let’s start at the top and look at where we are.
- Curriculum ordered? Check.
- School supplies? Check, check.
- Homeschool sanity? Help!
From the outside, especially if you’re new to homeschooling, it can look as easy as ordering our curriculum and school supplies. Throw in a pretty, functional planner, and we should be good, right? In a perfect world, yes – these are the functional ingredients. But, let’s face it, life happens.
Children have to be fed, washed, and managed. Kids get sick. Spouses travel. Things happen. And without some basic and flexible structure to your homeschool, you find yourself quickly overwhelmed, maybe even on the verge of quitting. Don’t give up! Get real! Use these quick tips to give yourself the breathing room necessary to succeed long-term!
5 Quick Tips for Homeschool Balance
Think big picture.
- What is the natural rhythm in our home? Do we have early risers? Are we night owls?
- What are the ages of the children?
- What are the things I must take care of to take care of my home? (Dishes, cooking, laundry, etc.)
- Am I using Smart Goals to keep us on track?
- What’s my current planning system?
Grab a Notebook or Journal to Get Started
Thinking of these questions above, sit down with a cup of coffee and do a brain dump. Give yourself space and permission to write out all the things you find yourself doing, including those areas that are a struggle. There’s no format for a brain dump, so write your heart out. Your list can be as long as you need it to be. The next section, we’ll use our five quick tips to help you get to your homeschool flow!
5 Quick Tips for Homeschool Balance
When establishing a flow, there’s a priority to planning that can make your life easier. It’s simple but will go a long way to relieving stress. We’ll use that method in our quick tips!
Quick Tip #1: The Role of Responsibilities
When creating balance in your homeschool, establishing jurisdiction is the first order of business. If you’re saying, “huh?” just hang with me. Jurisdiction simply means that each person has responsibilities within the flow of your homeschool day that, when not attended, cause your homeschool to feel like it’s spiraling out of control. The good news here? You’re the homeschool manager, and you get to establish those areas if you have older teens sign off on.
In your brain dump list, highlight those items that are in your jurisdiction in yellow. Next, mark in some way those items that belong to someone else.
For example, you may be responsible for cooking breakfast, but if cleaning dinner dishes from the night before is someone else’s responsibility and they aren’t done = disruption! Or, you may need to work on phonics with your five-year-old, but to have the time to sit down with her, your ten your old needs to be self-directed with her library book time. If she’s coming to you asking what she should read, how long she has to read, etc. = disruption!
Okay, let’s move to our next quick tip, handling disruptions.
Quick Tip #2: Plan for Disruption
Okay, we’ve made our list of responsibilities, identified who should be doing what, and now we’re going to brainstorm ways to head off disruptions. Planning ahead for those homeschool speed bumps can give you the tools you need to maintain the flow. They are a huge time saver because you’ve already thought them through. So, how do we do this?
- Take a good look at that brain dump and highlighted responsibilities list.
- Think through your priorities. What’s most important to accomplish each month, week, and day?
- Now, plan for your disruptions. Where do responsibilities overlap? What are your dependencies, and if/then? (If a isn’t done, we can’t do b.)
- Write out what you expect to hear from your children when it comes to holding them accountable. How do you plan to hold yourself accountable for the responsibilities that belong to you?
- Determine what you need to have done for your day to feel good to you. What can you do to avoid disruption?
- Consider your natural God-given energy flows throughout the month. As women, this can be very helpful!
Before moving on to the next quick tip, ask yourself if you’ve given enough thought to disruptions. Have you considered social media scrolling, texting, and phone calls? I’m not saying don’t have these. I’m saying plan for them.
This quick tip will set you up for success, so don’t be afraid to be detailed!
Quick Tip #3: Give Yourself a Break
This quick tip will help you homeschool from a place of rest rather than hurried overwhelm. Plan your schedule to include a day off. Depending on your homeschooling goals, this can look different for everyone, but these suggestions for a day off will inspire you to try it!
- Use a single day to focus on bigger household chores, such as laundry, deep cleaning, etc. Involve the kids and reward them a fun and easy lunch!
- Schedule a library day.
- Plan to visit the park.
- Do a day in reverse! Declare a pajama day and let everyone work on their free-reading list. Have breakfast for dinner (aka silly supper).
- If finances allow, employ a sitter (or willing grandparent) for a day or two per month and run errands alone.
- Have a prep day each week to evaluate what worked last week and what you’d like to address moving forward.
You can rotate these ideas or add one of your own.
Quick Tip #4: Give Grace
Understand the principle of the dropping ball. You can plan everything, prepare for disruption, and find momentum in your homeschool, and suddenly, you’ve dropped the ball. The tip here? Give yourself grace. And give grace to those around you. Balls will drop. Revisit your plan, evaluate your flow, and move on.
Quick Tip #5: Equip Yourself for Success
The last quick tip is about utilizing the right tools for your homeschool. Ask yourself questions to see if you’re using the best tools for you and your family!
- Am I buying paper planners I never use? Maybe a digital planner would work better, or vice versa.
- Do I over-plan our actual homeschool tasks? Lightening the load or using a loop planner would give you more freedom.
- Can I plan for meals and shopping more efficiently? Think of 10 meals your family loves that you can put on repeat. This will simplify your shopping and meal prep and free up your brain!
- Do I refuse help because I feel that homeschooling is my responsibility or someone else couldn’t manage all the tasks? Let your spouse or grandparent surprise you!
- Do I use an After Action in my homeschool to reflect on what’s working and set up realistic expectations?
- Can I establish S.M.A.R.T goals?
- What personal habits can I work on?
Free Family S.M.A.R.T Planners
I hope you’ve been inspired and challenged to do the work to establish that flow, peace, and freedom in your homeschool. I want to share some resources with you that will help you on your way!
Podcasts from Life Skills 101
You Can Do It
Pray about it. Align your goals. Set your priorities. Plan for disruptions. Embrace your own homeschool rhthym. You’ve got this!