Time Management Tips to Avoid Homeschool Stress
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If you compare the amount of time classroom students spend studying and doing work with the amount that homeschooled children require, you may be pleasantly surprised. On average, homeschoolers in high school only require about four hours a day while younger children require as little as an hour a day. That’s compared to the six to eight hours that classroom children spend at school every day.
With that in mind, if you focus on a few best practices to better manage your time, you will most certainly relieve some of the stress you may be feeling. Homeschooling parents like you feel a heavy obligation to provide the best educational experience for your children -- and that overwhelms you at times, especially during this time of year. But these tips will help reduce your burnout and make your homeschooling experience much more enjoyable.
Schedules Aren’t Set in Stone
Homeschooling provides you with flexibility. You don’t have to follow the rigid regimen that traditional schools follow. It’s really up to you and your children. Some children prefer to sleep in and then go about their business, others are most productive in the morning. For example, Joanne’s 14-year-old daughter sleeps until 8:30, eats breakfast, and then does her chores before starting her homeschool studies.
“My daughter likes to get her chores out of the way before school. She then reads and reviews her work,” says Joanne. “Then we take maybe an hour to discuss her studies. If she is having problems with any subjects, we address them. After that, she works for two or three hours on her own. She knows how much time she needs to get her work done efficiently. Once she’s finished, she is free to do what she wants. Lately, she does aerobics following a routine she found on the internet. It’s great.”
Remember, it’s all about what works best for you and your children.
Make Flexibility Your Friend
Every year, parents and children suffer burnout. But you can beat the burnout blues before they strike by planning ahead. Some parents switch up their schedules according to the seasons. During the winter, you can focus more on in-home projects such as baking or planting seeds for flowers. Then, when spring arrives, you can replant the flowers outside.
During the summer, enjoy more outdoor activities such as visiting the park or taking hikes while examining the wildlife that inhabits your area. Mix things up. You’ll soon learn that flexibility is a friend. If your son or daughter wants to work for an hour and then take a walk or a quick break, so be it. If there is a board game or a computer game your child enjoys, let them play. Just make certain you set the rules. Once they understand that the work for the day must get done, they’ll adjust to the schedule with your guidance. If you think they focus better with a set schedule, then that’s what works for you.
Organize Your Day with Fun in Mind!
Some parents, especially those who work, prefer a more structured day. Sandy has three children ages, 7, 9, and 12. She works part-time during the late afternoon, so in the morning, she blocks her time into 30 minute segments, but she always includes some fun time.
“My children eat their breakfast and then do their main subjects for 30 minutes each. I take turns visiting with each child so I know exactly what they’re doing and if they need help,” she says. “But each day I allow them to take breaks and have fun. My youngest daughter collects dolls and plays with them, my middle son builds model cars, and my oldest son plays outside with our dog. They let off steam and unwind in their own way. This also gives me time to exercise or catch up on any things I have on my end.”
Fun time keeps everyone fresh and in a good mood. It really doesn’t matter if you loosely organize your days or keep a more structured routine, there should always be time for fun.
Managing your time so it works in your favor and helps lower your stress levels isn’t based on one proven theory. There is no one right way. The only right way is the one that works for you and your children. And that’s the beauty of homeschooling. You are in charge and you can organize your day in a way that benefits your lifestyle and your children’s learning styles. So go ahead, change things up and see what works best for you.
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