Can we just be honest for a bit about homeschooling? I know, homeschooling is amazing. But it’s also challenging.
For some of us, it’s downright difficult.
Educating our children at home means we utilize our home a lot. We learn at home. We play at home. We eat at home. We do everything here. Yes, these are wonderful advantages that we share with those we love most in this world. However, it also means our home is a complete mess most of the time. The kitchen is a wreck, the schoolroom is trashed, and the van is a mobile disaster zone.
All this disorganization makes me cranky.
And it’s hard to focus. There’s so much to do; it’s hard to get anything done.
What’s a homeschool family to do?
We could hire a housekeeper. That would work. But they would probably need to live here with us. You know, so our clean home would actually stay clean. I’m guessing this is ridiculously expensive.
We could hire a personal assistant. Believe me, I could divvy out enough daily tasks to keep an assistant busy for 40+ hours a week. Just imagine how amazing our homeschool would be if I didn’t have to focus on anything else. Again, unrealistic.
We could send all the kids to traditional school. While the kids are at school, I could grocery shop, cook and clean, plant pretty flowers in pretty pots, manage doctor appointments for all five of us, get the oil changed in both vehicles, and paint the dining room. Then our home would be beautiful and smell like apple pie in the evenings.
But, that kinda defeats the purpose of homeschooling.
Here’s my solution. It really works. Plus, you probably already have one of these.
That’s right. A super simple time keeper.
Got a microwave? Then you’ve got a timer.
Got a watch with an alarm? Then you’ve got a timer.
Got an iPhone? Then you’ve got a timer?
Got a baking timer crammed somewhere in the kitchen drawer? Go find it!
Here’s how the timer simplifies our homeschool (and saves my sanity).
Ultimately, the timer is the enforcer.
Homeschool Time Management | How to Organize Your Homeschool Day and Save Your Sanity
There’s something about knowing time is running out that makes the children listen, focus, and obey better. By using a timer, our days are better organized and more productive because we are no longer wasting as much time.
The dishwasher has been unloaded because I set the timer for three whole minutes and focused in like a laser.
The schoolroom has been straightened because I told the kids we all had to pick up the mess together. It was incredible to see how much we cleaned up in sixty seconds.
The van is semi-cleaned out. Honestly, it needs the works. But for now, all the shoes, (why are there so many shoes?) miscellaneous toys, and fast food cups are outta there. It took each child a total of forty-one seconds to clean their designated seat. I timed it.
Here’s how the almighty timer assists in other helpful ways.
Benefits of Using a Timer While Homeschooling
Example #1 – The timer helps my oldest son stay focused.
He’s able to focus on his math worksheet/reading assignment/cursive handwriting when he knows the timer will go off sooner than later.
I simply give him the assignment, set the timer, and walk away. I’m not looking over his shoulder with one eye while watching his little sister dump dried rice all over the floor with the other. He’s concentrating on his given task while I am preventing a huge mess before it happens.
Example #2 – The timer helps my youngest son to not argue with me.
There’s no more begging for just five more minutes of screen time. Nope, the timer goes off and he’s done for the day. That’s the rule. The timer ding makes it official.
There’s no more negotiating for another snack. We will have a snack when the timer goes off.
He no longer insists that he brushed his teeth really well this time. I know he brushed them for exactly two minutes. The timer told me so.
Example #3 – The timer helps our preschool-age daughter understand that Mommy needs a break.
We set the timer, play hide-and-go-seek, and then when the timer goes off, Mommy is off the hook. Same rule applies for reading books and watching special shows and singing silly songs. She knows that when the timer goes off, we move on to something else.
The possibilities are endless.
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Set the timer for bathroom limits. No more screaming about who spends the most time in the bathroom. Everyone must be out of the bathroom and in their seat when the timer goes off.
Set the timer for quiet time. All children choose an independent activity, take it to a designated space, and play quietly until the timer goes off. Peace and quiet is attainable for a homeschool family (in fifteen-minute increments).
Set the timer to leave the house on time. It’s easier for them to put on shoes quickly if they know they must be in the van in three minutes.
Set the timer so you can pay the bills without interruption or know when to start dinner or when to flip the baby over for more tummy time.
And by all means, use the timer for time-outs. Duh.
We designate small of amounts of time to certain tasks throughout the day. This allows us the opportunity to accomplish so much more than just winging it. Besides, it’s kinda fun.
Setting the timer is a game for the children.
Setting the timer is a gamechanger for the homeschooling parent.
How could you use a timer in your homeschool?
Angelene Woodard is a wife, mother, writer, and reluctant homeschooler who blogs about her frustrations and victories at www.unqualifiedmom.com where she encourages fellow Christians to embrace their weakness and accept His strength.
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