Teaching time management strategies to homeschooled students can be challenging, especially for families who have a more relaxed homeschool style. Whenever we start a new semester, I like to take a few weeks to refresh our systems and focus on good time management habits with my kids. These are the time management tools that are currently working in our homeschool!
When my kids were younger, we focused more on homeschool routines than schedules. That approach worked well when they were little, but as they approach a new stage of life — part-time jobs and college classes — I want to spend some more time on time management skills during our homeschool day.
I believe strongly in giving my kids some ownership over their school schedules. During the summer, we talked through a variety of options, and my high schooler opted for a block schedule. She has four classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and four other classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This gets her used to a college schedule (and also gives us both a much-needed break from harder core classes). My tween daughter chose to stick with her preferred 30-minute class schedule, alternating her electives every other day. Working as a team and valuing our kids’ input goes a long way toward cooperation and independence.
With that in mind, here are the TIME MANAGEMENT TOOLS that are currently working for our teen and tween:
* PRINTED CHECKLISTS AND SCHEDULES: Every year, I print off weekly checklists for my kids. We don’t do every subject five days a week, so this gives them a visual reminder of how many times to do a typing lesson or practice the piano.
I keep a copy of each child’s schedule in my planner, as well as a combined schedule that shows when I should be teaching each subject to each child. We also keep copies on the fridge and on each kiddo’s desk for easy reference. (My kids will memorize their schedules much faster than I will!)
* ALARMS AND THE FINCH APP: We’ve had alarms on the family iPad in the living room forever. I don’t want alarms set for every class change (especially since my middle-schooler changes classes every 30 minutes), but it reminds them of the important things:
- The beginning of the school day at 9:00
- Morning snack (10:30), lunch (12:00), and afternoon snack (3:30)
- Afternoon tidy and chores at 5:00
About a year ago, I downloaded the FInch app to my phone — it has daily self-care reminders and emotional intelligence exercises. Recently, I started adding other daily to-dos (MY chores and each child’s school subjects) to my reminder list. And both of my kids have downloaded the app to their phones — which means a LOT less nagging on my end.
* POMODORO TIMER: When the kids were little, we used hand-held kitchen timers to help us stay on task. We still have a bunch on hand — but this year, we’ve upgraded to pomodoro timers (25 minutes of work, followed by a five-minute break). There are hundreds of pomodoro countdown timers on YouTube, so we typically cast one to the TV in the living room when we’re all working quietly on a task.
* HOMEWORK PLANNERS: Our final time management tool is a blank notebook that my high schooler is using as a homework planner. Every day, she jots down her assignments for each class — as well as reminders for upcoming assignments, tests, and projects.
Between our printed schedules, our digital reminders, and our pomodoro timers, we’ve been able to stay on task and finish all of our schoolwork in the middle of the afternoon all week long!
Looking for more time management tools?
Check out Episode 10 of the Learn Their Way Podcast!
What your favorite time management tools?
Tell us about it in the comments below!