SummaryAmanda Evinger, homeschooling mother and professional writer, gives parents handy tips on how to get schoolwork done in the midst of life’s busy days.
As the school year winds down, many of us may be asking ourselves if we achieved our goals this year.
We may be wondering, “Did my kids really learn all they were supposed to? Did I spend too much time collecting gum, marbles, and eraser shavings off of the kitchen floor? Did I fit enough hours of learning into each day, in the midst of life’s hectic throes?” and the like.
The good news is that we need not be discouraged, because God, our loving Father, knows exactly what each of our children need to learn to be an authentic “success” here below. He foresees in His eternal plan their vocations, and all of the tools they need to be prepared for it.
He also knows the struggles we parents carry in our hearts and homes that can make home educating our children difficult — such as the blessing of a newborn baby, lack of support from extended family members, lack of a school room, a tight budget, or the many demands on our time.
Given this, what are some tips to help get the work done after all?
1. Organization is key.
Take time each weekend to plan for the week ahead. Lesson plans of some sort are a must.
A school planner and a high quality Catholic daily planner are essential for successful homeschooling.
Experiment with different organizational systems that work best for you, such as individual folders for each child, filing systems, plastic storage containers and drawers, etc.
Each of my children has a school suitcase that has compartments for each kind of school supply they will need.
Once per week, they are asked to clean out their suitcase and sharpen all of their pencils, so that school supplies don’t become a messy daily affair.
2. Maximize your hours.
Draw upon the many resources out there to help you maximize the hours you have on hand, such as Simplify Your Domestic Church by Abby Sasscer.
You may even want to spend some time meditating on the Gospels in light of your homeschooling journey. Doing so will clarify and enrich your mental outlook and show you how to get the most out of life as a homeschooling family!
3. Make learning fun.
Make learning fun. Or rather, show your children how much fun learning truly is!
Allow them to pursue their interests and talents and flourish in the ways they were created to. By making sure they get the basics and tailoring the rest to their personal interests, they will embrace the call to learn with much more ease.
4. Realize that education is a lifestyle.
Beautiful artwork, religious stories, musical instruments, “living” science projects, domestic projects, pets and farm animals, and plenty of craft supplies can fill your home, making learning a natural experience for your children. If they are personally inclined towards what they are learning about, they are much more likely to “get a lot done” in a short time.
5. Chores, chores, and more chores!
In It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way, Ginny Sueffert says,
“Training your children in housekeeping has many benefits. The less time you have to spend on household tasks, the more time you will have to teach lessons. As children become skillful and competent around the house, they gain confidence and self-esteem from a job well done. Additionally, performing chores around the house helps your children grow in virtue and industriousness. Developing habits of hard work will serve them well throughout their lifetimes, and will help them resist one of the sins against the theological virtue of hope: despair.”
6. Do few things well.
As St. Francis of Assisi once said, “Do few things, but do them well.”
As homeschooling parents, we are tempted to tackle more than we can realistically handle, and to drag our children along with us. Continually pray for the wisdom to prioritize, and ask for God’s strength to put first things first.
7. A kids daily to do list?
Ask your children if they have ideas on ways to help them get their work done.
Maybe the noise level is bothering them, and you didn’t realize it, or maybe they would work best if they had a to-do list for each day instead of for each week.
8. Individual planners
Some children may appreciate their own individual planner to write their own academic and spiritual goals in from time to time.
It may help them to make lists of what they want to get done, and how they hope to go about it.
9. Cleaning and Cooking days
Try to clean and cook in focused amounts of time — such as cleaning the whole house each Saturday, and having days for bulk cooking and baking.
This will allow you more time for school during the week.
10. Get creative
Things like doctor’s and dentist’s appointments don’t have to impede learning. Consider asking your doctor or dentist if he has anything educational on hand that may help your children learn more when you come in for your next appointment. As always, bring “school” with you.
Keeping a rotating stash of books and flashcards in the car is a great way to get school work done when life gets busy.
In all things, let us ask Our Lady, Queen of Peace, to watch over our families as we strive to reach eternal goals, in union with the merciful Heart of Jesus. Getting school done is part of God’s master plan for our families, so we can rest assured that by His grace and patience, it will happen!
May we always remember that all that matters is what God thinks of our efforts and those of our children. Apart from His love, all of our schooling is meaningless.
However, with the touch of His love, everything can become a beautiful offering that will fill our children’s lives with joy!
Header photo CC: Adobe Stock: DeeMPhotography