Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tips for Homeschooling--Part Two--Rotating Tasks

In January I posted about my method, which I call "time blocking" which is how I rotate between being a mom and a keeper of the home, without going crazy. While I don't do it all (no one can) and there will always be distractions and interruptions, I have found that this rotating of time between home and kids is a wonderful way to keep your head above water in the sea of endless responsibilities and tasks. Whatever you call it: time blocks, rotation, focused time, or balance, it works for me!

In a non-homeschooling normal day, time blocking/rotating tasks would be giving the kids 10 minutes of reading, then doing 10 minutes of chores, then supervising them play outside for half an hour, then having them play in their bedroom for a half an hour while I get things done on my to-do list, having some "relax time" when they nap, and getting them to join me in my tasks.

In a homeschooling day, this works in much the same way. I do a few activities with the kids, then get them busy on a tracing paper while I throw laundry in and start dishes. Then I go back to helping them do a craft, and leave them to work on it for a few minutes while I play with Justus or sweep floors. Because we are still in the early years, when schooling doesn't take a lot of time, I still have plenty of time for squeezing chores and even mommy blogging breaks around the time I spend with the kiddoes. As school takes more and more time, I will have longer times of teaching the kids interspersed with times of doing chores and I'm sure it will be difficult to just get the basic cooking and cleaning accomplished. But as they grow, they will also be able to read to themselves, wipe their own bottoms, and do more chores!

Some books stress having fun with the kids and enjoying them and forgetting housework and other books stress all the things you should be doing to stay on top of your clutter and run a super-orderly home. If you don't find a mix of these you will be a super-fun mom living in the aftermath of a toy tornado, a super-uptight mom shoe-ing the kids away like flies at every turn so you can clean the house, or a totally over-whelmed mom who has decided to check out and just ignore the kids and the house. Why not combine some of your household chores and time with the kids by having them help you do them? I know it takes longer when the kids help you but it's good training for them and eventually they'll be more of an asset than a liability with the spray bottle. I take my kids grocery shopping, running errands, and allow them to bake with me. They "help" wash dishes and spray-mop the kitchen floor. They sweep the porch and help me clean the yard up. When I have to do things that the kids cannot help with, like paying bills or making calls (some of my most dreaded chores!), I try to get them busy and occupied elsewhere for a moment.
A lot of homeschooling moms advise spending time with your toddler first before starting the big kids on their lessons. Apparently it is easy to overlook the little ones in your quest to educate the older ones so spending some one-on-one time with a toddler first thing can help them feel loved too.
I greatly enjoyed the book "A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family." The author Mary Ostyn, who has 10 children, 6 of whom were adopted, gave a lot of tips on this very subject, as well as many others regarding how to afford, manage, suvive, and enjoy a large family!


Heidi said...

Thanks for posting this...I love to see what other moms do to make it all work! I have been reading your blog for along time, but I can't remember for the life of me if I have ever posted a comment or not.

I am starting a new homeschooling blog carnival on Friday's to share Homeschooling Ideas and Inspiration. You can visit

to learn more, or click on the Homeschool Highlight Reel in my left sidebar.

The first carnival will be on Friday and I would love to have you join me! It is fine with me for you to link to this post or another current post on life at your home in regards to schooling.



Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.

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