The Game-Changing Tool I Added to Our Homeschool Day
I don’t talk about homeschooling that often. It’s not really a main topic on this blog, but productivity is. I’m all about getting more done in less time to increase your peace of mind and focus on the Lord.
And that’s just what this little (FREE) tool does.
I have found that it is best for me to put first things first, literally. Whatever I do first in my day sets the tone for the entire day.
For that reason, I have committed to reading my Bible and journalling my prayers every morning before I do any other task. (In complete transparency, I admit I’m weaning myself off checking my phone first thing.)
If you have a house full of kids, or even one kid, starting your day before they wake up is not always easy. Sometimes it’s downright impossible.
I have trained my kids to stay out of the room while “Mommy’s having prayer time” unless they really need something. That’s fantastic! But if I spend too long, or get distracted by another chore, they’ll soon be watching “Waiting in the Bushes of Love” or some other mind-numbing video on YouTube.
And then, since they’re quiet and peaceful, I might as well do this other thing…
And they think, since Mommy’s doing that, we might as well start playing…
Before I know it half the morning has gone, and we’re still in our pjs and no one has done a darn thing for school.
Maybe I’m alone in this, but I suspect I’m not.
Recently I introduced this tool to solve that problem.
It’s a customizable, chore chart and homeschool checklist.
I printed one for each kiddo, and wrote in their names and chores or drew pictures for my pre-reader.
The chores are broken up into four different colors:
- to do before breakfast
- to do before school
- to do in the afternoon
- and to do before dinner.
Wow, have you gotten a laminator yet?! Another awesome addition to my homeschool and really quite reasonably priced. With four kids with me all the time, even a quick trip to the print store is a pain, so laminating at home is a real saver. And of course, I bought it with my Prime membership so I didn’t even have to leave the house to get it! Mama loves Prime.
Now, each evening, I write down what I want the kids to do the next day and leave the charts on the table for them.
In the morning, they can check off their chart and get started on their lessons. We were using vis-a-vis markers, but that sometimes led to a lot of extra coloring with them. I found these awesome wipe off pencils that work even better! I think I’m going to use them for a lot of labeling jobs.
I have one child who is particularly industrious, but not self-motivated, and this is FANTASTIC for her. She sees that list as a challenge and tackles it with a vengeance.
Another one of my kids is a bit of a butterfly. She would just flit around to one interesting thing and the next. Having a list helps keep her on task.
And I’m not constantly having to say “empty the dishwasher. Did you feed the dogs? Put your laundry away. Have you taken out the trash?”
I just remind them, “Do your afternoon chores.”
If you’re interested in a break down of how we do chores, let me know in the comments, and I’ll tell all! We’ve had a few different chore systems over the years. I find it’s important to be adaptive, but this is my favorite way yet!
The school charts also keep ME on task.
I’m terrible about doing only the fun lessons and ignoring the others. By listing it on the chart, I can ensure that we are getting the not-so-fun lessons done. I’ve also chosen curriculum for many of those not-so-fun lessons that the kids can do almost independently now.
By passing off much of this responsibility to my older kids, I can focus more on the younger kids who need much more one-on-one teaching.
We’re working on coming up with rewards or consequences for getting the chart done.
Now that my kids have their lessons prepared for them the night before, they often start on their chores and lessons while I am still having my time with the Lord. It is so refreshing to wake up, have coffee and prayer, and then find they’ve done half their school before I even show up! (Sometimes I write, “ask me” as the assignment so I can give them a thorough explanation before they begin the assignment.)
The charts give us more peace, more accountability, more productivity, and a cleaner house. It’s amazing.
I love you so much, I’ve decided to share it with you. Let me know in the comments or on Facebook, what are some methods you’ve added in your day to increase productivity and stay on task? Do your kids have a chore system that works?