You have a lot on your plate as a homeschool mom! Not only do you shoulder all the normal duties that come with managing a home and caring for a family (and maybe even working a job!), but you have also taken on the great responsibility of educating your children at home.
If you’re like me, you need to capitalize on the precious time you have so you can get everything done without becoming overwhelmed.
Increasing your productivity day by day (or to “work smarter, not harder,” as Allen F. Morgenstern once said) may actually provide you with more margin for rest, reduce your stress, and give you more time each week to pursue your own work or hobbies.
Although there is the difficulty of life throwing you lots of curve balls when you have children around, managing your time wisely will help increase order and peace in your home.
Productivity is a skill that does not come naturally to every person, but it can be learned with time and practice. You will become more productive and learn to better manage your time with experience.
Here are some tips to help boost your productivity as a homeschool mom!
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How to Boost Your Productivity as a Homeschool Mom
1. Simplify your schedule. If you often feel worn out and stretched thin, evaluate if your family is participating in too many activities and social opportunities. Say “no” when you need more space for your priorities and goals.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff. I used to feel like I needed to iron every piece of my kids’ clothing every morning and make every single meal and baked good from scratch.
I’ve since learned to take a more relaxed approach when I need to save time. See if there are things you can let go of to simplify your day.
3. Make your well-being a priority. Try to go to bed early enough each night, exercise regularly, eat well, and take care of your spiritual well-being so you will actually have the energy you need to be productive.
Schedule time to yourself to process and evaluate what’s going on in your life, to learn new things, and to dream for the future!
4. Learn how to plan. Whether or not you’re a natural-born planner, planning for the week ahead will help you get your ducks in a row to avoid unnecessary errands, stress, and time wasted.
Plan out which chores need to be accomplished during the week; plan out your meals for the week before you go grocery shopping; plan out what you want to accomplish for the homeschool week and gather the supplies, worksheets, and books you need ahead of time.
Get into the habit of writing everything down to clear your mind. Write dates on the calendar and write down your ideas and goals.
Preparedness will help your days run much more smoothly.
5. Find a weekly schedule that works for you. Decide which days you will focus on certain tasks for the home. Maybe Mondays would work best for grocery shopping and other errands, Tuesdays for household chores and meal prep, Fridays for planning the week ahead, etc.
Do the same as you plan your homeschooling. Maybe you will plug certain subjects into only a couple days of the week. Maybe Fridays are for co-op or field trips, and so forth.
Condense your errands into one or two days of the week and shop online when you can.
6. Find a daily routine that works for you. Think “routine” or “rhythm” or a “sequence of events” if the word “schedule” feels restricting.
Remember that you don’t necessarily have to follow the schedule of the public school system.
Alternately, you could create a block schedule to structure your day in a productive manner.
Aim to have mealtimes, naps, bedtimes, and wake times at the same time every day. Then you will see where you have chunks of time left to plug in your homeschooling routine and other responsibilities and outings.
Allow yourself some flexibility in your routine so you won’t feel stressed when the day doesn’t go as planned (i.e. sick child, sick mom, unexpected errands, unexpected visitors, a school subject that took way longer than planned, etc.).
Make your schedule serve you, not the other way around.
7. Establish a solid morning routine. Avoid leaving big messes the night before that you will have to deal with first thing in the morning (like a sink full of dishes or half-folded laundry strewn all over the couch). Talk about a stressful start!
Get up before your children, make your bed, and get ready for the day. You might prefer to get up only twenty minutes before your kids wake up, or you might like a larger buffer of quiet time to yourself before the day is in full swing.
Try to make morning time and morning lessons the most focused time of the day while everyone is (hopefully) well rested!
8. Cut out unnecessary distractions during key times of the day. Treat your day at home the same way you would treat a work or school day away from the house.
Save social media and YouTube videos for rest time in the evening. Check and respond to emails only once per day.
9. Focus on only one task or one batch of similar tasks at a time. Don’t clutter your house with various projects sitting out all over… while you’re only half-present with a child when they need your attention… and texting someone back… all at the same time.
It’s stressful and difficult to focus with so much going on at once.
What is the most important thing you need to accomplish right now? Give that one thing your full focus and attention so you can get it done quickly and done well.
If you have a handful of similar tasks that you can accomplish as one batch in one block of time, then do that! (i.e, all the cooking and kitchen work, all the book work and phone calls, all the planning for the week, etc.)
10. Multitask only at acceptable times. You can go against the tip above and work on two tasks at once only if one of the tasks is not requiring your direct focus.
You could listen to an audio book or podcast while folding laundry or emptying the dishwasher, or you could wipe down the bathroom while you are supervising your child playing in the bathtub, for example.
11. Keep up with laundry and dishes every day. Unfinished dishes and laundry are two things that will make your house feel out of control.
Try to finish the dishes after each meal (and even as you cook a meal) and run, fold, and put away a load of laundry as soon as you have enough laundry to fill a load.
Chances are, you will more easily find small windows of time each day to complete these tasks over taking up huge chunks of time to deal with mountains of unfolded laundry and dirty dishes.
12. Tidy the house throughout the day. You could make it part of your daily routine to tidy up together before lunch or after schoolwork, and before bed.
Try not to walk past an item that needs to be put away more than once. Make it a habit to put away one thing before getting out the next thing for home and school.
13. Make tidying up quicker for everyone. Regularly purge and donate toys/items/books you don’t actually use or want. Organize your home and your homeschooling books and supplies so everything has a place.
Try to keep homeschooling materials and resources to a minimum. See if you can borrow books and supplies at times instead of always purchasing your own to store in your home!
Use bins and baskets for your children’s toys. Place learning toys with lots of small pieces out of reach to keep your young children from dumping out too many small things at once.
14. Delegate tasks to your children. Work together as a team to get cleaning, yard work, laundry, and cooking done much faster. Even a toddler can help unload the dishwasher or set the table.
15. Keep the cogs of productivity turning for the whole family. Have a set wake time for the kids for homeschool days (if they don’t already wake up early) and a solid morning routine with everyone dressed and ready with clean rooms before breakfast or the school day.
Help your children to curb distractions during their studies and chores. You could try working as a team to tackle homeschool subjects together to keep everyone on track.
Conversely, try separating your kids during schoolwork for one-on-one time if you feel that they are constantly distracting one other.
What are other ways that you boost your productivity as a homeschool mom?