School Time

Every family has a different daily rhythm, depending in part on parents’ work schedules, obligations, and outside activities. While I have some friends whose children begin their schoolwork late in the afternoon and go into the evening, my children seems to get the most completed the earlier we start in the day. If I get them up and they start right to work, the younger ones can be finished by lunchtime, and John just has to work through the early afternoon, leaving time for chores, lessons, errands, and play.

That’s a good plan for us — if we followed it. But often, something deters us. Or rather, something deters me.

Sometimes, if my husband has to leave for work early before the children wake up, I find myself enjoying the quiet a little too much. I wait to get them up, using the time to catch up on projects or reading. It’s a productive morning for me, but they get started later, and the school day seems to go on and on. And ┬áif we have errands to do in the afternoon, the kids might still be working on assignments in the evening as well.

I’m thankful for caller ID, but sometimes it can make things more difficult. Though I can avoid morning calls from telemarketers, I also know when family or friends are calling in. Instead of letting the machine pick up the call, I’ll usually try to answer it; after all, it might be an emergency.

Another big distraction for me is the computer. While it’s an invaluable tool for researching assignments, finding worksheets and resources, and connecting with other homeschooling families, “school hours” is not the right time to do it. Though I plan to just “find an activity page” for my first grader, I usually end up checking email and looking around for other resources — in short, spending much longer than I intended, and losing the learning momentum that we started with earlier that day.

The answer? Set a time for school and stick with it. Wake up the children on time, or give them each an alarm clock to set so they’ll wake themselves up on time. Put a message on the phone saying that I’ll be available to take calls after a certain time in the afternoon. Leave the computer off until after all the schoolwork is done; if I need to look something up or find a worksheet, I can make a note of it and do it later in the afternoon. In short, reserve “school time” for school.

How do you keep yourself from getting distracted?

Photo by jppi

2 thoughts on “School Time”

  1. While my son attends public school during the year, for the summer we do a great deal of work at home.

    The night before, I’ll make a list for him of what he needs to do, so that he can be independent while also working on following directions. This will usually be review work, an easy lesson, or something that doesn’t need my attention.

    I’ll spend this hour catching up on computer work or whatever needs to be done.

    Of course, I only have 1 child, so I don’t really live in the same world. However, the lists have been very helpful, and we’re working on having him make his own, to help him learn to organize his work and thoughts better.

  2. What a great idea, and I think that could work for kids of all ages. I can see how that could give me a little extra time in the morning to take care of pressing “business” while the kids get a head start on their work. Thanks for the tip!

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