Protecting School Time
by Theresa Moore
As homeschooling moms, it's easy to get distracted by housework, phone calls and errands. But our children's education needs to be a priority for us if we want them to succeed academically. As we make school the important part of our day, it will become important to our children as well. Here are some helpful tips for prioritizing your school days.
1. Set aside a time for school each day and stick to it. Communicate this time to your children. 9:00 AM to noon is a common time for many families (1 - 2 hours is usually sufficient for families with primary grade children, while senior high students will need a longer time than 3 hours). Some of my children like to start school earlier than 9:00 AM so that they can get their work over with, but 9:00 is MY starting time. That's when I stop what I'm doing and head to our school room. That's when I make myself totally available to the kids for school.
We have a Bible time every morning to start our school time. We begin with prayer, reading from the Bible, a review of our memory verse and then I read aloud from whatever book(s) we are using for history. (This year we are reading The Chronicles of Narnia and using the unit study, Further Up and Further In - really fun!) After this time together, the kids work on their individual subjects. Some go to their bedrooms or another room to work alone. I work with the youngest kids one on one. When the children are done with their assignments for the day, they are free to play. I continue to work on "school-stuff" until lunchtime. I correct school work, do my lesson planning or sometimes work on a craft. I stay in our school room, available for the kids who are still working on their school work.
2. Use your answering machine and/or caller ID, and screen phone calls. Make it a point not to answer the phone during your school hours. Tell your friends and family that you won't be answering the phone and they will learn to call you at other times. They will also see that you are taking your homeschooling seriously and they will respect you for it. (This is also good for those skeptical people in your life who may be secretly hoping you fail at homeschooling!) Your children will see how important school is when they see you putting their education above phone calls and housework.
3. Do not do housework during school time. Try to get laundry going before school time and have the kitchen cleaned up as well. Many families have a group clean up time before they start school each day. My kids have a chore they do each day along with getting dressed, making their beds and eating breakfast.
4. Schedule your appointments in the late morning or early afternoon. That way you can get your school work done first. It is very difficult to get back to school after having been out of the house.
I realize that life is full of surprises and it's not possible to keep all these rules every day. I make adjustments to them weekly, if not daily, but the basic rule at our house is school from 9 - 12.
When we protect our school time, we communicate to our children that learning is important. Knowing they have a daily school time that they can count on will help them succeed academically. May the Lord help you and your family as you grow in your homeschooling adventure.
We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised (Hebrews 6:11-12).