You know that feeling? That you never stop, but you’re not really doing anything important?
If you’ve been homeschooling for a while, you’ve probably experienced it . The anxiety, the dread, and the guilt that comes when you reach the end of the week or month and realize that you haven’t achieved much of worth. That you’ve been incredibly busy, but don’t have much to show for it.
There are so many things you can do while homeschooling, so it’s easy to fill your time with busywork and tasks that achieve little in the long-term, while neglecting the areas you really should be concentrating on. It’s easy to get distracted by the latest popular curriculum that may not really serve your needs, or spend too much time on areas that are easy or fun, while avoiding those that are incredibly important but less tempting.
It’s easy to drift through the days with no real sense of direction or purpose.
How do you combat this time-wasting? By knowing your homeschooling priorities. It’s how you know what to do each day. Most importantly, it’s how you know that what you do each day is helping all of you to achieve your long-term goal of raising a confident adult who is intellectually equipped to do the things they choose to.
Here are three ways to sort out your homeschooling priorities so you don’t neglect the important things.
Homeschooling priorities by subject
Which subjects are the most important to do? What should you ensure is done every single week, regardless of the obstacles and distractions life throws at you?
For example, young children need a thorough grounding in language skills. This usually involves –
- Ensuring reading skills are high (here’s what I used with my five children)
- Nurturing an enjoyment of reading by reading aloud and helping them find appropriate and enjoyable books to read independently
- Mastering basic grammar and spelling
Meanwhile, other areas of language, such as creative writing, may be lower down on the priority list. After all, it’s hard for children to be creative if they’re struggling with the mechanics, or if they think books are dead boring.
If you know this, it’s much easier to ignore the creative writing curriculum that’s on sale, because you know that you’ve got more important language arts work to keep you busy until it’s on sale again.
You can also choose between subjects. Yes, the music history class may look interesting, but if your child is struggling with maths do you really need to squeeze it in now? Probably not. Although it’s wonderful to have a breadth of knowledge, it’s better to know which subjects are essential for your child and which ones they can skip without being disadvantaged, because you’ll never be able to do everything.
Homeschooling priorities by child
Homeschooling many children makes it hard to deal with the many priorities. It’s easy to get stuck with the more vocal or demanding children (not bad traits!), and let the quiet ones drift along. But you need to know what is most important for each child to do at each time, and help them to do it.
- Does your struggling reader need twenty minutes of one-on-one time every day?
- Does your teen need help preparing for an important test?
- Do you need to make sure your child measures and records the results of their science experiment every day?
- Is there a behavioural or character issue that needs to be addressed so everything else can run smoothly?
If so, make sure you get these tasks done first.
Family priorities when homeschooling
Homeschooling isn’t all about curriculum and academic achievement, but it can be easy to focus on that and let other things slide. You may be tempted to stay at home to catch up with the chores rather than go to the beach, but the activities that make us happy and bring us closer as a family must also be prioritized. Make sure you make time for them, and don’t see them as an interruption.
What activities should be included in your family priorities?
- Time outdoors, appreciating nature?
- Reading aloud, snuggled up as a family?
- Playing board games, with lots of squealing and laughter?
As a bonus, doing these activities makes it much easier to sit down and do the other work that is essential, but difficult or boring. Fun and close relationships make all of life easier.
Got your priorities? Great! Now, take a look at my flexible yet productive weekly schedule solution. It’s quick, easy, and effective, and lets you see at a glance what you need to be doing.