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5 Tips To Increase Productivity At Home Without Sacrificing Quality Time With Your Kids

5 Tips To Increase Productivity At Home Without Sacrificing Quality Time With Your Kids

Putting a little bit of thought into your schedule can allow you to accomplish more at home while still spending quality time with your kids. You just have to look at things a little differently. Here are my 5 tips to do that.

1. Get up before your kids and take 5 minutes to do something for yourself.

Alone time can be precious when you’re a parent and can’t even go to the bathroom without someone interrupting you. If you want 5 minutes to yourself, try getting up before your kids and doing something just for you. Enjoy a cup of coffee with no interruptions. Read a book. Journal. Whatever you like to do, do that.

You don’t need to accomplish anything during this time to increase your overall productivity. You’ll have a better mindset going into the day and maybe even more patience with your kids. Just know that you may not always be able to get up before the kids, but when it works, it’s worth it.

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You may like it so much you decide to get up even earlier. If you want more inspiration for a morning routine, check out this article or this one.

2. Decide on a time each day to focus on your kids.

When you’re a busy working parent, you know that a lot of the time you do have with your kids, you’ve got other stuff going on too. You’re getting them ready to leave the house, making or eating dinner, working on homework, or giving baths. This isn’t usually quality time with your kids.

Take a look at your schedule and figure out when you’re with your kids and don’t have anything else you need to be doing. Make that your time for focusing on your kids.

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Do you have 30 minutes between when you get home and when you start making dinner? Is it 20 minutes after dinner? What about those 10 minutes while they’re eating breakfast? Whatever that time is for you, make a decision to use it to really focus on your kids. Don’t watch TV, check your phone, or put things away. Let all of those other tasks wait so that you can get some quality time in with your kids.

This sounds really easy, but it can actually be pretty hard.

3. If you see something that needs to get done (and you can do right away), do it.

When you’re with your kids but it’s not your “focus time,” don’t think you can’t pick up that toy and put it away because you’re watching your kids. You’ve had quality time with them and doing something else right now won’t take away from that.

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Completing tasks as soon as you notice them will keep them from piling up. This can be really helpful for increasing your productivity at home. Not only do things never even make it to your to-do list, but you don’t end up with an overwhelming mountain of tasks.

Some people have a 2-minute rule — if a task takes less than 2 minutes, do it. You don’t have to use that rule, but if that’s a good place for you to start, try it out.

4. If you see something that needs to get done and can’t do it right away, set yourself a reminder for a specific time.

There are some things you just won’t be able to do right away. That’s ok as long as you don’t just tell yourself you’ll do them “later.” That’s too vague. And for a parent, “later” never comes. You need to set a specific time and have a real plan for getting it done.

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As soon as you see or think of something, set a reminder in your phone. Make sure you put it for a time that you can realistically do that task. Then you can forget about it until the reminder goes off. You won’t have to keep thinking to yourself “I can’t forget to…” — you’ve already set yourself up to remember.

5. Evaluate whether you’re doing your household chores at the best time.

Don’t just do something on a certain day because that’s when you’ve always done it. Ask yourself if that’s really the best day/time to do it? Is there another time you could do it so you could have that time to focus on your kids?

I’ve gone to the grocery store on the weekend forever. I just realized the other day that if I don’t, we can have a leisurely weekend morning. I don’t have to leave the house at 7 am on Saturday just so I can be done grocery shopping early enough to actually have some fun before lunchtime. I can go to the store in the evening when the kids are in bed. This way I don’t have to sacrifice 2 hours of time with my kids on the weekend. It had never occurred to me before to even question whether that was the right time.

Just a few small tweaks can have a big impact on your day-to-day life. Try out these tips and let me know how they work for you!

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Published on November 7, 2018

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

Figure Out the Laws

Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

Decide on an Approach

Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

Supplies/Resources

Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

Find a Community

Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

7 Different Homeschooling Methods

1. School-At-Home

Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

  • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
  • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
  • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

2. Classical

One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

3. Unit Studies

Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

  • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
  • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
  • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

4. Charlotte Mason

This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

5. Montessori

Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

6. Unschooling

Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

7. Eclectic/Relaxed

As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

Email

Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

Google Drive/Calendar

Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

Ebooks

Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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E-Courses

When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

Some recommendations:

Youtube

Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

Some recommendations:

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

Reference

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