Sometimes it’s tough to balance working with mum and dad and learning at home. Homeschooling means learning for 20 /25 hours a week and helping mum and dad out with odd jobs, babysitting, jobs around the house or yard and the time soon evaporates.
The key is to find blocks of time where you can concentrate on your learning, work in a productive environment and have a clear set of goals.
This guide will help you negotiate the time you need to learn more effectively.
Have a clear set of goals
It’s great fun to start tinkering with the idea of homeschooling but you actually have to settle down and do it. The main function of home schooling is to learn at home.
It really helps to have an idea of what you want to achieve and when and how you learn best to achieve that goal. The following questions will help provide perspective and tease out the best way to focus on your goal.
Try writing down the answers:
· How much time realistically do you have today?
· How do you know you won’t get called upon – “just to help with this?”
· What impact will it have on your learning if you have to “go on an errand?”
· How much time do your really need to look at social media
· How much time does the learning task require to get started?
· How will you manage your time to keep motivated and avoid burnout?
Write down the long-term goal and return to this exercise regularly to check in with your priorities and keep on track; it will boost your enthusiasm too.
Time Bonding - Working in Blocks of 45 minutes or an hour
Working productively makes a massive difference to how much you can get done.
Time Bonding is a great way of getting things done. 45 minutes to an hour is a good amount of time to start with. Then you say to yourself “I have an hour to do maths. What can I get done in that hour?” You will then get a lot more done, than if you say “I have some maths to do.”
This works with cleaning bedrooms too. If you are told to go clean your room out because it basically looks like a pigsty. You look at it - and there is too much to do! Your heart sinks and you feel bad.
· Start with - in the next 45 minutes I will get . . . I always started with my books. I would then only concentrate on the books and the book shelves. Dusting the shelves, putting the books in order, deciding if any of the books could be recycle to young brothers and sisters or passed on to a charity.
You might want to start with sorting the clean from the dirty laundry, particularly if mum has asked for your washing.
· Once this first task is finished - Go for a 10 to 15-minute break.
· Come back and say in the next hour I will get . . . the clothes cupboard and the chest of draws sorted out. Look at your cloths and see if they still fit. Put to one side everything that now longer fits, anything that is damaged for repair or to be recycled. Hang up everything that goes on hangers. Put all the ironing mum has done for you away.
· Take another very short break and then target the next thing.
· If you continue like this you will find that you will find that you will work quicker and finish. If you finish the task or a block of time early, take a short break and then refocus.
The first thing is to remove distractions. Sometimes you’ll be working on a series of small tasks, say 20 minutes long. But it’s helpful to identify the larger tasks and work on them in blocks of time. Rather than saying today “I could do unit C1 for maths - then I am done!” Say to yourself “This week, I need to cover all fractions from the units in this section. In this hour - I could get the first four exercise done.”
· Then: mute your phone and close any browser window that creates alerts.
· Set an alarm for the end of when you’ll finish the block you’re working on.
· Then take a 15-minute break.
Own That Itch
Only when the time is up - treat yourself! When you complete that block. It is then the time to make a quick message on social media. It does takes time to get used to working in blocks. You will feel that itch to check your email or social media. Recognise the feeling, own it and make a conscious decision to keep on working. You can do this!
Find a Productive Environment
The space you work in has a big impact on your learning productivity. We often associate environments with certain feelings; work on the sofa and you’ll probably be relaxed but unproductive. Working in bed you might feel sleepy. So not good choices!
Look for a space that provides a break from the other elements of your life. Meet up with your study buddies, clear the kitchen table. Have something you need to just focus upon -then if your old enough it could be a desk in the local library.
It can help to get away from everyday life altogether when you’re working on strategy or trying to get a big block of work done. So, plan to do it when everyone else is busy and doesn’t need your help.
A big part of your working environment is the people in it, because it’s hard to homeschool with family members in and out, coming and going all day long. You need to talk to everyone about where and what you’re doing and what time you need to do it in.
Having people around you to sense-check ideas, provide advice and socialise with makes a big difference to how much you enjoy your time; look for an opportunity to work with like-minded study buddies. Otherwise as your family to help you by not coming in and talking to you every 5 minutes or when you working in a certain area of the home.