Time Management & Scheduling
November 1, 2017
Hey Mama,

Have you ever looked longingly at the Mama who seems to have it all together? I’ve got a secret for you—she wasn’t always that way! And she may not be as "together" as you think, even now!

Even Mamas who appear organized with charts, schedules, and plans started where you are. Aren’t you glad your kids feel comfy at home and safe with you? Maybe your house isn’t picture-perfect, but when your little one raises his hand in prayer meeting to give his praise, “I’m thankful my mommy’s my teacher!” you can’t help but beam. You’re doing something right! Find tips and advice on time management and scheduling in these articles from  The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine :

And Mama . . .

Was your week perfect? Did you fail at all? Were there any meltdowns (from you and/or the kids)? How about grief or pain. . . Any of that? Some of the kids run away or starve? Did the house burn down?

Another week in the life of a Mama. A family who strives for balance, not perfection. A Mama who loves her children with all her heart but also keeps it real. A house that is so messy at times maybe it should burn down (at least it would be sterile), but hey, the important things got done this week, right? 

If the school work wasn’t completed, if the kitchen smells bad (still), if the playroom looks like it went nuclear, if the ants are back because of all the crumbs, know this one thing: you kept the priorities. Your children were hugged; they laughed their heads off; there were meaningful conversations; they ate just fine; they feel secure, safe, and loved by a Mama who’s not at all perfect—but never has she claimed to be! They see the REAL. They see what’s TRUE. Nothing phony going on at your house. You keep it genuine, and while you might not feel too balanced lately, even that, too, is OK because you’re striving for it. And it will come. Give it some time.

Look at your plate. It’s full, Mama. Yet you manage to keep the important things right in front of you. Well done. Eyes on Christ. His hand is on your head today.

- gena
Princess Lila Builds a Tower : A book about a princess willing to work hard to reach her goal!
Watch the video here:  http://crackboombooks.com/
Carine Laforest
A Beginner’s Guide to Homeschool Time Management and Scheduling
Having a flexible schedule is one of the advantages parents often cite when they decide to homeschool their children. They will envision free-flowing days spent exploring ideas as they come, with one child practicing the violin while another is solving math problems or preparing a scientific experiment.

Goodbye monotony! Every day will be different and intellectually fulfilling. But unstructured time can sometimes devolve into a chaotic environment, leaving parents to wonder exactly what has been accomplished during the day.

Yes, the flexibility of homeschooling is wonderful as it allows children and their teacher to determine when they are at their best (younger children tend to be productive in the morning while many teens function better in the afternoon), but in order for homeschooling to function properly within a household where schoolwork, household chores, sports and family activities, and often part-time work need to happen, it’s essential to rely on effective time-management tools. 

The first principle about organizing your time is determining what is important to you and prioritizing activities accordingly.

As you can see, developing routines and systems that will work is largely about personal choices; so it’s something you will need to tailor to your family’s particular needs. However, there are some practical ideas that can help you feel prepared and give you the confidence necessary to feel that yes, you can do this!

  • Develop a daily schedule or routine. Whether you use a planner, a schedule or a calendar, you need to set up a plan so that everyone knows what’s in store for the day. Not only will you accomplish more this way, you’ll be teaching your children how to manage their own time. 
  • Prioritize. Homeschooling often means keeping distractions at bay. Set aside specific times to return work e-mails or phone calls to schedule activities so they won’t interfere with coursework. 
  • Be realistic about time. Parents often underestimate the time it takes to complete tasks. Take a week to observe how long it takes for your child to complete an assignment or worksheet and adjust your schedule accordingly. 
  • Factor in time for breaks and transitions. Younger children especially need plenty of time in between periods to play or have a snack. 
  • Leave room for the unexpected. Some days you won’t finish all the work that was on the schedule and that’s OK. Life happens. Sometimes the plumber has to be called for an emergency repair, and you wind up entertaining the kids with a board game. Or sometimes an out-of-the-blue field trip invitation is too tempting to pass up. Cut yourself some slack and remember the flexibility that made homeschooling so appealing in the first place! 

Carine Laforest is a Montreal-based writer and editor. She fell in love with children’s literature when her two children were babies, and they spent countless hours reading stories together. She found that literature was not only incredibly fun, it was also one of the most effective educational tools she could find. As an assistant editor at Chouette Publishing , she now gets to create the kinds of books her children love. 
 "I Want To Help You Excel!"
The chemistry video classroom provides methods of problem solving with examples geared to inspire, educate, engage, and encourage.
Marcy Crabtree
Creating a Family Schedule
Confession time. 

I stay up too late.

So does my teen.

I spend far too much time on the computer.

So does my teen.

I spend far too little time in the Word and in prayer (I won’t speak to my teen on that topic).

I spend far too little time just chatting with my husband and teen.

We all spend far too little time doing family stuff.

We are not doing enough homeschooling.

We are not serving others enough.

My house is a mess.

Time is speeding by. My son is growing up, and I don't feel that I'm accomplishing nearly what I wish to.

Can you relate?

So what's a work-at-home, homeschooling mom of one busy teen to do?

“Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.” (Psalm 39:4-5)
I sometimes wonder what I would do if God did in fact show me my life's end. If I knew how many days I had left. What would I do differently?

I’m fairly sure I would do a lot differently! Stewardship of my time would be at the top of the list. Lack of discipline in this area affects EVERYTHING. Our ability to spend time in service, with family and friends, and in the Word are all determined by how we are using our time. We all have the same 24 hours, but often, we end up exhausted and mired down by a list of things we didn't get done that is much longer than the list of things we did. For many of us, our families are tired of talking to the tops of our heads as we look down at our smartphones.

If not careful, I can easily piddle away my day with e-mail, Facebook, and Words with Friends. Before I know it, the day is gone.

What I have found helpful (when I follow it) is a schedule that allots time for homeschool, chores, quiet time, free time, and designated computer time for my teen (and about 20 hours of work time for me) each week. 

This is what it looks like:

7:30-8:00 a.m. Mom awake for quiet time
8:00-9:00 a.m. Teen awake for breakfast and morning chores / Breakfast and morning chores for Mom
9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Homeschool for teen and work for Mom (lunch 12:30-1:00 p.m.)
2:00-3:00 p.m. Afternoon chores
3:00-6:00 p.m. Free time
6:00-8:00 p.m. Dinner and family time (or outside activities)
8:00-10:00 p.m. Free time
10:00 p.m. Time to wind down and get ready for bed

Of course life gets in the way all the time. Most evenings are consumed by outside activities for the teen. And we both end up staying up too late. But having a schedule to guide us for most of the day ensures that the most important things get done most of the time. Of course, we have to follow through (this is where we get into trouble).

If you’re struggling with similar time constraints, create a schedule for your family. This is just an example of what works well for us. You’ll want to customize one for your own family. Hang it up somewhere visible so that everyone can see it so that it becomes a habit. Now I’m off to create a new printable schedule for my family, so I can do the same (again). 

Marcy Crabtree is a Christian homeschooling mom to one teen son. An encourager at heart, she is passionate about cultivating relationships with other moms and spends much of her time doing so both on her blog,  Ben and Me , and in social media.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect Christmas gift or just something to keep little hands (and minds) busy, the “Educational Toys and Games Resource Guide” is here to help. Check out cool products like Christian comic books, a book series written by homeschooled siblings, and engaging toys and board games in the Fall 2017 issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Find even more resource guides in the 2017 Annual Print Book of TOS Magazine!
For me to be talking about time management and scheduling is the equivalent of me addressing quantum physics and worm holes. God didn’t wire me that way. Fortunately, He blessed me with a wife who is wired that way…and whom I drive nuts with my footloose and fancy-free ways.

Here’s my advice when managing and scheduling your time: remember what’s most important.

Books, lessons plans, getting stuff done, diagramming charts, and school projects…are not important COMPARED to listening to your children, hugging and touching them, playing a game together, laughing with them, working together, or just sitting together.

Don’t pull a Martha who was so distracted by her "homeschool" service that she missed out on the relationship. Mary, on the other hand…sat…and listened…while Martha, stood, did, and complained (don’t tell me she wasn’t a homeschooler).

So remember what matters more and do it.

Speaking of what matters: The Christmas horse is out of the starting gates and it’s time to plan for a great Christmas season. Once again, we’re offering our Christmas craft kits, Christmas read-alouds (along with the audio CDs), the wildly popular board game To Bethlehem, and the #1 Dad-requested Christmas gift – The 2018 You ‘da Dad Daily Calendar.  You can check out all these great products HERE .

SchoolhouseTeachers.com Members - Did You Know?
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is your trade publication. Every quarter it is released, but every OTHER quarter it comes out in print as well as digital (apps). How do you claim your free print magazine? Hit up your dashboard and claim it. Next issue is the Winter one... we're laying it in now and it is BEAUTIFUL. Over 160 pages, glossy, thick. And you don't need to pay a dime to get it. Get over to your dashboard and get your free stuff. Check your dashboard often at the top of the home page. We love to give gifts! - gena 
Stacy Farrell

A Liberating Look at Time Management Strategies

There are many time management books on the bestseller lists with new titles added each year. As a long-time student of time management, I’ve observed that “the experts” frequently contradict one another. 


Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time is an international bestseller that has sold more than a million copies. The author, Brian Tracy, contends that we should start each day by tackling our most significant and difficult task.

I agree that it makes sense to tackle “the hard thing” first whenever possible. Then, even if the rest of your day goes south, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you did the hard thing. 

Clearly, there is wisdom in that strategy. But I’ve encountered a wildcard that undermines my plans.

That wildcard is me. 


Do you ever find yourself locked in a battle with yourself? 

For I do not understand my own actions.... I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing that I hate.” —Paul of Tarsus

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato argued that education held the key to solving life’s problems. Growing up under the influence of those influenced by a platonic worldview, I assumed that all I needed to solve my productivity problems was the right information.

But my actual experience is more consistent with the words of Paul of Tarsus than those of Plato of Athens. 

Despite knowing what I should do in a given situation, all too often I’ve watched myself do something quite different. Rather than do that hard thing, I have frittered away the whole day in procrastination. 

Can you relate?

In trying to employ this frog-eating strategy, I risk ending the day with that big ugly frog still sitting on my plate … and nothing else accomplished. 


A dear friend wrote and published a novel while working full time and completing classes for her doctorate. I asked her: “How do you avoid procrastination?” 
“I don’t,” she replied.
“You don’t?”
“No. I’m always working on multiple projects,” she explained, “so while I procrastinate on one, I work on another.”

My friend employed a sly workaround to defeat her own resistant nature.


Because humans are complex beings, time management is a complex challenge. So, as you read through these time management strategies, remember this: There is no “silver bullet.” 

(The term “silver bullet” is used as a metaphor for a simple, seemingly magical solution for a difficult problem.)
Although there are simple and effective time management strategies, I’ve found that what works for me today often stops working for me tomorrow. 
So...don’t be afraid to change up the menu. Do what works...until it stops working...and then try something else!

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV).
* * *

This article contains excerpts from Don’t Eat That Frog! A Liberating Look at Time Management (copyright 2017, all rights reserved, used with permission.), a quick and easy introduction to some classic and revolutionary time management strategies. Find it at HomeSchoolAdventure.com .

About the Author:

Stacy Farrell loves to help students cultivate and defend a biblical worldview by teaching them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately. To that end, she created several resources, including: Philosophy Adventure , Creative Freewriting Adventure , Philippians in 28 Weeks , The Wise Woman with Literary Analysis Journal Questions , the Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal , and Walking with the Waodani . She has been homeschooling her sons for more than ten years with the support of her husband of more than 20 years. You can learn more about her work and Don’t Eat That Frog! A Liberating Look At Time Management Strategies at HomeSchoolAdventure.com .
Kerry Tittle 
Time management and homeschool can be a love-hate relationship. I was certain, 15 years into my homeschool journey, I had this scheduling thing down. But life took a huge turn. I suddenly found myself a single mom and none of my well-defined strategies worked anymore.

Now, I am three years into this new life, and there are a few things that I’ve tried to stand firm on to keep my sanity.

Delegate . Your children need to be team players. Every morning my kids have a 15-minute flip chart to do before school (make beds, empty bathroom trash, sweep hall, etc...). My house still doesn’t resemble a cover issue of Southern Living , but the teamwork makes a huge difference. 

Define non-negotiables . Choose 3 things that HAVE to be done each day. If I don’t prioritize this, I try to tackle every colossal mountain. At the end of the day the futile attempt ends up making me feel like a failure. Choose three and hold the rest loosely.

One word . Learn how to correctly pronounce one of the most commonly used words in the English language—NO. It’s such a small word, but incredibly difficult to say. Put your tongue to the back of your teeth and once you get the first phonetic sound of “n” out, the rest is easy. Make a circle shape with your lips and let the word fly. It may take a lot of practice, but the more you use this in your life, you find how freeing it can be. Seriously, I was a sign-up addict. I tried to do it all and serve any way I could. I don’t have that ability anymore and found I was not only wearing myself out, I was causing my children to become weary and frustrated. I had to prioritize a non-negotiable in taking care of my family first.

Don’t Compare. There will always be someone who seems to manage her time perfectly. But she has the same 24 hours in a day you have. She had to give up something. Her priorities and non-negotiables will be different from your own. Comparison can lead to discontentment with your family. Just don’t. 

Be real and give yourself grace. It’s ok if we don’t get it all done. Recently, I was locking our front door begrudgingly, because I knew on the other side was a filthy house, and I was leaving for something less important. However, the trip in the car ended up being an amazing talk with my kids that wouldn’t have happened had I stayed behind and cleaned. If we were to be completely honest with ourselves, its really God’s time that He is asking us to manage. If we look in light of what God has asked of us, it may become clearer how we should prioritize the time given us.

“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, [ a ]
and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8 (ESV)

Kerry Tittle is a mother of 9 children and an 18-year homeschool veteran. She was the founder of ReformationKidz Publishing that was lost to a natural disaster. Her desire is to honor Christ while encouraging parents during the hard years of homeschooling.
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Organization is a task that leaves many of us feeling overwhelmed and even frustrated. We want to help you relieve that tension and make the most of every moment by providing helpful tools for managing your children’s courses and lessons. In addition to full access to the digital version of the most current Schoolhouse Planners, SchoolhouseTeachers.com members also have access to the Applecore Recordkeeping System, downloadable lesson plans on selected courses, course checklists, and a new bookmark tool that lets you organize the classes each of your children are taking. 

If you’re homeschooling this year and you’re not a member of SchoolhouseTeachers.com , come give us a try. You can try the entire site for thirty days for $5. If you’d like to learn more or would like information concerning membership, please visit SchoolhouseTeachers.com and chat with us. And if you or someone you know would be interested in teaching or writing for us, let us know. You can email me at bhudson@TheOldSchoolhouse.com . We look forward to serving you and your family!

in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
Contest Corner  
For the month of November

As a classical homeschooling family who leans to the Charlotte Mason side and uses quite a bit of Memoria Press curriculum in our yearly studies, Memoria Press is one of the homeschooling companies that I drool over on their website and print magazine. We are quite familiar with Memoria Press and the whole array of products they offer. (. . .) We were blessed to receive The Book of Trees Set (Reader, Student Book, and Teacher’s Guide) to enhance our nature studies . (. . .)

The course contains 21 lessons broken up over five units of work cover the following topics: The Root & Stem, Leaves, Flowers & Fruits, Observing Trees, and Advanced work with Photosynthesis & Respiration. Completing any of the 21 lessons is easy to do with the help of the model lesson plan given in the front of the Student Book. The model lesson plan gives you review, reading questions, diagrams, and labeling, along with activities to complete.

For our family, we used this set during the morning with our girls. We took our time and worked through the lessons with a nice and slow pace by completing one lesson a week. There is plenty of material available to stretch the learning out to one lesson per week and still get a full course load. My girls enjoyed going for walks and keeping a nature journal, all the while discovering the nature in our neighborhood right around us including the trees in the forest down the street. Learning to identify the different types of leaves and trees of the forest was new and exciting for us. I especially enjoyed that the program is so thorough and draws different disciplines including comprehension and Latin into the program. (Read the rest of The Book of Trees review.)
My kids are all animal lovers. My oldest son determined recently that he will become a veterinarian when he is older. As he gets older, I strive to encourage him to learn those things that matter most to him. So, Nature's Beautiful Order - An Introduction to the Study of Animals Taught by the Classical Naturalists , from Memoria Press, was a wonderful addition to his studies!

Nature's Beautiful Order is a wonderful way to introduce students to the study of animals, or even just further encourage your animal lover! We received the textbook as well as a student and teacher guide. This is recommended for students in grades 6-8 but can also be used to supplement a higher-level biology course. There are eighteen lessons in all that teach what an animal is and then lead students in study on the various classes of animals in the animal kingdom.

I have to say, before this, I was not very familiar with the concept of the study of natural history. However, being that we all love history and science in this house, we certainly enjoyed every minute of this course. What better way to grow in our children a love for the beauty and wisdom within the animal kingdom. With simple readings, we are led to better understand what exactly an animal is. And it turns out they have an answer that goes beyond what many of us would answer. The reader is full of the works of classical naturalists like John James Audubon, Jean-Henri Fabre, and St. George J. Mivart.

YOU can WIN both full sets of physical science books for your homeschool! 

TO ENTER : Click on over to our entry page and follow the instructions! Contest ends at midnight, the last day of the month.
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