Time Management

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Looking at the calendar the other day and realized that we only have about six weeks at home before we start school again along with fall activities. I say “at home” because we have a wedding to travel to at the end of the this month and then a combination family reunion and vacation at the end of August so we’ll be gone a bit.

With that realization in mind I’ve started working on figuring out our fall schedule. It’s a full one with three grade school students, one preschooler (who may end up being a very early reader like Buggle and needing more time than I think) and an infant. Not to mention dance lessons for four children and choir for two, one day of co-op learning and my possibly (probably) teaching a class on literary theory and essay writing for middle school students!

It’s going to have to be a very tightly run ship around here and one of the keys is going to be good time management for myself and the big three. Buggle and Mouse are definitely of an age to begin managing their own time and learning the consequences of using their time well or badly. I’ve worked on this before (and written about it) but it’s one of my foci during this last part of the summer. Here’s what I want:

  1. The big children to automatically do chores and schoolwork before asking to go out to play, or going out to play.
  2. The big children to learn to get themselves up and do the things on their morning list before school starts without my having to tell them to
  3. 90% of the time for jobs and schoolwork to pass inspection the first time they ask me to inspect. Having to redo jobs or do earned jobs takes time and time is going to be a premium this fall.
  4. For there to be a general attitude of “pitching in” to keep things running smoothly, whether by doing your own assigned things or by helping out a sibling who is “running behind”

Tall order.

But all important skills and habits for life.

Here’s what I’m doing so far:

Two main job lists: one for before we start our project for the day and one for after naps and before play.



Once school starts the “Before Going Out/Morning” list will also get “Do Spelling and Penmanship” added to it as those two subjects require almost no input from me.

For the most part the children have the concept of looking at the list and doing those things down. Bull probably does the best as getting up and starting his day by emptying the dishwasher and I am working on doing my part of loading and running it in the evenings so there are clean dishes for him in the morning!

What we/they are struggling with is the “doing the job correctly, the first time” and “doing the job in a reasonable amount of time”. Neither list “should” take more than 30-40 minutes but the afternoon list in particular tends to drag on and on……

Consistent use of earned jobs is helping as well as my adjusting my schedule to be more available to ?follow through and make sure jobs are done at the right times and inspected promptly. I know I’m going to have to step up my game as well as teaching them to step up theirs.

I’m trying to keep things pretty close to what our school schedule will be as well substituting projects like cleaning the basement for schoolwork to fill the hours we would normally be at our desks.


I think there is progress although as is typical with children it frequently feels like the “two steps forward, one step back” variety!

Any thoughts? I’d love to hear how other people have taught time management and garner some ideas!

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