Thursday 27 September 2012

Ways to save time for home educating mothers

There are two really important facts about home education.
  • Home education takes time
  • Home education is very bad for housework.

So how to maximise time use? I'm not sure that it is really possible to "save time" as time goes on like an ever rolling stream. Still, it is possible to use time effectively on priorities. These are things that have helped me-I don't always do these things consistently but still...

  • Priorities are important-making time to pray and read the Bible is better than a clean kitchen floor. Best is both, of course, but sometimes that just isn't possible.

  • Planning saves time thinking. I use plans for home education, meals and much more. My home education planning is partly yearly, partly termly and partly weekly. The more I do in the summer, the easier things become although I still need to plan weekly. It isn't easy to predict, in advance, that a child is going to find co-ordinates hard or easy hence the need for weekly plans.

  • Having a curriculum saves so much time and effort. I know that there is a tendency to frown on having a written curriculum with books attached but for home educators, like me, who are trying to educate children of different ages having a plan and ideas written by someone else saves hours. I do make up my own curriculum for unit studies and deviate considerably from the books especially where I feel confident. So I am currently teaching my younger two about the human body. I am using ideas from books and a very rough order but for Middle Son's Latin, the textbook and teacher's guide are carefully followed.
Maths text and answer book
  • Answer books. These are new for me. When we started home ed, I decided that it was important that I could do all the maths so didn't bother about an answer book, however, whilst I can do the maths working out results late at night isn't fun. This year, I have an answer book for Middle Son (year8) and it has saved me time already. 

  • Internet grocery shopping saves me at least an hour a week-yes, the order has to be put in and the groceries have to be put away but it still saves time. 

  • Getting everyone to help-I'm really not good at this although I'm not convinced that little children, particularly, are able to do many chores independently and well.  However, my five year old is becoming really helpful at laying the table. All the children chip in and help put the groceries away. The children love to cook. Whilst this can be painful when they are very little, cake mix goes everywhere and there are constant reminders not to put spoons in mouths; cooking really pays off when they get older can can put a cake or even a meal together.

  • Going to bed at a reasonable hour-I'm a bit of a hypocrite about this but when I manage, the next day is so much better and I feel less jet lagged.

  • Servants-most home educating mothers don't have cleaners or real servants but many of us have washing machines and even dishwashers. These are our servants and can get on with the work while we look after our children.
Have you any tips about time use?


  1. Thanks for this post! I'm struggling with finding time for everything at the moment. Have just started doing internet shopping again and it does make a big difference. Still working on the going to bed one, should be there now!

  2. Sarah, I've been reading your posts and you sound really busy. Internet shopping is good-I didn't think that I impulse brought but find that the cost is slightly less when I buy on line.

  3. I've just started to use my slow cooker more often, which is saving me cooking time in the afternoons/evenings. Need to find some more good slow cooker recipes so I can keep it up!