Are you finding that the school days keep getting away from you and you're not getting everything done that you planned? Do you struggle to finish all of the lessons you prepared for the day?
If you're the mom of kids in 6th grade or above, let me ask you an important question. Have you included your students in the planning and execution of the school agenda? If not, that may be part of the problem.
Once kids are in middle school, they can start the process of taking ownership of their education, and part of that includes organizing their time. These are the perfect years to teach children about scheduling and time management, skills they will need for the rest of their lives.
Give Teens Control of their School Schedule
The first step in this process is to sit down with your middle schooler and walk through the week's school schedule together. This gives them ownership of the process and will help them learn just how much they can really accomplish in a week. Look at your outside activities, appointments, as well as your curriculum requirements.
Once you've determined the weekly goals, it's time to set a schedule for getting it done. Make sure to do this with your children.
Kids can use a scheduling app, a physical planner, or just write it all down on a white board. The key is to find something that works for your family and makes it easy for your older students to keep track of what they need to do each week. You won't know what works until you try different methods.
As they're planning out each day, make sure they mark which activities they are expected to complete on their own as well as those you will work on together.
Parent and Student Guides
BookShark curriculum can lead your teens towards more independent learning and better time management with three History & Literature Packages that include both Student and Parent Guides:
- 20th Century World History & Literature for high school
- History of Science & Literature J for ages 14-16
- American History & Literature I for ages 13-15
Your guide still includes the reading assignments, discussion questions, mapping and timeline assignments, all of the answers, and notes specifically for the parent.
But your teen gets a guide, too!
Student Guides help them stay on track with assignments and make them accountable for more of their own learning.
Consequences of Poor Time Management
The other important part of teaching kids how to manage their time is setting consequences. Now that your teen knows what she is responsible for each week, what happens if she doesn't get it done?
As homeschoolers, we have the tendency to let deadlines slip by, often without a word. We either disregard the work that was supposed to be done or we push it off to the following week. I'm guilty of this. I'm often too tired by Friday to deal with it.
However I'm doing my children a great disservice when I don't follow up on unmet expectations. When they are in college and out in the workforce, the people they'll be answering to will not be as forgiving as I am. They'll expect them to complete their work within certain time frames. So I need to teach them how to manage their time now because deadlines do matter.
Work with your children to set reasonable consequences if work is not completed by the end of the school week. Perhaps a weekend family outing is canceled so everything can be caught up. Maybe no electronics are allowed until lessons are finished.
The important thing is to involve your kids in the process and then stick to it.
Remember that time management is an ongoing task, not a once and done deal. You'll need to walk alongside your older children, guiding and teaching them how to effectively use and follow their schedule.
Here are a couple of things they'll need to learn about time management.
Break larger assignments down into reasonable pieces.
Work backward from end dates.
With tasks like research papers, schedule regular check-in times to make sure you are on track.
Life happens, so don't wait until the last minute to complete projects, especially big ones.
Leave time for critiques and revisions.
Sometimes the best way for kids to learn these lessons is to make mistakes and bear the consequences. Don't be afraid to let your kids take ownership in their failures too. Those are great learning opportunities and remove you from the role of nagging, helicopter mom.
Once your children start taking control of their own schedules, you should see a positive shift in your days and weeks. Often, by letting them complete the work on their terms, more gets finished. To me, that's a win for everyone!
About the Author
Megan Zechman is a veteran homeschool mom of two girls. Over at Education Possible, she shares creative, hands-on learning activities for middle school.