Friday, April 25, 2008

Heart of the Matter: Happy Habits of a Homeschooler

I'll share two happy habits from our homeschool:

1. We use a kitchen timer!

For years I have used a kitchen timer in our homeschool. In the elementary grades if I find that the child is having a hard time staying focused on a subject, I'll set a timer. I usually set it for 20 to 25 minutes and I tell them if they stay focused and work until the timer goes off, they are done that subject for the day. This really helps and they usually finish the paper.

Another use for a timer is I'll set a timer (again for about 20-25 minutes) and I'll have my older kids spend time with a younger child. If it's nice I'll have them play outside. During the winter I'll have them play a board game like Candyland or do puzzles or some other type of quiet play. When the time is up, I have have another older boy take a turn. The younger child gets one on one attention, it helps develope good relationships between the older and younger kids, and it gives me uninterrupted time to help my other students with schoolwork or do read-alouds.

2.I have the kids keep checklists.

My High school students keep track of their own schoolwork by checking off each subject as they do it. They also briefly write down what the lesson was about. This helps me with record keeping and so I know what they are learning about each day.

My younger kids use custom chore charts make lists to check off the what they've done for their morning routine and their school subjects. My 11 year old likes to make his school list on the white board. Checklists helps them to know when school is finished for the day.


  1. I have a highschooler, too. Using a check list sounds like it would be very helpful for us both.

  2. Wonderful ideas! I started the kids with a checklist for each day at the beginning of the year and then fell out of the habit I need to get back into that habit.

  3. We couldn't survive without our timer and our checklists, either-- especially the latter. If I try to be "relaxed" and do school w/o a list, my 12-y/o says, "Just print up a list!" and my 9-y/o makes herself one.