Sharing some of my favourite time management hacks for home ed to help you get more done, and even more importantly, have more fun 🙂
As a home ed mama of 4, for the last decade and more and as it turns out… a poet who didn’t know it 😉 I’m rather passionate about time management.
And I’ve picked up a few handy hacks along the way.
Most of these are super quick wins you can implement right away.
But it doesn’t stop there.
You’ll also find some simple mindset shifts around time management and home education.
So, not only do you get to save yourself some precious moments here and now but going forward you might just find you have much more time for what you love, those beautiful children of yours 😍
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Now, let’s get to it…
Start where you are
Look at your child
Stepping into the exciting world of home education offers so many shiny, new, exciting possibilities. So much we want to do and share with our children.
We’ll look at some ways to capture all those wonderful ideas later in this post.
But for now, take a deep breath and look at your child. Even better, get up close and cosy, and breath in that sweet smell.
Now, take a moment and consider…
What is it your child wants from you right now?
And start there. Not with a curriculum, a set of standards or a lesson plan.
Uh-oh… is your heart beginning to race? Maybe you’re not so sure what your child wants is the same as what they need. And you’ve got a gazillion ideas about what that is.
I hear you and I get it. Of course you want to share all that groovy goodness with your children.
And you totally can.
But when you’re feeling overwhelmed and finding it hard to fit everything in, it helps to slow right down and get back to what’s most important.
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Remember your why
While we’re considering the big questions, let’s go back to the beginning…
Why did you decide to home-educate?
What kind of a life do you want for your child?
How do you want your days to look?
Before we started home ed, I’d been thinking about what I wanted my children to remember when I was no longer here. What was the wisdom I most wanted to pass on?
Morbid? Maybe. But powerful all the same.
A sure-fire way to focus the mind on what matters most.
For my answer and more… Home education : Our story in 14 Star Wars Quotes
Writing an educational philosophy can be a great way to set out (and sort out!) your thoughts and beliefs about education and how you want this to look for your children.
Look out for my step by step guide to writing your own ed phil coming soon.
But for now, we’re all about saving time. And a good mantra might be just what you need to keep you on track. One of my faves…
Our relationships matter most.
Short, snappy and straight to the point.
If that’s a mantra you can get on board with, you’ll love : 22 super simple ways to help our children feel loved
We all have predictable points in our days. Anchors like mealtimes are gonna happen, or we know about it 😓
So why not use these to organise your time, reading aloud after breakfast or getting outside after lunch.
Automatic, no-fuss, just get on and get done – the beauty of routines!
Start with morning and evening routines. And if you need a little help, we know just the woman.
Crystal Paine has been making over morning and evening routines for years. Follow my links and you can check out the first day of each 14 day course FOR FREE. And for a quick pick me up, there’s even a blooper reel.
With some solid routines in place, it’s much easier to build better habits.
Habit stacking is a neat time management hack pairing habits we’d like to develop with those we already have in the bag. Want more exercise in your day? Add it to your morning routine. And for bonus points : Lay out your workout clothes the night before 🤸♀️
Collecting our children and ourselves
Let’s talk about energy.
And I don’t mean the running races kind. Think about the energy we bring to a situation. How we show up.
For instance getting ready to leave the house. And time is tight. We told our kids ten minutes ago we wanted to leave and soon. But they barely looked up from the game they were playing. Sound familiar?
At times like these, calling out isn’t gonna cut it. If we want to get out the door on time AND stay connected and calm, we’ve got to get collecting those little wonders. Or else it can easily turn nasty…
…if your child (especially a young child) is currently very focused on someone or something else, you do not necessarily have his attachment energy. The relationship is not active in the moment. A child is not meant to take direction from someone to whom he is not currently attached, so you are much more likely to experience counterwill.
It helps if we can get in close, on their level and join them where they are before we attempt to shift their attention where we want it to go. Want to learn more? Check out this post –
And as for collecting ourselves, try this simple exercise to retrieve scattered energy whenever you’re feeling pulled in too many different directions.
- Find a quiet place, the bathroom if you have to.
- Stretch your arms out straight on each side.
- Take a deep breath and release.
- Sweep your arms round to the front of your body, keeping them stretched and straight until they meet in the middle.
- Cross your arms to end up hugging yourself.
- As you do this, make a scooping motion to pull your scattered energy back towards yourself.
- Enjoy that hug for as long as you need.
- And repeat as often as you like.
Keep a book in your car
Doesn’t sound like a time-management hack? Hear me out…
We have an issue with punctuality here in the takingakinderpath house. But we’re working on it.
We’re keeping one of our favourite read-alouds in the car and aiming to get everywhere 15 mins early to read – it’s working like a charm. Well, mostly. We’re getting earlier for sure. And we’re racking up the reading time, win-win.
Get a sock pot
- My youngest daughter rarely wears socks around the house.
- Her bedroom’s in the attic.
- My cousin gave me a gorgeous pot.
This tricky triumvirate was telling us something…
We needed to put socks in that pot.
AND keep it by the front door.
AND we do.
Clean socks go straight from the wash to the sock pot. And when we’re ready to go out, we grab some. Easy peasy. And we’re good to go.
Bonus points : Buy multiples of the same socks so there’s no need to bother with pairing.
Or you can just embrace the joy of odd socks, like us 🧦
Be ready to launch
Set up a launchpad.
A designated spot to place items you need next time you leave the house.
Check your calendar in the evening and fill your launchpad. Thanks Flylady!
Shower at night
Just what it says on the tin.
And if you’re not convinced… let me tell you, this hack made the top spot, numero uno, in my Top 7 trusty time management tips I use everyday (home-ed mama of 4). It’s a winner!
Get the inside scoop on this one here – Meal planning : 30+ tips to get it done
Use a timer
Firstly, timing how long we take to complete a task can be revealing.
We often overestimate how long tasks take and put off getting started. Yet when we know they won’t take so long, we’re more inclined to start.
And setting the timer for 15, 5, or even 2 minutes can give us a boost of motivation to tackle any job in super quick time.
Timers work especially well for getting those routine household tasks out the way fast. So we can get back to what matters most.
Create space to think
Set up a Sunday Basket
One of my 4 steps to getting ahead for the holidays, and maybe, even forever 🙂 A Sunday Basket gives you a space and time each week to tackle your mail and paperwork.
Eat that frog
We spend a lot of time in our heads, often worrying about pressing tasks we’re putting off. Yet if we can eat that frog early in the day – tackle those dreaded jobs first – we free up so much mental energy for the good stuff.
Capture all those ideas
Set up dedicated holding spaces to capture thoughts. A home ed notebook for collecting ideas and inspiration. Apps like Evernote to plan and record your home ed days. And Sorted for organising your to-dos.
Capture is step one of the GTD system. And Getting Things Done For Teens, not just for teens, I’m loving this book right now 🙂 explains just how this step and the entire system can help you and your teen, if they’re up for it.
Once we get those thoughts down on paper, or a note in our phone, they stop swirling endlessly around our minds. Freeing up space for us to focus on what matters right now. And for generating even more fab ideas, of course 😉
And space to do 🙂
Workstations and baskets
More ways to capture – this time for our stuff.
A dedicated workspace, like Dotty’s Enchanted Art Table featured in The Brave Learner, means our children can rock up and get going whenever they want, with all the resources they’ll need on hand.
Take this a step further with zones – quiet, play, messy, you get the idea. Avital has some beautiful videos and posts themed around childhood design. She also hosts one of my favourite home ed podcasts 🙂
Use trolleys, caddys, clipboards, baskets and project boxes to keep supplies together. And to move them round the house as needed.
The Set Up
One of my favourite time management hacks.
Fab for keeping us on track, remembering exactly what it is that we want to get done (hello, project boxes on the table and reading basket by the sofa).
And beating procrastination – getting us a handy head start with tasks that seem overwhelming (hello, potatoes peeled before lunch, now that’s a good feeling!)
Small steps add up
Babysteps and the power of 5
You can’t get everything done at once. But small steps add up.
We’re big fans of 5 minute focus, where we tackle a big project in small segments. We also love high fives, inspired by this post. Although we’re not into requiring our children do anything. More on that coming soon 😉
Find peace in not finishing
This hack can save you a lot of time. You don’t have to finish everything you start, and neither do your children.
Trust them and the learning process. If something’s not working, let it go.
Even if you’re sure this is one of those definitely-certainly-absolutely-my-children-have-to-learn-this, does it have to be today? There will be other times and other ways.
Maybe they’ve got exactly what they need for now, or for good. Either way, it helps not to get too attached to what they’re doing and remember this is their learning journey. And learning is everywhere.
Lists and loops
Along with to-do lists, shopping lists, packing lists, procedure lists, we love a good checklist. Write one for each home ed activity, group or meet. And never forget those swimming goggles again.
Loop scheduling involves creating a list of tasks or items you want to visit and revisit on a regular basis.
Once you’ve decided on your list, work your way down, completing each task in order. When you reach the end, circle back up and begin again from the top.
Find out more about loop scheduling and home ed here : Top 7 trusty time management tips I use everyday (home-ed mama of 4).
Track your reading
We keep track of all the books we’re reading, we’ve read and we’d like to read on Goodreads.
There’s a super handy app. You can create multiple bookshelves tagging your books any way you choose – audiobooks, read-with-[child’s-name], I-cried, jedis-wookies-and-droids, history, numeracy. And you can scan books with your phone and add them straight to your shelves.
If you love books, you’ll love these posts –
We can set ourselves a challenge. To get outside every day, to reach 100 squats in one go, to read aloud for 15 minutes each morning.
Or we can join a challenge. Challenges keep us motivated when we’re losing momentum. Keep us focussed on what we want to get done. And help us build healthy habits.
Right now, we’re loving the 1000 hours outside challenge.
What challenges are you enjoying?
Phew that’s a lot of time management hacks (you can find them all in a handy list below).
Let me know in the comments which is your favourite. And if you’ve got a time management hack for home ed I haven’t mentioned, please share it. I love learning from you guys 🥰
And don’t forget, you can sign up for our newsletter and receive regular round-ups of recent content, plus lots of other juicy joy and kindness connected goodies. We’d love to stay in touch. Sign up here x
22 time management hacks for home ed that really help 🙂
- Look at your child
- Remember your why
- Use anchors
- And routines
- Collecting our children and ourselves
- Keep a book in your car
- Get a sock pot
- Be ready to launch
- Shower at night
- Meal planning
- Use a timer
- Set up a Sunday Basket
- Eat that frog
- Capture all those ideas
- Workstations and baskets
- The Set Up
- Baby-steps and the power of five
- Find peace in not finishing
- Make lists
- Get loopy
- Track your reading
- Challenge yourself