In his classic book, The Time Trap, Alec Mackenzie identifies these 20 behaviors that lead to wasted time:
Management by Crisis
Attempting Too Much
Lack of Self Discipline
Inability to Say "No"
Struggling with post-Christmas holiday homeschool blahs, we have started a new method of getting things done with our homeschooling/chores/life in general that I shared with another homeschool mom via email earlier this week. Here it is for you lurkers and blog buddies alike:
I started a new way of getting things done with the kids. I am doing a new type of “star chart” which helps me considerably (as much as it helps them) to accomplish our daily goals. Before, I was telling them what to do after each assignment and they would balk at me and whine. Now, I am writing a daily list on their white-board (and printing it out for their notebooks with little checkmark boxes beside each item) that they have to complete which includes chores (laundry, dishes, cleaning rooms, etc.), hygiene items (brushing teeth, getting dressed, taking showers, etc.), and schoolwork (Konos activities, Math, Language, Writing, etc.).
I block the items off in groups of five in a long list and write them in the order I want them to be done (i.e. Bible first, bedtime at 9:30pm last). They are to complete the items in groups of five things and put a checkmark by each item. When they complete five, they cross through the section and add a star to their chart. Each star is worth one hour of screen time. They can use the screen time when they are done with the list each day, or at other times when I approve them using it, or on weekends. Screen time consists of Gameboy time, PC/Computer game time, TV time, or movie time… and is also used up for free play (Legos, My Little Pony, etc.), but not for reading. Even for fun, reading is not considered star time.
This system seems to be working better than any other system we have used in the past (now if we can just keep it consistent - that's where the prayers are going to come in!). Each day, when they use the computer or watch a movie, we erase their stars they have earned, and each day, as they complete the list, we add them. This is really helping them to take more responsibility and it has given me more free time as well. I don’t always have to be on top of them to remind them of things, other than a warning now and then like, “Have you completed your next five?” or “You know, the fun project is on your last five, so you had better hurry so we can get to it before Daddy comes home.” Or “There’s only three hours left in the day, so let’s see if we can get another five done and get a star before Daddy gets here.”
We had a hard day yesterday (maybe that's just a Monday thing?) and only got the first five items on our list and a random smattering of other things done... so we are working on redeeming the time today and getting a lot more done! If you are looking for a new system or one to adjust to your own scheduling needs, please, by all means, take mine and make it yours! Seize the day... Carpe Diem!
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