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Teens & Time Management...Experienced Homeschoolers!


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Obviously, this can be the most frustrating time of the year for high school (AP's, SATs, trying to finish whatever we're behind on), a time in which we frantically reassess how we'll do it better next year... hence the timing of this question. At least in my case, since this is my first year homeschooling high school. (He was homeschooled in elementary using WTM, went to school until high school, and now he and his younger siblings are all homeschooling). We're really enjoying it but I am really struggling to figure out how to teach my high schooler better time management while fostering independence. Some methods are working and some...well aren't. What worked and what didn't? How do you get them to work for longer periods of time? And to finish their responsibilities with minimal distractions (especially when using the computer to homeschool)? Do you have a minimum block of time they have to work at a time before taking breaks? And a minimum amount of time to homeschool in a day? Anything else I'm missing?

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We've homeschooled all the way through from preschool to now (oldest is finishing up Junior year).  I've had her working off of a list since junior high and building up a routine of getting work done. She learned early on that once her schoolwork is done that her time is pretty much her own to work on things that she wants to learn about or do (she's managing 5 or 6 different tumblr blogs right now).

 

Currently I have her bullet journalling. I put her assignments for the month on her monthly page and she checks them off as she finishes it. A lot of time she works ahead in case we have days where we have other obligations. I list page numbers for book work and draw circles for her to fill in for computer work. On her own she makes daily lists of things that she wants to accomplish outside of schoolwork including chores, reading and different projects that she is working on.

 

She also does most of her work on her own. I only tutor her in math and work with her on English. We discuss a lot of what she reads outside of "book work time." I feel like learning is something that happens all the time. So while we do have a set time for books & computer work. A lot of learning comes from things that she does on her own and discussions that we have during other times like at dinner, driving in the car or even at work (she works part-time with me in a bakery). 

 

Hope this helps and that you find a method that works with you and your son.

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With my first two kids, time management wasn't much of an issue because they are self-starters.  But my youngest DD will be in high school next year and I can see this being hard for her.  I plan to print out a syllabus for each class and give her a student planner.  We will go over study and time skills using the curriculum " How to Be a SuperStart Student".  I used this years ago with DS and remember how great it was! I'm thinking of slowly transitioning her to where our classes work more like college classes (with minimal help from me) so she will be prepared when that time comes.

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My dd is not in high school yet but has a hectic schedule, so we have had some time management issues here and there. If she gets behind on her work one week, then the next week during school hours she is not allowed to check her phone or use her computer for anything non-school related, watch a show during breakfast, etc. If she's having a hard time staying focused I'll have her come and sit next to me while she does her work. She likes her independence, so usually she catches herself up quickly. Sometimes if she's feeling overwhelmed, she will ask me to make her a schedule for the day so she can see how everything will get done, and how much time she can take for breaks.

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I struggle sometimes with time management myself, as an adult!  I am really busy and have a lot of commitments, like most people I am sure.  We have been making daily schedules so we can both see what needs to get done each day.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't, because things can take longer than you expect.  The planner idea was always a little hard here, because DS has several classes online, that each have their own suggested schedule of what needs to be done each day.  So to copy all of that down into a planner for the whole week would be hard.  There wouldn't be enough room unless you have a big planner with a whole page for each day.  That's kind of what we made, a planner page per day, and just printed it out each day so it could be checked off.  I feel like we could continue to improve on it though.  I think that mostly it is a mindset, because no matter what method you use, you have to actually use it.  That's the hardest part!  Making time to actually use the tools!  

 

If you want to be digital, you could use something like Google calendar and schedule the day out that way.

 

 

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Obviously, this can be the most frustrating time of the year for high school (AP's, SATs, trying to finish whatever we're behind on), a time in which we frantically reassess how we'll do it better next year... hence the timing of this question. At least in my case, since this is my first year homeschooling high school. (He was homeschooled in elementary using WTM, went to school until high school, and now he and his younger siblings are all homeschooling). We're really enjoying it but I am really struggling to figure out how to teach my high schooler better time management while fostering independence. Some methods are working and some...well aren't. What worked and what didn't? How do you get them to work for longer periods of time? And to finish their responsibilities with minimal distractions (especially when using the computer to homeschool)? Do you have a minimum block of time they have to work at a time before taking breaks? And a minimum amount of time to homeschool in a day? Anything else I'm missing?

  Good question...with my oldest I got lucky...he seemed to pop out of the womb responsible and aware of the clock, timing, etc.  He started the full Calvert curriculum in 6th grade and managed the whole thing on his own, age 11...lucky me!

 

My other dd has been more normal.  LOL...and maybe on the opposite side ...

 

Some things that helped:

1.  A set start time - she has to start school by (a very very generous) 9:30 - next year will be 9am..  This allows her plenty of time to get up, get dressed, shower, do her hair and even lounge around a bit if she awakes early.  So, IMO if she is NOT starting school on time I have NO PROBLEM giving her the consequence which is to go to bed an hour early in the evening, lights out and all.  Teens hate that.

 

2.  Not micro-managing.  Believe it or not, as crazy as it sounds....micro-managing only made the situation wors,e and worse and worse and worse.  You have to step back, and let him manage his day.  You can give him some ideas, some pointers, some parameters.  But, if you micro-manage he won't learn his OWN way.  He won't learn what works for HIM.  He won't learn "clock" understanding...etc. etc.  This is absolutely the hardest part and I can't believe we got there this year because I am TYPE A and my DD is Type ....dreamer...LOL  But she did.  She has her own way.  

 

3.  Consequences.  Give your son a very generous time allotment and make sure that he doesn't overload his extra curriculars, and then if he doesn't complete his schoolwork by a certain time (4pm ish is usually good in most households) he has to have a pretty serious consequence but one htat is easy to dole out. If it's too inconvenient, then you won't do it and it won't happen.  So, for my dd is, that she misses all extra curricular or outings for the evening.  And of course, she is expected to do her work.  She isn't grounded exactly because she is allowed TV time with family, or going outside to chat with the elderly neighbors, etc.  Grounding is saved for serious disobedience/disrespect.  But, she just misses out on going anyway, which seems pretty much a "natural" consequence since, then she can stay home and get her work done. :)  

 

(Note what will happen here is that you will tell him, OK no soccer today since you didn't finish your work....and he will rush so fast, to get his stuff done and throw his soccer gear on and stand there saying, OK I am done now can I go? and you have to be firm.)  

 

4.  Eventually you will want to move beyond this.  Halfway through the year reasssess.  If you see that he is being very resposible and has it all under control, all the time, but he chooses to work after dinner now and then, and isn't staying up late, eventually, you will remove the consequences.  But for now it's a stop gap.

 

That's about all the ideas I have but they work with my dd....

 

As far as computer distractions, I would just tie down the internet a bit (white list) and make sure there's no video games on it, etc.  I also tell my dd if she wants to take a break to entertain herself, or read a book for a while or go outside,  that she should set a timer for that.  The timer helps her keep aware of the time.

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Good question...with my oldest I got lucky...he seemed to pop out of the womb responsible and aware of the clock, timing, etc. He started the full Calvert curriculum in 6th grade and managed the whole thing on his own, age 11...lucky me!

 

My other dd has been more normal. LOL...and maybe on the opposite side ...

 

Some things that helped:

1. A set start time - she has to start school by (a very very generous) 9:30 - next year will be 9am.. This allows her plenty of time to get up, get dressed, shower, do her hair and even lounge around a bit if she awakes early. So, IMO if she is NOT starting school on time I have NO PROBLEM giving her the consequence which is to go to bed an hour early in the evening, lights out and all. Teens hate that.

 

2. Not micro-managing. Believe it or not, as crazy as it sounds....micro-managing only made the situation wors,e and worse and worse and worse. You have to step back, and let him manage his day. You can give him some ideas, some pointers, some parameters. But, if you micro-manage he won't learn his OWN way. He won't learn what works for HIM. He won't learn "clock" understanding...etc. etc. This is absolutely the hardest part and I can't believe we got there this year because I am TYPE A and my DD is Type ....dreamer...LOL But she did. She has her own way.

 

3. Consequences. Give your son a very generous time allotment and make sure that he doesn't overload his extra curriculars, and then if he doesn't complete his schoolwork by a certain time (4pm ish is usually good in most households) he has to have a pretty serious consequence but one htat is easy to dole out. If it's too inconvenient, then you won't do it and it won't happen. So, for my dd is, that she misses all extra curricular or outings for the evening. And of course, she is expected to do her work. She isn't grounded exactly because she is allowed TV time with family, or going outside to chat with the elderly neighbors, etc. Grounding is saved for serious disobedience/disrespect. But, she just misses out on going anyway, which seems pretty much a "natural" consequence since, then she can stay home and get her work done. :)

 

(Note what will happen here is that you will tell him, OK no soccer today since you didn't finish your work....and he will rush so fast, to get his stuff done and throw his soccer gear on and stand there saying, OK I am done now can I go? and you have to be firm.)

 

4. Eventually you will want to move beyond this. Halfway through the year reasssess. If you see that he is being very resposible and has it all under control, all the time, but he chooses to work after dinner now and then, and isn't staying up late, eventually, you will remove the consequences. But for now it's a stop gap.

 

That's about all the ideas I have but they work with my dd....

 

As far as computer distractions, I would just tie down the internet a bit (white list) and make sure there's no video games on it, etc. I also tell my dd if she wants to take a break to entertain herself, or read a book for a while or go outside, that she should set a timer for that. The timer helps her keep aware of the time.

Calming Tea, thank you soooo much! Such practical, invaluable advice!

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