Managing Extracurricular Activities

I’m often asked how I manage my child’s extracurricular activities, homeschool and work.  Right now, outside of church, we have on athletic extracurricular, piano lessons and participate in 4-H.

I worked our schedule where the athletic activity and piano lessons are on the same night in the town we live.  (The athletic activity is not a competitive sport, so while they do have some “performances” we are not gone every weekend with it.)  So, I am only gone a chunk of one evening for two activities.  On this night, our meal is usually from the slow cook (or lets be real, it’s sometimes carryout).

We attend church one night each week too.  The meal is provided there.

Our 4-H club meets on a weekend afternoon once a month.  We attend workshops and other 4-H events as our child is interested and it fits in our schedule.  I have one day off each week and we try to work on a project (or part of one) each week.  As a matter of fact, she finished one while I was off for Thanksgiving break.  I’ve written about this before, but I sometimes tie 4-H projects into schoolwork.

Do we sometimes say no to activities?  Absolutely.  You have to do what works best for your family.  We live in a rural area, so what is offered for children here is somewhat limited- which is sometimes good, sometimes bad.

How do you manage extracurricular activities?



Handling Busy

Busy.  It’s almost an ugly word some days, but some would say something expected in our society.  With work commitments, volunteer opportunities and activities for my daughter…it can get busy.  I’m looking at next week’s schedule (you figured it out, I write and schedule publishing ahead of time most weeks) in my planner and I’ll be home one night between extracurricular activities, church, work meetings and other commitments.

How do I handle school with all this going on?  For one, I know I have a chunk of time on Saturday morning to finish up any one on one work we did not get completed Monday-Friday.  So, while I plan on six days of school this week, I’m only planning five lessons in each subject.  If we fall behind someplace, we have time to make it up.  If we do not fall behind, I’ll add in day six of lessons for the week.  (One day closer to summer break.)

With the exception of one evening, I’ll be home a while with our daughter between work and the commitments starting.  So that will provide time to finish up one on one work.

I would also add, the crockpot will be my friend this week.  We will probably be gone enough the house will not be horrible.  (I do try to clean one room a day.  Try is a key word.)

Do you have any tips for handling busy?



My top 5 time savers at meal time…

Work, homeschool, activities for my daughter, meetings can all take time.  Here are my top five kitchen timesavers to make sure I still get a meal on the table at dinner.

5.  Take out.  Yes, it’s a last resort, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.  (Frozen pizza also works in a pinch.)

4.  Keeping browned ground beef handy.  I try to keep some in either the fridge for freezer.  I almost always have what we need for tacos, taco salad or taco soup.  Or spaghetti.  They are quick meals my family enjoys.

3.  Salad.  Everyone at my house likes salad.  I try to keep lettuce, veggies, cheese and dressing on hand.  It makes for a quick meal or quick side dish.

2.  Meal planning.  I try to meal plan with my lesson plans each week.  I know what activities we have each night and try to plan out something that fits in the time schedule.

1. The crockpot.  I could not function a lot of days with out it.  We have a warm meal ready to go when it’s meal time that I often start at 5 or 6 am.  The food cooks all day, usually after minimal prep, while we do what we have on the agenda for the day.  (Bonus, it usually makes the house smell good too.)

What are you top kitchen time savers?



Planning for the Unexpected…

Our homeschool day often starts at 6:30 am.  It never fails that at least once every few weeks I’ll get a call about an urgent issue at work and I need to speed off.  We may be in the middle of a lesson.  What to do?

I’ve found what works best for me in this situation is to either have my husband take over, if he’s home, or to wait until I’m home in the evening to finish it. I try to keep a block of time in my evenings for situations like this…but it’s not always the case.  Then there are the nights that I call in pizza and instead of cooking I teach English or math.

When you are employed and homeschool, it’s likely this situation will come up from time to time.  Try to plan the best you can for those times and offer yourself grace.  Do what works for your family.

Why I do not take a lot of breaks…

Those that know me in real life know I try to plan our school schedule around my farmer.  He seems to need me to do more running for him in the spring than the fall.

Our state requires 180 day of homeschool.  We do that.  Be we often start school in early August, before the public school students go back.  I personally do not like to take a lot of breaks in the school year.  Family vacation, a few days at Christmas, but that’s about it.  We push through the school year (including a lot of Saturdays) with the goal to be done in early spring.

Another reason we push and do not take a lot of breaks is my job.  There’s usually one week in October that is crazy busy for me.  I will often adjust the school schedule that week to get it all done.  So, while we may miss a day in October, we have had school every Thanksgiving Day since started our journey.

This crazy schedule may not work for you, but it works for our family.  I often plan my days around meetings.  While we do school most mornings before I leave for work, there are some days we do it all in the evening.

Let me encourage you to find what works for you.  It is possible to homeschool and be employed.  Your schedule just may not look like the rest of the world- and that’s ok.