Homeschool Tips: How to Squeeze in Homeschooling on Busy Days

I would love to say that every day we wake with the dawn and cheerfully go about our breakfast and promptly begin school by 8am. Then we stay dutifully at our tasks all morning so that everyone is done at noon and can use the free afternoons to pursue their various interests.

I would love to say that. But it isn’t true. More often than not we are rushing. Rush to go out the door. Rush to finish up school. Rush to get to gym or basketball or dance or swim. And there are days that in the midst of doing it all, it’s just hard to get to school.

So what do we do on those days? And, probably more important, how can we avoid having too many of those days?

Homeschool Tips: Squeezing in Homeschool Work on Busy Days

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Avoiding Busy, Busy Days

There are two really key things that I’ve had to learn over my years homeschooling.


This seems so simplistic. But it is a profound truth. If you don’t have a plan, you probably won’t get much done. I don’t think your plan has to be a super duper, every second scheduled, begin at 6am plan. If you roll that way, great! I don’t.

I’ve said before that I like to plan by routines more than by times. In other words, we always start by 9:30. It’s a plan. Then we have a schedule of subjects that we follow. But I don’t strictly follow times. So sometimes Bible takes 10 minutes and sometimes it takes 20 minutes, but we always do Bible first and then move on to other together work. Sometimes we eat lunch at 12. Sometimes we eat at 12:30. But we always eat after we finish most of our together work.

Don’t over-commit.

Not much school is going to happen if you have multiple activities outside your home every day. We have to be HOME to HOMESCHOOL. (And, yes, I know there really is such a thing as “roadschooling” but I’ve never been very good at it!) There are many wonderful things we can be involved in- field trips, co-ops, classes, Bible studies. But sometimes we need to say “no.”

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Making Time for Schoolwork on Those Unavoidably Busy Days

So, you are now committed to having few super busy, never get it all done days. But sometimes it happens anyway. There are doctor’s appointments. There are urgent errands to run. Now what? Don’t worry. All is not lost. There are ways to squeeze in learning and still have some productive time.

Read aloud during meals.

This won’t always work because it usually means you don’t get to eat right away. But if you are trying to find some time, read aloud to the kids while they eat. They are a pretty captive audience then, and this can be a great time to finish up on some “all together” reading.

Listen to audio books.

Several years we’ve used Story of the World as our history curriculum. It has some great audio CDs. We could save time by listening to the chapters in the car. Then I didn’t have to read the material out loud later, and we made good use of our time in the car. There are so many great kids’ books available on CD, including tons of great living books for your homeschool.

You can also find a large variety of pleasure reading as well as school reading on Audible. We’ve found lots of kids’ classics as well as the Apologia science books there. And if you’re looking for great audio kids’ books without breaking the bank, you can find free audiobooks on LibriVox. 

Watch DVDs during meals.

Often there are some great DVDs that either come with or supplement your curriculum. Use them as a “movie time” during lunch or supper. Again, the kids are a captive audience; you have to sit still long enough to eat; and you can actually accomplish something during the time.

Do a little even if you can’t do it all.

This doesn’t work for every subject, but it does work with some. Maybe you don’t have time to finish the whole math lesson. But you can read it over and do a few problems. Then the next day, you can finish the lesson and do another. That way you didn’t skip a day, and you didn’t have to do two full lessons in a day. You made use of the time you had. Read part of the reading even if you don’t have time to read it all. Then tomorrow, you don’t have two days of reading, you only have a little extra.

Homeschool Tips: Squeezing in Homeschool Work on Busy Days

One of the great beauties of homeschooling is the flexibility. We can fit in learning on our own schedules. We can make it work. Plan your days, and plan to not stay super busy. But when those times are unavoidable squeeze school in wherever you can.

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