Most kids don’t learn time management naturally. As parents, we so often feel like our students don’t manage their time well. Join us as we discuss the facts about teaching time management more effectively. This episode will have information for parents of all age students, but will be particularly helpful to families with children who are middle school and high school age.
Gretchen Roe: 00:00:04.798
Welcome to The Demme Learning Show. Our mission here is to help families stay in the learning journey wherever it takes them. This bonus episode was previously recorded as a webinar and was not created with the audio listener in mind. We hope you will find value in today’s episode.
Gretchen Roe: 00:00:22.617
Hello everyone. Welcome. My name is Gretchen Roe. And it’s my great pleasure to welcome you today to this webinar about teaching time management skills. I have to tell you that so many of you responded to this. I know this is something that is a touchpoint for so many parents because it seems so hard. And we wonder why it seems so hard. And so we have lots of things to share with you all today. We even have a couple of slides to illustrate some of the points that we want to share. And this is going to feel a little bit like drinking from a fire hose. So let me say at the outset that you will receive this recording. You’ll probably want to visit it again. If you have middle schoolers and high schoolers, it might be worthwhile revisiting it with them. By way of introduction, my name is Gretchen Roe. My husband and I homeschooled six children, 21 years. Five of them are now college graduates. And I’m staring down the gun barrel of the end of the journey. Our youngest is a senior in high school. And I’m going to let my colleagues introduce themselves. Today, we’re going to reverse the alphabet. And we’re going to start with Jody. And Jody, if you’ll introduce yourself and then I’ll have Amanda introduce herself and then we’ll get started in earnest.
Jody Scott: 00:01:42.910
Okay. I am Jody. And I have been with Demme Learning for a couple of years now. I have homeschooled all six of my children. And I’m down to the last one as well. But he will be a junior in high school. I also am an evaluator for other homeschool families.
Gretchen Roe: 00:02:06.171
Amanda Capps: 00:02:09.594
I’m Amanda Capps. I have been in the customer service department with Demme Learning for the last almost 13 years. I am a second-generation homeschooler. I have eight children. I have graduated my first. And I have obviously seven more coming up behind her. And so it is always an adventure here at our house. I’ve been married almost 15 years to my husband, Justin. He is a firefighter and EMS worker. So that shift work adds a fun dynamic as well. But ultimately, I just love homeschooling my kids and supporting the customers that I get to interact with on the daily at Demme Learning.
Gretchen Roe: 00:02:49.599
Great. Well, I have to tell you all, we’ve been very excited to put this together for you because I think we have lots of things to share and lots of things to talk about. And the premise that we want to set forth, something that came up over and over again in the half an hour planning session that we scheduled that ran over an hour was that we want to encourage you to be the best observer of your student. You’re going to have the opportunity here to have a very unique experience with each one of your children to figure out how they learn. And that will help you tailor how to help them learn independently. Not every child is the same. I know in my experience – and you’ll hear this from each of us as we go along today – I had to have five kids who had varied degrees of really needing help before I got to my sixth kid who as the youngest just said to me in fourth grade, “How about you give me a list and I’ll let you know if I need you.” You may not have those children at your household. And that’s really very normal. So Amanda, can you tell us a little bit about seasons
Amanda Capps: 00:04:01.599
Absolutely. So, first of all, I think sometimes we get the idea that because we’re homeschoolers and we’re homeschooling, education is just going to kind of seamlessly enter on a daily basis. And we’re going to wake up and look like Mary Poppins and spoonful of sugar and songs and animals, and it’s just going to be this delightful experience. And yet, life doesn’t stop happening just because you’re trying to educate your children at home. Babies are born. Deaths happen. Moves happen. Job changes happen. There is so much that can and will happen as you journey through teaching your children, and it’s an incredible opportunity as a parent to have your children witness how you navigate the different seasons. But also, I would encourage you to give yourself a little bit of grace in that. Sometimes certain seasons are going to be really hard. And if the most consistent you can be is math and reading and making sure that you’re checking in with your child on a daily basis, that might be what it needs to be for that time period. Obviously, we can’t do something like that long term and have good results, but definitely, build grace into your homeschool journey.
Gretchen Roe: 00:05:28.860
Great. Jody, can you talk a little bit about over-scheduling?
Jody Scott: 00:05:34.913
Well, over-scheduling is something we all fall victim to because we have a lot of goals. We do have a vision, and it’s like going to a buffet, too. You want it all, and you want to do it all, but when we pile on too much, when we try to put too much into our schedule, there’s no margin for life to actually happen. If someone spills the milk, well, then our whole day is off-kilter. So I think you definitely need to be realistic about how much your scheduling and schedule in that margin for life to happen, which it repeatedly does.
Gretchen Roe: 00:06:28.035
Can you ladies each speak briefly about involving your student in that scheduling process, in that planning process? Amanda, I’ll start with you, and then Jody, if you can chime in.
Amanda Capps: 00:06:40.330
Sure. So this is a great opportunity. Again, I would reiterate what Gretchen already shared. You kind of have to go into a conversation with your child, knowing kind of how they’re wired. I personally know that if I try to get my 13-year-old daughter functioning before 9:00 AM on anything academic, I am wasting my time and my breath. Because she is just the type of person who doesn’t get going first thing in the morning. My son, who’s 11, on the other hand, is up and hitting on all cylinders and he wants a list. And he is very diligent about– if I put it down in writing, he will follow that and he will check the boxes and he will get it done to the best of his ability. Doesn’t mean I don’t still need to make sure that the job has been done thoroughly into my standards. But very different kiddos, very different personalities, and you really kind of have to take that into consideration when you’re having those conversations. Set yourself and them up for success.
Jody Scott: 00:07:52.498
I think that there are– I think Amanda’s absolutely right. Different children respond differently to different schedules. And if I had scheduled all the important subjects in the morning for my one daughter, we wouldn’t have gotten very far. And I had to allow her, even in high school, to stay up later than me. That was really hard for me to do. To stay up later to do her schoolwork because she was a night owl. And I had to let go, trust the process, and see what she would do. And because her work did get done, and it got done well and on time, I thought, “Well, okay. We need to go with this because it works for her.” And she actually took a job in the mornings and didn’t even do her schoolwork until afternoons and evenings, which kind of went against my idea of school first. Get your work done first. But her best school time was in the evening. I think when they’re little, you can incorporate choices in a different way. You can say, “Would you like to do math first every day or reading first every day?” You can give them little choices as they’re able to– obviously, when they’re younger, they cannot be as involved. They don’t even know themselves as well. You are the observer of them, and so you can guide them, but still give them little choices along the way.
Gretchen Roe: 00:09:36.730
And we’ve got our first question in it. I think it’s a good one. It says, “I understand we can support kids when and how they learn– where and how they learn, but how can we shape them for the real world expectations of getting to work at 9:00 AM or 8:00 AM or, as one of our colleagues does from the West Coast, 5:30 AM? And how do we prepare them for college when they can’t have it tailored to their–?” And I think that’s a really good question. I think the answer to it is a little bit more nuanced. It depends on the age of the student. And so what I want to encourage you all is every child is indeed different. My eldest son could not be left alone to complete a single mathematics problem until he was 16 years old. That meant I literally had to be next to him for every math problem he was going to do because his level of distraction and disengagement with something he didn’t enjoy was so profound that there was no way he would get through it. One of the things that we have to be prepared to do is wait for the expectation of that neurodevelopmental milestone of prefrontal cortex development. You might not see that in a 13-year-old or a 15-year-old, or even in my son until he was probably 16 and a half. You have to be able to set those expectations.
Gretchen Roe: 00:11:00.669
So I agree with Julia’s question. Yes, we need to set them up for the real world. And by the same token – we’re going to talk a little bit about tailoring to their learning preferences in a minute – but we also have to be realistic in the fact that if it’s going to be a fight and a struggle every day, that’s the kid who’s going to work shift work and maybe work second or third shift, because they just don’t function well in the morning. One of my children actually ended up being that way for several years as a young adult. She now works a morning job. She had to teach herself as an adult to get up in the morning because she was, like Jody’s daughter, that child who didn’t come alive until 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Many of you have asked us about having expectations for what can a student do by themselves at what age? And so Jody and Amanda are going to talk a little bit about this. But before I let them do that, I want to share a screen with you. And the reason I want to share a screen is because I want to set expectations appropriately. What I have here on my screen is x-rays of a hand. The child’s on the right is age 6. The teenager on the right is age 13 to 14. And the reason that I want to share this screen with you is because I want you to understand sometimes as parents, we set our kids up, and we say, “Here,” to a seven-year-old, “I expect you to do this,” by themselves. And they don’t have the manual dexterity to make whatever it is we have set forth for them happen by themselves. The bones in this young child’s hands aren’t even complete yet. It’s an unrealistic expectation for me to expect my young child to complete an essay or an assignment when they don’t even have fully developed hands. That also goes to their emotional development as well. So now I’m going to stop sharing my screen, and I’m going to ask these ladies to talk about the differences in expectation. When can you expect a student to be independent? When can you expect a student, and for what subjects can you expect them to be independent? This time we’ll start with Jodi.
Jody Scott: 00:13:29.986
I feel like I’m using the same answer. It depends on the individual student. I keep using that answer because it is, honestly, so true. What I expected of my one daughter, my son came along, and I could not expect the same thing of him. I was still his scribe in fourth and fifth grade. When he was writing essays and stories, I was still his scribe. I was writing down what he was saying because the act of writing was interfering with his composition. My daughter was able to do that much earlier. So I want to say this: comparisons are odious. They stink. You cannot compare. We said that over and over again in our homeschooling: comparisons are odious. They stink. Because you cannot compare what one child can do at one age to another child can do at their age. You can look online, and find, generally, when a student should be able to do X, Y, and Z. But then within that, once again, you need to study your child, and you need to give them that space to be individuals and have different expectations based on their individuality.
Amanda Capps: 00:15:06.184
This is something that really hits home for me, in particular, because two of my children are diagnosed dyslexic. My son is ADHD, and my daughter is ADD. And so those things impact how successful they are at independent tasks, and very much impacts their ability to have any sort of time awareness whatsoever. And so that has been one of the areas where it has been really challenging. Because my first two daughters taught themselves to read. They were great readers. I could assign them anything, or say, “Hey, I need you to get this task done or this set of tasks.” I mean, I could give them multiple ones. Obviously, not as a seven-year-old, but I mean, as they aged, and they matured, those leadership skills and those abilities became very obvious. And then these two children behind them, not even close to the same experience. And one of the things that we have really had to be aware of with them is, they are incredibly brilliant. They are incredibly smart, but the skills level is so much lower than where their brains are. And so that means yes, I’m doing a lot of read-aloud. That means I’m doing a lot of audible. That means I’m doing a lot of scribing. Because they just don’t have the stamina. They don’t have the motor skills. They don’t have the ability to sustain reading for a long time or even reading maybe even an entire chapter in a book. And so for me to have that expectation of them would demoralize them, frustrate me, and really ruin our dynamic of having a good educational experience. But then I have that fine line of, I don’t want them to feel like I’m having to dumb anything down or make it easier. So we compromise in who does what so that they can be at the level that they are here, even if the other things are not up to the same place yet. And the operative word is yet because I have watched as they have grown as they matured. It’s been slower. It hasn’t been at the same rate as some of my other kids, but it’s still there, and it’s still something that I can see as we progress that it’s happening. It’s just at a much slower rate.
Gretchen Roe: 00:17:52.997
One of the things that I think is important is the same child that I mentioned earlier, my eldest son, who couldn’t be unsupervised, even into his high school years. When that prefrontal cortex finally got it together, he graduated high school at 17. He did a year with AmeriCorps. And then he started his own business, paid his way through college, and finished college in three years. So the reason I tell you that story is because I want you to be encouraged just because you’re not seeing time management skills in the real, right in front of you right now, it doesn’t mean you’re never going to see them. You have to be willing to recognize you’re playing the long game here. And when we homeschool, as Steve Demme says, we are individually tutoring each one of our children. And one of the things that’s really important is we have to recognize that in that tutorial process, we have to be willing to go the extra mile to teach our children how to manage their time. When I teach time management skills at homeschool conferences, one of the things I ask parents is to estimate how well they can estimate time. And if you are a poor estimator of time, it will follow that your children won’t be able to estimate time well. Many of you said, “I want you to help me learn how to manage my time, so I can help my kids learn how to manage their time.” And the truth of the matter is, kids don’t wait. So I would like Jody and Amanda to explain a little bit how they prepare in advance for their instruction so that their kids don’t have to wait on them to know what’s coming next. Amanda?
Amanda Capps: 00:19:41.546
So this is where curriculum choice can really make or break a situation or a subject. So like I said, I work for Demme Learning. I’m a mother of eight. So we’ve got a lot going on, a lot of people and a lot of different age ages going on at the same time so for me, picking curriculums that fit the open-and-go model, which is what I’ve coined it because that was the best term I could think of as far as how to describe it when people ask me, “Well, what do you use for curriculum?” I choose intentionally curriculums that I can sit down, open, and we can do immediately, that I don’t have to do a lot of teaching or teaching prep because I just legitimately don’t have it. I don’t have that time or that luxury of hours to read through teachers manuals and plan and lesson plan. I have the most basic, the most to-the-point curriculums and tools with which to record and keep up with what we do because that’s just the reality of my life. If I was trying to fight that, we would be in big trouble.
Gretchen Roe: 00:20:56.308
Jody Scott: 00:20:59.364
Well, I have to think back. I’m not quite in the thick of things the way Amanda is. But for me, organization was key. Everything had a place. Everything had a place on the shelf. Every child had a place to go get their things because a lot of time can be wasted in disorganization. So that’s how I started first, get myself organized, get the materials organized. I had to let go of my dream idea, my Norman Rockwell picture of what it would look like to homeschool at the table while we all did lap books and in a clean house with the crock pot brewing. I just had to let go of my expectations of myself and my idealistic view of what it should look like because with six kids in 13 years, I needed to have the grabbing-go model. I needed to have something that was ready. I tried some other things, and it took so much preparation outside of teaching them that I wasn’t doing life with them. And I needed to make some choices and evaluate how I was spending my time even outside of teaching them. I just couldn’t spend my time on planning when I wanted to spend it on interacting with them planning–
Gretchen Roe: 00:22:41.662
Jody, can you talk a little bit about what you see in the evaluation process with the parents who are successful? We had a little bit of this discussion last week. And you can kind of gauge when you look at those portfolios where organization skills play a role.
Jody Scott: 00:23:01.636
Sure. When families come to me, it almost seems like the more organized they have been, the more intentional they’ve been, the more growth that I see. When you stumble through your days, you just don’t accomplish as much. I also found that it is so important that the curriculum not just fit the student, but fit the teacher. Because if she doesn’t like it, if there’s something about it, it just doesn’t fit her teaching style. In addition to their learning style, she’s not going to take it off the shelf as frequently as she needs to. And there is a direct correlation really between mom’s diligence, mom’s organization, mom’s intentionality, and the student’s’ success.
Gretchen Roe: 00:24:05.474
Amanda, can you talk a little bit about being careful to select curriculum that meets the learning style of a student, learning preference of a student, without parsing yourself into a thousand parts to be all things to all people?
Amanda Capps: 00:24:28.645
Sure. So I mean, for me, this means choosing curriculums that are multi-sensory so that’s already kind of built in. So no matter what my child’s learning strength is, that curriculum is going to kind of teach that way. Honestly, that’s the way I kind of learn best, too. I tend to be a very visual and auditory combo person. And so for me, being able to see something while I’m getting input is how I’m going to process information the best, and I have children that are wired that way. But I also find for my ones that are really antsy, having something that’s in their hands, grounds them. Having the ability to kick a leg or move as long as it’s not too terribly distracting to everybody else, it’s fine. My one kid has to have headphones. I mean, she’s got to be able to block out what’s going on around her so that she can focus and can maintain focus. So there are all kinds of great tools, headphones, background music. I know for my husband, he has to study with stuff that– music that doesn’t have words. Anything that has a lyric is going to get him off track and out of focus. And that’s very true, even with our kids. Playing some classical music in the background or there are even stations curated specifically to background studying music.
Gretchen Roe: 00:25:58.524
One of the things I think that’s really important, and Amanda has alluded to this as well, is when you have a child who has attention deficit, you want to be able to set them up for success. So I have a couple of points that I want to share. I’m actually developing a presentation next year for the conference circuit on working with kids with ADD. And having had multiple kids with that, and being diagnosed with attention deficit myself, I can tell you that as a parent who is organized, it’s frustrating when you see the disorganization of your children. And so I want to give you a couple of points to help make this easier. First of all, when you say, “Hey, sit down, come over here. I want you to pay attention or you’re not paying attention”, that’s very defeating to a child who’s already struggling in their ability to pay attention. So if you can catch them in what they’re doing right, instead of what they’re doing wrong, that will be far more encouraging to them. Teach to their strengths, don’t teach to their weaknesses. Know where their best time is. We’ve already spoken about a child who’s not a morning person. That’s not the time to struggle with the things they struggle with most. There is current research on ADD that says that asking a child to choose, as Jody has already said, “Do you want to do math first, or do you want to do reading first?”, helps that child align themselves And if they choose something for which they have an interest, they’re more likely to enter into their academics and stay engaged longer. That’s not me. That’s studies that are currently hosting that information on children with attention deficit. Large projects are enormously difficult for kids with attention deficit. So if you have a project you want to accomplish, think about that project in advance and collaborate with your student so that you can break it down into smaller chunks so that they can stay engaged by portion instead of the overwhelmingness of a big project. And something I think that I did not know about my own children until I was diagnosed with ADD in my 50s, transitions are really difficult for kids. So if you’re having a great morning time as Pam Barnhill refers to it and you’re having wonderful fellowship, but then you’re like, “Okay, let’s sit down and get busy.” That is twice as hard for your attention-deficit student as it is for your nonattention-deficit student. So you’re much better off to say to them, “All right, in five minutes, we’re going to transition into doing some bookwork.” And that allows them to set themselves up for success.
Gretchen Roe: 00:28:48.094
Two other points, one thing that I think is very important is when you’re ADD student says, “I forgot,” they did. It’s not they’re not trying to gaslight you or make you crazy. They really, their brain is organized differently and they hold information differently than a neurotypical student. So being able to give them as Amanda has described, a checklist, an ability to refer back to something – “Oh, yeah, this is where I should be in my day.” – makes it far more successful for them. And then the last thing, and I think maybe the most important thing is they don’t really mean to misbehave. They don’t mean to blurt out what’s on their mind. Their brains are organized different. And if you can learn to take that advantage, so if you have an attention deficit student who says, “How come worms or brown,” and you’re in the middle of doing spelling, “I don’t know why worms are brown, but that’s a really good question. Let’s write it down and then we’ll come back to that later.” What that’s done is two things. It’s honored your student for the question they’ve asked, but it’s also helped you from being derailed in the process. And I think that that’s really important. Amanda, can you talk about quality over quantity? And I know you had something to add to what I was saying. So please do.
Amanda Capps: 00:30:14.095
I think one of the really important points to make right here as we are talking specifically about attention deficit disorder and ADD is a normal neurotypical child only has an attention span their age plus two or three minutes. So I think a lot of kids are getting a bad rap that they are antsy or they can’t focus or they don’t sit for long enough, but I think the reality is our expectation is way off. And we as parents have to understand, I mean, as an adult who is a Type A neurotypical person, after about 45 minutes of engaged focus and whatever topic we’re having a meeting on, I’m zoning out, I’m spacing, I’m daydreaming too. It’s just your brain only has so much focus. And again, it starts very, very small in that amount of time and it builds as they age and they mature. So this idea of going into hour blocks for subjects for little kids is insane. And it’s not going to be successful. So I think coming at this armed with the right information and knowing how to schedule your day, keep things short and sweet, change it up, and then if we need a little– if we needed to devote a little more time to a certain thing, take a break, do something else and then come back to it. It’s not a bad thing and you’re not derailing your process if you switch it up or take breaks or kind of popcorn it as we call it at our house as far as what the subjects are. And And then I’m sorry. What was the question that I was supposed to be answering?
Gretchen Roe: 00:32:06.616
No. I think you kind of did answer it because what you’re talking about is really what I was looking for is those small increments are so vital. Jody, you said something that was so valuable when we met together last week and that is being able to understand that you have to train kids before you can see independence in kids. And you equated that with taking a new job. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
Jody Scott: 00:32:37.865
Sure. And I think if any of us have even just started to learn a new task, maybe it’s not a brand new job or maybe you’re just learning how to cook or learning how to use your new phone or whatever it is, if someone just said, “Okay. Go,” we would be overwhelmed. We would not be ready to be independent. When I first started this job, I relied on my coworkers to demonstrate for me how to do things, to walk me through it. And then time would come to do it again, and I’d have to call Amanda again, message her, “How do you do this again?” And that is as an adult. I think we have this expectation that we show them once and they should know it. And yet when we are shown something once, we need to see it again and again. And I think we need to have patience for the process. And we need to trust the process. And they will learn. I know that the question came up earlier about how will they be ready for the real world. And because the real world is you look at college, you look at jobs and you think, “Oh, my goodness. I want them to be employable. I want them to be marriageable. How are we going to get to this point?” In very small, little steps, baby steps. But you have years to make all of those steps. And you are modeling for them how to do things. And you are taking them by the hand. You are their personal life coach for life. And they will get there. I can honestly say they will get there. Again, I had a son that I was still holding– you’re doing a lot of hand-holding, even in high school. And I thought, “Oh, my goodness. How?” But you know what? He had learned to be resourceful. He still needed some help. But you know what? In college, he went to the study center. And he went and got tutoring when he needed to. He was resourceful. And he learned that in our home, to be resourceful. So you will get there– you will get there. Have patience in the process and trust the process, baby steps.
Gretchen Roe: 00:35:15.694
I think we hit on something that was very interesting when we spoke last week. Amanda, we talked about being an internal processor and an external processor. And the example we were talking about was learning to drive a car. But I think it’s more applicable to everything we’re doing as far as academics is concerned. So can you revisit that portion of our conversation?
Amanda Capps: 00:35:39.677
Absolutely. I was actually talking to another homeschool mom, a friend of mine, and I was sharing with her my secondborn’s reluctance to want to drive. And in that conversation, she just said, in teaching her own kids to drive, that she realized that there was a lot going on in here. We always, as parents tend to have an internal dialog. We’re constantly, you know, looking at the next task and the next thing. But how often are we actually verbalizing and talking those processes through in front of our kids so that they know what our process is? So they’re learning those step-by-step processes that help make us successful. I mean, they don’t– they can’t read my mind. They don’t know what’s going on in there. And so I really just thought, “Wow, what a great point for me to look at.” Okay, what am I keeping internally that I need to externalize for them and how often am I setting this expectation that they should just know because they’ve seen me do it? When watching somebody and actually knowing what their process is and why they’re doing what they’re doing, if kids ask anything, I mean, their favorite question on the face of the planet is why. They want to know why they have to do it. They want to know why it’s important. Why does this even have to be done? And so I think we, as parents, can really set them up for success by giving them the why.
Gretchen Roe: 00:37:23.928
Absolutely. I have another slide I want to share with you all. And let me see if I can get this to do– one of the things I think that is important is we, as parents, sometimes inadvertently do this. We weaponize the outcome. And by that, I mean, you might have a child who has a room that looks like what you see on my screen here. And you say, “Go clean your room.” But what we have to do in order to teach our children to manage their time is to teach them how to break a large task, that looks like an overwhelming task, and break it down into a smaller task. And so if I were teaching my child to manage their time and this is– several of you said this, you said, “How can I convince my high schooler that spending two hours to do two workbook pages is not a good use of his time? Or how can I convince my high schooler not to rush everything all the way to the end because they haven’t planned their time well?” One of the ways that we do that is we have to model life. So if I were teaching a child to manage their time instead of saying, “Go clean your room.” I would take this picture here and I would say, “The first thing I want you to do is here is a laundry basket. I want you to take everything that is could be construed as a piece of clothing or bedding and put it in the laundry basket.” And that helps begin to declutter the environment. And then I would go back and I would say, “The next thing I want you to do is I want you to take those books that you see in the bookcase and I want to be able to read what’s on each spine. So I want you to set them up. I’m going to set my watch for 10 minutes. I’m going to come back and check on you in 10 minutes.” This way, you’re taking a large task and you’re breaking it down into manageable components. When you’re done, then you take pictures when you have what you want so that the next time they do it, you can say, “Hey, here’s a picture. Remember, this is what the bookcase looked like three weeks ago, and now it looks like this again. Can you go back and make it look like the picture?” And that takes what can be insurmountable to a child and makes it a doable enterprise. So, ladies, I want to step back into some of the questions that we have because, man, boy, did we get a lot of them. So what is a way to– Amanda, give me one of the most practical tips you have for encouraging your children to manage their time without being a nag or a nudge. Jody, I’m going to ask you the same thing. So because several parents said, I just feel like I’m nagging all the time. How can we be effective without being annoying?
Amanda Capps: 00:40:11.396
So I think that, again, is a great way for lists– take five minutes write down what you expect, and then the– you hand over the list, the responsibility’s on them. I mean, yeah, the reality is there’s just not enough mom to go around. There’s eight people, eight different developmental stages, different things going on, and then two, my next best tip would be, get those older kids involved. If you have kiddos that have good compatible personalities and there’s not the “We’re gonna have to bring out boxing gloves” to get a task done between two of them, there is nothing wrong with training an older child to be an overseer or to be a point of reference. “Hey, if you get stuck, so-and-so is here, and they can answer your question while I’m doing this with this child.” So delegation is a huge skill as a parent of multiple kids and multiple ages. You just literally can’t do it all yourself.
Gretchen Roe: 00:41:26.503
Jody Scott: 00:41:29.798
I did like to involve my students in this in that I would say, “How long do you think it’s going to take you to do this?” Okay. Let’s cushion that because we always want margin. So you think you can get this done in 10 minutes? Let’s give it 20, and timers, timers, timers. All of my kids had timers because then let’s set the timer– quiet timers, silent timers, or you’ll drive yourself crazy. And then, okay, “Then you’re ready for the next task. How long do you think?” And I found that when they were the ones saying– they were in the driver’s seat saying, “Oh, I can do this in 15 minutes.” I would say, “Okay, we’re going to cushion that and give you 25,” but they wanted to get it done in 15 the way they said they could.
Jody Scott: 00:42:28.226
So I think the more ownership that they can take, the more that they can be the one declaring, “Well, this is what I will do. I will do this subject first, and I will do this,” and within limits, obviously. They still had to do it. They did better with their time when they said how much time it would take and using timers because we all lose track of time, and that was something they could just look at to see how much time do I have left, and then we would remember for the next time and say, “Okay, well, remember, it did take us like 25 minutes,” so. Because you want to set them up to succeed. That’s why I always put in the margin because they felt so great when they beat the timer.
Gretchen Roe: 00:43:22.417
Right. We used something that we called time banking in my household, and– one more time, last screen share. I want to show you what a time bank is because this is a valuable way for you to be able to teach your student how to begin to estimate time accurately. And what you see here is a student who, as Jody has said– she’s had a conversation. I’m going to use I’m going to use Jody’s example here and say, “All right, I’ve had a conversation with my son about math,” and I said to him, “How long do you think it will take for you to do these two workbook pages?” And he says, “An hour.” Okay. All right. Now, I’ve looked at that– the caveat here is, as a parent, just as Jody has said, you want to give them a little bit of cushion, but you also want to make sure that you set expectations, and in math, my expectations are that you will show your work so that I know, if you got the answer wrong, how to fix that answer and where the mistake occurred, but just for the principle here is he estimated an hour. And here’s the really important part when you’re using a time bank: you need to write down when they begin because that gives you the ability to see, were you accurate, were you wildly inaccurate, over, under? What do you need to know here? So he began at 11 a.m., he finished at 11:54, so he was within that hour, and so he got 15 minutes of banked time. And I see a couple of you– I know a couple of you are going to be asking questions. “What does banked time mean?” I’ll explain that in just a second.
Gretchen Roe: 00:45:08.327
So then we moved on to the next task, and you can see he estimated 50 minutes. He finished within that 50 minutes, so we got 15 minutes more of banked time. When he was doing language usage, obviously, whatever that task was that day, he wasn’t enjoying it. He fiddled around and he got zero minutes. And then we went on to reading and he said, whatever it was that he was going to do, he estimated that it would take him 40 minutes. It took him 35 minutes, and so he got 15 more minutes.
Gretchen Roe: 00:45:39.134
Now, what we did in our household with banked time was that’s how you earned the privilege of television watching, game playing, Wii playing – I think it was a PS2 back in those days, but it didn’t matter. It was your ability to finish tasks on time that earned you the privilege of doing the fun things. The one thing that was a premise in our time banking was you had to finish the tasks I’d set for you in a day before you could redeem minutes. So if there was work that was still undone, then you weren’t eligible to be able to have those fun things like watch television or watch a video or play a video game or something like that. How it works in your household is kind of up to you, but the idea here is that you as a parent are being very intentional to help your student learn how long a tasks takes and how to manage that kind of time. And ladies, I don’t know if you have any commentary about that, but then we’ll move back to questions. So Jody, do you have anything to say?
Jody Scott: 00:46:58.128
Just that for older kids, some kids have phones. There are apps that will track time. Because it is important to note, when am I starting, when am I ending? You want to see– you want them to be able to visually see where the wasted time is, too. So if your child does have a device, a tablet or a phone, there are time-tracking apps that you could use.
Gretchen Roe: 00:47:24.004
Amanda Capps: 00:47:25.807
And I would say this is another area or opportunity to set a good example. I mean, if you’re checking out on your phone, or you’re spending too much time on Facebook, or you’re spending too much time in a phone conversation with a friend, they’re watching. So much more is caught through watching than what you’re saying as a parent, so they are going to definitely be paying attention to how you are managing your devices and your time and how you’re allocating things. So just make sure that you’re being aware and everybody’s being pretty transparent and accountable.
Gretchen Roe: 00:48:01.680
And I think this circles back around to the really good question that Julia asked earlier is in being intentional about managing our time and teaching our children how long a task takes, that’s how we set them up to be successful down the road. If they have no comprehension of time, sometimes that becomes a very difficult proposition, you wait until they’re in high school and then all of a sudden you put parameters around your expectations and it’s really hard. So if we can teach them in small increments how to manage their time and I think it becomes a much easier proposition.
Amanda Capps: 00:48:41.581
I think too it’s– Sorry.
Gretchen Roe: 00:48:43.581
Go ahead. Nope.
Amanda Capps: 00:48:44.758
I think too, it’s really important to have some discussion centered around when time isn’t managed well and give them some ownership. What could you have done differently in this situation to make better choices about how you allocated time? Where there are things about this process that surprised you or you weren’t expecting or that kind of dialog can really help on the back end? Like if you just go, “Well, you didn’t do it.” And now everybody’s upset and frustrated and the task still isn’t done. That isn’t really helping anyone, parent or child. But if you can have an intentional conversation and say, “Okay, let’s really break this down. What did we do– What did we do right here? What could we have done better?” And it’s not that they did anything wrong or that they’re being punished, but it’s giving them that, again, that responsibility and that ownership of, “Hey, let’s look at this and really figure out a way to do it better next time.”
Jody Scott: 00:49:51.908
And honestly, I think they do that in sports. It’s the postgame, huddle up where they talk about, “Okay. So what went well? What didn’t go well? What can we change for next time?” And it just learning how to self-evaluate. And I think that’s a very, very valuable skill. And I think we can even model it by self-evaluating ourselves out loud and saying, “Wow, I didn’t get dinner on the table when–” I mean, you have to be vulnerable with your kids. But I didn’t get dinner on the table when I wanted to. I need to look at why that you know why that happened. And maybe it was that I jumped on Facebook or that I took a phone call when I maybe shouldn’t have taken the phone call. So I think there are times you have opportunities. I mean, I have opportunities myself. I’m assuming other moms have opportunities to walk this out in front of them. They have no problem with this whole evaluation process when it’s us. And so we could let them practice that way and then try self-evaluating with something. It’s a little less painful if someone else has taken a turn first.
Gretchen Roe: 00:51:13.370
[laughter] I like the way that you put that. That really is true if you let yourself be on the hot seat first, then it’s a little bit easier when it comes down to evaluating a task. I also think that there’s a lot of merit in recognizing the time management skills aren’t just for school. Did you manage your time well in preparing knowing you were leaving for soccer practice at 4:30 if you started looking for your shin guards and your cleats and your bag and all that stuff at 4:27. One of those things. I know one of the most valuable time experiences I had with my own teenagers was I got tired of listening to everybody complain about how long it took to empty the dishwasher. So I said, “Okay, for a whole week, we’re going to time these mundane tasks how long does it take? And everybody got a turn. And we figured out that the average time to really empty the dishwasher was about five minutes. And that made an enormous amount of difference. When you figured out that I really wasn’t taking away years of your life to ask you to empty the [laughter] dishwasher, it was a little bit less painful. So ladies, we’re coming up to the top of the hour. We have about seven minutes left. What would be the most valuable encouragement you could offer to a parent who’s right now joining us and pulling out their hair because this is so hard? Amanda?
Amanda Capps: 00:52:41.727
Oh, wow. I would just say I think as a parent, we get this idea as we go into– because we’re getting ready to start another school year or we’ve already started in maybe the last week or so. And we have this incredible picture of what we want it all to look like. And we may have done the planning and have the schedule and the meals– the meal plan. And that is fantastic and it’s wonderful. And sometimes, it gets us off on a really good start. But don’t [laughter] get discouraged if life starts to happen and things kind of start to fall apart at the seams [laughter]. And that’s where your community may be recognizing, “Okay. Wait a minute. We both hate interacting with each other on math or we both really don’t mesh well on creative writing.” Find a parent that that’s their passion and they love it. And then, pull them in because it is so valuable. I think we get this idea in the homeschooling community that as the parent, we have to do it all. There are co-ops. There are community college classes. There are dual credit classes. There are tutors. There are other homeschool moms who probably have a passion and a gift for something that you don’t. Don’t make your circle so small. Don’t isolate yourself. Look for those opportunities. Look for opportunities to have a field trip day. Try to plan something once a month. Try to plan something that’s not just the everyday run-of-the-mill. And then, the biggest thing for me is there is so much you can count for school that isn’t in a book, period. There are so [laughter] many life skills. There are so many things in your day-to-day of just doing life with your kids that counts as education. And you have to be an outside-of-the-box thinker and maybe a little bit creative on how you document it. But it’s there and it’s rich and it’s worthwhile. And don’t gloss over it, or overlook it, or throw it out because you don’t think it has as much value as that workbook, or that math problem, or that dissertation essay, whatever it is.
Gretchen Roe: 00:55:08.762
Jody Scott: 00:55:10.241
That was really good, Amanda. That was [laughter] so good. She’s so right. When I do evaluations, the homeschool programs that I see where I think, “Wow. I’d want to be your kid [laughter],” is when they’re doing life together. Yes, they get the book work done. But they don’t miss that richness, like you said, of baking together, or learning how to blacksmith, or whatever it is that the parents do, but just really doing life together. And I think you need to make sure– you need to remind yourself that your goal is not perfection. Your goal is relationship with your kids and progress. And there are things like Amanda pointed out that some subjects with you and the other child that, you know what, the relationship is at stake here. And that may sound dramatic, but I have lived that, where it was like, this is hurting our relationship. And having other sources, like you said, other moms going to co-ops where, you know what, the mom who is crazy about math and who loves numbers is teaching math. And I get to teach English and get all excited about English. She sends me her kids. I send her my kids. And it works, doing life and community like that. That was such a good suggestion, Amanda, but just keep in mind our goal is relationship.
Gretchen Roe: 00:56:59.367
I think that’s very good advice, Jody. Because at the end of the day, when the academic books are put away, you still have that relationship with your child. And that’s probably the most important thing of all. I hope we’ve given you some practical ideas. If you’ve seen anything that we’ve said today that has brooked a further question and you’d like a further conversation, these two lovely ladies are available on the phone and live chat and through conversation to provide you some support. I have one question before we finish because I think this is really valuable, and I’m going to read Kyle’s question and it says, “I love the discussion. I’m the rare homeschooled dad, and I appreciate you saying parents instead of moms. We flipped the script. My wife works crazy long hours and I’m the main parent involved with facilitation. Our girls are seven and ten, and we’re looking forward to implementing some of these great ideas.” We do want to be mindful of the fact that not every homeschool parent is a homeschool mom. More and more dads are involved. And when in the years that I homeschooled, my husband was the principal. He was the guy that got hauled into the equation when that relationship wasn’t working so well. So I think it’s terrific. And Kyle, you have set a high bar for our other dads. And if you can get dads involved– dads are the encouragers; those are the ones who need to be there to encourage mom in the process and kids in the journey. And we’re so grateful that this collaborative effort– this is Gretchen Roe for the Demme Learning Show. Thanks for joining us. You can access the show notes and watch a recording at DemmeLearning.com/Show or go on our YouTube channel. Be sure to rate, review, follow, or subscribe wherever you may be hearing this, especially if you really enjoyed it.
Find out where you can subscribe to The Demme Learning Show on our show page.
There is a direct correlation between parental involvement and student success. The ultimate goal is that they will be independent, but maintain your expectations appropriately. Nothing can replace an engaged parent/instructor. Every child is different, and each child achieves a degree of independence at their own pace.
You set the “tone” for your home as the emotional barometer for your children to look to for guidance. Healthy parents raise healthy kids. Emotional intelligence is taught, not caught.
Particularly if you have a child with ADHD and time management issues, we encourage you to recognize the following:
- Teach to their strengths, not their weaknesses, and be intentional about your encouragement (catch them doing it “right”).
- Be careful of saying “you’re not paying attention.” There is a circus going on in their head—could you pay attention with that happening?
- “I forgot” is not an excuse—it is truth. Don’t be angry for what they cannot control.
- They don’t mean to misbehave and blurt things out (the part of their brain that controls impulse is not as tuned in). It’s more encouraging to them if you gently redirect without making them feel guilty.
- Transitions are VERY difficult—anticipate them and help students stay engaged. Let students know ahead of time that you will be stepping into another phase of their academic day. These kids really benefit from a “transitional break” to stretch, take a breath, and reorient their focus.
- A neurodivergent brain holds information differently than a neurotypical brain and sometimes needs more repetition/hooks. In these instances, you can ease their anxiety by offering smiling encouragement.
- Large projects, or what SEEM to be large projects to them, need to be broken down into smaller elements. Don’t expect them to know how to do this. Help them think through the project in “bite-sized” chunks.
We Are Here to Help
If you have any questions, you can contact us at the link below.Get in Touch