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to-dolistsforhomeschoolers

Two Sunday’s ago, we talked about goal setting, so today I want to talk about another powerful tool for our homeschoolers… the to-do list.
So why a to-do list?
To-do lists with Title of article

To-do lists help us stay productive and focused on our goals. It helps us prioritize our day. This is true for even our natural learners.

The Key Elements to the List

Child-led List

The most important element to a natural learning to-do list is that it is the child’s list. It needs to be based on how they want to prioritize their day and what they want to accomplish. When it’s an adult imposed list, there is no ownership for the child. It may not contain things that are truly important to them which can cause avoidance or other negative behaviors. This means you as the parent need to be open to what your child puts on their list.

The littlest ones will need guidance. If they are verbal enough, ask them what they want to do. If they aren’t that verbal yet like our 17 month old, then simply include things you know they like on their to do list. For example, Scout loves building with blocks, reading books with us, coloring, playing outside, etc. These are some of the items I include on her to-do list.

Consistent Time 

Another key element is making sure to write their to-do list at a consistent time each day. Some people like me prefer to do them the night before. It helps ease my anxiety at night which helps me sleep better. Others prefer to do them in the morning as part of their daily routine. You may want to try both for about a week or so to see which is best for your child. Then be sure to stick with the routine.

Review the List

Be sure to review the list several times a day. If you wrote the night before, go over it at the start of the day as part of your morning routine. The children can cross items off the list as they complete them and then look to see what is next on their list. I recommend reviewing the list at least 3 times, once in the morning, once at lunch time, and once at dinner.

Keep the List Small

The size of the list will vary for each child. Keep it simple. Children can’t realistically do 100 things in the day, so be sure to help guide them to narrow down their list. Vice versa, older children may need more than two items on their lists. Again, the number will depend on the age, maturity, and level of comfort with to-do lists for each child.

*If you are in the beginning stages of using to-do lists, remember it’s more about teaching the process than it is actually using the list.

Reflection

I like to add a nighttime reflection with the kiddos. What went well on the list? What didn’t go so well? Was there something they should have included on the list but didn’t? Was there something they should have not included with their list?

The self-reflection helps them to truly learn how to use a to-do list with items that are a priority. It also helps them to see what is important to them and not so important. Along with what needs to be done vs. what they want to do instead.

What should a homeschoolers to-do list include?

This completely depends on the child and their interests. However, here is a list of some ideas…

  1. Chores
  2. Outdoor Time
  3. Play Time
  4. Painting
  5. Play Dough Play
  6. Minecraft Time
  7. Book Time
  8. Time with Mom or Dad Alone
  9. Trip to the Library
  10. Research a Topic
  11. Build with Legos
  12. Go for Hike

What Type of To-Do List Works Best?

Well again, this is completely dependent on the child and what works best for them. There are many ways to do a to-do list.

Paper-Pencil List

There’s the good ole paper-pencil list. Sometimes people including children need to physically write it down to help them think.

*Some kiddos especially younger ones might draw pictures instead of writing down the words. Whatever works best for them!

Apps

There are many apps available via phones or tablets. You and your homeschooler will just have to try different ones until you find the one that works best for them.

Planners

Planners are another great place to keep to do lists handy. Planners allow them to keep track of important dates, their goals and their to-do lists.

*If you need documentation of your child’s learning, a planner with daily to-do lists, goals, and dates would be a great resource to either use or look back through when you are compiling your documentation.

Over all, To-do lists are a great tool for children to learn to use to keep them productive and motivated. It also helps them to learn how to prioritize.  They can be used by any kiddo including traditional homeschoolers, unschoolers, and even children in a school system. Just remember giving your child the lead whether you agree with their to-do list or not is what will be key to them truly learning the importance to a to-do list.

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winter-activity-sledding

Now that winter has officially arrived, it can be harder to find the motivation to get outside. The cold, the snow, and lack of sunlight can make us want to just hunker down on the couch. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Title picture with a girl riding in her sled in the snow

I personally love the snow. This makes me seem crazy to most because they prefer summer and Michigan’s warmer weather. However, I have found that the ones who enjoy winter are always the ones who enjoy some form of a winter activity. For me, its snowmobiling, hiking, or just playing in the snow with the kids.

Our 17 month old sledding for the first time
Scout trying out her sled

Getting outside no matter the season is important to me. There are so many benefits to being outside for me and Scout from being active to boosting our mood. There’s a ton of research on how nature is good for us.

I want to start young with the kids and show them how fun outside can be. So, we are beginning to introduce Scout to more outdoor activities now that she’s getting bigger.

Our first winter activity is sledding. We began small by simply pulling her around the yard. She looks bored in all the pictures I took because she only smiles when daddy pulls her fast, of course. She is our little risk taker, so I am not surprised she only likes going fast.

Our daughter sledding while her daddy pulls her around
Once big brother is here again, we will take both kids to the local sledding hill. I think Scout will enjoy sledding down the hill. She can zoom fast or at least think she’s zooming fast.

Are you a winter person like me or do you prefer warmer weather? What ways do you keep your family outside and active in the winter?

A girl playing in the snow

*This post contains an affiliate link. This means I earn a small commission to help fund my blog, but there is no added cost to you when purchase from the link.

Need a sled?

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settingintentionswithhomeschoolers

Last Sunday we talked about setting goals with your children, so this week I want to talk to you about setting intentions with homeschoolers.

Setting Intentions with Homeschoolers
According to Webster’s Dictionary…

Goals: the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.
Intentions: a thing intended; an aim or plan.

Some people use the words goals and intentions interchangeably, but to me they are very different and distinct words. Both are crucial to our developments in my opinion.

“Goals focus on a fixed outcome in the future, while intentions focus on the present and provide the guiding light to living mindfully moment-to-moment.” –Zigizen.com

Goals to me are specific, measurable, and attainable within a specified time-line. For example, I will read 2 books before January 31st.

Intentions, however, are completely different. These are things we want to guide our life… our purpose. There are no set time limits, just ways we intentionally want to live our life. Think of these of what you want your desired life to be like.

Setting intentions with homeschoolers is just as important as their yearly goals. Children can have a “homeschooled” life that they desire or ways they want to live their lives more intentionally if we show them how.

Still not sure on the difference or just need some ideas?

Here are some examples…

  • I intend to try new things.
  • I intend to read more.
  • I intend to engage with my friends more face to face.
  • I intend to do more for the planet.
  • I intend to volunteer.
  • I intend to explore more about animals.
  • I intend to write every day.

These are just a few examples of some intentions.

Be sure the intentions are Child-led, but will be more adult guided at the beginning until children learn how to set their own intentions.   Don’t expect any child regardless of their age to do this independently the first several times. Help them and guide them, but be open to what their true intentions are…. not what YOU want them to be.

Setting intentions with homeschoolers can inspire them to be life long learners and better people in general.

 

Did you set intentions with your homeschooler? What are some examples of their intentions?

Setting Intentions With Homeschoolers Can Inspire Learning

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