30 Days of Homeschool : Day 3 – Productivity

PREFACE/ENCOURAGEMENT/PONTIFICATION:
A major part of any endeavor is productivity. As homeschool is a huge endeavor, productivity is vital. I’m presenting some free resources here that focus on time management and keeping track of your progress. If you don’t keep track of what you’ve done, you’re not able to see how far you’ve come and how close you are to your goal. It’s far too easy to get dragged down to the point of distress, or even despair, if you aren’t able to see, somehow, that you’re actually making progress to your goals of training your children. Productivity takes effort. It’s really easy to get drawn down into the cycle of study for a test, then test, then study, then test.

This is far from keeping your nose to the grindstone; you end up focusing on the task for the sake of the task, not for the sake of accomplishing the goal. And the goal isn’t the test – it’s preparing your children for life.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius
“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.” – Benjamin Franklin
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” – Moses, Psalm 90:12
“…making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” – Paul, Ephesians 5:16

Pomodoro technique: http://pomodorotechnique.com/
This site is a great resource in and of itself – no need to buy anything. The premise is simple, but it can be quite hard to implement, especially since you’re at home with kids all around. But feel free, as always, to use it or not, and if you use it, modify as you see fit. The idea is this: work on your task for 25 minutes WITH NO INTERRUPTION – break for 5 mts. – then repeat this 30-mt. set 3 more times — take a 30-minute break. So it’s: 25-5-25-5-25-5-25-5-30.
If you want an app for your smartphone there are free apps…just search for pomodoro For free on your computer, try: http://www.marinaratimer.com/ or http://tomato-timer.com/
Or, you can just use the timer on your stove, or a kitchen timer.
Beware of buying just any inexpensive timer. I tried one – it was a few bucks – and it broke. I’ve noticed the best timers are either absolutely free (i.e., online, app) OR expensive. Since I’m focusing on free, I’d suggest online or on your phone.

As I was finishing up this post, I found the following link about 80 productivity tips, so I’m squeezing it in here before I forget: http://www.timemanagementchef.com/productivity-tips/

Evernote – https://evernote.com/
This is a terrific place/app/program that you can access it from any browser, your computer, and your smartphone. The Basic version is free, and you can store and organize pretty much all of your notes, plans and ideas in there. This helps you track your goals and make plans from anywhere. It includes lots of features, e.g., WebClipper for instantly saving interesting websites to Evernote, and a free smartphone app for scanning documents into the program, making it a very versatile and highly useful tool.

Microsoft OneNote – http://www.onenote.com/
This is a great tool, too (I think). I haven’t used it since MS made it free, so I can’t say much about it from experience. It’s a fancier type of Evernote (or, rather, Evernote is a plainer form of OneNote). I know this: I used it years ago, on a trial basis, and it was very good. The only reason that I stopped using it was because MS charged for it. I wanted something free, so I went to Evernote. And when OneNote first came out for free, it was only for a limited platform (e.g., Windows phone, or online). But recently MS has made a very smart move in making many of their products available on multiple devices – so now OneNote is free for PC, Mac, iPhone, and Android. Give it a go, as will I!

Tips from eLearning Industry – http://elearningindustry.com/completing-online-course-13-time-management-tips

This site has a LOT of information about education tips and techniques, particularly online education. Well worth perusing.

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