6 Tips for Juggling Schoolwork Along With Your Busy Schedule
Six hours of school, five days a week. 3 hours of math tutoring twice a week, sewing for three hours on Tuesday, 4 – 10 hours of dancing + exercises and stretches all week.
If your schedule looks like mine, you probably know it’s hard to juggle extra-curricular activities and schoolwork.
Here are some tips to help you stay on top of schoolwork, activities, and everything else.
1. Make a Schedule – And Keep it Updated!
Whenever I do a rundown of my family’s crazy schedule, my mom always says the best thing I ever did was put up a whiteboard. After my parents started having trouble keeping track of my ever-busy schedule and my siblings’ growing activities, I took down a picture that was hanging on our kitchen wall and hung up a whiteboard instead.
In dry-erase marker, I neatly outlined Sunday through Saturday on the board, with a “Notes and Events” section. I explained to my mom that is was to help us keep track of our activities and I promised I would keep it updated.
My mom agreed to give it a try, and we’ve used the board ever since. Even if you don’t hang a dry-erase board in your kitchen, try to have a list of your activities and hobbies somewhere easy to see so you can plan your schoolwork around your activities.
2. Use Your Teacher’s Plan Book – Do It!
I never used to use my Teacher’s Plan Book. I always just followed the lesson plan for each subject that Seton supplied. The Teacher’s Plan Book was cast aside without a second look at the growing pile of unused Plan Books down in our basement.
That is until I started 10th grade.
I had fallen desperately behind in 9th grade and was determined not to make the same mistake this year. So what I did was break tradition – I used the Teacher’s Plan Book!
I wrote down each subject, and next to each subject, the time I spent working. For example – Monday, Spanish, 10:00 – 10:45 (written in the blanks provided). I also discovered a lovely thing in the back of the Plan Book called an ‘Events Calendar.”
I could write down all my activities for the week and figure out how to get all my schoolwork and activities done in the all too few hours of the day!
It was a huge help, especially considering the only free schooldays I have are Mondays and Wednesdays, which brings me to my third point.
3. Yes, (Gulp), You Can Do Schoolwork on Saturday.
I was always excited to be done with school on Friday afternoon. Two days of freedom from dreaded schoolwork with no homework!
I mean, I was already homeschooled, I basically did “home” work every day! I don’t have to do homework on a Saturday! Right . . . when I was in 8th grade. Being in high school, schoolwork is a lot harder and it takes more time.
Wouldn’t that be great if all the schoolwork you didn’t finish by Friday magically finished itself before Monday?! Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
If you have a busy extra-curricular activities schedule and you just can’t seem to start that awful Merchant of Venice essay that was due on Monday, Saturday is the day to sit down and crank it out. Believe it or not, working on Saturdays actually might have some advantages.
- Your parents are probably available to help you
- You’ll enjoy your weekend more, knowing that you finally finished that assignment that needed to be done
- You will still have a schoolwork-free Sunday!
4 Combine Schoolwork and Activities
If it’s possible, try to mix your activities into your schoolwork. Most activities that aren’t specifically for homeschoolers are during late afternoon or at night. However, all activities require practice.
I dance two to three times a week, in the late afternoon or evening. I also do schoolwork 5 times a week, 6 hrs a day. Practice makes perfect, and all work and no play makes a dull mind, sooo . . . why not work and practice?
I like to stretch while I listen to audio lectures, and incorporate my core strengthening exercises as Phys Ed.
Figure out a way to do schoolwork and practice your special hobby without it seeming like total drudgery!
5. Be Healthy
Healthy isn’t really my favorite word. However, I do love the words ice-cream, cookies, chocolate, buttered bread, bagels with cream cheese, Boston Cream donuts. . . OK,
OK! I’m sorry! I have a serious sweet-tooth! With a busy school and activities schedule, eating healthily and exercising isn’t usually the highest priority.
Nonetheless, it should be. Eating healthily and exercising your body is just as important as exercising your mind with schoolwork.
Remember to start small; trying to completely change your lifestyle in one day is a bad idea and you can hurt yourself.
Start by making a list of healthy foods to eat. For example, low-fat yogurt, pasta, turkey, ham, cheese, tuna fish, fruit, veggies, and other healthy snacks you might enjoy. ChooseMyPlate.gov is a good site to go on to for tips.
Teens should have 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day.
As a dancer, I do core strengthening exercises. It’s also very easy to just try to do 10-20 crunches, jumping jacks, or push-ups between each subject. Try to find an exercise that will help you in your sport or just as a person.
Trust me – you will feel a lot better eating healthily and exercising. I find that my concentration level for schoolwork always increases when I am active.
6. Is it Too Much?
As much fun as doing sports and hobbies is, (you might have heard this before) schoolwork comes first. As much as you might love doing, let’s say, gymnastics, dancing, snowboarding, sewing, and choir, all of that on top of schoolwork is a lot.
You might need to take a step back, look at all the activities you’re doing, and consider what’s best for you. Not only are multiple activities expensive, you have to consider your health, and you might find something else you want to do.
At one point I had choir for an hour on Monday, with an hour and 30 minutes of gymnastics after that!
Tuesdays I had an hour 1/2 of math, followed by 3 hours of sewing, 5:30 Mass after that, and then dancing for an hour starting at 7:30! Thursdays I had an hour 1/2 meeting,
Friday I snowboarded all day, then went for an hour of dance afterward! All that, plus trying to juggle my schoolwork! If your schedule looks something like mine, you might want to seriously and prayerfully consider which activities to take out.
It can be hard to take out something you enjoy – I cried when I made the decision to stop gymnastics to seriously take up dancing.
Looking back, it was one of the best choices I ever made. Try not to overwhelm yourself with activities, and enjoy the ones you are participating in now.
So yes, it is possible to juggle schoolwork and many activities. It is important not to overwhelm yourself, but make sure to enjoy doing what you love. I hope my tips helped, and enjoy your sports and hobbies.
You might also want to watch “Juggling Time” listed under Video Tutorials on MySeton.
Oh, and make sure to thank whoever drives you to your extra-curricular activities!
About Agnes Maureen Higgins
Agnes Maureen, is 14, Roman Catholic and has been homeschooled with Seton for her whole life, living just three hours away from New York City. She is the oldest of five children and is currently a sophomore in high school. Her favorite subject is Religion and her worst is Math. Agnes loves Swing dancing (that's an understatement - she's obsessed!). Her favorite moves are ones that involve her being flipped upside down, thrown into the air, and spun on the floor. She is a proud member of Spa City Swingers Performance Troupe. Outside of dancing, she also enjoys reading, listening and dancing to music, riding in her family's boat, eating Boston Cream donuts, playing with her hooded Dumbo rat Stella Bella Joy, and learning more about the Catholic Faith.