You know that feeling, the one where you get to the end of the day and realize you didn’t get everything done you were hoping to? Yeah, we all know it.

For homeschool parents, trying to accomplish everything that needs to be done in a day can be challenging. There’s science experiments, art projects, papers to grade, letters to teach, and oh, that mess your toddler just made. Is productivity even possible?

Yes, it is!

If you’re feeling discouraged because your school days aren’t productive and accomplishing tasks seems as impossible as training a snail to race Usain Bolt, there are a few tips you can try to get out of that slump.

It starts with sleep. Yes, sleep. Did you know that sleep is an important factor in your brain’s functionality? It boosts concentration, memory, decision-making, and productivity, just to name a few. If your kids are sitting at their desks sleepy, your school day isn’t going to be as productive; it’s a simple fact. Creating a productive school day can simply mean getting your family, and yourself, into bed an hour earlier!

Try taking brain breaks, giving hard-working brains a short rest. Maybe sleepiness isn’t your problem but over-hyper kids are; giving brains a break can rejuvenate their minds to function better! Nobody can do the same task for a long period of time, and for children it’s even harder. Try breaking your school day up by announcing a 15-minute break for “snack time” or sending them outside to stretch their legs. It can even help to switch to a subject they enjoy!

Routines keep you on track so you don’t slide into unproductivity. Just like creating an outline helps you write a paper, creating a routine helps you be productive. Schedules indicate when each task and subject needs to be completed and help you and your kids know what needs to be done and when. The good news is it can be as simple or detailed as your family needs it to be! Find something that works for you and stick to it.

That being said, sometimes the most productive thing to do is to be unproductive. Maybe it’s a beautiful spring day and your kids need to get the kinks out of their legs from being cooped up inside all winter. Pack them in the car and spend the afternoon at the park, soaking up the sunshine! Or maybe there’s a fresh coat of snow outside and a hill just waiting for sledding. Bundle them up and send them outside to explore! Sometimes a change in pace is all they need to re-energize so they can come back fresh and ready to work hard again.

Furthermore, setting an end-time helps your kids know exactly when they’re finished for the day. Say you decide your family is going to be done at three o’clock in the afternoon. Every day, when the clock strikes three, your family closes their books, done for the day. Your kids can see the finish line and know that when they reach it, they are done. Period. Goals and finish lines help most people to be productive, and your children are no different.

Last but not least, keep reasonable expectations. Hate to break it to you, but you’re not going to get everything done every single day. Unplanned things are bound to pop up that take priority over the ones on your to-do list. I mean, you’re a busy parent trying to meet the needs of your children; they’re more important than any to-do list. Give yourself grace and know that if you don’t do everything, that’s okay! Tomorrow is another day.

Every family is unique, and what one family does to be productive may not work for you. Keep trying new things until you find the perfect solution for your family.

Most of all, remember: everybody has days where they can tackle task after task, getting lots done, and then there are days that are, well, the opposite. Don’t be discouraged, you’re doing great!

Do you have tips for making your school day more productive? Let us know about them in the comments!