Making Molehills

You all know the expression, “Making mountains out of molehill?.” Well, we needed to do the opposite and make mole hills out of mountains!

My high school daughter faces mountains of work this year.

She has massive PAT portfolio assignments – over and above her term work — and her first term deadline is close!

A huge blue PAT file with all the work sits menacingly on the table – our mountain!

So much to do … so little time …

Completely overwhelmed, she withdrew.

Her motivation dwindled and her anxiety increased.

As I prayed one morning, the Lord inspired me to make mole hills out of the mountains!

Literally — make the work load smaller and more manageable.

Here’s how we reduced the huge file & massive mountain of work into daily “mole hills”:

  1. Print out a calendar for the month.
  2. Counted how many days were left until her portfolio must be posted off, with enough time to reach the office before the deadline = 25 days
  3. Took off all 3 Sunday’s = 22
  4. Counted her subjects = 7
  5. Assigned 3 days per subject = 21 days ( This means that there will be 1 day’s grace)
  6. Took subject by subject and divided each subject’s assignments over the 3 days. (Some assignments will take longer, others will be quicker)
  7. Create a small file for the current subject. We put just one subject in this small file.
  8. Divide the assignments into the 3 day divisions.

Now she simply tackles the day’s work. It is manageable, doable, easier.

Some days we have even included other work and “are ahead”.

This is an excellent feeling!

I am grateful for a simple strategy.

I remember the humorous and ridiculous question, “How does someone eat a whole elephant?”

The answer was, “One bite at a time!”

How have you tackled large and insurmountable problems? Feel free to share your strategies in the comments.



6 thoughts on “Making Molehills

  1. I had the same when I studied for my diploma in computers years ago. Mountains of work, and it felt like really too little time to do it in. At least I could hand in most of my work via internet uploads, which gave me a couple more days. I did exactly what you did with her work, first looked at what should be handed in first, second, third, etc. divided it into days, work for every day… done. Some was a stretch to get done in time… I kind of ramble… others was done ahead, which boosts the spirit!

    Did the same when my sister-in-law sent me files and files and files of gr.R and gr.1 work. She’s a school teacher. I felt totally overwhelmed because it was so much more than what I already had (which covered almost everything!). So I first looked through everything to see what I had, divided it between the two years (even found work that is for later – gr.2, gr.3!). Made the mountains for manageable…almost molehills. Then divided the work for each year further between the two boys. My youngest is only going to do “this work” in two years’ time. So molehills are smaller… Everything that was double, I took out and shared with friends who can’t afford worksheets and the like for their children. Molehills! Then divided it over the year, into the weeks that we are to do “school work”. Monthly, weekly, daily breakdowns–>molehills you can handle without a sweat. And I do believe that kids should play and learn from experience more than paper (at these young ages), so not a lot of paper work in our files.


    • @elizevdm, too true! 🙂 It can take quite a long time to go through all the stuff, but once it is broken down into manageable bits, then the motivation kicks in and one feels that one can actually manage the job.
      I’m glad my daughter sat with me as we went through this whole process, because she now has a valuable new life skill.


  2. I was recently reading an article about some issues that homeschoolers faced in university. The two that stand out in my mind they blamed solely on the mom. 1.) Not being able to wake to an alarm. 2.) Not knowing how to break assignments into manageable chunks.


    • @corefoundations, wow, thanks for this insight! It is a parent’s duty to become “unnecessary” to a young adult; to provide them with the right skills so that they can cope as they learn and develop themselves out in the world.
      I see no.1 as a small new habit easily learnt, even at home; while no.2 remains a challenge for many adults too!
      So moms, go out and buy a small alarm clock for each child, or teach your child to set his/her cell phone alarm to wake up on time on their own! My youngest (10 years) is the best at this! She wakes up, gets dressed and starts her morning chores entirely without any parental instruction. 🙂


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