How do you get it all done?
That is the question!
I think this question has been asked way more than “To be or not to be?”
Especially among homeschool moms. Don’t you agree?
Let’s look at some of the things we have to do:
- Educate our children,
2. Feed them,
3. Take care of babies and toddlers,
4. Clean the house,
5. Referee arguments and fights,
6. Read aloud to them,
7. Buy groceries,
8. Do laundry,
9. Take care of husband,
10. Stay friendly,
11. Pray and spend time with God,
12. Take care of ourselves,
13. And much more…
Hence, the question – How do you get it all done?
Well, the answer to that question is – you don’t. At least not all at the same time, and not perfectly every time. Unless you want to wear yourself out and make yourself age faster than you need to. Type A moms, stay with me here. We are not perfect. We are not all-powerful. We only have so many hours in a day. And some things really can wait. Not the toddler who’s about to jump off of the table. Or the teen who needs a ride to work. But other things are not urgent, not necessary, and not worth stressing or struggling over.
Even if you have a personality that is driven, and you like to see everything spotless and in its right place and done at precisely the right time, you must admit that life rarely turns out that way. Especially when you have kids. Especially when those kids are babies or toddlers.
As a mom of 10 kids who has homeschooled all the way through, I have found some tips and tricks that have helped me maneuver the MANY trials and tribulations that come with having everybody at home ALL the time.
- Keep things simple.
- Relax your expectations.
- Make your expectations known to your children.
- Enlist the help of your children.
- Enlist the help of your husband and other family and friends.
- Keep God in the center of all you do and spend time with him at the beginning of each day.
- First on the list is “Keep things simple”.
So how do we do that? One thing that helps is to prioritize what is truly necessary to accomplish each day. Make a list of the things that would really bother you or cause distress or put someone in jeopardy if you didn’t get them done.
These will be things like daily laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and HOMESCHOOLING.
Then make your schedule for getting these things done.
I have used many of the strategies that I learned from FlyLady.net.
For cleaning, I have used Flylady’s Zone strategy, which is to choose one zone to work on a day. You can assign a different zone to each child to get more done. Our chore time was part of our school day. We started the school day with chore time. Each child had an assigned chore to finish, and then we started school. We also had 10 minute “Clean-ups” sometimes, where we would all go crazy on cleaning for a 10 minute burst and get as much done as we could during that time. We would set the timer and get busy.
For cooking, use a slow cooker or an instant pot. Find simple, quick recipes.
Make a list of meals for the week and a grocery list at the same time. Try to plan and shop for a week at a time. Some people cook and freeze meals for a month at a time. That was not something I ever wanted to do, but it works great for some people.
For reading aloud to your kids, you can do that while the littles are taking a nap. You can even do it while nursing the baby. You can also do it while they’re eating a meal. It’s a great thing to do instead of letting them watch TV or play a video game. You can read to them at bedtime. Reading aloud was also a part of our school time. I chose books that went with the topic we were studying and read them aloud to the kids at the appropriate age level. Sometimes I had two books going at a time for the different age groups.
For homeschooling, make sure you are not requiring too much busywork from your kids. Think hard about what they really need to learn to become successful in life. Find curriculum that enables your kids to be independent learners so that they don’t need so much support from you. Don’t make them do every subject every day. Use loop scheduling. Realize that it’s impossible to learn and memorize EVERYTHING and totally unnecessary. Determine what is absolutely necessary for their future wellbeing and get books, resources, documentaries, classes, and materials that will teach them those things. Make school time fun so that they develop a love of learning. That will make your job a lot easier.
There are lots of other things you can do to simplify, but I hope these ideas will spark your own imagination and help you to make life easier and less stressful for yourself and your kids.
- The next tip is to “Relax your expectations.”
OK, I hear you, Type A moms. You think I’m telling you to be lazy, don’t you? I’m not, I promise! I’m just asking you to be realistic in what you require from your kids, your husband and yourself. I never want to be a drill sergeant mom. I don’t think any of us do. But the temptation to start yelling and getting impatient with our family is always there when we see all that needs to be done and everyone sitting around doing nothing. Am I right?
What kind of effect does that have on our relationships with the rest of the family? Not good, right? And I think relationships matter way more than a clean house or getting projects accomplished. I’m giving you some good advice here, so listen to me. 🙂
As moms, we are the thermostat of the home. So we need to try to maintain a comfortable “temperature” for all. If we are feeling frustrated and stressed out, that’s going to affect everybody in the house.
Something has to give. Either we have to relax our expectations of how clean and tidy the house must be, or we will continue to be frustrated and angry and no fun to be around. We have to let go of the desire to be the perfect family with perfect kids, or we will be constantly thwarted and disappointed by the reality of imperfect kids, husband and family. Even we moms are not perfect, and if we expect ourselves to meet the standard of perfection, we will be sorely disappointed and dismayed.
Standards and expectations are under our control. Nobody else can set your standards and expectations. It’s up to you to decide what is acceptable, what is possible, and what is best for everyone in your family. You should not try to keep up with the Joneses or Better Homes and Gardens or Martha Stewart or Marie Kondo or even Flylady! You can get ideas from them, but you should tailor your plans and goals to what suits you and your family.
Think about your minimum goals for how clean the house must be, how much the kids can help, what tasks are your responsibility to accomplish each day and what tasks are your husband’s responsibility. Have a family meeting to make your plans together. Make a list of everything that needs to be done daily, weekly, or monthly – inside the house and outside the house.
Then figure out ways to get the homeschooling done in the most efficient but effective way. Set reasonable goals for the amount of time each child should spend on their school work each day. Have the older kids help the younger kids with their work and read to them. Don’t expect your kids to work the same amount of time that kids in public schools have to. And please don’t expect them to do every page of every book in your curriculum. Once they have mastered a concept, let them move on to the next concept instead of repeating and repeating something they have already learned.
These are just the first two tips, and, as you see, I have four more to offer. Where can you find the rest of these tips and more? You will be able to get them in the book I am writing called, “Dear Struggling Homeschool Mom, I See You”. I am close to finishing the book, so be on the lookout for my announcement of when it will be available on Amazon.
Other chapters in the book are called:
- How Do I Spend Time with God When My Kids Need 100% of My Time?
- How Do I Get My Kids to Listen?
- How Can I Get My Kids to Get Along?
- Will My Family Ever Support My Decision to Homeschool?
- What About “Me Time”?
- Should We Have a Date Night?
- How Can I Get the Rest I Need?
- How Can I Homeschool on a Tight Budget?
- How Do I Lead My Kids to the Lord?
- For Those Whose Lambs Have Gone Astray
My first post about this new book is here on my blog. It’s actually the entire first chapter of my book. You might want to read it, too, to receive some encouragement for your homeschool life.