(The following is a guest post from Tammie Polk, True North Homeschool Academy blog contributor, speaker, and author.)
Manage My Home and Time? PSSSSH!
Them’s fightin’ words, aren’t they? Though they may be, it’s important as working homeschooling mamas that we get a routine set in place so that we aren’t wondering if the insurance money is really worth it or before we decide to put them on the big yellow bus that rides by our house every morning!
Here are some things that you can do to make it easier to manage your home and time:
- Use a curriculum that teaches all of your kids at once—there are some out there that will teach them all the same thing, but on a different level, which minimizes your prep time and allows you to put that time to better use.
- Use visual and written checklists—put your kids in charge of their progress, giving them something to work towards.
- Get a solid meal prep routine—even if you start with family favorites, having meals prepped and ready to cook at a moment’s notice will definitely help.
- Take a break to catch your breath when needed—if chaos seems to be coming through the air vents at every turn, then you might need to catch yourself. BURNOUT IS REAL!
- Toss out your plans and let the kids lead—there will be times when what the kids want to do will outweigh the pros of our well-oiled plan. Child or interest-led learning works, too!
So, how is all of this going to help me manage my home and time?
Even using ONE of these will give you one less thing to do on a given day. The more that you have in place, the more you can breathe, and your home will run more smoothly.
The key to making all of this work is to encourage your kids to be as independent as possible. Make it to where they don’t have to come to you every second while you’re working! You know how it goes…they don’t need anything at ALL until you sit down and start to work, throwing you into a Mom Tantrum. Sit down with them and let them know that you aren’t to be disturbed when you’re working unless it’s an emergency and don’t be afraid to ask a friend, family member, or fellow homeschool mom for help!
If at all possible, teach your kids to help each other! Their methods may not be the same as yours; however, if they get the concept, just smile, shake your head, and walk away. Who cares if they are using a stuffed alligator and Oreos to help teach greater than and less than!
Another thing—know that outsourcing doesn’t make you a bad parent! If there is a co-op, tutorial, or drop-in program in your area that has what you need, USE IT! There are programs out there that don’t require that moms teach a class in order to stay involved.
Lastly, if you have little ones, consider working in a place where they can play while you work. A mom I know packs her kids up and takes them to Burger King, where they have a play place for the kids on those days when she REALLY needs to focus. Where can you go?
(If you like this post, be sure to check out Sacred Sanity, A Busy Mom’s Guide to Survival.)
Blog Contributor Tammie Polk
Tammie Polk is a Mompreneur on a Mission! She is a married, homeschooling mother of three girls ages 15, 10, and 5 from Memphis, Tennessee. When she’s not pouring into her girls, you can find her writing, doing crossword puzzles, or playing games! Her major claim to fame is being the author of over 30 books on life, faith, family, and business- all of which were written in the last three years. Tammie is also a business coach, homeschool consultant, motivational and inspirational speaker, and international radio show host! To find out more about Tammie, please visit her website.
Keep It Simple, Sister!
If your family needs three degrees to understand what they need to do while you’re gone, that’s a problem.
If the person helping you out feels like the instructions you left them are written in Mandarin Chinese with a splash of Greek, Arabic, and Hebrew, that’s a problem.
If you’re frustrated because your best-laid plan was laid waste by that one kid who comes to you and says, “Mom, all you had to do was…”, then you need to simplify things, my dear.
While we want everything to run like a well-oiled machine when we leave home (or even while we’re there), we must remember that we are dealing with human beings who all have differing needs. Instead of giving our families a Ph.D. dissertation on how we want things to go, eliminate the stress you’re going to put on yourself by using the KISS principle—Keep It Simple, Sister.
But…why should I keep it simple?
When things are simple, it is more likely to be done!
How many times have you given up on something because it simply did not make sense that there were so many steps to follow? Trust and believe that your family feels the same way! When you make things hard—which we don’t always realize—it is not going to be done. I’ll give you an example.
When we first started homeschooling while I worked, I expected my daughter to follow the same schedule she had been following in school. I made elaborate lesson plans for my husband to follow and made sure every moment of the day was accounted for, which made me feel good.
Then I noticed that school wasn’t getting done until after I got home. What I had left for my family took all day to do, and every night, my husband was telling me about something that needed to change, which was offensive to me. It wasn’t until I sat down with my daughter and asked her what she needed that things began to work better! Have you asked your family?
When things are simple, creativity and spontaneity run wild!
You will have much more time in the day to get things done when you keep things simple at home. You won’t always feel so rushed to do this and that once you come in for the day! If you’ve ever gotten home and was surprised to find that your family had already taken care of those things you’re usually rushing into the house to get done, then you know exactly what I mean. When your daily routine and tasks are simple, you won’t be bothered by the fact that your family wants breakfast for dinner.
So, what are the things that I need to simplify?
I can’t speak for everyone’s household; however, what I can do is offer a few suggestions:
- Your expectation of perfection—understand that it’s going to take time to get anything going. Baby steps will get you further than you think! Allow yourself time to refocus, revise, revamp, and change what is needed.
- The amount of stuff you use—there will be times when you can do more with less! You don’t need to buy a 1,000 piece kit to do something that can be done with a box, a flashlight, some glow sticks, and a little imagination.
- Your schedule—every moment of the day does NOT need to have something in it! When you don’t allow for flexibility, any little change will throw you off your game, and then nothing gets done!
- Your curriculum—consider using something that is online or self-paced! Building independence in your children will not breed anarchy but will give you the time that you need to get other things done. I know that’s difficult in this tech-crazed world; however, having something that they can do anywhere and at any time will make things simpler than you think.
These are just a few of my thoughts as I continue in my year. For those of you who are just starting, I wish you the BEST in your school year!
Blog Contributor Tammie Polk
Tammie Polk is a Mompreneur on a Mission! She is a married, homeschooling mother of three girls ages 15, 10, and 5 from Memphis, Tennessee. When she’s not pouring into her girls, you can find her writing, doing crossword puzzles, or playing games! Her major claim to fame is being the author of over 30 books on life, faith, family, and business- all of which were written in the last three years. Tammie is also a business coach, homeschool consultant, motivational and inspirational speaker, and international radio show host!