Hey Homeschool Mom – Keep It Simple!

Hey Homeschool Mom – Keep It Simple!

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! 

Contributor

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!

 

 

 

Do you struggle to keep things simple as a busy homeschool mom? Check out these tips for simplifying your homeschool life! #homeschool #simplicity #homeschoolplanning

Self Care For Moms OR How to get everything done.

Self Care For Moms OR How to get everything done.

Self Care for Mom

You can’t. It’s impossible.

The end.

Self Care for Moms

Self Care for Moms or: How to Get Everything Done!

You’re still here?

Listen, no one gets everything done. We have finite time and a larger, seemingly infinite amount of work to be done (it, too is actually finite, but repetitive and redundant). Whether we work outside the home or inside the home (or some of both), whether we homeschool or outsource (or some of both), whatever we do there is always more to do than the time in which to do it.

So, we must prioritize … or … muddle. Or, ahem, some of both.

There is a level of “self care” moms need, sure. But mostly what we need? It’s the same basic things we’re providing for our children: food, shelter, clothing, cleanliness, healthcare, living ideas, and time with the Lord. Maybe even exercise.

Everything else is gravy.

Let me say that again: Everything else is gravy.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I do like some gravy.

I like to paint my nails from time to time – but I’ve rarely had a manicure and not since I’ve had kids. I think the manicure straw-man is just that. No one is really arguing for manicures as a mainstay of self care. However, most people have some desire to care for their appearance; it matters to them (and their family) to dress appropriately, have coiffed hair, and not look dowdy. But, it doesn’t have to be an all-encompassing pursuit, either. Simplify, my friends.

A Snack, A Shower, A Sleep

Susan Wise Bauer used to say of children who are struggling with self control they may need a snack, a shower, or sleep (in that order). I thought it was interesting that a shower was in there. Now, when you have all littles, a time to shower can be a challenge. But, a shower can often improve a mood by helping us to relax just that little bit. Can a quick shower be a bit of self care in the midst of a fraught day? How about you clean the stall while you’re in there?

I like good food, good drink, and good books. Sometimes we order pizza and watch Netflix at the end of the day.

I like to go to the bathroom by myself on most occasions. I’ve yet to figure out a solution to this. I do know that if I want to find my kids – ages 11-13, I can go to the bathroom. So there’s that.

Expectations

Time with the Lord is important and my continued learning about His world is too, but sometimes I can double up and listen to the Bible as a podcast, other podcasts, or a book on CD while I walk the dog or vacuum the house.

Sometimes choosing ‘getting it done’ is the better part. Multi-tasking when multiple tasks can actually be accomplished together is the better part; but multi-tasking when tasks don’t go together is disastrous. The trick is figuring out what pairs well.

Another part of self-care is prioritizing our health. That means dentists, doctors, and other health care providers. Don’t shirk off seeing those people. Which reminds me … I really should make a doctor appointment or two – for the next school break.

As moms we can really get by on very little and sometimes we have to put things we want to the side and rest in the things we need.

Sometimes.

Sometimes self care looks like training a young child how we want the dusting to be done. Or an older child how to load the dishwasher (or wash the dishes). By taking jobs off our plates, we exercise self care. You cannot feel guilty about this. These are things that must be done and things which our children must learn to do. It will seem hard in the midst; it will seem like it’s not worth it; it will seem like it would be better to just do it yourself. It isn’t. Keep training.

Sometimes self care means you need to talk to your husband about what you need to do the job you’ve taken on. I need a stretch of time each week to pre-read and plan. This is the life our family has chosen, and so we need to work as a team to accomplish that. I don’t need to do my pre-reading and planning at Starbucks (if you can, that’s great!).

Sometimes self care means quiet time in the afternoon for everyone and Mommy takes a nap because the day has been too people-y and she needs to introvert. But sometimes it looks like, dinner’s on the table, honey, I need to hide for a bit. Or I’m meeting a friend for a glass of wine.

Sometimes self care means you let things you would like to do go because the need elsewhere is greater. Jesus told us that “He who would be first must be last.” Now, I’m not talking about being a martyr to your desires. “I gave this up so you could do that.” That’s not pretty for anybody. But there are things to prioritize when you’re a grown-up and there are things to give up because you’re the grown-up.

Sometimes self care means you recognize that you’ve prioritized the wrong thing and you must repent. Sometimes you have to fix mistakes, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and do the next thing anyway. Self care means when you’ve repented, you don’t recriminate.

Self care isn’t about spa days or extras. It’s about being reasonable and knowing your limits and doing the best you can within those limits – whether they’re time or money or emotional energy. They’re setting your expectations at a level that can be achieved. They’re about finding contentment and joy in the everyday and not expecting the world to fall at your feet.

How do I get everything done? I shrink my expectations of “everything” to what can actually be done and am content with that.

Dawn Garret Scaffolding and Homeschool

Dawn Garrett lives in Central Ohio with her husband Jason and their three always-homeschooled children, ages 13, 12, and 11. In her homeschool, she and her children learn about God and His cosmos by studying the seven liberal arts in order to know Him better, imitate Him and His ways, and share about Him with others. She follows the AmblesideOnline curriculum. Her home blog – about books school and life – has been at ladydusk for more than 15 years.

She is the author of the free ebook: I Am, I Can, I Ought, I Will: Charlotte Mason’s Motto Explained for Upper Elementary Students.

Homeschool While I Work? You’ve Got to Be Kidding!

Homeschool While I Work? You’ve Got to Be Kidding!

Homeschool While I Work? You’ve Got to Be Kidding!

No, I’m not! It’s possible, if you are committed to making it work, that is! I’ve been on all sides of this in my ten year journey as a homeschooler. I get it! You start out at home full time and everything is running like a well oiled machine (or at least it looks that way). Then, Life hits…hard! You’re faced with the biggest decision of all: Do I stop homechooling because I now have to work or do I figure out how I can do both?

Working Homeschooler

You can work from home!

Getting a job outside the home doesn’t have to be your first recourse! There are several things that you can do from home that will bring in the funds that you need to stay home with your family. Aside from selling things through an MLM, you can:

  • Give lessons/teach classes
  • Cook/bake
  • Have a home daycare
  • Tutor
  • Write/blog
  • Craft
  • Get a call center/customer service position
  • Start your own business
  • Drive for Uber or Lyft
  • Data entry jobs

It’s all about what you are comfortable with and what your family dynamic is. What can you do that causes the least amount of disruption in your family routine? One challenge I give to moms facing this dilemma is to make a list of twenty-five things that they know how to do and can make money from. Then I ask them which can they get going in the next twenty-four hours and to start there.

You can work part time!

               If you can work outside the home, great! However, working full-time may not be the best. You have to be realistic about what you can do. For me, becoming a substitute teacher was the best thing for my family. Not only did it sharpen my skills at home, but I also had access to some great resources that I could use at home with my girls! So, think about something that you can do a few days a week that will add value to your home life!

Okay, so how would this work?

Now, we’ve gotten to the fun part. I’ve given you tips and now we need to talk about how to make this happen. It is going to take some sacrifice and you will most assuredly have to do the one thing that you hate to do most—ask for help! Here are some things that I can recommend:

  • Working opposite schedules—if your spouse is flexible in this area, use it to your advantage. Yes, it will take work to get them to understand things; however, it will help you to understand more of what your family needs. My husband switched from the day shift to the night shift the week our oldest daughter was born and still works that shift some fifteen years later. Not only are we able to continue homeschooling, but I am also free to work if need be.
  • Turning your kids into independent learners—we started helping our oldest to work on her own when she was eight years old. This is crucial if you have more than one child! When you have a child who is a self-starter, that makes it easier for the parent or other grown-up who is there with your children.
  • Asking for help—if you have a trusted friend or family member who can help you out, use them! Some people will hire a sitter to come in and make sure that their children get their work done. If you have an older teenager in the house, it’s time to train them up to hold down the fort while you’re gone.
  • Co-ops and drop off programs—if you know that you don’t have the help that you need, you may want to consider such an option. It is an expense and can be a daunting task; however, there could be something in your local area that will meet your needs.
  • Get your family on the same page—everyone in the house needs to know who, what, when, where, why, how, and how much no matter which working option you choose! When your family knows exactly what to do and it becomes a routine, you can leave and know that the house won’t be hanging by the last brick when you come back. Develop chore and responsibility charts, set up a family command and communication center—whatever you need to do!

So, what are YOU doing this year?

Well, I am working, just not outside the home as much as I used to. At the end of the last school year, I removed myself from the substitute teacher list. I currently run a homeschool consulting business and am a business coach. Aside from that, I have penned and published over 20 books on life, faith, family, and business, travel as a speaker for homeschool and women’s conferences and events, work as a virtual assistant, sell lesson plans on TeachersPayTeachers, host an international radio show, and host business expos and events. I stay busy; however, all of these things are income producing activities that allow me to stay home with our three girls—a rising sophomore, third grader, and kindergartener. When I am out, my husband works with the younger two while the oldest works on her own. It’s not always easy to keep things going, yet it is definitely worth it. Yes, mama, you CAN work and homeschool!

Tammie Polk Working and Homeschooling

Tammie Polk is a married homeschooling mother of three girls who has penned and published over 20 books on life, faith, family business, and fiction — all while working as a substitute teacher and virtual assistant, running two businesses, traveling to speak at various events, hosting an international radio show, and hosting her own events! When she’s not running the world, she enjoys gaming, crossword puzzles, and making board games.

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