Wow, it’s already Day 4 of our 5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents Blog Hop! Today I’m going to share some tips for how I stay on top of things at my house. Now, one thing you need to know is that I am by far, NOT a very organized person by nature. I want to be organized, I long to be organized, but it’s really not in my nature. However, I am a planner, and I think this is what helps me keep from getting completely lost and overwhelmed with all the stuff that has to be done on a regular basis!
1. Get a Planner: Seriously, I have a planner for me and my kids. I love the Ultimate Homeschool Planner from Apologia and the Hey Mama! Planner from The Old Schoolhouse for moms. There is plenty of space for you to record your schedule, notes, Bible verses, and everything else you need. Plus they offer all kinds of helpful charts and references. If you prefer to print and create your own planner, you can also find plenty of places to do that online as well, I just love having a physical planner (but I also prefer to read physical books!). For me, having a written plan is essential to staying on track. I also have planners for each of my boys where I actually write out their lesson plans for the week. Now, I write these in pencil, because as you know, stuff doesn’t always go according to plan, and if something doesn’t get done, that’s fine, we just move it to the next week, but I like the fact that on Monday, they can grab their planners and get stared while I’m making breakfast.
2. Prioritize your Commitments: One of the big mistakes I made as new homeschooler was to overcommit to everything. I wanted to make sure my kids didn’t miss out on anything, but in the process, I stressed us way out by overbooking our schedule. Well, I have pared things way down at this point. We belong to one co-op, which is really flexible. From there, my kids pick and choose what they want to be involved in. Since they are both about high school level, I feel they can make those choices. My oldest works, and my youngest is really involved in serving at our church. If they want to take on something else they can, and if they want to just hang out after school and go fishing, that’s fine too. Each week, I make a list of the stuff we HAVE to do, and I make sure that stuff gets done, but I do not overbook anymore.
3. Menu Plan: This is a huge part of making things easier for me, period. I plan our menu in two week stretches before I go grocery shopping. Basically, I start with Facebook. Our local grocery stores post their sales adds on certain days, and I make sure to check those adds, then I plan the menu based on what’s on sale. It saves us money, and it helps me, because I don’t have to stress about what I’m going to make for dinner every day. On days when we have co-op or something else going on and I know we’re going to be busy, I plan a crock pot meal, so it’s ready when we get home, which saves me a lot of time too.
4. Assign age-appropriate chores to your kids. Part of homeschooling is preparing your kids for real life. Part of real life is knowing how to take care of themselves. My husband and I firmly believe that as our boys grow older they need to learn how to cook, clean, and do laundry, because they are not going to live with us forever. As the homeschool mom, you are not supposed to do everything by yourself, and you are not hurting your kids by asking them to do some work. You are actually preparing them for life outside of your home. And that’s really important.
5. Take Advantage of Apps: My hubby and kids are all pretty busy. I kind of act as a secretary for everybody, which I don’t mind. However, coordinating schedules can be difficult, especially when people do not let me know what their schedules are. Fortunately, I found the Google Calendar app, which has made all of our lives much easier. What I love about this is, everyone can access this app on their phone, and they set it up through their Gmail. Basically, I had to request access to their calendar, and once they granted me access, I was able to see EVERYTHING they added on the calendar on my phone. So now, when my hubby schedules an overtime or meeting, or my oldest adds his work schedule or class schedule from college, it automatically updates on my phone! This makes it so much easier for me to coordinate everything for our family, and they don’t even have to think about it, they just update their calendars on their phone like they normally would!!
6. Make Time for Downtime: Everyone needs downtime. You, your kids, your hubby. Whether it’s watching a favorite show, reading a book, hanging with friends or by the pool or whatever, you need to give yourself, and your family members, some time to just relax. Don’t feel guilty for spending an hour watching Netflix, or indulging in a bath at the end of the day. If each of you doesn’t get a little time to chill out, chances are you are going to get stressed, and that stress will manifest itself in some ugly way down the road. Let your kids have some time to just be alone and entertain themselves, and make sure you take some time to do something you enjoy too!
Thanks for visiting me today! Be sure to check out my friends posts too! And stop by tomorrow for the last day of the Blog Hop!
Dawn @ Double O Farms
Dawn @ Guiding Light Homeschool
Debbie @ Debbie’s Homeschool Corner
Desiree @ Our Homeschool Notebook
Diana @ Busy Homeschool Days
Diana @ Homeschool Review
Elyse @ Oiralinde: Eternal Song
Emilee @ Pea of Sweetness
Erin @ For Him and My Family
Jen @ Chestnut Grove Academy