I don’t know how I went years without paying any attention to the time, but now we shoot for breakfast at 8am, lunch at 12:30, quiet time no later than 2, and dinner at 6:30pm.
We still have plenty of flexibility but it’s a relief to have more structure to our days. I now anchor other activities to those events (memorization at breakfast, all toys picked up before lunch, reading aloud until quiet time, house straightened before dinner, etc.)
This has made me both more productive and more relaxed. I honestly don’t know what I did before. I think I just winged it every day?
I do recall nights where “dinner” wasn’t finished until after Mackenzie was in bed so we mainly ate last night’s leftovers for dinner instead. And the new dinner turned immediately into leftovers for the following day.
Did I just admit that?
At any rate, let’s just say I’m in the running for the “Most Improved” award in terms of scheduling. 🙂
8. Chores for Children
I’ve really asked Mackenzie to step up her help around the house and she is so much more capable (and willing) than I gave her credit for. She actually does pull her weight in some areas now, and more importantly, we’re trying to lay the groundwork for future years.
Here’s what she does regularly:
– Before coming down for breakfast, she makes her bed, goes to the bathroom, says her personal prayers, gets dressed and puts her books and jammies away.
– She unloads all the silverware from the dishwasher and puts it neatly away, nesting measuring cups and sorting spoons by size. (That’s just the way we roll around here.)
– She folds all the washcloths in the laundry, matches the socks, and puts all her laundry and her sister’s laundry away.
– She cleans up all toys and folds all blankets, including things her sister got out. (I usually work alongside her on this.)
I’ve never felt I had a good handle on how to efficiently keep our home neat and clean. But for me, it’s absolutely critical to a good homeschooling experience. With lots of children at home making educational messes during the day, the task of keeping things in order was daunting to me.
So I did what I always do: research.
I read “Is There Life After Housework?” “More Hours in My Day” “Confessions of an Organized Homemaker” “Large Family Logistics” and brushed up on my Flylady skillz.
After all that, I’ve settled into a good groove. It consists of using Remember the Milk app on my phone and doing several 5 or 15 minute chores a day, rotating through areas of the house so things get deep cleaned periodically and stay presentable as well.
Although I do have my ideal cleaning plan down to a “science”, because that’s the way I’m wired, the biggest changes have been in my attitude and habits.
- I am learning to be content with chipping away at something, rather than doing it perfectly or not at all. If 5 minutes with a baby on my hip is all I have to wipe down the bathroom, it will still look much better than if I go a whole week trying to find the childless 20 minutes it takes to do a good job.
- If I don’t get something clean on the day it pops up on my app, rather than tack it on to the next day and the next and get overwhelmed with a pile of undone chores… I simply cross it off my list. It will come up again in a week or so, and if it desperately needs to be cleaned before then, I’ll gladly get to it because I choose to, not because it’s crusty on my list. (Go ahead, call me weird for feeling like that’s different!)
- The sooner it’s clean, the longer I get to enjoy it. Keeping dirty dishes in the sink all day doesn’t save any time, it just makes the kitchen look ugly. (Don’t ask me why I didn’t realize this earlier.)
And three more takeaways for me: Have less stuff! Clean consistently! and Set a timer!
Things always take less time than I think, if I just get started.
10. Chilling out
Often I get overwhelmed at the idea of homeschooling through high school. I loved calculus but how am I going to teach that and cursive to two different children on the same day (and cook dinner, etc.) And what happens when I have a 6th grader and a newborn at the same time?
But, I know homeschooling is the right choice for our family so I have to dismiss those thoughts and focus on taking it one year at a time, one child at a time.
I am restraining myself from looking at curriculum yet, as a matter of fact, because it’s so far in advance. There will be time enough for that next year and I know I could deep end on the details now and only stress myself out.
Yep, forcing myself to chill out is a crucial part of my preparation at this point. 🙂