TODDLERS

My Full Heart: Home and Homeschool Organization

Anyone who homeschools knows how hard it is to balance homeschooling with home – cooking, cleaning, tidying, managing all the things. Throw a baby or toddler in the mix and watch the scales tip even further.

I will have a 10th grader, 8th grader, 6th grader, Kindergartner, and an 11 month old when we begin schooling again in August. I’m trying to make some plans now so that our school days and home life will run smoothly this fall. Here are a few habits I’m trying to get started this summer to ensure we will be ready!

I used to be really good at having a set cleaning schedule. I had each day of the week scheduled for certain rooms, and we cleaned each room once a week. It worked really well and I’m not sure why or when I dropped the habit. 

I’m typing a master chart for each week that I’m going to laminate and hang up to keep us on track. Here is my schedule so far:

Mondays: bathrooms

Tuesdays: living room

Wednesdays: kitchen

Thursdays: dining room and homeschool room

Fridays: bedrooms

Saturdays: laundry room, porches, and yard work

I have each room broken down into the tasks I need to complete each week in each room. Hopefully this will help us to keep up with all of the cleaning each week…which brings me to the next item:

Cleaning and tidying up are two different things. Tidying up is what keeps the house from getting out of control. I plan to have a morning tidy, an after school tidy, and an evening tidy. We will tidy up in the morning after breakfast and before everyone heads off to do their various tasks for the day. Then we will tidy up when we are finished with school time. Finally, we will do a last tidy before we go to bed and after supper. There aren’t hard and fast times for the tidy up times, but making sure we have three set times a day for tidying up will (hopefully) ensure that the house stays, well, tidy!

A few things that my idea of tidying up means are picking up toys as soon as you’re finished playing, putting away school books, taking cups to the sink, throwing away trash, straightening up shelves or other surfaces, fluffing the pillows on the couch, and putting things back in their places. I’m imagining each tidy up time to take less than ten minutes. (And how many times can I say ‘tidy up time?’)

Morning habits are so important and helpful to get the day started peacefully. We have pretty good morning habits already, but I’d like to refine them and make sure they’re second-nature instead of having to remind the kids every morning to do the things they’ve been doing for years.

Making up the bed is something I taught my kids to do since they were old enough to do it. The older they get, the more they want to ‘forget’ this task, but it only takes a few minutes and makes a big difference in how clean their rooms look. I want this to be something they do instinctively.

Getting dressed and ready for the day by brushing your teeth, fixing your hair, and putting on deodorant is also something I don’t want to have to nag about. I get tired of asking a few of them, “Did you brush your teeth? Put on deodorant?” I’d like them to do all of this before leaving their room and bathroom area in the morning.

Making sure their dirty clothes are taken to the laundry room is also something I want them to do without me asking them to. The laundry room is like twenty feet from their bedrooms, so I don’t have hampers in their rooms or bathrooms. That would be an extra step for me when they could just as quickly and easily drop their dirty laundry into the baskets in the laundry room. 

I try to make breakfast a few times a week and the other mornings they’re on their own! I want them to get in the habit of washing their own breakfast dishes and wiping down the table. 

I’d also like them to get in the habit of reading a little in their Bible and having prayer first thing.

These few morning habits should help get our day started on the right track.

Meal planning is also something I have done off and on for years. I have been terrible about meals lately! It’s been lots of fast food, ballpark food, or processed food interspersed with real food. I want to get back into the habit of cooking real food for the majority of our meals.

The biggest hurdle I have with cooking is meal planning. I’d like to have our three meals a day planned each week, and I’d really like to utilize my crockpot for at least half of those. When I can get dinner in the crockpot in the morning, that takes a huge load and lots of time off of my shoulders.

I’m going to make a master list of meals we like to eat and then break them down into groups: crockpot meals, casseroles, and meat-and-potato type meals. I’ll try to do two crock-pot meals, two casseroles, one meat-and-potato meal, and two days for leftovers each week. 

Lunches will be sandwiches, frozen pizzas, or something else simple.

Breakfast will be cooked by me on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday mornings and a fend-for-yourself on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings. I’ll cook pancakes, waffles, eggs, sausage and biscuits, egg burritos, or cinnamon rolls on my mornings. Cereal, toast, or frozen waffles will be on the kid’s mornings.

Hopefully I can get my grocery shopping down to once a week without any in-between trips. Those quick little stops quickly add up! I run in for a few things and spend over $100! If I do that twice a week plus my regular shopping trip, I can easily spend $500 a week at the grocery store. I’d like to stay at $250-300 a week. 

I’m going to try to get all (or most) of our curriculum picked out, ordered, and ready to go in August. I’m planning to write my own lesson plans for science for the boys this year and for history for all the kids. I’m getting a jump start this summer with planning for the first half of the year. I want to have books, worksheets, notebooking pages, activities, and experiments all written down on paper so I don’t have to think too much about it. 

I want to have Zeke’s kindergarten curriculum planned out and ready to go as well. It’s easy to spend several hours on the weekend trying to plan out the next week, but I’d like all of the work done this summer so I don’t have to try to fit it in on the weekends.

Hopefully these areas of planning and organizing will help our homeschool days run much smoother this year, especially since Zoey will be walking soon and into everything…

What do you do to help your days run smoother?

Originally Posted Here

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