For those that know me, they know that time management is not my strong point. It's difficult. I have a 3 year old and a 13 year old in the same house. I have schedules for both while trying to teach the both of them at different ages. I still don't know how you guys with 3 plus kids do it! But in all honesty, keeping up with a schedule and planning a curriculum is pretty impossible in this house. Recently, I thought about this whole concept. I mean, I am teaching a couple of kids how to live and eventually they will have to have jobs, go to college (or whatever else they choose) and essentially how to function in the real world... Perhaps, just maybe, it is time to get on the ball about showing them what it is like to be a functioning adult that shows up on time to things. Teach by example, they say... right? So here we go! These are the steps that we took to take our lives and have a happier homeschooling household.
Step ONE: Declutter and Simplify
Above all else, one of the biggest things that gets me behind in life are all of the distractions around. I have instilled a couple of tools to help organize the household and to help us be able to find what we need when it comes to schooling. Decluttering the house, for homeschooling purposes, began with the office. Unfortunately, I don't have a before picture... but here is the after pictures.
Now before you tell me, "That's not organized!" Remember, we have no before pictures! HA! Seriously, it was a crazy mess up in here! I actually had some very astute friends come in and help me.
Step TWO: Schedule Stuff
Scheduling is a difficult task for me. Scheduling and putting things on the calendar mean that I need to be accountable for my actions. That's not always easy! But we did a few things. One, I set up my Google calendar to be a bit more formulaic. I color coded for the boys gymnastics, date nights, lessons, and even days off. Next, I got those updates coming to my phone. After that, I have someone now to remind me when things are. We also set up a family calendar. Unfortunately, to date it has been up for about 2 weeks and it has yet to be utilized. The important fact is that it is there!
Scheduling homeschooling isn't always easy when you have two kids out there needing completely different tasks to keep them busy and engaged, either.
Step THREE: Lowering Standards
One of the main reasons that I used to get all crazy about scheduling was because I had these high expectations that everything had to be just so. Truthfully, I wanted to get the oldest into Latin, Boy Scouts, sports, and a 6 hour lesson. We unschool, for the most part, and the anal retentive planning that went with my expectations just isn't reasonable considering our homeschooling style. I had to sit down and talk with the boys and figure out what they wanted to learn and what I was cramming down their throats. The younger one was easy, but the older has a varied interest pool and I needed to make sure that his learning was representative of his own interests. Otherwise, why bother with homeschooling in the first place? That is not to say that you should follow our lead. I mean, if you have things that you teach because you feel your kids should know and you follow your own curriculum or are planning oriented, then you might not find that it is shoving or anal retentive. I'm just saying that for me to implement what I wanted to, I had to be those things because it goes against the grain around here.
Step FOUR: Schedule Cleaning Before Learning
I am not one for a spotless house, however, I found that when I put off chores... so did the boys. I make sure that all necessary chores are done before schooling starts. I also began bartering for someone to come over and help clean. It's certainly okay to ask for help. You would be amazed what people will do for baked good, co-ops, or baby sitting. In my case, I have a massage therapist for a husband... it made bartering and organizing easy!
Step FIVE: Make Time for the Husband and I
Seriously, up until a month ago, the first real date night my husband and I had was over a YEAR ago. We were losing touch and grumpy. Mind you, I had surgery earlier in the year and we've been through the ringer in the last couple of years. In the end though, the family starts with the adults. If it weren't for adult time then the kids wouldn't be here. Having this time with my husband has made all the difference because we are in a place of friendliness rather than grumpiness. He knows what is going on in my world and we actually... gasp... talk again! It has not only brought us closer and been a benefit for the whole family, it's brought back some fun and spice. This makes for a happier mommy and in turn a happier teacher. It's truly win-win for everyone.