It’s back to school time!
Is it back to school time already? “Say what?!” Yes, it’s that time again. In my last post I talked about our summer school routine- and the fact that although we don’t homeschool year-round, we definitely landed in the “let’s learn over the summer” department. We were restless, the summer days were long, and we found some good books to get into. Nothing major, mind you. But the semi-lazy summer days for us are now coming to an abrupt end as we say goodbye to our library summer reading program, late mornings, vacationing at the beach and lack of routine and we enter a new season of school. It starts next week for us. So, in the spirit of understanding how busy we homeschool moms can be and how getting back into the school groove isn’t going to be an easy feat for some of us, I want to leave with you some actionable tips you can take with you through at what may be the beginning of the school year for many of you.
So, here are my five back to school tips for busy homeschool moms.
- Do your best to get and stay organized. I know it’s not super easy to get organized, much less stay organized, but the sooner we can get our things together for the sake of an easier school year, the better off we’ll be. And so will our kids. I tend to thrive better in an organized environment. When I know where things should be in the home (a place for everything and everything in its place) my creativity takes a huge leap for joy. I can finally live when I’m organized. But getting organized takes work, I know. It means taking assessment of where we are and figuring out how to get there. For me, it’s organizing our family mail, the bills and important documents, and keeping cleaning routines running smoothly for each room in our home. I can’t do this all by myself, of course, which leads me to my next point.
- Make the kids help and get all hands on board. When my girls help me cook dinner, do their own laundry and clean their own bathroom and bedrooms, my life becomes lighter. Not only does it instill responsibility within them, but it gives me the break I need to focus on the essentials for me and my husband- like keeping the other rooms in the home tidy and preparing healthy meals. These tasks take time to develop and manage and I can definitely use all the spare time I can get in order to run my home more efficiently. So, all hands on board is a must.
- Eliminate non-essentials in your life. What I mean by this is cut back on scheduling, purchasing and time spent doing the things that don’t matter to you. If it’s a non-essential, it may be the season to let it go. Now’s the time – before the hustle and bustle of school- to begin making some year-long decisions up front about your values and what you’ll keep or not keep in your life. For some that may mean saying no to 4 extracurricular activities because travel time is driving you insane. For others it might mean letting go of a particular curriculum you’ve been holding on to because it worked for your kids for years but just doesn’t work anymore. And yet for others it might be letting go of the idea of perfectionism. Do you absolutely have to cook three times a day? Will the kids survive if they have a slice of toast for breakfast along with a boiled egg you made the night before? Can they pour up a bowl of cereal twice a week, freeing you up from breakfast duty? Could you let some of the cleaning go and just be okay with a well-lived in looking house? That one is hard for me because I do have pretty high standards about how I want my house to look. I’m pretty picky about my living space and environment because I feel happier when my living space is clean, spacious, and well, let’s be honest, unrealistically spotless. But that’s just no reality- it’s not life. And as a homeschool mom, I have never had the opportunity to experience spotless. And quite frankly, I’m glad. I’m glad because my kids and husband are happy, and happy families make messes. We also clean them up afterward- which is where I can get a little bit compulsive, but I’m working on it!
- Toss out what doesn’t work. This is going back to my previous statement about eliminating non-essentials. Whether it’s old curriculum choices or the way you’re running your home, if it’s not working, it’s time to give it a toss out the window and use your God-given freedom of choice to choose something different for your family. You can do that: you really can. It’s all about exercising your freedom to choose and understanding that it’s okay not to choose the same thing every single year. We are all transitioning. Every family is morphing, changing face from year to year. As you transition, you and your spouse are changing, your kids are developing and maturing, and your home life should be changing as well. The systems and routines in your home should be transitioning right along with your family. Is it time to get rid of an old chore chart that hasn’t worked in months? Toss it and find a new system that works for your kids’ new ages and abilities. Are your kids capable of doing more? Add it into your routine. Is your family waking up too late? To early? Are you getting to bed too late? Too early? What doesn’t work for you? Go ahead and toss it! Free yourself to make the necessary changes.
- Lastly, embrace things you love. Every mama needs to enjoy herself, love herself, and get some time alone to meditate and be you. You may not get that time very often, especially with young kids in the house, but if you can snatch a moment here or there, take it, embrace it, and thank God for it. Don’t lose yourself in parenting. Remember who you are and tap into that woman deep inside who loves painting or cooking or writing or reading. If you have to snag the time to do these things, do it so that you can keep your love alive. You are worth it. You give, give, and give so much of yourself. This school year, remember to replenish yourself by cherishing and loving yourself. You deserve it.
So have these back to school tips been helpful to you? Are you getting ready for going back to school this fall, and if so, what are you doing to prepare for homeschooling this school year? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
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