How Does A Busy Homeschool Mom Spell Relief? R-O-U-T-I-N-E
By Vicki Bentley
When you feel incredibly overwhelmed, it can help to go back to the basics. What is getting dropped that just can’t? Meals? Bedtimes? Basic housekeeping? Revisit your routine—I don’t mean the sort of schedule that has you checking the to-do list every eight minutes, or dinging a bell to move from lunch to naptime. I mean covering at least the basics and having some regularity to your day.
Knowing what comes next, without having to make one more decision, can be a relief. Children find security in routine, and we moms can find emotional freedom in having a basic structure for the day or week. Don’t know where to begin? Mealtimes and bedtimes make a great framework for a routine. For example: “I’ll make a great effort to have breakfast by 7:30 and then lunch ready at 1:00 and supper at 6:30, and everyone has to be in their rooms by 9:00 p.m., whether they are in bed or quietly reading or something else safe (depending on ages).” Then plug everything else in around those times.
What has to get done in a typical week in your house? What recurring activities can you plug into a repeating weekly routine? My goal is to run on autopilot as much as possible, so I need a routine that helps me not have to think too hard. My list of weekly essentials includes:
I made columns on a paper and labeled them Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and so on, through the week and then plugged in each of these items (above) on a day of the week. For example, learning time (homeschooling) was a daily activity, as were meals, but I could schedule most of the other items on specific days. The most fundamental household tasks were already part of our household management system (chore chart), so we already had dishes, daily bathroom tidying, and other chores covered.
Here’s what my week looked like:
Once I had decided on my main tasks for each day, I could plug those into daily routines on 4x6-inch cards, such as:
* Notice the finite time block allocated for email! Ladies, we must be good stewards of our time and not let our computer use cause us to neglect other responsibilities.
These 4x6-inch routine cards went into a 4x6-inch flip-style photo album which was strategically placed on my desk for maximum visibility (your best spot might be the kitchen window, the changing table, or other often-visited location). I developed a habit of checking my visible routine card during the day.
Remember that a schedule is simply a tool to help us glorify God in our home. It is often easier to glorify God in an orderly home because we can be more gracious to our children when we aren’t rushed or hunting for the keys or always behind, and can be hospitable when we are comfortable opening our home to others. So while you may seek ways to bring order to your home, don’t allow “organization” to become an idol. The purpose of home organization is to give you the time and liberty for relationships.
Need more help? Feel like life has just broadsided your efforts? Read “When Life Broadsides Your Homeschool.”
Excerpted or adapted from Home Education 101 and Organized-Well, Almost! Time Management for Busy Moms.