Sure, we need to plan.
We also need to know our strengths and weaknesses.
All the mamas and the papas and the babies have different personalities and that makes for fun-filled days with all those dynamics at work. How do you cope?
We need to know ourselves.
We need to constantly reevaluate ourselves and our purpose and homeschool.
We need to know what our recipe for success is. For ourselves personally, and for each of our children. We need to know what sets us on edge and do our best to eliminate those triggers.
Pray. Always. Unceasingly.
Run a smooth(er) homeschool.
Consider learning styles for each child and how that works with your teaching style, mamas. I have to force myself out of my comfort zone to teach my children the way they best learn and that’s often difficult for me. Is it more important that I check off that box or that my child has a great learning experience?
Check out my post on learning styles.
Create a learning space for each child and a sanctuary for mama. Small spaces make this tough, but you can make or buy a privacy shield to allow children to work independently behind a barrier and that helps many focus. I often work alongside my kids and this is comforting for all.
Consider the flow and dynamics of a typical school day. How could it go more smoothly? Do the kids need an outdoor recess or vigorous indoor activity to get the wiggles out midmorning? Do you need to reinforce a rest or quiet time in the afternoons for the evenings to play out more calmly? Does the schedule need to be revamped to be more successful? I alternate days with history and science since it’s a lot of reading and notebooking.
What can you do to improve the ebb and flow of your home? Be proactive.
I recently subscribed to eMeals to help me with meal planning because I.am.terrible.about.meal.planning. Too many afternoons have passed me by and nothing made its way out of the freezer to thaw for dinner and we had to scramble or grab takeout or rush to the store. We like to eat and we often have a freezer and fridge full of lovely food, but I’ve been lazy lately about getting it prepared and on the table on time.
Set up a cleaning schedule or chore chart for the kids – and for you. Lots of moms use Fly Lady or zone cleaning. Find something that works for your family. Tori is my cleaner. I can just let her go and she does whatever it is above and beyond my standards. Alex and Kate are pretty cheerful about helping but Liz really doesn’t care to help. It’s not optional. Teach the kids to help early on. Servant leadership and great life skills!
Have only littles? Find a family with an older child in training to be a mama helper. This can be for pay or on a barter. This older child can help with laundry or cleaning up or watching the kids to give you a little breather.
Ask your husband what can be let go. My husband is pretty laid back but it drives him nuts to have toys all over the floor. The laundry piling up? He’d pick his clothes out of a basket forever with no complaint. He helps with cooking. He cares for the lawn and snow shoveling. He’ll vacuum or steam clean if I ask. Most everything else he overlooks. Awesome.
We need to maintain our health as best we can.
Sleep is important.
We make sure the little kids are in bed by 8 PM. Our eldest typically goes to bed by 9. Generally, they all wake up naturally between 6:30-8 in the morning. If we have a rare appointment in the morning and have to get up early, it’s grumpiness all around. Sleep and rest are important and I am happy to allow for their growing bodies to regenerate and grow and heal.
I get up every morning and make a hot breakfast. It took me too many years to get that this is important. I never used to eat breakfast. Even still, I often don’t get anything after the kids have swooped down. I either have a smoothie or hardboiled egg (I keep a supply of HB eggs in the fridge and I make twice as much smoothie as I need so there are leftovers of that as well). I have noticed since feeding my kids a good breakfast, their behavior is much improved and our days run more smoothly.
We need to stay fit to be healthy. The kids and I play the Wii, shovel snow, take hikes or walks, do Family Time Fitness or Fit2Be or yoga together. My husband frequents the gym almost every day. Liz has to take a physical training test monthly for Civil Air Patrol. I get to the gym when I can. Fresh air and exercise are great mood elevators and keep our bodies working properly.
We use essential oils and cod liver oil and drink lots of water to keep our immune systems healthy. We don’t use OTC or prescription meds. We also diffuse focusing oils to help our brains function at their best. We’ve limited microwave use and I would get rid of the thing altogether, but we’re not quite there yet. We use less plastic and Thieves® Household Cleaner to clean, well, everything.
The point is, we all have strengths and weaknesses. We’re all different. We have different personality traits and it’s not worth trying to overhaul that and be someone we’re not. Find something that works to help streamline your life so everyone is at peace with it.
The whole series: