If you’ve been homeschooling for any length of time, you will probably agree that balancing housework and homeschool is one of your main frustrations.
Our children are home with us all day long. That means more dishes, more laundry, more craft projects. I probably pick up a dozen pencils off the floor each day. Can you relate?
What is the solution, then, to this perennial homeschool mom problem? Here are my best tips since homeschooling for over a decade and having five children underfoot.
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Solution #1: Shift your mindset
There’s actually no such thing as balance. If you are paying attention to the task at hand, then by definition, other things are not priorities at that moment. So, if your mornings are dedicated to schoolwork, then the house might look a little worse for wear by the afternoon. Especially if you have a toddler! Am I right?
Instead of trying to find that elusive, perfect balance, you need to identify your priorities and embrace planned neglect. When you know your why, then you are able to choose the best over the good. Maybe homeschooling the kids is a bigger priority right now than a Pinterest-perfect house.
Find good enough. One mom recently said, “My house is only all the way totally clean when we are expecting company – I’m afraid it will be that way till they move out!” Yes, it might be and it’s okay. Don’t compare your current season with another mom in a different season of life.
Shift your mindset, but you still have to deal with the stuff right in front of you.
Solution #2: Deal with your stuff
There’s no nice way to say it. Some of us just have too much stuff. Kind of like the stuffed animals that seem to multiply under the kids’ beds? Be a good example to your kids in this area and start to declutter your own things. They will probably notice and want in on the fun. Decide which charities you will give your excess to. Or will you sell it and donate the money? Or use the money for a fun activity.
Solution #3: Delegate the chores
If you are homeschooling and your kids are home most days, there is no good reason why mom should be doing most of the household chores!
Laundry can definitely be delegated. Kids as young as four can learn to do their own laundry. We have seven people in our house and I only do laundry for my husband and myself. You will easily save several hours per week if you make this simple switch and have the kids do their own laundry chores.
I don’t vacuum either, or clean bathrooms. Each of the kids have several chores weekly that they keep track of on Trello. For motivation (and money management skills) you can give them an allowance. This has worked for us. Our kids have used the designations Dave Ramsey teaches for all money flowing in: save 50%, give 10%, spend 40%. When they reach the teen years, they still do household chores as part of the family, but it’s time for them to find a “real job” for that extra spending and saving cash. Check out Smart Money Smart Kids or Financial Peace Jr. for ideas on how to make this work for your family.
Finally, I don’t go shopping (and you shouldn’t either). Seriously, try to limit your errands and you will probably find that you have more time to “balance” your responsibilities.
Yes, sometimes we just want to get out of the house. Go for it! But maybe you need to make some changes in your weekly routine so that you’re worker smarter, not harder.
Solution #4: Work smarter, not harder
What does this look like? You’ll have to analyze the items on your daily list that are causing stress and too much wasted time. Here are some ideas to start with:
- meal prep on weekends or start tomorrow’s dinner when you clean up tonight’s dinner
- deal with leftovers right away – freeze or pack as tomorrow’s lunch
- use paper plates if you have to
- simplify lunch – crackers, cheese & fruit instead of big production in the middle of your day
This solution also applies to the way we transition throughout our schooling day.
Solution #5: Simplify your homeschool routines
Develop a homeschool flow or routine. Do your kids know how to transition between subjects or assignments? Use simple organization to keep track of assignments. We love Trello. Make it work for your space. And definitely don’t go overboard with the homeschool planning!
If you teach your kids what you expect for the daily routine, they are better able to take responsibility for their day. And guess what happens? Mom finds pockets of time throughout the homeschool day in which to get a few household or other tasks checked off the list. This is my super simple productivity secret.
Solution #6: Take time for yourself
Prioritizing self-care and recharging is not easy for most moms to do. We are so used to constantly meeting others’ needs. And this is our joy! But if you don’t take some time for yourself on a regular basis, you will burn out. What is it for you? Is it reading, watching your favorite Netflix show, baking, crafting, getting out with friends for coffee? Make it a priority, schedule it, and make it happen. You have more time than you think. Make it work for you.
Go ahead and take a day off from homeschool when you feel like you’re overwhelmed or have too much on your plate. There’s no way you can do it all when you’re falling apart.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with balancing housework and homeschool right now, you should download my 5 Strategies to Conquer Overwhelm printable! You can grab it here.