I've too often been in the overwhelm. I've read book after book. Post after post. I've heard the advice to pray. Yet, in the thick of dancing toddlers, a needy newborn and a challenging teen, how is meaningful prayer time supposed to happen?
See, I need practical. How do I put this great advice I've gleaned into practice for my family? How does it translate to the day to day chaos?
Let’s admit it. Homeschool families sometimes need strategies. Spending all that time together. In our family, we are blessed with five children from preschool to middle school. The needs are as far-ranging as the age span. So how are homeschool parents supposed to handle it all?
The following are the practical answers I turn to. The advice and wisdom turned reality. Some involve time investment up front for long term results. Some are just the quick fix. Right at home. Right now.
Back to Basics - Living Water, Food and Rest
- Practical Prayer – Pray all day. Every day. How to let go and pray without ceasing even when they are all calling "Mama!"
- Find the Freedom in Frugal Living - yes, I'm afraid I've become that homeschool stereotype
- Take a break. Decide to make meals in the crock pot for two weeks
- More get-it-on-the-table strategies
- Make Sunday the best day of the week – Fast Food for Slow Sundays and the Sunday Box
Save Your Sanity - The Homeschool Day
- What About the Little Ones? The answer to the question I get most often. During school, mom really can be in two places at once.
- The Lunch Lady – tummies are growling after a full morning of school. But you still have your lunch lady job. Here’s a few easy solutions.
- Quiet Time – Just a bit of time apart. What the children and I do after school in the afternoon
- Just Take a Nap – I always put the little ones down for a nap when they are cranky. Sometimes, Mama should take just a 10 minute nap and get over her crankiness too.
- Coffee Break – a recipe for a short, afternoon coffee break (with ideas for the children too)
- Celebrate Every Day or Mad, Sad, Glad - supper time traditions
- Dance with the Dishes - making clearing the table fun
- Just Step Outside – after feeding the crew supper, after a long day teaching and balancing the chaos. Just step out through the front door, walk around the house and come back in the back door refreshed. It really does make a difference.
- More Simple Schooling Strategies
- Dating Your Husband – free, practical and low cost ideas for date nights
- Big Six Great Dates - "MarriedLife is a ministry for married couples. Our desire is to help you experience the fullest and healthiest marriage possible."
- 48 hrs - A yearly, twice-yearly or even quarterly house swap idea for a get-away or anniversary – using gift cards and just going out to eat for $25 or less.
- Sibling Sleepovers – cultivate sibling relationships (and pssst – mom and dad get a date night at home too.)
- Practical Communication - practical ideas for parent/child relationships
Simplify Annual Events
- Birthdays the Easy Way – give yourself a break
- Three Gifts for Christmas – gold, frankincense and myrrh - the practical guide so parents don't have to think
- Mama on Vacation: Planning and Goal Setting – my annual homeschool planning time “We should make plans – counting on God to direct us.” Proverbs 16:9
Give Thanks - Always
Give thanks, count gifts – the Habit of Family Journaling, inspired by Holy Experience's Journaling as a Spiritual Discipline: Writing and Family Worship
Tricia homeschools five children from preschool to middle school, mixing up a classical and Charlotte Mason style. You can find her facing that daily dose of chaos at Hodgepodge. She contributes a blend of writing at Habits for a Happy Home, The Curriculum Choice and $5 Dinners and is also known as Hodgepodgemom.