October 20, 2010

Beyond Survival: Practical Answers

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

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

Cultivate Relationships
  • 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

Give Thanks - Always

Give thanks, count giftsthe 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.


Kerri said...

What a treasure trove of practical advice for surviving the day-in, day-out that makes up life.

Love the picture of the kids on the slide and of course...the coke!

Sarah Familia said...

What a good reminder to take time for all those important but non-urgent things, like planning and finding solutions for preschoolers.

I love all your ideas, especially the ones for "going" on a date at home with the children.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Bravo. What a great list! I will be praying for those who are on the edge of "wanting" moving over to the "doing". :) One step at a time.

Anonymous said...

Love it! So much wisdom all in one place!!

Brandy said...

What a terrific post! This one got a tag in my Delicious account for future references!

Kathie said...

Incredible post thanks so much!

Joelle said...

Thank you so much for this. Such a valuable wealth of inspiration!

Hodgepodgemom said...

Thank you friends. Sarah, I like what you said about how it is important to take time for the non-urgent. Took me quite a bit of crash and burn to figure that out :)

Yes, Angie, one step at a time. Prayer, planning, preparation, priorities... and sometimes, just playing!

Kara said...

Wonderful! Just what I was needing as I was getting overwhelmed with it all:)



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