Organization = success (sort of)
In the weeks that preceeded our formal beginning of homeschooling this past Monday, I spent a great deal of time trying to brainstorm ways to streamline our daily life and ways to set myself and the kids up for success as we prepared to dive into learning together.
The phrase that kept churning around in my head was that I wanted to “set me up for success”. I wanted a plan. I like plans. Much as I like to let chaos rule sometimes and just make messes and play with the kids, it isn’t conducive to a happy home for very long. Much as I also like to obsess about cleaning sometimes and get every tiny thing picked up, it isn’t conducive either to a happy home with happy children.
Middle ground. It always seems to be my goal in most areas of life. Finding the balance between a cleaning maniac mother who can’t let one thing get out of place and a disorganized, frazzled mother who can’t even find her shoes is the place I am shooting for these days.
So to help in getting there, these are the things in place that may (or may not) be helpful to anyone else that I wanted to share…
I asked Christopher (nicely) about 3 weeks ago to help me get the house back under control every single night of the week. I asked that we commit to reigning it in before it got out of control because I don’t believe my kids can learn well when there is complete disorder. I put very specific stipulations on my request, namely that neither of us go online until the dinner dishes are done, the laundry is put away and the house is generally picked up. This is a big, BIG sacrifice during fantasy football season and I knew it. But I also knew it might have benefits that outweighed that hit.
I am amazed at what has taken place since we agreed on that. If I slack during the day (and granted some days are so darn hard, it’s not slacking it’s just survival), then I am choosing to spent at least an hour maybe more late at night helping regain order. If I keep myself going on the hour by hour tasks of the day, I am choosing to have little left to do at night and go to bed early or read a book snuggled in my bed for 2 hours.
In 3 weeks I’ve read more fiction books than in the past 3 years of my life. Not kidding. I have chosen to do a load of laundry every single day instead of save it all for the weekend, thus creating a monumentous task that I have grown to hate. I have chosen to spend time each morning and afternoon with the kids doing a quick pick up instead of ending the day with a battle of who’s going to clean which room.
My kids are still getting used to what it feels like to find clothes in their dresser instead of in the ‘clean pile’ in the family room that was usually taller than they were. So is my husband. He recently asked me where to find a clean shirt, I replied “folded, in your dresser” and he said “Really??”. Yes. It was true.
I also spent several hours two weekends ago organizing our homeschool closet. I bought rubbermaids in all sizes for each subject and genre of supplies and magazine holders that serve as a spot to put the materials that we’ll use daily. I did a big run to the goodwill with stuff we don’t need. I got myself back to planning dinners for the week too, knowing that with school at home I’d need to be really to feed the masses on a constant basis.
I am well aware that the spectrum of daddy’s/husbands runs wide. Some help a lot, some hardly help. Some work long days and some don’t have a job. But the feeling of being on the same page with the one who made this family with me is touching a deep part in my heart. It is worth the effort and the several tries at communication that it’s taken to forge a new path in this area of our life.
I have two more posts about homeschool and daily life coming up later this week! We are having so much fun I can hardly stand it. The biggest reason for that is everything I wrote above….and extra measures of the grace that only God can dole out.