Encouragement - Overwhelmed with cleaning & homeschooling

Art, Foreign Language, Music, Nature Walks, as well as general ideas and encouragement
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Re: How do you keep up on school and house work??

Unread post by kaiakai »

I am scared to death... we're about to start school and I have the same question.. how do I keep up with everything as a single mom homeschooling my kids AND myself??

I am trying to get us on a schedule in the weeks before school starts and being very conscious to eliminate everything extra. Bedtimes are something that I have never really enforced in the past, so that is something new that we are working on

I'm here, too: "Short answer: Get on my knees and pray, crying out to God and begging him for help." :D

Realizing that I won't be able to do it all helps. Remembering to stay calm in that space.
Mom to Kiira (5) and Hana (2)
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Re: How do you keep up on school and house work??

Unread post by alisoncooks »

robertb10502 wrote:alisoncooks - the more I look at your list to do....I love it. I am going to have to try to make one for me..Thanks for sharing that!!!
Oh yay! I'm glad it helped.
To be honest, I can make lists all day, LOL. It's putting them into action that I struggle with. ;)
But --as odd as it sounds-- those lil' check boxes help. It looks nice when everything is checked off for the day with a bright RED pen!

Also, in case anyone's interested, my Super Target (dollar section) has pretty rainbow notepad checklists (with a magnet on the back) in a pad of 100 (I think). It's numbered 1-12 and there are boxes over to the right side to check off. I've been using them this week to help me prepare for an upcoming long weekend away.
Married to DH since 2000, with 2 sweet girls (2006 & 2008).
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Re: How do you keep up on school and house work??

Unread post by lisabee »

LOL! I have been asking this very same question!!! I have a hard enough time NOW keeping my house clean while chasing a newly walking 1 year old and a rambunctious 5 year old!

We (hubby and I) have decided it's time to increase the chores for the 5 year old. I taught him how to do basic folding of his own clothes...he know how to put them away. Next comes learning how to fold towels. He does his bedroom and brings all the laundry to me already. He can empty and put away everything he can reach from the dishwasher. He's going to start setting and clearing the table for me too.

Every little bit helps!


There is always a but isn't there?

He has to be reminded and reminded...so we are going to start a chore chart. He gets it done, he marks it off. Rewards for doing everything without my reminding.

Toys scattered all over were so annoying as I ended up steppin on them ALL the time (ouch!), so now if he leaves the house or room without putting up the toys, I abscond with them! They become MINE and he doesn't get them back until I deem him ready to have them. NOw THAT really took care of the toys issues!! He's quick to pick them up!!! LOL!

I think I'm going to have to make myself a weekly list and instead of trying to get all the things clean in one day...just scatter it throughout the week. And grant myself GRACE if I can't get it all done.

And ask my hubby for some too! LOL!
Lisa M.
Mom to two fabulous farm-fresh boys
Little Britches (5 1/2)
Baby Britches (1)
My Blog about Homeschooling and Life on the Farm: Farm Fresh Adventures
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Re: How do you keep up on school and house work??

Unread post by jer2911mom »

I have two friends using MFW who school Mon. - Thurs. and take every Fri. off (except for field trips that fall on that day) to do housework. They end up schooling from July - June with only a few weeks off for the summer, but that schedule really works for them and they say it saves their sanity. Their kids seem to really like that schedule, too, because once the housework is done, they can go play. They like the shorter school week, too.

Teresa in TX
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Re: How do you keep up on school and house work??

Unread post by Teresa in TX »

I've recently discovered Motivated Moms, which is only $8 for the year and takes all of the housekeeping planning out for me. At this point, I have a highlighter for each working-age human (other than dh) in our home. For us, that means those that are not the baby. ;) I print up the list each week then take 5 minutes and highlight who needs to do what. I keep the daily chores the same but switch up on the weekly chores. The nice thing about it is that it makes the list for each child doable. They each wind up with 4-5 things per week to do on their weekly list. Then I give the option of doing it all in one day or pacing it out. There are a few things that are not on the list like cleaning the car out and picking up the house daily, so I add those in. I have thrown perfection out the window...cleaning things is important and making sure that things are disinfected, etc. A perfect-looking home just isn't going to happen for a long time (if ever) for us. The goal is picking up what we leave out, having a sanitary home, having meals cooked, clean clothing, and just not letting things get away from us.

I print up a grocery list from donnayoung.org and fill it in before making my grocery list. That helps a lot! Then there are no questions as to what we are eating.

School I am trying to streamline more. I just have to know what can actually be done by me. We still haven't started school but I am considering doing CLE for grammar/spelling/handwriting so that I won't have to be as heavily involved in those subjects. I'm really trying to work with the situation that I am in!! I don't need to try anymore to do what anyone else is doing, just to deal with the home I am in.

I'm starting to see that my iphone is my friend. I set timers for everything!! I put alerts on there to tell me if I have to go somewhere the next day and what I need to take. I'm learning how to sync the family's schedules with mine (obviously that is more for dh and the older kids). I am putting math games on for the boys. There are audio books for them, free books, etc.

I like the Managers of their Homes schedule but have to tweak that some to work for our family. We're not major schedulers, so I don't schedule every aspect of our lives.
Teresa, Mom of 5: 15yo dd, 12yo ds, 7yo ds, 5yo ds, and 1yo ds

4th year with MFW
MFW 1st w/ 7yo ds
MFW RtR w/ 7th grade ds
MFW World History with 10th grade dd
So far we have used: ECC, 1850-Present, CTG, RtR, High School Ancients and MFW K
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Re: How do you keep up on school and house work??

Unread post by baileymom »

We use both chore lists and schedules. I'm terrible at meal planning, terrible.

We break up chores into 3 segments (morning, afternoon, and evening) and everyone...me and all 7 kids have chores. Now, the older children have pretty much the same kind of chores I do, but the Littles do things like: Help Mom fold laundry, pick up toys, etc. Having daily chores divided up by peeps and 3s helps the work load seem more bearable.

*I also do loads of laundry as they appear. I've learned to immediately fold, dividing into individual piles, and give the pile directly to the child to put away. They grumble, but putting 3 pieces of clothing away is a lot easier than a HUGE pile every few days.*

A schedule is also a must. I used to prefer 'routine' but there are just too many of us going in too many different directions for everyone not to be able to SEE exactly what they are supposed to be doing and when. Right now, we're trying to use the schedule at the front of our TM...but I don't know if that's going to work, since we have so many different ages. (and trying to fit Preschool, 1st grade, a 3rd & 6th grader doing 1850-MOD, and soon an AHLer). I'm a firm believer in the mid-day Quiet Time too. Everyone needs a break, especially when your boys get up before the sun!

We've also learned to help care for each other along the way. If it's not *ME* who has to stop every time someone needs a drink, or a diaper needs changed, or needs help with PLL, things go a lot more smoothly. Right now, it's mainly just my girls who do this (14 and 11), but my 9 yr old son is learning to help care for the Littles some too.

I also think it's important that EVERYONE realizes that because we are a homeschooling family, that means we will be HOME a lot more than most families. The house will be messy a lot (though clean), dinner will NOT be gourmet (but healthy and yummy), and school will get a little mixed up sometimes. We also always try to remember that LIVING comes before school or housework. Although that perspective can also get lost in the shuffle sometimes.

HTH, I babble when I'm tired :~
Kathi - graduated 1, homeschooling 6, preschooling 2, growing 1
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Re: How do you keep up on school and house work??

Unread post by gratitude »

My answer is more of the empathy, I completely understand where you are coming from, and well truthfully I don't [keep up]. I do have a few tricks though to help along the way, keep my energy up, and feel good about what we are doing & not doing.

My children are just turned 8, 6, 4, & 2. The youngest has Down Syndrome, so she is a lot like an 18 month old on the verge of walking.

My sanity savors:
I get up early with my DH. We have coffee and talk and say our prayers together before the day starts. I was known in college though for being a morning person, and I did row crew at 6 a.m., so I completely understand if this may not work for you. For me it is what keeps my energy going. After he leaves for work I eat breakfast, read, check emails, check the board, shower, and am ready to go when the kids get up (usually ready to go that is). This puts me on the up side when the day starts so I feel like I have spent time with God, spent time with DH, & had some alone time. It puts me in such a better frame of mind to give the rest of the day.

My other sanity savor is I read the Bible each night while my children are falling asleep. My DH does too. After we put them to bed it usually takes 30 minutes for them to fall asleep. This is my scripture time. Without this I don't think I would have the energy to do what I have to do each day. If I miss this time for 2 or 3 days my energy starts going down.

My few tricks for cleaning:
Clorax wipes under the sinks. Two minute wipe of the counters helps me feel like the bathrooms are clean, when I notice they are getting dirty (often with 4 children) I take a minute to wipe them.

Kitchen Floor: I sweep and mop when I do the dishes, or my DH does, while the other one gets the children ready for bed.

Vaccuum: Rarely gets done, or my oldest does it for allowance. I am not as consistant on this as I need to be.

Clean bathrooms: Ugh. My least favorite cleaning job ever! I do them every week or two. I like to clean the entire house once a month or so when my DH is home. Top to bottom, everything up to par. My challenge this summer though is I have had to do it a lot for showings. During school I could never clean this much.

I use school hours, like Julie (who gave me the very good idea :-) ). We start by 9 or 10, and never go past 3. The most concentrated time is usually the first hour and during the two year olds nap.

I hope something I said even helped a little. I am sure this sounds more organized than I really am, but I do try to stay on top of it all. I function better with a clean house and school getting done. Oh, yes my one big downfall is folding laundry. I am starting to do better though when the pile of clean hits their closet floors of taking 10 minutes to fold it sometime that day or at night while they are getting ready for bed.

It does get easier, or at least it started to really lighten up for me when my youngest reached two. But she isn't walking or potty training yet; I don't know yet if it will be harder or easier when she starts those things.

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Re: How do you keep up on school and house work??

Unread post by Kimn »

If you can afford it I would recommend you have a cleaning lady come in every 2wks and take care of the cleaning. Try to get a recommendation from someone. I had one all last year and it made such a difference with the house and my state of mind. It also helped us keep the house neater when all we had to concentrate on was having it picked up halfway for her. It was nice to be upstairs schooling while our cleaning lady was down cleaning. I was able to keep up with the cooking and laundry and schooling much better because that was lifted from me.
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Re: How do you keep up on school and house work??

Unread post by thesummerfields »

Great suggestions ladies! When I am feeling like you are, I start up the quiet time for about an hour every afternoon. I just need that down time, there are times where we don't need it every day but I like the option. Then I made myself some check off sheets very similar to the ones someone already posted. There is just something about checking things off that makes me feel so good at the end of the day even if only a few things got done I know that was a few more things that might not have gotten done otherwise without the check off sheets.

I love Flylady to get me started, but after a while all the emails were just too cluttery for my inbox! haha So I went with the custom check off sheets. Each time I do check-off sheets a new version I end up putting less and less on there. My first few weren't realistic and I sometimes felt like a failure if I didn't do everything. So my goal now is to do the minimums to keep chaos at bay (especially on school days where I tend to feel more drained by the end of the day!)

I hope you find some peace with your day, routines help the kids and for you to feel like at least something is getting done, and quiet time will help you get a minute for a Bible study or a nap even!
Holden age 7~ MFW 1st Grade, modified to use Barton for reading portions for dyslexia
Evan 6th & Toby 4th~ Rome to Reformation
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Re: How do you keep up on school and house work??

Unread post by robertb10502 »

I love that there are still people popping in with ideas. I think I need to print this off for when I need a reminder. I have taking so much from this. I have been slowly trying to change our day to make everything work out. Like adding a quiet time :) that was the first change. My 6 year old does not do well with change so I am trying to take it slow. Next up.....laundry :~ Time to get caught up and stay that way. Next week I will be starting a load every day before school. Then I'm hoping to get it changed to the dryer after school.

This week was the first week in a while that we have been able to get to school every day!!!! Praise God!!! A routine is coming together!!!

Now I just need to make myself a check list for the week.....
-Samantha- wife to Robert - mom to Christian, Riley, Eli and Annie.

2012 - 2013 ECC
2011 - 2012 1st and Adventures
2010 - 2011 K and 1st
2010 - 2009 K
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Re: How do you keep up on school and house work??

Unread post by asheslawson »

Cool thread...also checked out motivated moms...the e-books are half price for 2011 right now. I hesitate to buy a planner I have to print because I hate wasting ink on me when I need it for kids things....but that planner might work for me.

I NEVER get it all done...but that planner might help me prioritize and work on it better.

Thanks for so many great ideas!
"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him" Colossians 2:6
dd-28, ds-25, ds-24, ds-22, ds-14, dd-10, student 13, granddaughter 3
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Home Management Tips

Unread post by jhagberg »

Christine4512 wrote:Hi there. I am trying to get back into Adventures with my kids. We start up and then sort of burn out after a while. I really enjoy the interactive learning together, but it seems to take a lot of my time, and I have little time for keeping up with everything else! (Laundry, daily pick-up, etc.) What works for you?
When we did Adventures my boys were 7 and 3. I would start after 8:30 and be done before 11:30, so it was less than three hours for us. I had it in my mind that I would not do any school after lunch, so whatever we were going to do had to happen in the morning. I would save the hands-on science for last so that if it turned into play time or made a big mess, our other work was already done. (Don't be afraid to set an ending time and just stop. You can pick up where you left off the next day.)

Regarding housework and chores, this is something I have to re-learn every school year... Don't try to mix school with chores! I always seem to think that I will be able to sneak away and start a load of laundry or clean a bathroom while the kids are doing math or reading, but it doesn't work! It is much better for me (and them) if I stay focused on SCHOOL ONLY. I have to remind myself that if I were still teaching in a school, I would not be doing housework at the same time. ;)

Get school done first (set a start time and ending time so it doesn't take all day), then do housework.
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Re: Home Management Tips

Unread post by kw4blessings »

Here's what works for us...

As I began this past year of homeschooling, I quickly found out that I couldn't keep up with everything. I knew I wanted my kids to help out, but they are young and I felt like every chore I had them help with took twice as long! I finally just took a week or two off from schooling and taught them how to do simple jobs. Now we have a "morning routine", where my oldest 2 unload the dishwasher and load breakfast dishes, pick up living room, dress and brush teeth, wipe down bathroom, and put away any folded clothes awaiting them. While they do that, I get myself ready for the day, start a load of laundry, vacuum, do a general clean-up (with the youngest 2 in tow!). Does it go smoothly everyday? No. But, I feel much better about sitting down to start school when the house is in order. On a good day, it takes us about 1/2 hour after breakfast and then we start school. I get some grumbling from them, but in general they seem to enjoy the routine.

We're only doing 1st grade right now, so it only takes about 90 minutes a day. I know next year will be tougher with Adv and K. I am fully assuming that I'll need to tweak our routine as we get into it. But, that's what works for us right now. I also have an afternoon job list where each of us has one simple job in the afternoon for each day of the week (i.e. cleaning our front storm door, vacuuming a bedroom, etc.). Those don't get done weekly, by any stretch of the imagination, but more often than they would if I didn't have it written down! We also have an evening routine of picking up the LR and getting ready for bed. This one gets done most of the time, but the morning routine is our constant. A big help! It really has turned chaos into decent order.

HTH! Every family is so different. I hope you find something that works for you!
Kelly, blessed mama to
sweet girl 10, busy boys 8, 6, 3
Finished K, 1st, Adventures, ECC
2016-17 CTG, K, and All Aboard!
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Re: Home Management Tips

Unread post by MelissaB »

I like Joyce's advice. We have a set time for school (although I do find myself straying toward the laundry room occasionally to switch from washer to dryer ;) ), and a set time for all of us to do chores together.

If you would like a super power-packed book of advice for this issue, try Terri Maxell's Managers of Their Schools for homeschool moms, or even the book Managers of Their Homes (both a great help).

Also ... just to encourage you (I battle doing this myself): pleeaase don't compare your home to that of a stay-at-home mom whose children are away at school (or to your own mom's house if you and your siblings went to school).

Our homes should be safe, and healthy, and clean - and overall orderly. But with our sweet children at home while we are, we must be realistic. Our homes probably will not have that perfect "museum" feel when friends walk in.

And that's O.K. If your husband is happy with the way you're managing your home, and if your home is a warm, loving place the Lord can use to reach out or welcome someone who is hurting, and you're homeschooling - you are doing an amazing job. !!
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4
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Re: Home Management Tips

Unread post by lea_lpz »

kw4blessings wrote:I finally just took a week or two off from schooling and taught them how to do simple jobs. Now we have a "morning routine", where my oldest 2 unload the dishwasher and load breakfast dishes, pick up living room, dress and brush teeth, wipe down bathroom, and put away any folded clothes awaiting them. While they do that, I get myself ready for the day, start a load of laundry, vacuum, do a general clean-up (with the youngest 2 in tow!). Does it go smoothly everyday? No. But, I feel much better about sitting down to start school when the house is in order. On a good day, it takes us about 1/2 hour after breakfast and then we start school. I get some grumbling from them, but in general they seem to enjoy the routine.
I love this idea ;)

I'm trying to think of what we can do this summer that'd be "learning" activities between mfw k and mfw 1st and this sounds like a great thing to work on. I would love to have the kids be able to do more but it takes so long because they don't know how so often I just try to do it myself but if we didn't have school in the equation, then it wouldn't be big deal and by fall they'd have it down :)

What works fore is to have set clean up times where everyone has a job to do and doing quick housework when the kids take a 5-10 minute break. That's enough time to get a load of laundry going or quick clean a bathroom or do a small load of dishes.

As far as doing chores while doing school, we school in the kitchen, so if they are able to work independently at something I would do something in the kitchen specifically only, like prep lunch or put away some dishes, wash dishes from breakfast, etc, but nothing where I would leave for longer periods. This means we do a morning chores, afternoon, and evening chores.
ds14, dd11,ds9, dd4.5, dd2.5, dd2.5 (yep twins)
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Re: Home Management Tips

Unread post by TriciaMR »


I spent a week teaching my kids their chores. And now I use a website called myjobchart.com to track their chores - the kids earn points and they can "buy" stuff: time on the computer, video game time, etc. Works for our family and our philosophy. It might not work for others.

We start school at 8:30. They have chores they have to finish by then. Then we focus on school. We do have a short morning snack break - and my oldest's chore is to shift the laundry then (takes all of a couple of minutes, but we only do 1 load a day most days). There are after school chores, too. I use a timer for some subjects, and that has helped a lot and keeps us moving. If they don't finish, it becomes "homework." Some things I don't use timers as much for (history, read alouds, because the amount of time for even just me reading those subjects can vary). Spelling, Enlgish and reading I use a timer for. What you might do is time how long a subject takes you several days, and then use that a starting point. If you're always having extra time, or not enough time, you can adjust accordingly.

My biggest issue seems to be keeping the kids moving so we can get it done. Having a timer does help some.
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
My blog
Julie in MN
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Re: Home Management Tips

Unread post by Julie in MN »

jhagberg wrote:Regarding housework and chores, this is something I have to re-learn every school year... Don't try to mix school with chores!
I completely agree with Joyce, that separating school hours from housework hours means that both things get done more efficiently. It also teaches children to focus by seeing you set aside everything during those hours.

I love the chore lessons, too :)

Such a great topic we all need to read every year. Here are some more ideas on this topic: http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=2471
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
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Re: Home Management Tips

Unread post by jhagberg »

I'll jump in again and say that I also have some things that I must do before school each day (exercise, pack hubby's lunch, eat breakfast, feed the baby). I try to get everything done by 8:00 so we can start before 8:30. Also, I evaluate how our day is going (about halfway) and consider which items might be optional if we are really struggling. Maybe we can skip spelling... or do ILL orally... or move science to tomorrow...

When I was teaching school there was a definite ending time each day when all the kids went home, so now I grant myself "a time to teach, and a time to stop teaching". ;)

Oh, one more thing! We try to make sure all chores are done before bed so that we wake up to a clean house! :-)
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