Managing Home and Homeschool – Practical tips on how to reduce stress and manage your home

Managing home and homeschool is a stressful job. As a homeschooling mom you are not only the teacher but also the mother of the home, meaning the duties of home management falls on your shoulder. The meals, the laundry (oh I hate laundry) and the cleaning unfortunately need to be done in order to facilitate life. This is a post mostly for myself because I want to organize a routine and put together some tips to help myself and you achieve chore bliss. So lets tackle things one monster at a time:

Meals

Meal plan! Every Sunday (pick your own day) plan out your meals. As in write out your main meal for the whole week and get the appropriate ingredients.ย  In my household breakfast tends to be standard. We all do eggs and milk in some form, my husband and youngest do boiled eggs and My oldest does oatmeal every single day. We might vary it up a bit occasionally but not enough that it can disturb the routine. Lunch is usually sandwiches of some form and a smoothie. Dinner is usually the main meal and requires preparation ahead of time. Here are some ideas and tips to make dinner prep easier:

  1. Thaw out your meat in the early morning.
  2. Employ your crock pot or instant pot. (If you don’t have one, slow cooking on the stove works just as well)
  3. Start it all at lunch time, while the kids do lunch.
  4. Finish it up, Reheat or add garnish right before dinner, so it still has that right out of the oven heat.
  5. Use prepped ingredients multiple times. For example, If you prepped carrots for a meal this week, prep extra so you can use it next week for another meal (just don’t forget to use them).
  6. Keep meals one pot dishes. Casseroles, Stews, Soups and Curries are popular in our home, mostly because they require less out of me, are wholesome and filling for the family and are quick and easy.
  7. Keep complicated meals that require lots of prep time and multiple steps for your days off of homeschooling, this could be a special weekend meal for the family to enjoy.

The Laundry

I am not sure if I am qualified to talk about laundry because there is a huge pile sitting right in front of me as I type this; but here are some tips that I plan on using to reduce this tediousness.

  1. Minimize your clothing. Go through the closet and take out all the clothes that you wore this month. Look through the rest of the clothes, if there are clothes you wear in a different season such as a sweater, jacket, raincoat etc, take them out as well. The rest of the clothing are clothes that you are just hanging on to and you don’t wear.ย  Donate them, some one else will cherish them.
  2. Wash often and fold Immediately. Folding is the bane of my existence, I find it wasteful to spend so much time folding clothes when most likely 20 minutes from now my youngest will rummage through her drawer, toss out half of the clothes in it to find her favorite dress. So, lets wash our clothes every Wednesday and Sunday. Put on a good audiobook or movie and fold those evil little bounce smelling clothes. If your kids are old enough to help or take responsibility let them. Get them into it too, which brings me to my next tip.
  3. Outsource. If the family member is older than 7-8 yrs old, then they can do their own laundry and fold it. Trust me if they know how to use an ipad they can use the washing machine. Allow it to be a fun experience.
  4. Best time for this is after lunch, or after they finish their morning schooling.

The Cleaning

As a homeschooling mom, you have to get used to the idea that your home will not always be clean. Your home will not be the place where people can just visit at the drop of the hat because your home is where life and learning happens; and you know what, learning is messy. If you have visitors that embrace the mess, kudos to them.ย  If not, its best to keep visiting hours to the weekend or a day when school is off.ย  Either way, here are some ideas I plan on using to keep my home clean.

  1. Minimize your surfaces. Sure you can keep the beautiful side table you adore and that china cabinet you inherited from your grandmother, but the more surfaces you have the more dust will collect and the more dusting you have to do. Use a microfiber cloth and employ your youngest child who always complains that he or she is not allowed to anything. We use Thieves Household Cleaner, so its safe for the kids to wipe down the counters too.
  2. Sweep/Vacuum everyday at the end of the day. Outsource to an older kid or the husband if you can!
  3. Put things away right away after you use them. When we put things away immediately after use, it reduces the clutter; and later on when you are looking for that screw driver… Guess what? Its exactly where it should be.
  4. If you have younger kids, beckon the power of the Clean up, Pick up, Put away song and other songs before every transition or until your kids learn to put away their toys after use.
  5. Load the dishwasher every night before bed and empty every morning as your coffee brews.
  6. Never leave pots in the sink. They will live there and smell and clutter your sink. Wash them immediately after use. If they really need to soak, add a little bit of Bar Keepers Bleach or Comet and let it heat up on the stove, the grease and grime comes right off.
  7. Once a month organize your drawers, or you can do it immediately as soon as you see that they are messy.

Those are some of the things I will be doing this new homeschool year. Hopefully it will help make my homeschool year smoother and make my home easier to manage. What are some things that you use to manage your home and your routine, I would love to hear from you!

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Story Teatime

Salam (Peace) All!

One of the things that really reeled me into the Charlotte Mason methodology was the idea of spending quality time reading to our children. As mothers, we tend to be overwhelmed with our chores and responsibilities. We don’t have the time or the mental saneness to spend one on one time with each of our children. Most of the time we don’t have time to spend one on one time with our own selves! In addition to that, add a regular crazy day of homeschool and it is a recipe for an overwhelmed mama!

Reading some of Charlotte Mason’s books has introduced me to the idea of taking it slow.ย  Slow but Intentional.

Introducing Story Teatime…

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In an effort to slow down the pace of each day, we decided to take a few moments for tea time;ย  where we drink some tea, read a little poetry or some stories, reflect, and eat a snack. What is interesting is that a lot ofย  Charlotte Mason’s writing pulls on the imagery of Food. She suggests that children need a “feast” of living ideas to “feed their hunger”.ย  All this imagery is quite appropriate when you think about the fact that the one thing that connects all people, from all cultures and backgrounds is FOOD.

Story Teatime has helped me a lot in our homeschool. It’s a happy merger between Reading aloud and tea time; where we bring in our living books, poetry or whatever books spike our attention onto the table. We eat and read and discuss. Now, I need to remind you that I have a 2.5 yr old that thinks shes 4, so things don’t always go as smoothly as planned. But, if you add some of their favorite food or whatever your child’s heart pleases it keeps them attentive for at least a little bit.

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To give this an Islamic spin we included some poetry of Dawud Wharnsby Ali, who our kids love, and his CDs are our favorite in the car and on long rides. We also plan on trying some Poetry by Rumi, Stories of the Prophets and some other Islamic living books I have found.ย  Some other books we are currently reading from are:

  • Where the Sidewalk Ends
  • Poems to Learn by heart
  • The llama who had no pajama
  • Eric Carle’s Animals Animals
  • You read to me and I’ll read to you.
  • Children’s book of Art

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Story tea time also gives us an opportunity to talk about our learning or about our day, and makes my kids feel like they are spending some special time with me. It also gives me a chance to slow down and enjoy the conversations about randomness with them, from topics such as what’s for dinner to what is the soul. After all, Charlotte Mason says that education is about building relationships and connecting learning with those relationships.

Give Story Teatime a try! What are some ways you connect learning with relationships?

Philosophy of Education

 

Hello All,

Today, I wanted to talk about my philosophy of education. I have been doing tot school and preschool with my daughters for about 2 years now. School to me has always been how I was schooled, typical public school model of education. When I started teaching my daughters, it was sort of eclectic, incorporating lots of ideas into our education. As my determination to homeschool has been solidifying through my research, my approach and understanding of education has also been changing.

Currently I am devouring readings on Charlotte Mason, a British educator who at her time revolutionized the understanding and implementation of education. Even though I have looked into other philosophies of education, (and no doubt as my children grow, so will my ideas on education philosophy) I feel like this methodology is right for us for now. This is interesting because Charlotte Mason’s methodology is very strongly influenced by Christianity. I however, plan on applying her ideas to the Muslim values in our homeschool; and it will be interesting to bring those two worlds together. This is very exciting for me because I love finding wisdom where ever, and using it to benefit myself and my children. Mason has greatly benefited many Christian Homeschools and I am interested to see how we can benefit from her ideas.

This week I have been listening to the podcasts by A Delectable Education and reading For the Children’s sake, by Susan Schafer.

Hopefully soon, I can share what elements I plan on implementing into our homeschool.

Talk to you soon!

TeacherMabid