How Do You Do It All?

I’ve gotten several emails lately asking me how I “do it all”, you know, homeschool, cook, clean, do laundry, make printables, blog, and stay sane. After I got done laughing hysterically, I thought I should just be honest and lay it out for you. Keep it real.

The short answer: I don’t.

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The Long Answer:

I know it may seem like things are all roses over here at Confessions, but you have to keep one thing in mind when reading my blog (And really this goes for most blogs):

You only see what I want you to see.

1. You don’t see the messes the Teeny Tot makes while we’re trying to do school. And trust me, she makes messes. It’s her specialty.

Confession: I often take my arm, or foot, or Teeny Tot, and sweep it across the floor clearing away all the debris so I can snap a lovely shot of one of my children working happily on a project.

2. You don’t see my laundry room. Ever.

With 6 people in our house, it seems like that humming sound coming from the Laundry room never stops. There’s usually folded clothes on top of the washer and dryer, piles of dirty clothes ready to be washed, and a full dryer that I was previously avoiding, until instituting my beloved chore chart.

3. You don’t see the failed crafts, recipes and all of my “brilliant ideas gone awry”. I prefer to block it out and pretend it never happened.

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So, How Do I Do What I Do Do?

First off, no one can “do it all”, something has to give, for me it’s usually the cleaning, my sanity, or dinner…or all 3 depending on the day. ;o)

Remember, the only pressure we’re under is pressure we’ve put on ourselves. If your schedule’s too hectic, take a minute (I know, I know, you don’t have a minute, but trust me this will help) and write down all your commitments, and then see what you can get rid of, and what is necessary.

You can rest assured that my house is just as chaotic as yours, but we do have a schedule. And I try to follow it. You can get a more detailed version here, but in a nutshell, this is what I do each day…please don’t judge. ;o)

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1. 8:00 am: Wake up, pray, take shower, keep praying, get dressed, pray some more: I seriously do not leave my room until all these things are done. If I did, I don’t think I’d ever get back to my room to shower and that would be bad. And I’d have no friends.

2. Throw in a load of laundry. Wonder how there’s so much laundry in just one day.

3. Make breakfast, read kids their devotion while we’re eating. Secretly try to check my email, but then remember I told all of you to stay away from email until after school hours…

4. Kids do some chores while I clean breakfast dishes.

5. 9:00 am-ish: Start school, chase Teeny Tot, re-start school, track down 1st grader, re-start school, track down preschooler, lock all kids in schoolroom, finish school.

6. Noon: Swap out laundry, lunch, kids get free time while I clean lunch dishes. Start dishwasher so whoever has that chore can empty it for me before dinner.

7. 1:00 pm: Put Teeny Tot down for nap, lie by her door so I can catch her crawling out of crib, put her back in, lie by door, repeat…

8. TBA based on #7 above: Start Expedition Earth fun stuff

9. 2:00ish: School’s Out! Check emails

10. 3:00 pm: Chore time, finish any chores left for day

11: 5:30 pm-ish: Dinner followed by clean up and Dad time for kids

12: 7:00 pm: Start bedtime routine

13: 8:00 pm: Breathe a sigh of relief that I made it through another day of homeschooling…aaaah….check calendar to see how many more days are left, pray for perseverance.

14. Rinse and repeat.

A Homeschooler’s Home

As homeschoolers, we are always here, so our house is always “lived in”. That makes for extra mess. Sometimes I’ll take a field trip just so I don’t have to clean! If we’re not here, no mess right?

I also have a secret weapon. My Mom. Thanks Mom.

She comes once a week to help out, she cooks for us, folds laundry, cleans, and chases the Teeny Tot. I do school, run errands, drive to dance, to Lego club, to our homeschool group, to science club, and go to the bathroom in peace.

I have another secret. Live Writer.

I blog in advance, sometimes I’ll sit down and write several posts at once and schedule them out. It is much easier to write, upload pics and format posts using Live Writer. I do not blog every day. Thank you Live Writer. Note: You can also schedule posts in blogger in the “Post Options” at the bottom of blogger post window.

Planning: I have to say the thing that’s helped me remain sane the most this year, was planning ahead. I took the summer to plan out our work for each child for the entire year. Some of those things have changed as we’ve gone along, but we’ve mostly stayed on schedule. I even purchased all the craft supplies we’d need for the whole year in advance! I know, crazy right? But still, it’s kept me from slacking off in the craft area!

Also, having our year scheduled out helps me to see the big picture. I know when we’re scheduled to finish for the year, so I know if it’s okay to take an entire week off when we’re sick.

Here’s a sample of our lesson plan for my 2nd grader, I usually put page numbers and such, but I just did this real quick like so you could see an example.

Click here to download this scheduling template

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Do I follow my plan? Mostly I do, the kids seem to do better when we stick to a fairly routine schedule. I am flexible to change things that aren’t working, and keep things that are. But on most given days I follow what I set out to do. Like I always say, “Better to have a plan and not need it, than to need a plan and not have it!” (Okay, actually that comes from my husband whose motto is “better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.” This applies to anytime we leave the house. It’s why I have a mini-van with a large capacity rear storage area. {wink}

Planning Tip: Another tip is to plan in Catch Up Days into your schedule. Inevitably life gets crazy, kids get sick, and if you know we have every other Friday for catch up, you won’t be so stressed when we get behind. Also, if you’re homeschooling, you’re never really behind, I mean you’re the principal so you set the rules! Can I get an Amen Sister!

Here are some of my posts on organizing, scheduling and the like:

Other scheduling options:

Have a tip to share? I’d love to hear what you all do to help make your day go smoother, so make sure to comment below!

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70 Comments

  • Steven van Niekerk March 24, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Thank you so much for posting this. I have had people ask me the same questions over the years. I just had to share this on FB. Thank you again

    Reply
  • Chris March 24, 2011 at 2:44 am

    thanks for sharing this with us.. it makes you more like us.. heheh.. but seriously this is a good post. i think i need to take a time out while we are on summer vacation… and check out your links!

    Reply
  • Our Homeschool Reviews March 24, 2011 at 3:09 am

    Thanks for posting! I was just talking to a friend the other day about this very topic. We are all human and no one is perfect. Reading blogs or facebook or twitter sometimes leads readers to assume people have perfect lives, when they don't. Thanks for posting!

    Reply
  • Tracy March 24, 2011 at 3:29 am

    For meal planning, check out plantoeat.com. It's about $5 a month out of your grocery budget, but so worth it! All of my internet recipes from different websites can be imported to one site then drag/drop to the right calendar day. A meal plan can be saved and reloaded into a set of days. Then, it provides an automated shopping list, pantry inventory. AND! It can be imported to Google calendar or other personal ical. Saves so much time! In one afternoon, I had all my meals planned out through September!

    Reply
  • Tracy March 24, 2011 at 3:30 am

    Oh, and plantoeat.com has a free 30 trial–with no credit information required. I love it. Can you tell?

    Reply
  • Kimmy March 24, 2011 at 4:38 am

    Wonderfully put!! Sounds exactly like our Homeschool! Thankyou for sharing!

    Reply
  • Itsy Bitsy Learners March 24, 2011 at 5:09 am

    I have to say … I loved this post, I had been praying to stay strong an motivated .. very timely and encouraging.

    Reply
  • Jess March 24, 2011 at 5:20 am

    Love it. It's funny how my schedule almost looks exactly like yours!!! I love homeschoolin' mamas!! Stay awesome!

    Reply
  • Hi I'm Anna March 24, 2011 at 5:35 am

    and these are all the reasons why I love you! 🙂

    Reply
  • Christina March 24, 2011 at 5:40 am

    Thanks for the post. It always good to hear other moms be open about reality. It is also great to see solutions for problems we all have. When you do your summer planning do you put it all on weekly forms or do you plan out each subject area and move them into forms as the year goes along? This year I started out with weekly forms, but my son flew ahead in one area, but his progress was inconsistent in others. I wondered if you had experienced this.

    Reply
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