MAR
23
2011

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.

crazy_woman2

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)

familyschedulesample

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

workboxtemplate

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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Comments

  1. 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

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

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

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

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

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

  9. and these are all the reasons why I love you! :)

  10. 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.

  11. Michelle B says:

    Thank you so much for this! What great words of encouragement…at the perfect time too! ;)

  12. It is funny how we all don't show the behind scenes and noises.We like to keep it nice and sweet.Okay my 10 yr old is fighting with the schnauzer like he is an pirate.H E LL O,he is an dog.Gotta go.Love your blogBlessings

  13. I just ran across your blog a couple of weeks ago and have to say I LOVE IT!!! I do not homeschool my boys, ages 2 and 5 (though I really wish I did sometimes). My husband stays home with them while I work outside the home. There are days I pray my husband and I could switch jobs so I could homeschool them (it would never work with him, he doesn't have it in him!) ha ha! You are doing a fabulous job, you keep me motivated. We are implementing the chore chart this weekend. I can't wait! Thank you, thank you!!!!!

  14. Praise the Lord for the perfect timing of this post! I was just crying and praying with my husband last night, feeling so discouraged! I have read your blog for over a year and greatly look to it for ideas and support, especially because our kids are very similar in age (I have a 1st grader, a pre-k and twin two year olds!). It's amazing how our schedule is almost identical, even down to camping outside of the teeny tots' room to put them back in their crib 400 times!Thank you Erica.

  15. Thanks so much for the post. I'm a fairly new follower of blogs and seeing what all you women do is amazing! It inspires me to do more and better everyday for my tot.

  16. I can't tell you how much I needed to read this. Sometimes I feel like I'm swimming as hard as I can and yet I am sill sinking. I'm new to the homeschool idea and at times I've thought "What in the world am I thinking?". Some of my friends think I'm crazy and most of them have their two-year olds in preschool already. It's nice to have blogs to turn to and know that there are others out there with my same vision and educational goals for their children. Thank you for giving my that extra little push to not give up.

  17. P.S – I love the graphics for this post, by the way. I think those two about sum up my life right about now. :)

  18. Thank you so much for this post! It was very timely for me. I've really been trying to reconcile myself to the fact that I can't do it all. And that none of us can. It's a hard thing to realize/accept. But your post was a refreshing reminder.

  19. Thank you so much for posting this! It makes me feel so much better. You always seem to have it together and are so creative. I read your blog and think…"man her kids are lucky to have her!" You truely are an inspiration…it's nice to see you're not always supermom! Keep doing what your doing! Oh and we just started Expedition earth and my kids and I LOVE it! I can't wait until your USA curriculum comes out!!Tamara

  20. After realizing I have been called to homeschool, I started following your blog. I was feeling overwhelmed at all that you do and was trying to figure out what super natural powers you have! : ) Thanks you posting this and showing this homeschool newbie that I don't need to get fitted for a superwoman costume to homeschool! : ) I love your blog and consider it such a gem of resources for me! Thank you and God Bless!

  21. It's always nice to know that others don't always have it together too. What a wonderful gift to have your mom for a day to help out! I am going to do that same planning and buying this summer for next year as well! Thanks for the advice :-)

  22. I love this. I love it most that what each mom need is prayer… consistent prayer. It's not a wonder how you are able to do it all, but because you start your day with it.

  23. Thanks for the post, I especially like the part about getting craft items together at the beginning of the year. I may have to use the idea, as that is an area I always lack in. For preschool, I typically put a weeks worth of activities in a bin and work out of the bin. I truly am not sure how our Kindergarten schedule will look like yet, but I am hoping to set out my year in the summer and see what fits and doesn't as the year passes.

  24. Isn't that a beautiful thing about blogging……everything seems so much more put together and peaceful than it really is! Great post :) Thanks!

  25. CHRISTINA: Yes, I put everything for one week on a sheet. I just use my Workbox Planning form, it's the easiest. Nothing fancy.Here's my form:http://www.4shared.com/document/Lkj4ctIU/workboxtemplate.htmlOther scheduling options:www.skedtrack.comwww.homeschooltracker.com

  26. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  27. You mean you are a human after all!? :) Seriously though, you are awesome! I love your blog and I love your homeschooling style! I needed to read this today! It is hard to try to balance everything, but as mothers we try to do it all!

  28. Thank you for posting this! I have considered homeschooling my child for a while now (she has not started school yet) and this was a great post! Sticking to a schedule is definitely one of those routines I would need to follow as well and planning ahead is also very helpful. Love your site!

  29. Well, you are "Confessions" of a homeschooler, afterall. :D You should do a regular "confession" post ~ yk, like a "not me, Monday" where you bravely tell the world you are not perfect. :p 'Course, who is?! =)

  30. Amen Sister! :)

  31. You have no idea how God just used you and this blog to help me through a day when I was dealing with a very heavy heart and the Chicken Little syndrome (you know, the sky is falling…). Thanks for being real and sharing all that you do! Sometimes we just need to hear that other people are living the same life as we are!

  32. Thanks for this look into your life. It's encouraging to hear of others' struggles to keep up with laundry (and I have fewer people in my home!) Wish I had my mom as a secret weapon but she lives far away. Also wish I was better at planning out posts to schedule. I personally don't like Live Writer, but must be the only one:) Every one else raves about it:)

  33. I seriously love you more with each post you write ;-) Any chance you want to come here and organize our school? I am set to teach 4 K4's next year and 7-8 Tots (2-3 year olds)…only two of them are mine…I am homeschooling the neighborhood… but seriously… I could use your organization! You are the bestest…and its good to know that our laundry rooms probably look similar :-)

  34. This is awesome! Thanks for being honest! BTW, we are working on Character using your Character Study…my daughter LOVES it! I've seen a difference already and it's only been a week. Thanks so much!

  35. Thank you so much for posting this!! I really needed to know that I am not alone:) We are all trying to do our best and this was a great post. I agree about schedules and plans…they really make life easier. You are AWESOME!!Anniemoffattgirls.blogspot.comp.s. I clear my clutter too when I take a photo (wink)

  36. Thank you for posting this.. so glad to have found your blog!

  37. I truly appreciate this post! I only homeschool 1 child (2nd grade) while I chase and try to include a 3yr old. I was getting SO burnt out with blogging – and managing the homeschool village I decided my personal social media had to go! 5 minutes on twitter turned easily into a week!I'm also treating The HSV as "business hours" and trying not to look at emails past 5pm! (and scheduling tweets helps)!!But I love you wrote, "the only pressure we’re under is pressure we’ve put on ourselves". thanks Stef

  38. Oh my Gosh Erica! Great "Confession"I read #1 and thought…hey I just did that! And then I read the rest and laughed outloud…Being able to have my own space in real life is impossible right now, so the Blog is like therapy, I can move all my graphics and change all my colors and no one can come by and spill milk or blow snot all over it! :) Valerie

  39. amen sister!

  40. Thanks for your honesty. I love your ideas and your organization and so appreciate your openness about the chaos! Thanks!Jennifer

  41. I'm wondering if you have a specific book or resource you use for your children's morning devotional time? TIA. Tiffaney

  42. ANONYMOUS: Right now I'm still getting through my Character Studies:http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/blog/tag/character-study

  43. LOVE this! I have always suspected that those "Do It All" homeschooling moms were really like me…at least on some level LOL. Seriously though, it is so nice to know that you are just a normal mom…and a reminder to me to not compare myself to what other moms do, but to what God wants me to do. Your schedule works for your family, and if I can ever discover a schedule that works for mine, it will look different and that's just fine!

  44. Great post! I've only followed your blog for about a month and I was so impressed by all your "stuff"…I'm even more impressed by your confession! It was an encouragment.

  45. I just changed our daily schedule again! This is my first year homeschooling and thank God I do my plans in pencil because we have really struggled the most with schedules. I feel we are finally getting it together though and look forward to starting next school year with a better idea of what works for our family. Thanks for the post! http://www.simplehomestuff.blogspot.com/

  46. I am letting you know that I awarded you the Stylish Blogger Award. Please go to my blog and pick up your button. My Fitness World

  47. thanks for the great post!i stop by regularly and i always appreciate your wonderful printables that you share so very generous!!good to see that you are just as "normal" as most of us ;)

  48. I just absolutely LOVE your honesty and sense of humor! Of course I also love your ability to create fabulous resources for your readers too :) You are a blessing to the international homeschool community and the body of Christ. Thank you for being, YOU!

  49. Love It!!!

  50. Waleska/Javier Adorno says:

    GRACIAS, ERICA!! HA SIDO MUY COMFORTANTE LEER SOBRE ESTE TEMA, MI CHICA NO HA ESTADO MUY FÁCIL EN ESTOS DÍAS Y SOLO ES ELLA (4) Y EL NENE MAYOR DE 15. PERO ES GRANDIOSO LEER QUE NO IMPORTA CUANTOS SEAN TODOS ESTAMOS EN EL MISMO CORRE, CORRE!!! EXCELENTE!! ADELANTE!!
    GOD BLESS YOU A LOT AND YOUR FAMILY!!
    WALLY,PR

  51. This was the first of your blogs that I checked out. Heard about all of your “happenings” from a friend today. Looking forward to more of your works because I enjoy how real and honest this was. Great tips and info on how to get by each day. I have a 2 year old and 6 month old and, I too, stay home with them. Thanks!

  52. coolmom07 says:

    hi
    i love your site. i am planning to home school my 2.5 & 4yr old as i lost my job and cant afford to pay for schools
    can u tell me what program you use to create your sheets.
    your life will be really helpful for us in such difficult times
    thanks a lot
    coolmom

  53. Hello,
    So, I was wondering if you use other supplement books with your preK cirriculm or not. I have looked through the blog, and maybe I am looking in the wrong spot, but I can’t seem to find if you have a list or anything like that. Where do I go?? LOL I am so lost :-)

  54. So glad to know I’m not the only mom who does the pre-photo arm sweep! ;) Thanks for letting us see the real you, so we can be encouraged to be our real selves as well.

  55. Dear Erica, I have recently come across this blog and I must say it has been a source of inspiration in so many ways….apart from the terrific stuff you share, there is a certain peace and tranquillity which comes across and sometimes I think that is the most beneficial thing around – what I need when things around me start getting out of hand. I live in Malta, a small Mediterranean island – homeschooling here doesn’t even exist, as far as I know! however, I am using loads of your stuff with my 4 year old muffin during our 3 month long (excessively hot) summer recess…and we are really enjoying it!
    Thank you so much and God bless you and your family.

  56. This is a wonderful, encouraging post! I cannot tell you how grateful I am. I have so many irons in the fire and you have given me some great advice wrapped up in truthfulness. Thank you!

  57. I’m not usually much of a poster, but I just had to tell you how I laughed out loud reading your schedule. Your honesty warmed my heart, and made me feel like maybe I’m not doing it as poorly as I think. Maybe it’s awesome in all it’s confusion and mayhem. Thanks again. :)

  58. lol, being a mother of 9, myself, I experienced those ‘sitting outside the toddler’s door’ too, MANY times. Now my children are 19 down to 6 and I’m finally past that stage. (Of course I miss it…) I am finding that all of a sudden it begins to smooth out as the years go by. For instance, right now I’m teaching my LAST CHILD TO READ…..(BOOHOO) Well, I assume it’s my last, maybe not. So I have one graduate, 3 in highschool, 2 in middle, 3 in the lower grades. Time flies. Seriously. SERIOUSLY. I encourage everyone with Littles to enjoy these blogs to the fullest, and just have fun with your kids. You are the queen of your schedule, do what you think is best for your own family. :) Blessings!

  59. Thank you for this post! I was actually just thinking about you the other day and wondering what time you get up to still have time for devotions, getting dressed/ready and eating by 9.lol Now, I have an almost 4Yo, a 2Yo and a 7 month old, so mornings are more demanding of my personal self (to dress, nurse, etc.) But I find it hard to get up at 7 and be ready for “school” by 9…lol also, a question about workboxes, with teeny tot, don’t you have to explain most of the boxes to her before she can start? Since she can’t read directions?

  60. Anna Vaschina says:

    I really appreciated reading this post. Thanks for being real :)

  61. Zowie Farr says:

    I love your site and blog and the big question I have is, what programs do you use to make your printables? I teach pre-k right now and am about to make the move to quitting work and homeschooling my own kids & I would love to have the resources to make my own printables. Any advice and help you could give would be great!!!!!!

  62. Thank you so much for writing this! You are right. We can’t do everything. Something will suffer. I homeschool a 5 ,a 7 year and a 12 year old. My schedule is a lot like yours. I try my best to tidy the house before we live for swimming or music at 2:30pm and get the kids involved. I feel proud of what we accomplish. That is until my mother in law or husband come into the house and start pointing at how disorganized are my cabinets, or the kids drawers etc. There are times that I do feel inadecuate, but this post gives me the strength to continue, trying my best at cleaning, but keeping my family my main priority. Thank you for the insight.

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