Is your lifestyle making homeschool more difficult than it has to be? Do you spend precious time looking for things when you could be being productive? I’m going to share a few of the things I learned over the years that kept me sane. We’ll go through each letter of the word de-clutter.
D – is for determination and discipline. Both are required to go the long haul in your successful homeschool. If you are bogged down with too much stuff, too many activities, too little space, too little money . . . now is the time to determine in your mind to change things. Make a firm decision to pare down to the truly necessary, which will make room for things like time for meal planning, organized shopping, cleaning, and school work! Don’t wait for a special day to make the determination decision – it should be a life long commitment.
E – is for excavate and eradicate. You may say, “Well. that should be obvious!” But you might be surprised to know how many families have a home school that looks something like this or even worse. Holding onto garbage, yes – some of your kids drawings are superfluous – will overrun you in no time. If you are schooling more than two, the paperwork alone can pile up dreadfully in just a week or two. Determine what is necessary to keep, and pitch or recycle the rest. Eradicate the unnecessary stuff. This also applies to clothing and groceries.
C – is for categorize and contain. Even if you are blessed to have a dedicated room for school, its a very good idea to keep a separate container for each child’s work. Especially records that need to be kept to satisfy state requirements. One mom I know has a laundry tub for each of her kid’s books and paraphernalia because they do their school at the kitchen table. The baskets are slid behind the couch when school is over. No one will spend time looking for their science book if it is in their special container.
L – is for lists and labels. One of the greatest pieces of advice I can give you is the notepad one. Get in the habit of carrying a small notepad and pen in your pocket all day (I wear an apron with pockets) and you will never have to rely on memory again. It will be so simple to just jot down whatever it is, and not even skip a beat while you are pushing someone on the swing, or working fractions, or making dinner. Write it down! The other point to this section is labeling. Labeling everything, will make organizing a breeze. Even if your kids have a juice cup to drink from during the day – label it. This goes for their lists of chores as well. Each one should be written down with their name on it.
U – is for utilize and unburden. That may sound contradictory, but the two terms are connected. If you follow the ideas listed before, you will better utilize your time. By taking advantage of time saving devices like shower sprayers, certain household chores can become self cleaning. In addition – using an accredited curriculum can save hours and hours of lesson planning and stress.
T – is for timers and tempers. This is another item I have in my apron pockets. By timing everything, from tidying the kitchen, to gardening, to reviewing flashcards – using a timer prevents overload. Specifically, when a child is not understanding a concept, by limiting the time to 15 minutes, you can circumvent frustration, – both yours and the child’s. In the same way, anything from ironing to penmanship practice will seem much more manageable when the timer is set. You simply don’t go past it! Even morning chores become less arduous when a simple timer is set.
T – is also for taming technology. I am not one of those parents that shuns technology. But using it wisely can only be done through diligence and applied balance. I’ve seen IPads being used as toddler babysitters. One family has a beautiful tree-house which sits empty, as the children while away the hours playing video and computer games. Technology can be an incredible help in our home schools, and it can also be our greatest enemy.
E – is for energize and emphasize. At the risk of sounding like your mother, I’m going to recommend that you go to bed much earlier than you think you should. When my kids were younger, I tried to hit the hay around the same time they did, because I found it was much easier for me to get up very early in the morning, while they would sleep much easier at night, not thinking they were missing out on something. There is a ton of evidence to support the idea of adults getting to sleep before midnight. Most research indicates that the hours of sleep you receive before midnight are twice as valuable as the ones after. If you do this for two weeks, you will be astounded at how much energy you have, and how much you can accomplish with half as much effort. http://drlwilson.com/Articles/sleep.htm
R – is for rigid and relax. If you are rigid about purging you will be able to relax in your home. Rigidly purge paper, clothing, toys, and whatever else is cluttering up your mind and house. You can see by this picture that the home school can be very organized with very little money. That goes for the kitchen, attic, basement, and wherever else the stuff tends to pile up. Hooray for de-cluttering your life!! Amen!!
My favorite basic bread recipe.
1-1/2 cups water
1 Tbl. light olive oil
3 Tbl. honey
1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt
2 – 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour (preferably King Arthur)
1 – 1/4 cup bread flour
1/3 cup vital wheat gluten
2 tsp. active dry yeast
Add all ingredients in the order listed to the pan of bread machine which has been sprayed with cooking spray. Use the whole wheat setting. Good for sandwiches, toast, etc. I make this more than any other kind of bread. At least three times a week. Great with just about anything, including peanut butter and jelly.
Forasmuch as there is none like unto Thee, O Lord; Thou art great, and Thy name is great in might.