Getting it all done?
Is there such a thing?
How do you homeschool, clean house, take time for yourself, raise children, etc, etc etc. As Muslim women many of us are mothers, housekeepers, teachers, wives, and slaves of Allah.
How can one person be so many people?
How can you get it ALL done? In many of the homeschooling groups that I belong to, this question comes up all the time. Although I haven’t been able to open that door totally, I have found that the key for me in getting MORE done is to “simply” organize my household. That is my advice to all homeschoolers, but especially new homeschoolers. Before embarking on the homeschool journey, I highly suggest organizing your household as much as possible before you begin making up class schedules or routines.
And if you are a veteran homeschooler whose homeschooling has been sporadic and you are looking to jumpstart it, perhaps starting with the household itself is just the trick to begin revamping your homeschooling.
As I said, I never am able to accomplish everything I would like to. First of all, realizing that very fact, has helped take some stress off of me, masha Allah.
Next, I found that the more organized the household was, the more time we had for things and the smoother things ran and maybe even an improvement in the kids’ behaviors (somewhat).
So, I offer a few suggestions and tips for homeschoolers to get that household in order, insha Allah. I’m no expert, this is just what has worked for me, alhamdulillah.
The top of the list for me was scheduling. When it comes to classes, we can NEVER, NEVER stick to a schedule, however, household schedules are generally easier for me to stick to, masha Allah, and help our days run more efficiently.
Insha Allah some of the areas I will hit upon are morning and evening routines, laundry schedules, and menus.
Set a daily routine.
I think all of us probably have a general routine, even if a loose one, that we follow. I didn’t really realize it until I wrote it down.
Borrowing some tips from FlyLady, she suggests setting up a morning, afternoon, and evening routine.
You can put times down for tasks if you want to, but what sets the routine apart from a schedule, is that it is moreso based upon the sequence of events rather than time frames. I do set loose times for our routines, but find that the sequence is the key.
My kids used to stay up really late and it drove me crazy. Then I put bedtimes into effect and that helped tremendously. I have read that kids thrive on routines, they generally behave better if they know what is coming next.
Setting up bedtime routines and morning routines are the most crucial for me.
Here are some simple tips (probably common sense but sometimes it just helps seeming them in “print”) that you might try:
Step 1: Take a look at what you currently do when the household wakes up and goes to bed. Write it down. Are you doing all the things that you would like to be doing? If not, list other tasks that you feel are important to get your day started and wind it down.
For example, in our household, our morning routine (for everyone, including me) goes a little something like this (or ideally does :): wake up, say wake up duaa, make beds, straighten clothes in shelves and clean the room, get dressed, comb hair. The rule is that we do not eat breakfast until these tasks are done. I try to schedule an inspection time so that I will remember to check these items, but I do not always formally inspect the room as I forget to. Sometimes I offer incentives for having these tasks done before the set time, however the biggest incentive is usually, eating breakfast, lol. I send back those who sneak to the table and haven’t finished their duties. Somedays we are kind of lax on this, but masha Allah, we generally stick to this.
Step 2: Sequence the events in a practical order. Be realistic. Just because something is normally done in someone else’s house in this or that order doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Step 3: Put your routines into practice, focusing particularly on one at a time. Set up/write down a morning and a bedtime routine, but say, get a good bedtime (or morning) routine going, making sure that everyone is following it, then move on to the next routine. Keep chunking away until you generally have a routine for the whole day that you are actually following. If something is just not working, adjust the routine, insha Allah. Maybe there is something that you would like to do, but find that it is just not realistic, chuck it, if its not essential, save yourself stress, insha Allah.
Get into a rhythm and make that rhythm a habit. Fine tune as you go, make it a priority to see that that routine is carried out as much as possible each day. It should be a natural routine that feels right.
Don’t get too rigid or it will probably fail. Make sure everyone does their part and stay on the kids and yourself to stay on it. Some kids will fall into the routine naturally, perhaps, and others may never totally get with the program. (I’ve got one of those) Don’t frustrate yourself. Just motivate yourself as mom to try to see that the family as a whole sticks to it as much as possible.
Also, give yourself time to make it a habit. Don’t give up after the first day. Try to stick with it, but again, tweak it here and there so that it is realistic. I find that having a good morning routine (not necessarily schedule) sets the tone for the day and a good evening routine helps us wind down. Right now, our morning routine is pretty much working and automatic more or less, I still have to work on our evening routine. But, establishing regular bedtimes years ago, helped us tremendously.
Some things you might want to include in the evening routine are baths, brushing teeth, free reading time, cleaning the house before we go to bed, quraan recitation, Ummy and me time, etc.
When you set up your morning and evening routines, and are starting to implement them, move on to another aspect of household organization……
Next up, (insha Allah)……..getting control of the laundry?
I have 8 kids and find that having a plan/schedule, I keep on top of the clothes better than I did with four kids……….