I have to admit, the title says homeschool mom hacks, but in reality, so many of these can be utilized by all moms (or dads).
The first year I homeschooled was madness. I tried so hard to research different types of homeschool homes. I asked questions, I watched hours of YouTube videos, and I scoured Pinterest all hours of the day. And what I learned was that every parent has different styles, different spaces, and honestly they all looked like they have their lives PERFECT!
So when my husband came home one day, and asked if I was OK, I broke down and admitted that I had no clue what I was doing or if I was going to ever be successful at this homeschool life. My house was constantly a mess, dinner was always late, I looked like a bag lady and my kids were missing certain lessons and “falling behind.”
I decided I needed to place somethings in order to get my home and school working together in harmony. Once I started these 6 simple changes it was like a whole new life! Life may have not gotten Instagram picture perfect, but it was easier for me to breathe and left everyone feeling more at ease.
1. Get dressed. I know this seems like a really simple idea, but my first year of homeschool I was in my pjs most of the time which led to my kids being in pjs and overall we felt, and were in some instances, less productive. So this year I implemented the simple act of getting dressed and ready for the day. I normally throw on a simple skirt and T-shirt, or simple blouse. Nothing fancy, nothing I will cry about if it gets dirty, but still I look put together to answer the door or go run an errand. My kids normally just put on shorts and a T-shirt, again nothing fancy but it gets them out of their pjs. Plus it creates an environment that is more productive, and helps get your kids prepared for life outside of the home. I mean, what company allows pajamas at the work place? So getting this simple act implemented in your homeschool can help prepare your children for the real world. And better yet, I suggest picking out clothes the night before so there really is no thought to what you, or your kids, are going to wear. Because we all have those days where we are standing in front of a closet full of clothes solely in our undies thinking I have NOTHING to wear.
2. Simple breakfasts are key! I am personally a person who can skip breakfast and just run on a large glass of water and cup of coffee. My kids on the other hand NEED something in their tummies with a little more substance. And as much as I would like to be that mom who make lovely and fulfilling meals for my kiddos, I simply don’t have the ¿patience? to cook a beautiful breakfast and then clean up the mess. Don’t get me wrong, cereal and milk aren’t the only dish served, but I do try and keep breakfast simple so cleanup is easier on me and I can get our day in school started without having the nagging feeling that my kitchen needs to be cleaned. One of our favorites is overnight oatmeal. Just prep it in the crockpot, turn it on right before bed and BOOM breakfast is ready to be served for the next day.
Keep an eye out for a future post about our favorite simple breakfasts. UPDATE: Here is the link to our Simple & Easy Breakfast post to give you ideas for your simple easy breakfast! https://jenandjenn.com/2019/09/24/simple-easy-breakfasts-that-arent-cereal/
3. Make a schedule and stick to it! If you know me on a personal level, I am not the schedule maker/keeper. My family is a little more on a whim-y, but when it comes to homeschool I have found that schedules are IMPERATIVE! Even a loose schedule can make sure you are on track and not forgetting any important work for you or your kiddos. I found this planner in Bullseye’s playground (aka the dollar spot) at Target for $3! It’s easy and clear to use and keeps a basic simple schedule for me to go by each day. Of course there are fancier ones with more bells and whistles you can find at a learning store or online, but this so far has been one of the greatest “investments” I made for homeschooling. I have also seen some really great schedules made on spreadsheets that I think are just GENIUS. I am just a pencil to paper kind of person and need something physical in my hand to see and joy notes. But no matter what works best for you, I do highly suggest some type of schedule to help move things along and keep you accountable.
4. Meal plan for your weekly lunches and dinners. The simple act of knowing what you’re going to cook for dinner is such a great stress relief! I know what I’m making in advance so I can easily go grocery shopping and know what I’m buying. It helps save time, and money because you aren’t spending extra on things that you may not even use. Normally when I’m making dinner, I like to have extra so we can eat it for lunch the next day. But there are days I either don’t make enough or my kids are just extra hungry, so that’s when I make sure to have a back up for lunch. Sandwiches are normally an easy fix, but sometimes a great frozen meal is a life saver. Don’t forget to utilize your instant pot or crockpot, too! How many times my instant pot has saved my butt for dinner is astronomical, and I only bought the thing a few months ago! Keep an eye out for future posts containing our favorite crockpot/instant pot recipes.
5. Clean along the way, don’t try and get it ALL done. I can be the first to say my house is normally in less than Magnolia magazine quality. Give me a break, I got 4 energy filled boys! 😝 However, there is not really a big enough excuse to just let my home be taken over by toys, clothes, and dishes. I try to keep to some type of consistent schedule of when and what I clean in my house. Of course you have got your daily chores, i.e. washing dishes, making the bed, sweeping, picking up the toys, so you can walk confidently down the hallways without stepping on a Lego. But upkeep on your home also includes the weekly chores, like cleaning the bathrooms, deep cleaning the kitchen, and mopping (yes I mop once a week- if I’m lucky). I used to devote one day to cleaning, but that would mean my entire Saturday would be devoted to just cleaning my house. Now that’s fine an dandy sometimes, but I don’t want to teach all week just to reward myself with cleaning. So I try and schedule a “big” cleaning job to different days during the week, so I am not overwhelmed by the end of the week.
6. Do a little laundry everyday and don’t do it ALONE! I’m pretty sure every mom in the existence of ever has had an issue with laundry. It’s one of those things that just never seems to be done. So in order to make laundry duty a little easier, I will run 2-3 loads a day, and involve my kids in either sorting and washing, rotating from washer to dryer and emptying dryer, and putting away folded clothes, that way I only fold and laundry doesn’t seem so big, no matter how large the pile is!
Are there any hacks that you have found that make life a little easier? If so, I’d love to hear them!! Leave a comment down below!