We start homeschooling with a vision, don’t we? Maybe it isn’t exactly like the Do Re Me scene in Sound of Music but it’s probably veering in that direction. How many days? – hours? – minutes? does it take for us to recognize that our reality is going to look much different?

Here is a simple formula for defining that new reality and making it one that you can live with:


Keeping It Super Simple (KISS)

Schedules, Meals & Chores (SM(a)C)

Schedules (keeping it super simple)

First of all, check to see if you need an attitude adjustment. Homeschooling is a full-time job. Let’s try that again. Homeschooling is a Full. Time. Job. Is that how you see it? Or are you trying to tack it onto other stay-at-home-mom responsibilities? Making the mental “leap” to the idea that you now have the equivalent of outside-the-home full employment opens up a whole new perspective. Plus, if you are one of the growing number of homeschooling moms who already has another full or part time job, you begin to get an idea of the importance of a few over-used words: “efficiency,” “priorities,” and “time-value”.

Use a good planner.There are lots of options for both printed and computer-based planners. A good planner will give you space for recording both weekly assignments and for longer-range planning and
record-keeping. Many will also provide space for menu-planning, grocery/shopping lists, household chores, and goal-setting. A growing trend in planners, it seems, is the inclusion of inspirational or informational articles. Take a look at these: Home Schooler’s Journal (basic and utilitarian) or Well-Planned Day (year-specific), and the Ultimate Homeschool Planner (fill-in-the-date) – both beautiful and multi-use.

Veteran homeschoolers have suggested several “rules of thumb” to help keep your scheduling simple. (Keep in mind that a rule of thumb is just a guideline.)

  1. Plan 30 minutes of “formal” schooling for each grade level starting with Kindergarten. i.e. 3rd grade = 2 hours.
  2. Only allow one extra-curricular activity per child. You could have one child playing soccer and another taking ballet but you could also simplify further and let one choose the activity for the entire family for a semester with the choosing rotating through the children.

Meals (keeping it super simple)

Two ideas for streamlining the never-ending process of food preparation is 1) advance menu planning and 2) freezer meals. Our customers are raving about Supper’s On the Table, Come Home because it provides 13 weekly menus complete with grocery shopping lists and prep time. You just can’t get simpler than that especially when the meals are yummy and easy to prepare. For years I prepared freezer meals – beautiful zip-lock packages of our favorite main dishes. It takes concentrated effort for 1-2 days but then you get to enjoy the fruits of your labors for the next several months (my cooking days usually took me through six months but it will depend on how many meals you do and how often you use them each week). Once-a-Month Cooking will get you started.

Chores (keeping it super simple)

Housework (and laundry) will always be there, won’t it? And it does have to be done (or so they say). But it doesn’t have to overwhelm you. You may need to “train” your workforce (i.e. your students). You may need to set your standards just a little lower – so your kids can do the work without the constant discouragement of being unable to meet your exacting standards.

You may need to change methodologies – i.e. doing a little every day instead of all in one day – or perhaps the other way around (whichever works best for you). Don Aslett has been helping homeschoolers manage their housework and chores for years – Help! Around the House.

See Mom Conquer (SMC)

— Janice Price