I wish more than anything I could have mastered this elusive element of homeschooling sooner, like 9 yrs ago when I began! I realize I have it mastered now, but have come to understand that "mastery" has built into it a few KEY elements I had to accept 1)Some days go completely sideways and it's okay. 2) There will be gaps in any education and that too is okay. 3)The very best I can really manage is to hit most marks on most days and always try to do better. 4)Anything I try only works for a little while and I have to recognize the changes and adapt.
My motto: Improvise, adapt, overcome.
I love to organize, I love lists. I struggled early on with over planning, then too little, and finally settled into just enough planning. I call it Goldilocks does Home Management - it's clean enough, organized enough, decorated enough, and for our family it's just right.
I plan and post a menu for everyday, one week at a time. It's much easier to make healthy, affordable meals with a menu and for the most part having that menu posted protects me from myself. I don't have to think and agonize over meals, and what I am hungry for, I just pull whatever I need out of the freezer. I shop from those lists so everything is on hand - no brainer. On days when I blow the menu plan, I don't beat myself up about it I could blow it once a week, and still that would mean I planned 313 meals a year!! 86% that's a stat I can live with.
The kids have morning, afternoon and evening chores. There aren't many and they don't take long, but when we all do them regularly everything stay pretty neat. All the chores that need doing are divided among us throughout the week. When I walk by a dusty table on Monday I don't stop what I am doing to dust it. I say, "hey it'll get dusted on Wed." These lists include about everything - cleaning fridge, straightening pantries, vacuuming stairs, straightening drawers in kitchen, you name it. Even with this system, at least one Saturday a month we still have to clean for a couple hours...oh well.
I have checklists for their chores. I made them once and never have to do it again. If your job is the bathroom, there's a checklist. Once they master it, the list is tossed until they start slipping.
We have a loose schedule for subjects and our day. It is fluid, and ever-changing with activities but it's written and posted and we use it most days.
Most days I feel like that old US Army commercial, "I get more done before 9 am, than most people do all day."
I have found there are plenty of hours in the day, I just don't always use them very wisely. I read a lot, have time to exercise though not always the inclination, and generally run a pretty smooth house.
For me the key was managing my time and self discipline and it's STILL a work in progress. Whether I like it or not, and even though it doesn't seem fair, this entire house rests squarely on my shoulders, everyday. When I am down it slides, when I am lazy it collapses, when I fail to call upon Jesus for strength even my best efforts do not meet the needs. I must manage our family finances, and see to the upkeep and repair of everything. I'm responsible for the health and care of all the people and the 3 dogs, the education of my children as well as their social life, and moral and spiritual development. I must nurture a happy family, a strong marriage, make dessert, and about a 200 other things, and do it all in tennis shoes, hair and makeup!! No small task right?!
I live by a few cliches - fail to plan, plan to fail. No pain no gain, coffee and chocolate are "absolute goods", and a happy home is better than a perfect one. I don't beat myself up over failures, I just move on and try harder and when all else fails I take the laundry to the laundro-mat
Blessings for your day,