School Planning, housekeeping and pots of coffee.
Household management is essential to effective homeschooling. A poorly run home will contaminate the homeschool environment. I believe it and over all these years I've seen it, I've done it and I've learned the hard way.
So, to this end, at this time of the year I like to do a new wave of "spring" cleaning. The truth is this must happen several times a year. It also happens before and after the holidays and then again in the spring. It's during these times I like to hit some specific marks. I think we should all mark it on the calendars and adjust the schedule accordingly.
Kitchen cabinets, toys, games, crafts, closets, and drawers get hit. I truly believe it is impossible to maintain organization of the large areas if the details are not tended. If I hit them hard four times a year, keeping them up isn't such a task.
I actually enjoy this, cleaning and organizing. The day to day stuff can become mundane but taking a good look at an area, making it nearly perfect, clean with everything in it's place. It's euphoric for me. I become like a train with no brakes, get out of the way! I want to plow through everything and everyone in my way.
It takes some self awareness in the midst of my cleaning fury to stop and play Hungry Hungry Hippos and Go Fish. To sit and listen to the kids talk and hear about their day. I do stop though and I am always so glad I did. What could be better than sitting in my beautifully clean space with my great kids? Nothing. I put the unfinished portion of the ckecklist out of my mind and sit in the moment. Being simply where I am.
I like the imagery of being like a river, flowing over and around obstacles as opposed to letting them become a stopping point. Going with the flow. I like being in the moment. When I am with the kids, I want to be fully present there. Not thinking about the cobwebs I saw in the bathroom, or the handprints in the hall. And when I am cleaning I like to be fully present there as well and not feeling guitly that the kids miss me and not thinking about whatever is not done.
Each item I accomplish is important but none are more so than making time for my prayer and reflection in themorning and evening, time to answer my husband's phone call, spend some time with the kids or read my books at night. It's amazing, how centering prayer and focusing in this way on the priorities increases productivity. When an obstacle arises I need to try to meet it, address and flow with it, keeping my eye on the goal of reaching the ocean and the endless possibilities it holds.
When I am in this mode, the kids can have grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner or pancakes and I don't feel guilty. Clearly I am not playing Martha Stewart in every single role in home at that moment. But the priority is not elaborate meals right then. The priority is a temporary goal of heavy duty housekeeping and it's a hyperfocused, brief period of time.
My one constant struggle is giving up the goal of perfection. What's perfect to me, is probably not perfect to anyone else, but even my goal is sometimes unrealistic. I have to constantly adjust my definition of perfect to where we are as a family, what I feel up to and what I have to work with.
At this point in the game, I am making great progress, stopping for friends, and the kids, and for me. Stopping to smell the roses then picking them. They are easy to smell if you run with them in your hand.