A big part of home educating or having kids at home full time is all the juggling that needs to be done. Juggling feeding with cleaning, washing with dressing, cooking with chores. Sometimes there just seems such an endless list of jobs that there will be not time for us to do what we really want – whatever that may be. With a little change in focus and tactic it is completely possible to end the day feeling happy, health and with a sense of achievement. Below are some suggestions about ways that you can change your focus to what is really important to you and to what really makes you feel good.
How can I get everything done in the house?
1 – Prioritize the chores: I’d like you to think of which 1 or 2 chores (no more than 2 and preferably one) that when they are done make you feel better about the house. Now for 1 week just try doing only these one or two, without worrying about the others. You can always make it a week when you have no visitors planned.
Honestly you will be surprised how just doing those 1 or 2 chores can actually free you up as you will feel that the house is how you want it. If my bench is clear and the floor is vacuumed (I have a wee house so this is manageable) then surprisingly I feel like the house is clean and tidy and I feel free to do other things. For some it is the toilet, others the bed’s made or just getting the washing folded. Whatever it is that makes you feel like you have an organized house or just makes you feel better when it is done….. Focus only on that for the week.
2 – Ask of help and let it go. This one can be a really hard one when we want to show the world and ourselves that we can do it all. For me the asking is easy enough however the letting go is bloody hard. Think of one job that you currently do that could be done by another adult (or older child) in the house. Then ask them if they could help you out by doing that one job. Ask if it is a reasonable request for them to do and usually the answer will be ‘yes’ as most requests are reasonable even if they aren’t desirable ;).
Now here is the clincher……. LET IT GO! Yeah, you heard me. Pass it on and let it go whole heartedly and make no comment. Look the other way if you have to! You can remind once however don’t EVER do!!! Focus on the benefits for you rather than any perceived negatives. The first few days/weeks will be hard however two things will start to occur. 1 – You will find it easier and so enjoy that you have one less thing to do and 2 – They will get better at the chore and make it their own. It may help to make the chore something that will impact them if it is not done rather than you or the family. A good example of this is making a bed (older children) or making lunches (adults and older children) as ultimately if they don’t do it or don’t do it well then they feel the consequences of their actions and not you.
3 – Pass it on with guidance. So now that you are only worrying about getting 1 or 2 jobs done a day and you have given away another job it is the little ones turn 😉 Obviously this depends on age and ability however there is loads of things that little hands can help with very well and in the best spirit possible. We just need to find the time to guide them through the learning, dependent stage. It does take time and sometimes coercion is needed however then end results will be less pressure on you having to try to do everything in the day.
Get them to take turns doing jobs or have set days that they help with little, quick jobs that are manageable for them :- feeding animals, emptying compost, making beds, folding washing, putting washing away or setting the table as examples. Here is a great resource that has heaps of great ideas in it to get your littles involved http://chaosconquered.blogspot.com.au/p/shop.html and also here is one from a different era by Maria Montessori – loving the disinfecting doorknobs 😉
What about Life Learning/home-educating/ flexi-learning?
1 – What do you really want for them? Take some time to write down how you would like your children to be in 10 years time and in 20 years time? What qualities do you want them to have, what skills are you hoping they will have, what do you want to foster within them? In your heart of hearts what is important? Is it purely academic? Is it all about character? Is it all about vocation? Whatever it is write it all down and be as honest as possible. Without clearly knowing where you are aiming for it is hard to know and feel confident each day that you are actively moving towards that ‘goal’. Now think about 3 actions that you could do within the day or week (whatever feels manageable for you) that you could do to help move towards achieving those dreams you have for your children. Make them as specific as possible by ‘verbarizing’ (nicked this from Marie Forleo) all your tasks, that is make sure they have a verb in from of them. If you want to read then it would be ‘read one book together each day’. Specific and with a verb to start it off.
Your 3 things can be anything. Languages, craft and singing, volunteering, reading and writing. Dancing, math and music. Whatever it is do it for 3 weeks each day and feel the sense of achievement as you trust and know that the 3 things you are doing each day are moving you closer to your desires for your children and/or their desires for the future. Depending on your ‘style’ of parenting and home educating will depend on how much input your children have in this process too. Meaningful learning doesn’t have to be forced as even with writing, reading and math as your 3 in can be integrated into everyday life – writing letters, writing lists, reading mail, reading songs, going shopping, counting and pairing socks from the washing. Make it work for you and your family. The main point is to define where you and your children want to be and then work out 3 things you can be doing each day to move closer to it. 2- What do you believe? People always challenge what they find strange or different, it is human nature. There is safety in the herd so when someone braches out the herd panic and try to bring them back in or worse still panic that what they are doing is wrong so start questioning their actions while still trying to get you back into the herd. The best ways to cope with this is to be really sure of why you are doing what you are doing and know all the positives that you feel and see about your choices. Only focus on the positives that can be had. THIS IS IMPORTANT!! That is because when you start letting people know the negatives you are avoiding they will do one of two things, either they will defend what you perceive as negative or they will moan along with you about the negatives. Neither are good for your happiness or health so JUST DON’T GO THERE…..,PLEASE! Focus on all the good you can get from your choices and all the good you have already got from your choices. Make it clear that it is your personal choice, as is everything, which works for you and your family. Once you have defined your choices as being made because of what you believe in, the benefits you are getting and the positives then very few people will challenge or try to argue with you and hey if they do…….. then that says more about where they are at not where you are at so DON’T BUY INTO THEIR NONSENSE! 😉 So there you go a few suggestions to simplify and clarify so that you can feel a sense of achievement each day along with having happier and healthier days.