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Managing Your Home While Schooling Your Kids: Is it an Impossible Dream?

When I first got married, I had dreams of being the perfect homemaker. Although I loved teaching, my ultimate dream was to stay home, raise children, homeschool them, and be the perfect Proverbs 31 woman. My home would be tastefully decorated- with bargains I had picked up from Goodwill because I'm thrifty and budget conscious, you know. I would make warm, hearty meals that we would sit around the table and eat every night. The house would always be clean and organized- even the kids' rooms because I would pass on my industrious, organized personality to them. Homeschooling would happen on schedule every day when I would gather at the table with all of my offspring who were sweet-tempered and ready to learn.

Managing your home and homeschooling
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And then real life happened. I can't cook well. I can't sew. I really don't enjoy decorating. We are six people living in a fairly small house, so there is always stuff, stuff, everywhere. I love homeschooling, but I'm pretty sure we don't fit the picture of the serene, orderly homeschooling family gathered around the table each morning, happily awaiting the opportunity to do schoolwork. I'm pretty much a Proverbs 31 woman dropout.

Maybe there are some moms who can do it all. But I can't.

But, you know what? I've come to the realization that that's okay. I can homeschool my kids and manage my home even if life doesn't look like that ideal picture I had in mind once upon a time. I've learned to accept reality. I heard a quote some time ago. It was attributed to Rachael Carman from Apologia, but I couldn't find anything to verify that. (So if you once said this, and it was published, please don't be mad at me.) The quote is, "I can have a great homeschooling day. I can have a clean house. I can have a hot meal ready and on the table after my husband comes home. But, I can't have them all on the same day."

I think much of managing our homes while we're homeschooling our kids is about accepting reality.

There are some things I've learned over the 13/14 years we've been homeschooling that have helped me to balance these things more effectively and keep our home running relatively smoothly. If you're trying to figure out how to manage your home and homeschool your kids, here are a few things that will help.

Homeschooling and home management

Have a plan

If you've been around the blog for a while, you might know that I love planning. I love organizing. And I know some of you, dear readers, just...don't. But even if planning isn't your favorite thing, I can assure you that having a plan- even if it's a loose plan- will help you to manage your home and homeschool your kids with some semblance of balance.

Plan which days you'll clean different areas of your home. Plan which days you'll shop for groceries. Plan a time that you can sit down and organize your next week. Plan family meeting times so that everyone is on the same page. If you'll bite the bullet and make some plans, you'll find it a little easier to achieve some balance.

Focus on routines

Even though I do love to plan, I'm not a strict schedule person. Early in my homeschooling years, I read Managers of Their Homes by the Maxwells. They recommend that you break your day down into very rigid thirty minute blocks. And that you follow this schedule to the minute, even setting a timer to know when it's time to move on. I tried this. I really did. But it just didn't work for me. (I did learn quite a bit from the book, though, and always recommend it.)

What does work for our family is routines. Routines can be a lifesaver when it comes to managing the home. We have a rhythm that we follow in our day. Get up, breakfast, devotions, start school- our morning routine. Lunch time, break time, chores- our lunch routine. Notice that none of these things have hard and fast times assigned to them. Instead, these routines just guide the flow of the day. Sometimes lunch might take fifteen minutes. Sometimes I'm reading aloud, and lunch might take forty-five minutes. It's okay. The flow is what matters, not the time.

When family life flows with routines, it will be much easier for you to keep your home running smoothly.

Use a meal planning system

It's not a stretch to confess that cooking is the bane of my existence as a homemaker. I really, really don't like to cook. But, these people want to eat. Everyday. Multiple times a day. And because I know that convenience food is not healthy- not to mention very expensive- I try to cook regular meals. (My children are laughing right now because "try" is the operative word here.) I have found that if I make meal plans, cooking goes a little more smoothly and happens a little more regularly.

A meal planning system can be as simple as writing your plan for the week on a scrap of paper to more elaborate methods that involve online meal planning programs that allow you to print your plan, make grocery lists, get matching coupons, and more. I've tried out a good many meal planning systems- free ones, ones that I created, and paid membership systems.

One of my favorite is Build-a-Menu. It has been one of the most cost effective and easiest to use. I also like that it has specific gluten free recipes available. I have a description of Build-a-Menu as well as some other systems I've tried in this post.

Know that you cannot do it all

No matter how well you implement these tips and how hard you try, you're not going to be perfect. Did I just burst your bubble? It's impossible to be perfect. It's impossible to get it all done. So what's a homeschooling, homemaking mom to do?

Years ago, when I was a young homeschooling mom with school-aged kids, toddlers, and babies in the mix, I poured out my frustration at not ever being able to catch up and get it all done on a homeschooling mom's forum. A very wise older mom shared this idea, and it was a great one. She said to make a list of all of those homemaking tasks that you just feel like you ought to be doing- cooking a meal every night, having the house picked up every day, cleaning the bathrooms more frequently, balancing the checkbook, keeping homeschooling going smoothly...Then present this list to your husband and together rate these things in order of importance.

I did this, and it was eye opening. Some of those things I had been struggling and struggling to try to get done every day didn't really matter at all to my husband. And when I had a little perspective to step back and look at the list afresh, I realized that they weren't very important to the running of the family as a whole. I found out things that were important to him as well- like having tea made in the fridge when he comes home every night.

Having this perspective was amazingly freeing. And I still today will go back to that list in my mind when I'm feeling overwhelmed and as if I'll never get it "all" done. Remembering the list helps me to take a deep breath and step back and do what's really important first. The rest- as my husband would say- is all gravy.


Managing your home while homeschooling can often seem an impossible task. I hope that these tips will make it a little less overwhelming for you. If you're looking for a tool that can help you manage your home, I have a free Homemaker's Notebook that you can download. It has printable sheets for meal planning, cleaning schedules, holiday planning, budgeting, and more. You can print the pages and put them in a binder to make your own Homemaker's Notebook.

Free homemaking notebook


You can find more homeschool 101 posts in the Review Crew blog hop this week. Check the posts linked up below for tips on managing your home and homeschooling.

5 Days of Homeschool 101


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