This was actually written as a companion piece to Secrets of Homeschooling, which appeared on Sandbox to Socrates in January.
Every now and then, some well meaning soul, when looking at the number of minions I have, the age ranges (15 to 7 months) and finding out I homeschool, says, “Wow, you must be soooo organized!”
That would be a no.
I’m not the organized sort. I describe my temperment as being ‘the artiste’ type. Which is a nicer way of saying that I live in constant, whirling chaos, bouncing like a demented pinball from one thing to another. My intentions are good, but in the box of doughnuts that comprises my brain, the one for organization is missing. Not a single crumb nor sprinkle to be found. I’d post a picture of my desk as proof, but I’m not sure I want that sort of shame online.
So, I’m here to reassure those that suffer from Chronic Chaos, homeschooling can still be done. It is actually ok if your day doesn’t have colour coded time charts with everything for the next year carefully plotted out. Or even the next week.
Don’t get me wrong, part of me would LOVE to have that. As long as someone else came in and did it for me. With wee ones in the house, planning time isn’t sacred. Heck, potty time isn’t sacred! Dollars to doughnuts, I shut the bathroom door behind me, and I’ve got maybe 30 seconds before someone is at the door. Not even the dog leaves me alone in the bathroom.
So, planning time just doesn’t happen. I’ve tried, and it ended up being another stress, trying to get everyone to leave me alone long enough to get anything accomplished.
Plus, do you know what happens when you leave a Mom of five (two of which cannot be relied upon to sleep through the night, meaning I haven’t had a solid night of sleep in over seven months) alone, in peace and quiet? Yeah. I nod off.
So. Planning for any length of time is out.
I go day by day. Seriously. I have a mental to do list when I get up each morning. And, after enough caffeine, I even remember it.
I keep it simple. The Middle Minions know that they are to do their math and printing, and usually have that done by 7am. Yes, 7am. They’re up by 6, have breakfast, and go for it.
This often leads to me being asked to help with math before I’ve finished my first coffee. Thankfully, it’s grade two and three math, not algebra.
Then, through the day, I get each of them to do reading and spelling with me. We also read aloud whatever interests them from our ‘homeschooling’ bookshelf.
Some days, I let them on different reading and math websites. They think they’re only having fun! *insert evil giggle here*
I use different science videos, some books and experiment kits, and when someone has a particular interest in something, we explore further.
Trips to the library, hiking with Dad, and hooking up with a local homeschooling group for awesome discounts for skiing rounds out our curricula.
One thing I have learned is that I simply cannot do it all. So, a load of wash gets forgotten about, more often than I care to admit, and needs to be rewashed. Walls need scrubbing. Beds don’t get made. Any given day, I can glance around my home and see a myriad of things that need to be done. Folks here insist on eating on a regular basis, so that can’t be skipped. Anything else I can flex on. If laundry is getting done at 9pm, so be it. Same with any other housework.
I’ll never make the grade for my housekeeping skills. And, I’ve given myself permission to go with, “Good enough.” rather than stress myself out trying to be perfect. I’m simply not made that way. Perfection is beyond me.
But, as long as I get the kids basic lessons done, they’ve laughed and imagined and played, cuddled and kissed and hugged…I count it as a win.