Despite popular belief, not every homeschool family is religious. Sure, the majority of homeschoolers is…
How to Successfully Run a Homeschool Household
Running a household is difficult enough. You have to manage chores, meal planning and preparation, bills, errands, etc. Add on top of that educating your children and it can feel like an impossible task.
Without a plan in place, you will find yourself at the end of the day feeling like you didn’t get enough done. You’ll be trying to fall asleep and all you can think about is how you have nothing to fix for dinner tomorrow, so that means you’ll have to go to the grocery store, and you also didn’t schedule that dentist appointment, and the laundry didn’t get done so you have to wear your sweats tomorrow, and oh yeah…..
It’s possible to manage your home and your homeschool and get more done every day. There will still be days that come where you will miss something, or life happens and things don’t get done. But that doesn’t have to be every day. So let’s do this!
Write It All Down
The first step in tackling everything is to make sure you know what everything is. So you’re going to make a list. Sit down with a pen and paper and write down three categories: Daily, Weekly, and Monthly.
Next, write down everything you are responsible for taking care of and place it in one of these categories. Start with chores that you have to get done around the house. Some things have to be done daily, like dishes and laundry. Some are weekly tasks, like cleaning bathrooms, living room, cleaning out the fridge, etc. Others are monthly chores, like dusting ceiling fans, cleaning the oven, vacuuming furniture. For example, my list looks like this:
- Laundry – daily
- Dishes – daily
- Bathrooms – weekly
- Living room – weekly
- Dining room/den – weekly
- Clean oven – monthly
- Clean washer & dryer – monthly
- Organize mail & files – monthly
- Check schoolwork – daily
This is just a small example to get you started. If it helps, walk through your house, inside and outside, and write down everything you want to make sure gets done regularly. When you think of something, write it down and whether you want to do it daily, weekly, or monthly. Make sure you think of everything you are responsible for, including school work, lesson planning, meal planning, etc.
Once you have your list complete you need to figure out which days of the week you need to get some of the tasks done. Go through your list of daily and weekly tasks and write down next to each one which day you need to, or prefer to, complete them. For instance, is it easier to do meal planning on Saturdays or Sundays? Are you free to get most of the laundry done on Mondays? Maybe you want to do the grading of school work and lesson planning on Fridays when the school week is through.
Make a Plan
After that’s completed you’re ready to draw up a schedule. You can use a calendar that is ready-made or make one yourself if you’re handy with a word processing program. You want to have one 7-day grid to list your weekly and daily responsibilities, and a 30-day grid to list your monthly tasks. I have a template you can use here.
Each individual box on the grid represents a day of the week. In the 7-day grid, you are going to add the tasks that you have to do daily and once a week. For everything you have to do Sunday, list it in the box for Sunday. Same for Monday, Tuesday, etc. It’s pretty self-explanatory.
In the 30-day grid, add the tasks that you have that are monthly tasks. Make sure you pay attention to the day of the week so that you can make sure you are getting those things done on the day of the week that is most convenient for you.
When you have both the 7-day grid and monthly grid filled, you’re done! Print it out and keep it somewhere handy for daily use, like a planner or a binder. Now you have a plan for getting everything completed! It’s a great feeling, right?
This is the fun part! Well, I think it’s fun because I’m kind of nerdy and I like to use charts and organizers and write stuff down. But it’s also fun because even doing this I feel like I’m accomplishing something and being productive.
With your handy-dandy chore chart and a daily to-do list, or a plain notebook, you’re going to use the 7-day grid and the 30-day grid and write down what is on the plan for tomorrow.
Personally, I like to use a planner. It has a monthly calendar in it where I can list events, appointments, holidays, etc. It also has daily to-do pages so I can list out my tasks for the day. I just add my chore chart to it and use it for reference when I’m planning my day.
If you’re starting on a Wednesday, and it’s the 15th, write down what you have listed for Wednesday’s tasks in the weekly grid, and then what you have in the 15th box on the 30-day chart. If you have a calendar that you use in your home or on your phone to keep track of appointments, use that also to list all of those other things down for the day.
I just want to add here that although I have all these things written down, I rarely am able to do it all in the day. Often times some of the tasks just have to be skipped due to unforeseen circumstances that come up during the day. We all have those things that come up that can’t be neglected or postponed – a child wakes up sick and has to be taken to the doctor or just taken care of during the day; an unexpected visitor stops by or someone calls and the conversation goes long; baby doesn’t want to nap today and is cranky….. It happens to all of us. If you think you know someone who has it all together, you don’t. They’re pretending. Cut yourself some slack and give yourself a break.
So what do I do with those tasks that don’t get done in the day? If they are really pressing, like having to schedule an appointment, I move them to the next day. The tasks that are weekly or monthly chores, I simply skip. If I don’t get it done this week, or this month, chances are I’ll get it taken care of over the weekend, or next week, or next month. If I get a day where for some reason I am free I will tackle some of those chores that got skipped. But mostly I just don’t worry about it! In the grand scheme of life, it’s just not important to make sure the oven gets cleaned, or the ceiling fans dusted, you know?
If you’d like a shortcut and want to simply use the forms I’ve made for myself, you’re in luck. Here is where you will find the different forms I have created. You can also download the completed version of my Simple Chore Chart.
Simple Chore Chart (completed, full-page) – Housework Chart Full Page
Simple Chore Chart (completed, planner size) – Housework Chart Planner Size
Simple Chore Chart (blank) – Housework Chart Blank
Daily To-Do List (full size, 8.5″ x 11″) – Do This Today – Full Page
Daily To-Do List (half-size, classic planner size, 8.5” x 5.5”) – Do This Today – Half Page
Here is the form I use to do my meal planning. I go into full detail on how I do this in my post, Monthly Meal Plan in 10 Minutes Using Your Family Favorites.