Staying organized as a homeschool mom is about more than arranging curriculum on bookshelves.
Because homeschooling is real life + education, managing the home is a large part of staying organized in homeschooling.
These tips will help you stay organized and keep your home + school running smoothly – without running YOU ragged!
Big picture tips to stay organized as a homeschool mom:
1. Plan your day before the kids get up
When you take time to plan out your day when it’s quiet, you’ll be able to focus and make sure you’re scheduling the most important items in your day.
This is much easier to do if you’ve taught your children to stay in bed all night!
2. Write out your priorities, and review them regularly
This goes with planning your day – if you don’t know what you should be focusing your time on, you’ll more easily get distracted and drop the ball on what really matters.
Which is more important: homeschooling or organizing the kids’ underwear drawer? Teaching two fighting siblings about kindness or getting that math page done? You’ll set aside the lesser priority while you address what’s more important.
This helps cut down on friction and stress when issues come up in your day, because you just have to figure out where the issue falls on your priorities.
Write out your priorities in order of importance, and then refer to them regularly.
3. Use a planner
Look, I know we’d all love to just remember all the stuff we need to get done, but we both know we won’t! You’ve got to write it down.
This handy dandy daily planner for homeschool moms is so helpful for keeping your days planned and in order.
4. Adjust your expectations
If you had a job-job, you’d never tell your boss you were taking the morning off to babysit your neighbor’s kids. You wouldn’t think it was fine to skip work for a day to do laundry, and bake 8 dozen homemade cupcakes for a bake sale at church.
There’s nothing wrong with actually doing any of those things (watching a neighbor’s children, catching up on laundry, volunteering for church events), but you have a job. It’s educating and caring for your children. It’s not a paid job, and many people think it’s not real because you’re at home all day.
One of the benefits of homeschooling is that it’s flexible and affords our children opportunities to serve and experience real life situations that many children don’t get.
But homeschooling is a responsibility, and it shouldn’t get shoved to the side every time someone else in your life has a minor crisis, or the laundry piles up.
You can’t be all things to all people. You’re allowed to say no. Homeschooling is a job, and housework and outside activities come second!
Practical tips to stay organized as a homeschool mom:
5. Declutter your house
Getting rid of stuff has so many benefits!
+Easier to clean the house
+Less stuff to pick up
+Reduces mental clutter
+Cuts down on kids fighting (Really! It’s crazy how this works!)
I know Marie Kondo is all the rage right now, but I’m not that hard core. Mostly because I don’t fold much laundry, and I’m sure not going to do it a special way!
But simply going through your house room by room and throwing away or donating a LOT of stuff will make your life so much easier. Don’t save things just in case. If you don’t use it right now, it needs to go.
Staying organized at home is easier when there’s less STUFF to organize!
6. Involve the family in cleaning and picking up
Why are you the only one doing laundry? Seriously, why?
Are you the only one who wears clothes?
If not, there’s no reason for you to be the only one cleaning and picking up and doing laundry. It’s not a matter of ability if you have kiddos older than 2. It’s just training and making it a habit together!
Everyone should put his or her own dishes in the dishwasher after a meal.
Everyone should have cleaning chores.
Everyone should work on laundry.
And if you have little boys, they should DEFINITELY be involved in cleaning the bathrooms. Did you know that’s the #1 best way to improve their aim? It totally is. Wiping up stinky urine is incredibly motivating.
7. Have clear expectations and responsibilities
It’s not fair to get mad at your kids (or hubby, for that matter) if you haven’t made it clear what your expectations are, what their responsibilities are, and taught them how to do these things.
No one but Jesus is a mind reader, so be super clear and specific in your teaching!
Kids also need lots of reminders, encouragement, and supervision for quite a while before they will be successful independently completing chores. This is reality, so expect to be involved in their chores until you sense they are confident and focused in their work. Then you can start to give them space to work alone. Just check on their progress to help them stay on track!
Chore charts are helpful for reminding kids what they should be doing. If yours are old enough to read, a simple printed list works well. If they’re not reading yet, download a cute chore chart with pictures – or draw your own, if you’re artistically inclined!
8. Simplify meal planning
When you’re homeschooling, and teaching and training kids, and trying to keep little people alive, you need simple meals. This isn’t the time of life for fancy, complicated meals.
Because I want to stay organized as a homeschool mom, easy, healthy-ish, and tasty are my goals for meals right now. Follow me on pinterest for lots of great ideas that hit these marks!
Also, download my monthly meal planner to get all your meals planned for the month quickly and easily. One less thing to think about!
9. Involve your kids in meal prep and clean up
I know, I know. It’s so much more work to have them help in the kitchen. I TOTALLY feel ya on this one.
But really, mama, you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t involve your kids right now in meal prep and clean up. Before you know it, you’re going to have a 14 year old. If you start now, that 14 year old is going to be capable of cooking supper for the whole family. Honest and truly.
Children are far more capable than we give them credit for. They also improve in their kitchen skills quickly when we give them a chance. So, give them the opportunity to work with you in the kitchen!
I get stressed to the max if they’re all in the kitchen with me at once, so I have a breakfast helper, a lunch helper, and a dinner helper each day (we rotate through who does which meal).
This lets me focus more on teaching that one kid, gives us one-on-one time, and leaves two other big kids to watch the baby.
Plus, kids who cook eat better!
10. Keep the dishwasher empty or washing
This is honestly probably my best tip for staying on top of housework! When we keep the dishwasher emptied or washing, dishes never get piled up and overwhelming.
Meals come three times a day no matter what, so if you keep that dishwasher ready to load as soon as possible, it’s easy for the whole family to keep the dishes taken care of.
11. Freezer cooking. Freezer cooking. Freezer cooking.
You know I am a huge fan of freezer cooking. Saves you dishes, saves you time, saves you money . . . what’s not to love?!
If you haven’t tried it, read my Beginner’s Guide to Freezer Cooking post and plan your first freezer cooking session (I walk you through it in the post! And give you free printables to keep you organized and help it go smoothly).
Having meals ready to go in the freezer helps so much when you’re wiped out from a long day of homeschooling and breaking up fights. Uh, I mean, instructing your sweet children in brotherly kindness.
12. Only buy what you need for homeschooling
It’s so tempting to keep adding this and that and oh, look! New curriculum!!!
And then our days are so stuffed and overwhelming, and we’re trying so hard to DO all the the school things, that our kids barely have time to dig in the dirt.
Which they should be.
If you want to stay organized as a homeschool mom, you’ve got to simplify homeschooling, mama. You don’t need all the things to give your kids a great education. Read lots of great books to your children. and use a few carefully chosen resources to give them a full education. You don’t need three history programs and art history for the first grader.
13. Schedule time to pick up throughout the day
If it all gets left until the end of the day, it’s going to be overwhelming and a terrible mess!
And you’ll grab a box and start cramming stuff in it, muttering about how you’re JUST SO DONE with all this junk everywhere, and IT IS ALL GOING TO GOODWILL, and MAYBE THEN THEY WILL KEEP THEIR TOYS PICKED UP.
Or maybe that’s just me.
An alternative that is working well for me, is scheduling 5-minute pick ups throughout the day.
Natural pick up times for us are:
After breakfast, before school starts
After lunch, before rest time
After supper, before bedtime routine
These 5- minute pickups don’t take long (obviously. it’s five minutes!) but it keeps the house manageable, and it’s easy for me to quickly sweep the dirt, crumbs, and dog hair every day after one of the pick ups.
And, because it’s a super short time, everyone is more willing to do their part – because no one is overwhelmed by the mess!
I left this one for last on purpose. It’s hard for me.
Do you really need to go grocery shopping, or can you use grocery pick up? Instacart? Hubby on his way home from work?
Autoship is also something I consider a type of delegation.
Also, auto bill pay.
What about with homeschooling? Online math (CTC, Teaching Textbooks, and Khan Academy are popular options), video classes for writing, even whole school programs can be delegated, if that’s something you want or need.
What can you outsource and have someone else (or a robot) do?
Want to stay organized as a homeschool mom? Think through your responsibilities, and then decide what can and should be delegated to someone else.
Staying organized does not mean doing it all
You cannot do it all and stay sane and healthy. You’re one person, mama. You only have 24 hours in a day, and you are not superwoman. You need to sleep, too. Give your kids the best mom you can be, and stop trying to do it all!
Use these homeschool organization tips to stay on top of things at home, but make your standard to love your family, not a pinterest-perfect house.
Most people appreciate a tidy home space, and it does help increase productivity and peacefulness.
These tips for homeschool organization can help you stay organized, and still have time to enjoy your family.
Why meal planning by theme is so easy Why would you want to meal plan by themes? How can meal planning by theme help you? When you meal plan by theme, you get variety without so much time and brain effort! I love to meal plan for a month at a time, and by using...
The Beginner's Guide to Freezer Cooking What is freezer cooking? Before we get into the nitty gritty of the beginner’s guide to freezer cooking, let’s talk about what exactly freezer cooking is! Freezer cooking is simply prepping food and storing it in your freezer to...
I wish I craved things like kale or liver, but I definitely do not. I crave Big Macs. I love Big Macs! I generally only let myself buy one once a year, because they're obviously not a healthy choice, but man. I love that Big Mac sauce. This Big Mac recipe is made...