Mom-to-Mom Support/How Do I Fit It All In?

How Do I Fit It All In?

How do i fit it all in header

As homeschool moms, we often feel “spread thin.” Let’s face it, keeping our children home during the school day, finishing housework, cleaning up the extra messes, and adding education to our already busy family life keeps us running all day.

Home educating is a big sacrifice of time and energy for Mom. Homeschooling a large family is an act of love, and it’s certainly not a one-person task.

So how do families make homeschooling work with their already busy day-to-day life? It starts by establishing and maintaining daily routines. Here’s what to consider:

Establish a daily routine

If you’re new to homeschooling—or if you’re struggling to keep everything on track—take a break and establish a daily routine that fits your family. Children like knowing what to do and when to do it, and you’ll benefit from the consistency.

Be patient until you—and your children—learn the routine. For example, your children probably have other activities to do besides school. If they complete a lesson and you aren’t free to present the next lesson for the day, they should know what to do while waiting. That may mean tackling a chore, entertaining the baby, working on a practice or review drill, working on physical fitness skills, or doing artwork or music practice.

Create a list of additional independent activities for your children who can read, and create a picture chart for those who aren’t reading yet. These charts and lists can be laminated for use again and again.


Take one whole day to think about your priorities as you see them. Is it teaching a young child to read, getting a firm math foundation implanted in the brain of a reluctant student? Perhaps it is a discipline issue that has been neglected, or getting the house in order.

Make a list and ask the Holy Spirit to help you address each of these issues with a firm purpose and a realistic heart. Be confident! Tailor your day to meet the needs of your family.

Help is available

Don’t forget to enlist your older children and husband to help. While the older children still need guidance, they can also take on more responsibility.

Older children can help with housework and meal prep

With supervision, your older children can take over many chores. Homeschooling does not take up their whole day, so they have ample time for chores and working with the little ones for 30 minutes or so a day to free up some of your time.

Invite an older child to prepare a simple breakfast while you are getting the little ones up. Your 9- or 10-year-old is not too young to prepare the table and set out bowls, silverware, milk, cereal, and fruit. He may even safely prepare simple but nutritious crock-pot oatmeal the night before, while you are getting the little ones to bed.

If finances allow, you might find a teen at church who would love to help out a few hours a week. An adult or older teen coming into your home and whipping it into shape in a few quick hours is an absolute blessing. When relatives ask for ideas for gifts, gently request a little help or a few hours of a cleaning service, rather than a store-bought gift.

Read “Housework Tips for Your Homeschool” and “Meal Prep Tips for Your Homeschool” for more about managing housework and meals.

Assign cheerful helpers

No matter the ages of your children, consider assigning one to be the “cheerful helper” each day. This role gives the child (usually five or older) added privilege and added responsibility. For example, your helper would get the extra cookie during snack and be a gopher for items Mom may need someone to run and get.

An older child—10 and up, perhaps—may answer the phone that day, get the mail, be in charge of kitchen duty, and have a say in choosing the evening story or movie. Each child knows that he will have his turn. Some families call the child the “host for the day.”

Homeschool help

Your children can even help you with some of your teaching tasks. For example, older students can swap answer keys and check each other’s math work. They can also dictate practice spelling tests to each other.

Alternatively, you can allow your student to read his spelling words into an audio recorder, creating his own sentences appropriate to the spelling words. The next day, he can self-test as he listens to his own recording.

Don’t compare

Realize that all families have different priorities and capabilities at different times in their lives. Do not compare your family to other homeschooling families. And don’t compare your children to one another, or to children outside the family. This creates a fear of “being ahead” or” being behind.” Remind yourself that God creates each child as an individual, with his own talents and abilities.

No more wait time

When you are doing math with one child, does a line of wiggling little ones back up at your side? First, no interruptions relating to school work are allowed when Mom is giving instruction to another child. And spread the word that you teach school at home during the day so you can’t visit during school hours—let friends leave a phone message.

It’s inevitable one child will finish his work and have to wait for instructions before moving to the next subject. These idle times lead to boredom which can lead to mischief.

Announce there will be no more “wait time.” Keep educational games on the computer, hand-held devices, map puzzles with states, countries, and capitals, etc. that can be used independently, close at hand. Have a basket of books for mandatory “free reading” time. (A set of children’s encyclopedias works, in case you haven’t made it to the library). Make it a “school rule” that when children are finished with their work and/or are waiting for help, they must choose an activity from the “fun stuff list.”

With these parameters established, your child can continue learning instead of vegetating and perhaps inciting to riot while he waits his turn for your attention. Implementing this “no downtime” strategy also works when Mom is interrupted by important phone calls or emergency diaper changes. The children know that if Mom is temporarily unavailable and they have finished their work, they automatically shift to the “fun stuff list.”

Final thoughts

While these tips and tricks won’t eliminate all challenges, over time, the pieces will come together more easily, and you’ll be better equipped to accomplish everything you need to get done in a day. Create a routine, stay organized, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. From here, you’ll be building a more positive, functional home and homeschool environment for yourself and your family.

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