Balancing It All: Homeschool and Housework

I think we can all agree that housework is not exactly fun, and it takes up way more of our time than we would like it to. Unfortunately, chores are a part of daily life, especially for a mom and wife. Some days I feel like the housework runs me, rather than me running it. However, for the most part, I have learned how to manage it. This didn’t happen overnight, although I wish it would have. When my husband and I decided that God was certainly calling our family to homeschool, I knew I had to buckle down and figure it out. The mere thought of homeschooling my child and keeping up the house, scared me to death. I didn’t know how I would ever be able to make it all work.

The first step for me was gaining control of my biggest job around the house…laundry. For three people, we have a ton of it! I immediately placed a laundry basket in my daughter’s bathroom. She had just been piling her dirty laundry up on her bathroom floor until mom could pick it up. A simply laundry basket solved a lot of the problems in there. It controlled most of the mess I was constantly falling over, helped create a routine for my daughter, and made it easier to get her dirty laundry to the laundry room (she quickly learned to drag her basket to the washer and unload it). I also got a laundry sorter for the master suite. There is a section for colors, one for whites, and one for towels. Once the dirty laundry had some organization, I decided the actual washing of the laundry needed to be on a schedule too. I went simple with my schedule: Mondays – Colors, Tuesdays – Towels, Wednesday – Whites, Thursday – Colors/Kids Clothing, Fridays – Sheets. I still use this schedule today, and I love it! It provides me with a simple way to get all the laundry done during the week without having to even think about it. Best of all….no laundry duty on the weekend!

Laundry Sorter

What has truly helped me manage homeschooling and housework is teamwork and scheduling. Before our school year began I created a general daily schedule in order to plan out just how I would get it all done. I found that I was able to work in chores throughout the day for myself and my daughter that taught her about responsibility, serving others, and managing her time. Here is an example of what our day looks like:

8:30am Wake/Morning Routine

8:45am Breakfast Prep/Quick Clean Up (Any Messy Area)

9:00am Breakfast/Kitchen Clean-Up (Kids help or start independent work)

9:30am School Time

11:30am Lunch Prep/Chore Time

12:00pm Lunch/Clean Up (Kids help clear table, then free time)

12:30pm Rest Time/Nap Time (Mom gets housework done.)

2:00pm Kids Finish Chores

2:30pm Finish School/Review/Free Manipulative Time

3:00pm Snack Time

3:30pm Outside Time (Chore Catch Up Time for Mom if needed)

4:30pm Dinner Prep/Quick Clean Up (before Dad comes home)

5:30/6pm Dinner Time/Family Time

8:00pm Before Bed Quick Clean Up

8:15pm Nightly Routines & Bedtime

You can see that I’ve worked in lots of time all throughout the day for chores and clean up. Our quick clean up time means straightening up wherever needed, putting away toys or laundry, etc. Designated chore time is for working on our housekeeping chores (i.e. dusting, bathrooms, sweeping, vacuuming, moping, etc.) My daughter has her own dry erase chore chart hanging in the living room. Each day she goes down the list during chore time, completing one task at a time, marking it off as she goes.

Dry Erase Chore Chart

To keep things fun, I came up with a chore punch card for my daughter. Anytime that she takes it upon herself to do an extra chore after her daily chores are completed, she gets a punch on her card. Once her card is full, she gets a prize and a new punch card to start.

Chore Punch Card

I’ve learned that keeping a home and homeschooling is meant to be fun, not just work. Both certainly involve a lot of work, but both are also a lot of fun when you are able to find a good balance that works for your family. Homeschooling is certainly the training of a child, but housework is the same thing.




How We Raise Our Daughter

Oh yes, you already know this is going to be an interesting topic.  Just look at the title, right!  I know a ton of people who will read this and think we are nuts, but guess what…you’re not the first, last, or only.  However, I felt it was important to be clear on where our family currently stands on some things.  I do not intend to offend anyone, and nothing is directed at anyone, this is just my usual honesty is the best policy.  I like to be very open about who I am and what my family stands for…or against.  I use to be a sugar-coater, heavy on the sugar, but God has truly changed my life in that area.  So, if your up for reading this great…if not…that’s good too.  I understand either way.  You may agree with me on some things, and on others you may leave this article wanting to disassociate with me.  I hope the latter isn’t true, but I’m not writing this for any certain person or group of people, I’m writing for myself, my family and God.

So, here are a few of our thoughts as we continue the journey of parenting in our home, in our way.

  1. We strive to base all of our parenting off of God’s word and his will for our lives.
  2. We do not dote on outward beauty, but inward.  What girl doesn’t like to hear how pretty she looks?!  However, we strive to not always comment our daughter on that, and we prefer others not too as well.  Comment on her attitude, her heart, her personality, her desire to serve, her love of God, etc.  We want to point out the qualities in her that truly matter.  The ones that God laid in her heart, the ones that will guide her as she grows, not the ones the world seems to practically worship now days.
  3. We don’t do sleep-overs with friends.  Sorry, nothing personal!  At this time we do not believe it is wise to send our daughter off to other homes over night.  Growing up, when I went to sleep overs, we had a great time…a great time gossiping, discussing boys, and other things we probably should NOT have been talking about.  We desire to guard our daughter’s heart as long as possible and to the best of our abilities.  We aren’t saying your home isn’t fit for our child, or that your child is a bad influence.  We just know from experience that it opens doors to things we don’t want our daughter getting caught up in, especially at such a young age.  They are only small for so long.  We believe we need to cherish that time and spend as much of it together has a family as we can.
  4. We do not do ‘boyfriends’.  We desire our daughter to enter into an appropriate boy/girl relationship the way God intended it to be, which is often referred to as courting.  We pray often about this.  We do not want to see our daughter caught up in relationships and the dating world that so many young people enter into.  Even at the age of six, we talk about appropriate friendships with boys, but that God doesn’t desire for us to have boyfriends/girlfriends at such a young age.  We pray that our daughter will choose God’s way for her life, and as she gets older, be able to form healthy, pure friendships with the opposite sex and share with us any interest in a friend she might one day have.  In turn we also pray for her future spouse, and any courting relationship that she might have.
  5. We believe it is important to teach self-control from a very early age.  We never allow an excuse for bad behavior.  Yes, we might be hungry and tired, but we have to have self-control at all times.  No bad mood is every an excuse for being ugly or disrespectful.  Now, do we expect our child to be perfect?  NO WAY!!  Even mom and dad are cranky some days.  However, that is never an excuse worthy of that behavior.  As our daughter has grown she has gotten better at this, and will continue to do so.  She will never be perfect, we simply try to train her to be pleasing to God.  (This is just one character value we teach in our home.  There are many equally important ones.)
  6. We homeschool and believe in it 100%.  Maybe it isn’t right for you and God has not called you to this lifestyle.  For us, it is a calling from God.  A very distinct calling!  So please, respect that just as we respect others choice to not homeschooling.  If you think we are crazy…that’s okay…we don’t mind that.  (lol)
  7. Sometimes we have to tell you ‘no’.  Unfortunately, there are times that we have to tell friends ‘no’.  We just can’t spend every available minute at birthday parties and other functions.  As fun as they are, and as much as we hate to have to say no, we do.  Our family comes second to God, and if we’ve been busy lately and we get invited to gatherings, or a birthday party, we have to decline.  We have to invest our lives in each other and our daughter before we can fully invest your life.  Otherwise, we are doing no one justice.  Know we are celebrating with you in heart and spirit though!
  8. Please discipline our child if you see the need.  We believe it takes a village.  If you see my child misbehave, please correct her behavior.  Of course we expect it to be done with a loving heart as God calls us, but it definitely needs to be done.  Leaving bad behavior uncorrected tells a child that it is acceptable.  That is never okay.  God calls us as parents to discipline our children.
  9. We currently have cable television in our home.  However, my husband and I are prayerfully considering removing it.  Just because we have it doesn’t mean it is a free-for-all.  We try as best we can to set time limits on our daughter’s viewing, and we definitely set rules in terms of what she is viewing.  We too strive to abide by the rules that if it isn’t appropriate for her eyes, it isn’t for ours either.  Unfortunately, television has gotten so corrupt today we feel it may being doing families more harm than good.  There are many “kid” shows we do not allow in our home because they are not truly meant for children, nor do they represent any of the qualities we strive to teach.
  10. We strive to keep an open line of communication.  We believe that our daughter should be able to freely, and honestly talk to us about anything.  Likewise, we are always very honest with her and strive to always give her wise counsel.

I hope I didn’t scare you away with all of that, but I’m sure it gives you a little bit better idea of who our family is, and what we are all about.  Parenting is never easy and we are all just trying to do our best.

God Bless!

Easy Up-Cycle

I’m super excited to share with you my latest up-cycle craft!  My family eats a lot of canned green beans.  Mainly because this is one of the only veggies my hubby enjoys.  So, needless to say we end up throwing out a lot of those cans.  I decided there had to be a way to reuse them.  Sure enough…after a day of deliberation over what to do with them I finally decided to use them to organize. 
I used one can and printed duct tape I already had.
I covered the outside of the can in the duct tape.  Easy!
Wrapped Can
 I felt like my can needed a little something extra, so I pulled out the ribbon scraps I had and added a bow.  Viola!
Finished Project
 See how easy that was!!  The whole process only took me about ten minutes.  The hardest part was deciding which ribbon to use!  LOL!!  I made this one for sharpie storage.  I plan on making a few others for marker and color pencil storage for our classroom since the boxes get so much abuse. 
Share your can up-cycle project with us!

Feeding My Blog Addiction

We all know I have a slight blog addiction.  I LOVE them!  Old ones, new ones, colorful ones, fun ones, ones about crafting, ones about homeschooling, etc, etc, etc…I love reading blogs.  Well, I just had to share with you the newest blog crush I’ve developed.  Lisa, over at The Pennington Post, is AH-MAZ-ING!  I am crushing on her house for sure!  It is super cute!  I just stumbled upon her collection of parenting advice.  I highly recommend you check it out!  She has some really good stuff to say. While you’re there, get comfy and browse around…I promise you will NOT be disappointed.

Have a Blessed Weekend!

A – Z Memory Verses

I want to share with y’all some memory verses, 26 actually, for your family to use.  If you are looking for a weekly memory verse for the kids or the entire family, this is a great start.
A: All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:23
B: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.  Acts 16:31
C: Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right.  Ephesians 6:1
D: Do everything without complaining or arguing.  Philippians 2:14
E: Encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.  1 Thessalonians 5:1
F: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.  Romans 6:23
G: Go into the world and preach the good news to everyone.  Mark 16:15
H: Honor your father and mother.  Exodus 20:12
I: In your anger do not sin.  Ephesians 4:26
J: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8
K: Knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  Proverbs 2:10
L: Let us be…self-controlled.  1 Thessalonians 5:6
M: Make the most of every opportunity.  Colossians 4:5
N: No one can serve two masters.  Matthew 6:24
O: Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things.  Psalm 119:18
P: Praise the Lord: for it is good to sing praises to our God.  Psalm 147:1
Q: Quench not the Spirit.  1 Thessalonians 5:19
R: Run in such a way as to get the prize.  1Corinthians 9:24
S: Set them an example by doing what is good.  Titus 2:7
T: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  2 Corinthians 5:17
U: Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks.  Psalm 75:1
V: Verily, verily I say unto you, he that believeth upon me hath everlasting life.  John 6:47
W: Who can stand before jealousy?  Proverbs 27:4
X: Let us eXamine our ways and test them. And let us return to the Lord.  Lamentations 3:40
Y: You lifted me out of the depths.  Psalm 30:1
Z: Zacchaeus make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.  Luke 19:5

10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

I thought I’d give you guys a fun post today.  I think this is more fun for y’all, than fun for myself.  I’m giving you ten things that you don’t know about me…and I probably wouldn’t normally just come out and tell you.  However, you might find some of them entertaining.
1.  I am an organizing junkie.  Seriously…I will organize a room, closet or drawer…then change it up a few months later to try a new way of organizing.  I swear I get a high from it.  I’m not the most organized, but I do love doing it.
2.  I hate to cry.  I adamantly try to cry only in privacy.  I feel weak and vulnerable when I cry, and that is not the image I like to give.  I know it is silly and “everyone’s doing it” (LOL), but it makes me uncomfortable.
3.  I want to adopt.  It may not be next year, or ten years from now, but at some point I would love the opportunity to adopt.  We would adopt tomorrow if we had the funds, but do you know how expensive it is!!  But this is a life-long dream of mine.
4.  I do not believe in the death penalty.  I realize this may be a hot topic for some; and I have family that disagree with me on this, but I just don’t believe in it.  I believe that murder is murder and the death penalty is murder.  I do not believe God granted us, as humans, the right to take someone’s life because of what they have done.  God is the ultimate judge.
5.  I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome).  Yes, we desire more children.  So when you ask me why we haven’t had more, or say “Well, ya’ll don’t want more kids?!”….I want to scream!  However…I don’t.  I smile and respond politely, “We would love to have more children.  They are such a blessing.”  I struggle with the feeling of failure in terms of my condition, but I trust God.  I am determined to not sit around being a victim of it.  I work hard every day through diet, exercise, medication and lots of Dr. visits to improve my condition and be successful in conceiving.  I have never felt jealous of those having babies.  I love to hear good news of families being blessed with more children.  Yes, I pray that God would bless us in due time, but I pray daily that he would continue to bless our family and friends with more children.  I am not envious, and I do not go home and cry because you can have children and I can’t.  My time will come, so please do not worry about sharing your news with us, or saying the right or wrong thing.  Just be you and I will be me.  I am already blessed beyond measure.
6.  My husband is a coach (3 sports currently & year around).  Some days this makes me crazy!  I realize that unless there is a coach in your family, it is very difficult to understand the life of a coach and his/her family.  But let me tell you it is not glamorous and fun all the time.  My husband works 5 to 6 days a week, anywhere from 55 to 80 hours a week.  He leaves before the sun comes up, and doesn’t usually get home until 9pm or later.  Why yes, he is a teacher too and gets holidays and summers “off”.  He gets off from his teaching gig…not his coaching gig…which is very demanding.  His time “off” is never really time off in the sense that most people understand.  When he is “off”, he is playing games, running practice, keeping up fields, working on stats, taking care of equipment and uniforms, making schedules, etc.  Our daughter has to go days in a row at times without seeing her daddy.  And no, the pay is not fabulous.  It is teacher’s pay…with a very small stipend.  I’m not complaining.  I am very thankful he has a job that pays the bills for us, and one that he enjoys.  But please don’t assume that he, or we, have it made.  We are a family of three living off of a teacher’s salary in Louisiana.  And my husband and I both sacrifice a lot to lead this lifestyle.  Some days I want him to quit, and he knows this (LOL).  Some days I feel so tired I cry to him about it.  Tired of doing so much alone and tired of him being gone.  Tired of consoling my crying child after she’s gone two days without him.  But we make it through.  Until God leads us in another direction, we will follow Him and carry on. 
7.  I struggle to be consistent in my quiet time with God.  Please pray for me in this area.  So often I let our crazy schedules and all the distractions in life get in the way.  There is no good excuse.  This should be priority for me.  I do great for a few weeks with this, and then I slack off.  I LOVE God!  I LOVE spending time with Him!  I long to be a better christian.  I will never be perfect, but God is so good to me….He deserves so much more from me.
8.  I’m cheap frugal.  Living on a teacher’s salary makes the budget tight.  Therefore, mama has to get creative.  I shop clearance.  If you get a gift from me…I either made it or found it on the clearance rack and thought you’d love it.  I can not afford to keep up with the fashion of the season.  In our house, my husband and I might buy one new outfit twice a year…and not all parts of the outfit at once.  We would rather save the money or use it in a better way.  My child gets new clothes during Spring and mid Fall.  I try to shop in advance, so I buy next Fall and Winter’s items during Spring and Summer, and vice- versa.  I can save a lot that way.  I use coupons and run on a tight budget.  If it’s cheaper to make it, I will.  Although our budget is super tight, we love it and we never go without anything we need.  I cut my husband’s hair, and typically my daughter’s.  They are simple, easy cuts that I am able to do.  I usually get my hair cut once a year or so because I let it grow until I am able to donate it to Locks of Love.  However, my gray hair is really starting to make its appearance, so I may have to open that hair budget up a bit.  I’m too young for this gray hair mess!!
9.  I hate clutter!  It makes me anxious!  I clean out the house about every six months and get rid of what we don’t use/need.  If it’s been a super busy week and the house is looking messy and cluttered, I usually feel like I’m going to fly off the handle.  Seriously…I get major anxiety.  Luckily my husband is wonderful and knows my limits on mess.  He does a great job of helping me out when it’s been crazy and the house needs help.  I’m sure it’s mostly because he doesn’t want to have to go have his wife committed for OCD issues and listen to me rant and rave about the mess all the way to the ‘hospital’ (LOL), but it sure is nice of him to be so awesome.
10.  I do not like to be breathed on.  I know…sounds silly.  But really….I hate it!  If someone is breathing on me…I feel icky and as if my air will soon run out and I will suffocate.  Ask my husband.  I make him turn over multiple times during the night.  🙂  Sorry Hun!!
Now, feel free to share some things about yourself!  I promise I’m not crazy!  I know you’re probably wondering now that you’ve read all this, but I swear I’m not crazy.  At least not too crazy, I guess.
*Thankful for Spring!*