Not really quite sure if it was my husband's strokes or the arrival of number 3, staring "real" homeschooling or all happening simultaneously, but I have been fumbling my organizational skills ever since. Now that my husband has recovered so well, and the baby is really no longer a baby, I have begun to dig out of the chaos. However, when homeschooling, home life tends to spins out of control into a messy chaos because of the high level of work demanded of the homeschooling mom. My stubborn nature will not accept the "let it go, you are homeschooling, your home is just going to be messy" mentality and it just does not work. While it does not have to be picture perfect, home does need to be a functional place, a sanctuary for all members of the household - not a place of stressful mess.
First things first with this blog post series, when my day starts with a chaotic morning, it leads to a chaotic day. So I have decided to make a reasonable list of what I need to start my day off right:
(1) Personal Bible and Prayer Time - Well, that is a no brainier. I am sure we have heard a million illustrations why we need to put our "God" time first in the day. Reading God's Word makes me stay close with God, and makes me better equipped to follow His ways. Prayer is extremely important. Pray for Godly characteristics in your husband, your children and in yourself, and this will leads to peace in your household. Ask God for what you are lacking in your character that you will need to get through this day (i.e. patience). Oh, do not wait for that picturesque picture on the front of you devotional book, chances are that will not materialize unless your children sleep late. Besides, it is actually a good idea that your children see you pray and read the Bible. Though a quiet, contemplative place is always ideal, work with what you have at this season of your life. The house will be all too quiet, quite all too soon.
(2) Clean Play Space - Who wants to play in a mess. The children need to be trained to clean up after themselves (lengthy process), especially before bedtime. A welcoming play space will create time for you to clean the other areas of the house while the children busy themselves. Remember, never work on more than one habit at a time with your kids. You will lose focus and so will they or at least that is my experience.
(3) Clean Table and a Clean Floor
(4) Dishwasher and Trash Can Ready - The dishwasher needs to be ready for the day's dirty dishes to avoid pile up in the sink. Similarly, the trash can needs to have room for the day's trash. The kitchen sink and the dish drainer should be empty.
(5) Washed, Dressed and Ready - I have got this one covered at least. I cannot stand to stay in my pajamas.
(6) Beds Made
(7) Laundry Cycle Started - Dirty clothes need to be collected in a central location and carried right off to the laundry. A load a day keeps Mt. Washmore at bay!
(8) Look at Calendar
(9) Start On Time - Wake up on time and start school on time. Your whole day hinges on waking up at the right time and not ignoring the alarm clock. I find I have to wake up 2 hours before we start school to get everything done on my "right start list" completed on schedule. The "right" wake-up time really depends on many factors, and only you can figure out what time you need to set alarm clock for. Noah Webster and Ben Franklin both stressed the importance of going to bed early and rising early.
This is probably the hardest on the list for me. When I wake up in the morning, I feel sick, stiff and exhausted. Once, I get out of bed and start moving, I feel much better. It is just getting motivated to get up. If I starve myself of a daily portion of refreshment time, it is easy to binge on it and stay up too late, which makes things worse. The only solution I can think of is to have my husband physically pull me out of bed while speaking scripted words of encouragement like, "If you start late, you will be behind all day." My husband spoils me, so this will take some discipline. Getting to the bottom of my health issues will help, but who knows how long that will take. I need something to put in the works now or I will continue to run in this cycle of stress, which I know is not good for my health or immune system.
(10) Homeschool Work Ready - Since I use the workbox system, this means to fill their boxes from My Father's World curriculum. School runs so much more smoothly and joyfully when I prepare the work before school starts - not running as I go.
(11) A Good Breakfast - It is hard to focus when you have not had a balanced breakfast.
There is a line. On one side you learn to let things go and not to be a perfectionist, control freak, and on the other side of the line you need to deal with the chaos because it limits your abilities to be accessible to God and to have a good quality of life. What are we here for but to show God's glory during joyful life.
Back to the practical, it would be better if I could do some of these tasks the night before. I must plan to get behind, or what I really mean is I must plan catch up moments into my schedule because I will get behind - that is life. The goal is not to be perfect, only God is perfect, but the goal is to use my household as a vehicle of God's purpose. If you add too many things to your right start list, it will be impossible to complete it. Keep things simple and basic.
Your right start list may look different then mind. Everyone is dealt a different hand. If you have a list like this, share your version of the list. I often learn a lot from seeing how other people handle life.
My first post on this subject of regaining chaos was SOS Week and SOS Week Part 2. Click on the links to read those posts.