Life moves very, very quickly. As a mother of preschoolers, likely you don't need to be told that, do you? But you've also committed yourself to this crazy, passionate life of homeschooling, and sometimes life and homeschooling seem to smash violently into each other like a semi-truck and a concrete wall.
We spent the last week hosting our lovely visitors from New Zealand, which meant that I was away from the house with only one of my children while life needed to continue on at home without us. How does that work? How do we keep homeschooling through busy times?
The first workshop I ever gave for a homeschool convention was called Preschoolers, Preparation, and Peace, and in that little workshop I told my listeners that one of the greatest avenues to peace in a homeschool where little ones reside is to have a plan.
The reality is, most days don't look like the plan I've created on paper, but it's a backbone - something to fall back on and create a basic structure to our days. Without it, chaos reigns and no one can accomplish anything aside from attempting to manage the chaos, and that's no fun for anyone.
Because of the plan, my kids at home were able to carry on as usual. That doesn't mean there weren't glitches and personalty clashes, but it meant that they could function well and keep all the little ducks in a row. They were fed, some schoolwork was accomplished, and no one blew up the kitchen. Win!
Spell it all out in detail. List meals, chores, and schoolwork. If you want the kitchen tidied and the laundry folded by the time you come home, let them know. But be sure to sneak some little unexpected treats in there, too.
It's a circus around here!
The other thing that helps us maintain our sanity when life gets nutty all around us is to have a meal plan and the grocery shopping done. If you are in the middle of a crisis and someone asks what they can do to help you, a meal plan and a pre-made grocery list can be emailed to the helpful friend and they can grab those groceries for you if need be.
In our case last week, there wasn't a crisis and I could accomplish the shopping, but the shopping was made very easy because I'd already done the planning and the grocery list was ready to go. Stored in my phone in Evernote, too. Do you need help with basic meal planning? Cheryl of Copperswife has a great series to get you started. Simplified Dinners was created by homeschooling mom Mystie Winckler and it's a fantastic tool, too.
Make sure your expectations are realistic. When I returned from being gone so much, I didn't expect the kitchen to be cleaned the way I would, the house to be picked up the way I would, or the laundry to be done. In fact, I spent two whole days after our guests left just running load after load. But that's reality, and I knew it was coming so it didn't sideline me.
Know what's more important than having all your practical tools all ready to go in times of extreme busyness? Prayer. The Holy Spirit. Place all your hope in Jesus and the busy times will be an easy yoke and a light burden. He promises!