As you can imagine, back to school has been nothing short of busy! Thankfully in my household it has been a nice, smooth transition. None of my kids were looking forward to getting back into the school routine, but surprisingly it was what we all needed to calm our crazy summer schedules. Yep, it’s true! My kids actually function so much better when there is routine and structure in their day. Things are more predictable and organized. Sure we can all be flexible, but with this many kids in one home, and especially if you’re single parenting like me, then I am sure you can agree that structure and routine is the key to happiness lol.
Whether you homeschool or send your kids to public school, I thought I’d share some tips that help me in case you’re still on the struggle bus of adjustments. This is the first year I prepared really well a head of time. I remembered previous years being a disaster and really hard to navigate. The first few weeks of this year I was determined to be as prepared as possible to see if that made a difference.
Already have a schedule? Awesome! Read along and maybe grab a new tip or two. Still on that struggle bus looking to create some order? Read on my friend, you are not alone!
First, I’ll be honest, I started preparing weeks in advance for the beginning of school. Obviously as a homeschool mom I needed to get their curriculums in order, folders, organization, all of that kind of stuff. I slowly plugged away, working on getting one child set up at a time. Once the curriculums were set up and each child was organized and ready to start school, I began working on getting myself organized.
I started yet another new job again. I wouldn’t have changed except it was a good friend asking me and to be honest the money was better, the hours were better, and the pay was more consistent. I can still do my writing on the side should I choose to, but for me it was just smarter to make the switch. Unfortunately it was going to be a juggling and balancing act transitioning into a new job again. Plus, I would be required to go into the shop a couple days of week… Yikes.. Change is harrrrddd sometimes!
Just a little side note: isn’t it funny how God prepares us for things a head of time even in small ways that we don’t even notice? He is faithful even in the small things. Even in the scheduling of our day. He cares about us being successful and organized and knows how (for some of us) it really helps make a difference to be organized and on top of things. He hears us when we ask Him for help in all these areas; even when they sometimes seem so small and insignificant.
So, I start by planning out the month. I break it down by week and only going one week a head of time. I’m sure others maybe plan several weeks out in detail, but I can only do one week at a time or else my brain will be on overload. Besides when I have our big monthly calendar all planned it makes it easier to go through every Sunday and make a quick detailed weekly version. Once I know what needs to be done that week I move on. I usually sit down every Sunday morning and plan my week.
Then I plan meals. Mamas…. This is a MUST! If you are not meal planning and you’re struggling with getting a good routine and structure together, start HERE! I would love to say I do meal planning for budgeting reasons, I mean it certainly does help a ton, but that is not the main reason I do it. Maybe someday I’ll be that smart budget friendly mom offering tips and tricks on budgeting ideas, but that ain’t today folks, sorry. Lol 😂. But I will let you in on a little secret…. It’s less stress all the way around when you have your meals all mapped out for the week! Okay so maybe I’ll work on a little something for my followers 😉 but in the mean time, DO IT!!! I’m not talking about spending Saturday and Sunday cooking for your week ahead, although that isn’t a bad idea either. I’m talking about simply writing out a list of meals for the week, grocery shopping that Saturday or Sunday before and just sticking to the meals! It does save money and time… Oh my goodness how much time and money I’ve wasted stressing over what to make for dinner only to end up ordering out 🙄. Please tell me I am not alone in this one.
Okay so let’s keep it simple. Saturday and Sunday plan out at least 4 meals to make for the week. If you do want to be budget friendly, make your list of meals according to the sale items on the current weekly flyer. Write up your grocery list. Here’s another little tip: double one of your favorite recipes on your list that way you have a night of left overs guaranteed 😉 (another stress free night). Make your quick trip to the grocery store. I know, I know, sometimes you just don’t want to go. Well, if you have a little extra to spend, I think a grocery delivery and/or pickup is WELL worth the extra expense. Sometimes even for that sanity it’s just worth it! Can I get an Amen?!
Next, STICK TO IT!!! Mama’s, any kind of plan will work, consistency is what is truly key! And once you see how easily it flows week one, then week two, etc, you will just naturally get in that habit.
Okay so once I have my melas planned out I go back to my calandar. After I have any appointments, business meetings all that stuff planned out on my weekly calendar, then I break it down by day. Maybe this is all too much for you and that is okay. I am a mom of five, I homeschool, I run a social media following with a lot of content to be created and posted, engagements and lots of behind the scenes that people don’t see. I also have a couple part time jobs. This is how I pay my bills so it’s important I make time for these. Then we have kids sports, kids jobs, fun activities etc. nothing ever fits in if I fly by the seat of my pants all the time so I have got to be organized. Even with detailed planning there are still bumps in the road and things that just don’t fit in but for the most part, it’s way more organized when I break it down this way. I even break down each of my jobs on calendars also! Trust me, there is a method to the maddness!
So my weekly system is not just looking at a calendar. I actually follow a block schedule. My days are split into 6 blocks. Everything I do goes into its own block, and i try to keep the blocks 2-3 hours long each. For instance, Morning block, 6-9am I wake up, have coffee, read my devotions and have quiet time with God (this is something that is non negotiable in my day for starting a good day). The kids have breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, etc. All those morning activists. I set an alarm for 10 mins before my block ends as a warning then another one at 9. Now I know it’s time to move on to the next block. That is our school block. I can be working if the kids are working quiet and independently, but mostly it’s for school. Then is the lunch and appointment/errands block. I schedule my appointments during this time. I run all my errands during this time. If I don’t have any of those types of things then I dive right in to my next block which is work. Again, at the 15 minute mark before each block ends I have a reminder and then an ending alarm set. This next block is quiet time in my house. The kids know that this is moms work time. Do not bother me, I’m working! I try to not be on my phone for chatting or fun scrolling. When that alarm goes off at 5pm then it becomes dinner and family time and I have been really trying to put my phone away and focus on my kids. We make dinner, chat, eat dinner, clean up, showers, read books, get ready fo bed etc.
Do you see yet? It’s the same routine every single day. When my kids go to bed I pack their lunches and make coffee for the next morning. Okay I had a friend laugh at me that I make my kids lunch. “You homeschool!” He said, lol. Okay this is a new thing for me this year, but again, yet another game changer!
So for my little ones, school happens from about 9-12/12:30. Give or take an hour here and there. We have small 5-10 min breaks in there but for the most part we all kind of like to get it done and be done with it for the day as early as possible. For this reason we usually have lunch after school is finished. Occasionally those times overlap and little people get hungry earlier. Packing their lunch makes it easier to just grab and eat while still staying focused and in school mode for that last stretch. Then there are days that they finish school a little early and I need to either run errands or start working right away. This just helps eliminate the “I didn’t want that for lunch. Why can’t I have this? Or That?” And all those little arguments that sometimes occur. Or even just the extra 20 minutes it takes to prepare a good lunch. It just makes another easy transition for everyone.
At the end of my day it’s time to have moms time. I make any notes for tomorrow that I may need. I don’t usually keep a daily planner because I have my block schedule so memorized by now. If I have a busy week I keep a weekly calendar and refer to that.
Here’s the key mamas, you can use my method, which I have some printables in my shop for purchase and along with my homeschool guide, you can find here. Or you can find your own method for planning. Which ever one you do, typically will work. The key is to STAY CONSISTENT!
If you thought this was helpful I’ve got something that you may like even more! Keep a look out in the near future for something wonderful I have coming!