Welcome back to 10 Days of Large Family Homeschooling!
Start at the beginning of the series.
That’s what my husband tells people we do. And yes, sometimes herding cats is a good way to describe the large family life.
Every child is unique and homeschooling a large group of children with varying interests and aptitudes can be just as chaotic as it is rewarding.
Today, I want to share with you some tips and tricks for avoiding the chaos!
1. A Daily Schedule or Routine.
One of the first things you can do to make life less chaotic, is to adopt a daily rhythm to your life that incorporates all the things you need to get done in a day. If you are a regular reader of Raising Arrows, you know how I love to talk about finding out if you are a Schedule Family or a Routine Family and all that entails. It is so important to have a clear idea of how your family runs naturally, so you can harness that and focus it into something that works FOR you rather than AGAINST you.
Lists and charts and plans only work when you can implement them. Sometimes the lack of implementing a plan is laziness and sometimes it is simply the wrong plan. So, be diligent about finding something that works and trying it for a week or two before deciding if it needs a little tweaking or a toss out the window.
Read what other large families are doing. There are plenty of large family blogs out there and they almost always share their daily schedules. But remember, no two families are alike and you will not be able to entirely implement anyone else’s schedule. I spent many years trying to be exactly like the other large families I knew and failed miserably because we weren’t them and our circumstances were very different. Glean what you can and then make it your own.
2. Plan when you can.
There is a vicious cycle that can occur in a large homeschooling family. You need to plan your school day/week/year so things run smoothly, but you are so busy running your large family, you can’t find the time to plan.
That’s why it is crucial you plan when you can.
I do a big overview planning of my school year in the early summer, but I plan specifics every weekend. Truth be told, I look forward to my weekly homeschool planning sessions. Coffee in hand, books all over the place, and a feeling that I am actually accomplishing something is a very happy place for me.
But, not always can I manage my weekend planning session. Sometimes the weekend is just too busy or we are out of town, or some other project needs me. Yet, I know if I don’t plan, I won’t get much accomplished. Because of this, I know I have to find snippets of time somewhere in my day to plan homeschooling stuff.
One of the best ways to do this is to keep a notebook and pen handy and make a list of what you hope to get done that week in your homeschool. If you manage to transfer it to an actual homeschool planner template, then great. If not, no problem…the plan is still there.
3. A crew of vikings.
Yeah, that was random. But, allow me to explain.
Years ago, I heard Gregg Harris give a session at the Midwest Parent Educator’s Conference in Kansas City entitled Row Yourself to the Battle. Vikings never had slaves row them to their next battle, they always did it themselves. And if one viking didn’t do his job, they all paid the price. We brought that concept into our home and homeschool by giving our children a meaningful part to play in the family. Everyone has a job. Every job is needed. Everyone in the family rows, we row together. And if someone is left rowing all by themselves with a project, you will often here,
“Where are the vikings?!”
4. Discipline with purpose.
We’ve all done it. At some point in our parenting we have dealt a punishment that either didn’t fit the crime or made absolutely no sense at all. Despite the mistakes, we should all try to be purposeful in how we discipline. We should strive to make our disciplining biblical and relevant.
5. The little things that matter.
What are the little things that matter? They are your little people. Your babies and toddlers are a super important part of your day and without a plan for them, you will either spend all day putting out fires or all day playing. There are tons of posts here on Raising Arrows pertaining to homeschooling with toddlers. Do a quick search in the sidebar search box for “toddlers” or Google something like “homeschooling with toddlers“.
6. Free yourself from distractions.
You already have a lot going on, why add to it? My two biggest distractions during school hours are the computer and a messy house. I call it Brain-Clutter and Eye-Clutter.
The computer is my main researching tool and it keeps my always-thinking brain quite happy with information overload. But, this is not a good thing when I should be teaching school. I avoid the bedroom where my computer is until AFTER school hours.
Before we went to a One-Day Home Blessing, I required our weekly chores to be done before school hours for the simple fact I needed a clean home (no eye-clutter) in order to be my most productive. However, I would be more likely to recommend you go to bed with a clean house rather than what I was doing…letting everything go once supper was over.
By the way, if going to bed with a clean house seems like an impossibility to you, may I gently suggest this ebook:
This may sound trite, but if mama is calm, life feels more manageable. Here’s a prayer just for you, homeschool mom!
To download a full-size copy of this prayer along with many other free printables and forms relevant to this series, enter your email below. You’ll find the link to your Subscriber Package at the bottom on my emails to you.
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