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Brittany juggled the baby on one hip while she carefully stepped over Legos® to reach for a coffee cup. After pouring herself a steamy mug of caffeine, she headed for the dining room table. Four children were writing in their math workbooks, but upon careful inspection, two of them were drawing pictures instead of solving equations.
There were toys strewn around the table on the floor and three messy stacks of papers and books at the end of the table.
She sighed aloud. How could she educate her children in all this mess?
After shooting up a quick prayer, she took a deep breath and started homeschooling.
Moms, take a deep breath. You can thrive, not just survive!
Homeschooling in Spite of Chaos and Clutter
Start with prayer
Commit your day and your challenge (clutter and chaos) to the Lord. He will answer your prayers.
Create Storage Space
The first step to control clutter is for everything to have a place.
Storage totes work great for homeschool students to store books, workbooks, papers, and other items in. Children can store the totes in a stack in the corner or in their rooms, bringing them to the table at the beginning of school and putting them away when school is over.
Bookshelves are another option with everything put back on shelves at the end of the school day. You may also consider renting mini storage units from a local climate controlled storage facility to store your child’s books, papers, and other school items. Since it’s probably a small but important amount of items, a mini storage service should be able to provide you with all the extra storage room you’ll need.
Give Everyone a Straightening Job
Even toddlers can pick up toys and put them in a bucket or toy box. Three-year-olds can sort toys correctly.
We often think of giving kids cleaning jobs, but most families need more time straightening.
Brittany can divide up straightening jobs:
- Toddler picks up the Legos
- Oldest turns messy piles of books and papers into neat piles (clutter is still there, but looks better)
- Youngest picks up toys on dining room floor
- One child collects breakfast dishes and mugs, depositing in kitchen sink
- One child picks up everything that has fallen on the floor and tidies the table
Children often do better with their own straightening job, rather than working together on one task.
Schedule in Straightening Each Day
At the end of the school day, before Daddy comes home, the entire family can straighten up the house. Having a set time each day gives Mom hope that there will be an end to the clutter, at least until tomorrow.
Living with Clutter
Homeschooling is messy and produces clutter. During school hours, the house will get messy. It’s okay. Relax.
Every homeschool mom has book piles and/or paper piles. Choose a spot to store those piles that isn’t visible when you first walk into the house. Tuck them in a corner if you can find one. Keep the piles neat.
The most important thing about your house is not how tidy it is. What matters is that peace and joy fill your heart and splash out to your children. That comes from resting in Jesus. When we make peace with the clutter, the feeling of chaos will disappear.
Freedom to learn, explore, and create creates some clutter, but it doesn’t have to lead to chaos. Embrace the lifestyle of learning and the temporary clutter that comes with it. It is a short, precious season. Freedom to learn, explore, and create creates some clutter, but it doesn’t have to lead to chaos. Embrace the lifestyle of learning and the temporary clutter that comes with it. It is a short, precious season.
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Meredith Curtis, homeschooling mom, writer, speaker, and publisher, loves to encourage families in their homeschooling adventure. She is the author of Joyful and Successful Homeschooling and HIS Story of the 20th Century. You can check out her books, curricula, unit studies, and Bible studies at PowerlineProd.com . Free Reading Lists for all ages are available at JSHomeschooling.com. Read her blogs at MeredithCurtis.com and PowerlineProd.com and listen to her at Finish Well Radio.