Home Management Tips and Freebies

How I Plan for Homeschool and Manage My Life | FREE Printables Included!

Hi there! Join me this month for My Journey to Homeschool series. In this series, I’ll be sharing the why behind our homeschool and the process it took to get from there to here.

If you’re new to this blog, welcome! My name is Nike and I’m entering my fourth homeschool year with a new kindergartner and third grader.

Last week, I shared How We Pulled Off an Entire Year of FREE Curriculum.

This week, I’ll be sharing how I plan for homeschool and manage my life.

We couldn’t have made it through our first three homeschool years without a vision and a plan. My planning routine has pretty much stayed the same over the years, the only difference is I’ve gotten a bit fancier. Instead of just typing everything out on a Word document and printing it, I made a customized home management binder with cute inserts.

Why do I use a home management binder rather than a store-bought planner? Because most planners are too small for my needs. With a home management binder, I can literally three-hole punch my entire life into it—and I have!

Read on to see what I put into my home management binder. There’ll be free printables at the end! For privacy purposes, I won’t be sharing my exact write-ins for certain schedules. I hope you don’t mind.

1. Daily Do-To List

This is pretty self-explanatory. What’s different than most to-do lists, though, is that I also include a water intake tracker and a section to list my daily gratitudes. I got this great idea from a Youtuber called Jady Alverez. I simply laminate this insert so that I can reuse it with a dry erase marker. Check out my sample “To-Do List” below.

To-do List Planner Insert for Home Management

 

2. Events Calendar

This comprises all events from homeschool fieldtrips, sports games and practices, co-op days, playdates, birthday parties, extracurricular activities, local family events, holidays and more. I will also chart doctor and dentist appointments here. Check out my sample events calendar below. Of course for privacy reasons, this is an unofficial sample. Wouldn’t want anyone showing up at my kid’s soccer games.

Events Calendar Sample Planner Inserts for Home Management

3. Daily Tentative Schedule

This is more of a routine than a schedule. I basically like to picture what a perfect day would look like and write it down. That makes it more of an ideal than a reality, doesn’t it? Haha. But it does help our days flow better even if we don’t follow it verbatim.

I know some of you like seeing other people’s schedules, so here it is! Our REAL schedule. Just know “momma time” seldom happens, but I do workout in the evenings so that sort of counts as momma time, right?

Daily Schedule Sample Planner for Home Management

You’ll notice that I’ve also noted the days I plan to rest, have a family day, and buy groceries. Optimal grocery shopping time happens between 3 and 5:30 on Thursdays. However, if we have a fieldtrip or some sort of outing that week, I’ll typically pick up groceries straight afterward. In fact, as I’m typing this, I’m realizing Tuesdays after co-op is probably the best day to swing by the grocery store since it’s on the way home. Hmmm.

It’s safe to say this schedule only works when it’s a non-event day. I think the key to a functional routine is to leave some wiggle room. That way there’s more flexibility on the days we have fieldtrips, co-op, and other events to attend.

4. Daily Homeschool Schedule

I keep a separate homeschool schedule so that I can go into more detail as far as time management goes. It also helps me plan how to divide my time between my two children. Typically, all the subjects my oldest son can work on independently is the time I’m scheduled to work with my kindergartner. Again, this is ideal, but we try to stick with it as much as we can.

I will share our actual schedule so that you get a gist of how things work with teaching more than one child around here. This is tentative, so it’s likely to change as we get into a good groove.

1 Homeschool Schedule Planner Inserts for Home Management

One thing you’ll notice is that some subjects are missing. That’s because we’re working with the Good and Beautiful curriculum this year and it comprises multiple subjects that include phonics, spelling, grammar and punctuation, literature, art, writing, and geography. I labeled that curriculum “Fluency” and “Course.”

Another thing you’ll notice is that we don’t have “free” days. Many families reserve Fridays for makeup work or fieldtrip days. We don’t. One reason is that we attend fieldtrips primarily with our homeschool group and choose dates that are available, which isn’t always on a Friday. Another reason is that we don’t take as many breaks as public-schools, so I sort of view those extra school days as a way to stay on track.

5. Blog and Work Schedule

I don’t have a 9-5, but I do work on many projects throughout the year. Since most of those projects are monetarily compensated, I label them as “work.” I like to keep a separate blog and work schedule because they allow me to see the full picture at a glance. I laminate these schedules so that I reuse them with a dry-erase marker.

Here is my actual “work” schedule. My goal was to keep it pretty light because I want to enjoy the last few weeks of summer with my family.

Work Schedule Planner Inserts for Home Management

 

When do I work on these projects? VERY late at night. However, I do try and commit to the bulk of my projects during school breaks and summers. I have set work days, but I honestly just work whenever I have time. Today has been a sixteen-hour day so far, but that is normal for Mondays.

Yes. I said sixteen. I’ve been working on this project from noon to past four in the morning and counting. I don’t think people realize the time it takes to create and publish quality content.

And this is why I only blog once a week. For one, blogging is not all that I do. For two, I’d be super sleep deprived trying to cram a bunch of blogs in during the homeschool year. I love blogging and earning extra income, but not at the expense of my well-being.  If I’m a mess, my kids will also be a mess. They are only this small once. When they’re older, they’ll be plenty of time to invest more of myself in these types of ventures. The internet isn’t going anywhere.

6. Workout Schedule

This isn’t a fantasy schedule. I actually do workout 3-5 times a week. It’s typically during the evenings between 8 and 11 pm at our local gym. I do cardio each of the days I go and have a different target muscle group for each weight training session. Below, I share my workout routine.

Workout Plan Planner Inserts for Home Management

They say you make time for what’s most important, and physical fitness is important to me for three reasons. One, it lifts my mood. Two, it makes me look and feel great. Three, it’s my me-time. Most people like to listen to music while working out, I love listening to podcasts and learning more about my interests!

7. Cleaning Schedule

I like to break my cleaning schedule into two categories: Daily Cleaning and Weekly Cleaning. I used to also have a monthly cleaning agenda, but NEVER lived up to it, haha. You know, things like washing the windows, walls, etc.? Yea, those things got done when they got done.

For daily cleaning, I try and do a load of laundry each day. Admittedly, some days I forget. We also take turns unloading and loading the dishwasher and doing afternoon and evening pickups to get the house in order. Sweeping the floors and wiping down kitchen counters and bathroom surfaces is also a given.

For weekly cleaning, on my list of to-do’s is washing the bedding and linens, cleaning out the cars, deep cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, and mopping the floors, and taking the trash to the curb on trash day. Everything else like dusting, washing baseboards, and cleaning the windows, fridge, oven, etc. will get done on an as-needed basis. And by as-needed, I mean when I’m tired of looking at it. Got to keep it real, here.

Cleaning Schedule Planner Inserts for Home Management

I DO NOT. I repeat, DO NOT, do all the cleaning. My boys have a chore checklist. My husband primally cleans the bathroom and takes the trash out. And we all pitch in on the dishes and other daily chores around the house. Therefore, laundry, cooking, and vacuuming are primarily the things I do by myself on the regular basis.

8. Weekly Meal Planning

I also laminate my weekly meal planner so that I can reuse it with a dry-erase marker. The categories are broken down into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Here is our actual meal plan for the week. Try not to judge me too much, haha. This is primarily for my boys. My husband and I do smoothies for breakfast and leftovers for lunch.

Meal Plan Planner Inserts for Home Management

I’ve been asked about meal planning a few times and the key for me is eating the same thing in rotation! One week, we’ll have PB&J with fruit and cheese for lunch. Another week, we’ll have cheese quesadillas and apple slices for lunch all week. The same with breakfast and snacks.

For dinner, we have a few tried and true recipes we like to rotate with. I always cook extra for leftovers the next day and a possible lunch for my husband and I. In total, I only cook dinner about 3 times a week. That is the power of leftovers!  Spaghetti leftovers in itself will last us three days—lunch included.

9. Favorite Recipes

Yes, I have a list of all my favorite recipes. I get most of my recipes from Divas Can Cook and tweak them to suit our needs. While I made cute inserts for my recipe lists, I find it’s just easier to print them from their home website. I then put them into sheet protectors and place them into my home management binder. These recipes are great to have on hand when meal planning and making my shopping list.

Here’s an example of how to use the planner inserts to record recipes. And, yes, beef stew is one of our favs!

Yummy Recipes Planner Inserts for Home Management

10. Monthly Budgeting

The most dreaded of them all, but it must be done. Once again, I laminate these inserts for repeated use. I’m still learning the art of budgeting, but found it helpful to log these expenses in an excel spreadsheet at the end of each month. Since we are business owners, this helps keep us in the practice of being financially responsible. We also keep a business log specifically for business expenses, but that’s best done in Excel.

For obvious reasons I won’t be providing our exact budget figures, so here’s a sample version of how to use this planner insert for your home management binder.

Sample Budget Planner Insert for Home Management

11. Business Receipts

As business owners, keeping track of important receipts is vital. I place the receipts into a plastic pocket folder made for binders. This way they are easily accessible and we don’t have to go looking for them when we need them. I also place my warranties in this folder.

12. Important Documents

I currently have three pocket folders in my binder labeled the following: Medical Records, Homeschool Records, Important Records. This is where I’ll keep vaccination and health records for my boys, homeschool DOI’s and registration info for programs and sports, family membership info, birth and marriage certificates, and other legal documents. This is especially convenient when I need to register my child for something and I need their birth certificate, vaccination records, and so forth.

13. Vision and Mission Statements

You must have a vision for where you’re going and a plan to get there. That’s why I chose to write a vision and mission statement for our homeschool, businesses, and family. It’s helpful to refer to these statements often to keep me on track with my life goals.

Below are our actual vision and mission statements for homeschool. They change every year.

 

14. Inspirational Quotes and Scriptures

This is a new addition this year. I wanted to compile a list of inspirational scriptures so that I can read them every morning before I start my day. I thought it would be helpful to print and laminate them so that I can keep them in my binder for easy reference.

Here’s one of the pages. I currently have three pages worth of favorite scriptures. I’m working on filling out my favorite quotes page.

Scripture Planner Inserts for Home Management

Other things in my home management binder that I find extremely helpful and convenient?

15. Birthday Reminders

16. Important Numbers (Pediatrician, Dentist, Contact Persons, Etc.)

17. Address Book

18. Password Log (Use password hints rather than the actual password)

19. Business Log

20. Shopping List & Notes

21.  Weekly At-a-Glance

Here’s what they look like at a glance! Get a real preview, here.

 


I must say, this home management binder is a real blessing to me. It makes life so much easier and cuts down on the time I have to search for things. What’s also great about it is my husband, or any family member, can use and refer to it if I’m traveling, sick, or out of town. They’ll know everything from our daily schedule to our favorite recipes and where to find important medical info for the boys.

Today, I’m sharing three FREEBIES from this awesome collection of planner inserts! Click the image below to download and get a great start to the upcoming school year!

Home Management Binder FREE Printables

GET THE FULL SET!

Home Management Binder Printables

 

I want to hear from you: What types of things do you include in your planners?

Homeschool of Shame | When I Lose My Temper

Homeschool of Shame | When I Lose My Temper

Losing one’s temper looks different for everyone. For me, it looks like screaming orders at the top of my lungs when I get tired of repeating myself. I mean, why can’t my kids just listen the FIRST time, right?

I’ve quickly realized, I wasn’t the only one struggling to maintain my cool. It’s quite a hot topic amongst moms, especially the homeschool moms in my circle.

I’ve also quickly realized I didn’t want my emotions controlling me. It’s not a great feeling. So, I set out to be intentional about improving this area of my life. And I’ve discovered that 99.9 percent of this change required daily doses of tenacity, self-awareness, and mindset renewal.

Months later, I’ve noticed a huge improvement in my temperament, and I want to share some of the things that have been working for me. Here are seven preventative strategies I use to keep me from losing my temper:

 

 

1. I expect my temper to be tested:

Don’t we all prepare for things when we expect it to come? A wedding? A new baby? A midterm exam? Similarly, I prepare for a test in patience because I expect it. Each day comes with its own challenges. I can recite all the positive declarations I want, but they will not stop the challenges of the day from coming. What these declarations WILL do instead is prepare me for the challenges of the day. They give me the mindset I need to better manage my emotions and resist the temptation to be quick-tempered. Here’s one of my favorite declarations inspired by 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:

Today, I choose to be patient and kind. I refuse to be rude, easily angered, or keep a record of wrongs. I will persevere through the challenges that come my way because I know love never fails.

 

2. I realize that I’m in control:

Anger is part of being human. It’s a valid emotion. And, while it doesn’t feel good, the good news is that I get to choose whether it dictates my behavior. I’ve learned that anger is not the problem, but rather what I do with that anger that poses the real issue. I’ve learned my negative response to anger is nothing more than a bad habit that needs to be replaced with good ones. Here are some REAL ways I managed to adopt good habits to dispel anger:

  • Give it to God: If you live with me, or are a close friend, you’ll hear me say MANY times, “God, help me!” when I feel I’m about to lose it.
  • Start declaring love and peace: You’re probably tired of me mentioning “declarations,” but the power of the tongue is a mighty tool.
  • Find the humor in it: Yes, I’ve been known to laugh off anger. Hey, it works!

 

3. I let it out:

Even when I manage to keep my cool and the situation has passed, the anger can still linger. This is when I find a safe space to let it out. If I’m in public, a bathroom stall has never failed me. I pray, I sob, and I wipe my tears and move on. If I’m at home, I take a similar approach but in the comfort of my bedroom. My car has also been my “safe place” to let the tears roll and release some steam.

 

4. I confront the offender:

Sometimes, pent-up anger arises when I don’t confront the offender. Maybe I let my kid off the hook one too many times. Maybe I was overcharged and never bothered to go back to the store to resolve the issue. Small things like this can add up in the stealthiest of ways. Trust me, I never realized how much not speaking up has been the source of my lost temper. What I’ve learned is to not “let stuff go” that actually needs to be addressed. As long as it’s done in love, confronting your offender and resolving issues can be very freeing.

 

5. I take self-inventory:

“What’s going on, Nike? What is the REAL issue?” These are the questions I ask myself after I’ve lost it. What makes this measure “preventative,” even though technically at this point I’ve lost it, is that I can pinpoint certain triggers to be aware of next time around. Sometimes, it wasn’t that I was angry but sad, afraid, or discouraged. Sometimes, I realized the anger stemmed from an insecurity. For instance, when I first started homeschooling, I was insecure about whether I was doing a good enough job. Therefore, a child who refused to do assignments or was simply “not getting it” became a common trigger. Once I identified the trigger, it became less powerful and less likely to prosper against me. Wouldn’t you take the bullets out of a gun you knew would be used against you?

 

6. I take care of myself:

Don’t roll your eyes at this cliché tip. You’d be surprised how much a bad diet and no exercise can affect you. I’m in no way perfect in this area of my life. Sometimes I eat that extra slice of cheesecake and skip that evening workout. But I can say with certainty that the more I do it, the more I’m reminded it’s just not worth it. Why? Because I’m keen on how my mood changes when I do my body a disservice. Exercise is one of the BEST ways to release the stress and negative energy that can lead to a loss of temper. I’ve learned to keep it simple, though. A walk around the neighborhood on a sunny day does plenty for my mood.

 

7. I remember that anger is toxic:

Have you ever seen the rice experiment? A man puts an equal amount of freshly cooked rice into two jars. He labels the first jar “love.” He labels the second jar, “hate.” For a period of weeks, the man spends each day saying positive words to the “love” jar and negative words to the “hate” jar. After just a few days, the rice in the jar labeled “hate” starts to blacken and mold. And after a few weeks, the rice in that same jar is unrecognizable while the rice in the jar labeled “love” still looks good enough to eat. The moral? The words we spew in anger are powerful and toxic.  I try to remember this the next time I want to tell-off someone I love. I picture that “hate” jar, I see their spirit, and I imagine how my words could possibly destroy them.


 

And there you have it. These are six things I actually do that work. With any post like this, I must make the disclaimer that if you’re EVER concerned about your anger, you should definitely seek the help of a professional. There’s no shame in that. But for those who are looking to grow in patience, I highly recommend trying some of these strategies out!

 

Have any helpful tips? Don’t be shy! Let us know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

Preparing for your first day of homeschool

How to Prepare for Your First Day of Homeschool

If you’re new to my blog, welcome! My name is Nike (nee-kay) and I’m a third-year homeschool mom to two awesome boys. This year, I’ll be teaching kindergarten and second-grade, and I’m super excited! I created this August series, titled “Ready, Set, Homeschool!” to offer encouragement and tips to homeschool newbies. The tips I’m sharing this month are things I’ve learned from homeschool veterans and through personal experience. Be sure to stick around for the next few weeks as I uncover some homeschool basics and more!

This week? How to Prepare for Your First Day of Homeschool. Keep reading if you want to know the foundation for my homeschool preparation and how it helped our homeschool thrive.


 How to Prepare for Your First Day of Homeschool


1. Don’t forget internal preparation.

Sometimes we get so caught up in buying school supplies, curricula, and setting up for our classroom that we completely forget what’s most important. That’s right! You can’t run a successful homeschool without taking care of your mind, body, and spirit first. What does that mean? Take care of ALL of you! For me, that means getting adequate rest, making healthy food choices, exercising regularly, and spending time with God.

I know, I know; this sounds so cliché, right? But friends, I wouldn’t feel right NOT to mention this significant detail of my life. Why? Because omitting internal preparation has NEVER amounted to a good day. Like EVER! I don’t mean perfect days, I mean good productive days where I’m full of energy, grace, love, and patience. Trust me, I’ve seen a difference in my demeanor. Perhaps you will, too! My current devotional? Be Still and Know!

Be Still and Know

2. Read books.

I like to read up on parenting, homeschool, education or whatever I feel will help me become a better homeschool mom—or person in general. I find when I read books on these topics, I gain a sense of confidence in my ability to homeschool and manage my home. And let me tell you, mindset is EVERYTHING! If you believe you can do it, you WILL. If you don’t believe you can do it, you WON’T. Come on, you’re a parent, I’m sure you’ve read The Little Engine That Could!

So, what am I reading now? Rich Kid, Smart Kid | Giving Your Child a Financial Head Start. This book has really been helping me decide how I want to teach finances in my homeschool. Other books I recommend are the series What Your Kindergartener Needs to Know. This series includes all early elementary grades. I love these books because they help me make better curriculum selections. You can even build your own curriculum around them. And of course, what’s a homeschool without reading The Well-Trained Mind? A book that makes a brilliant case for classical education.

3. Review all your curricula.

You will thank yourself for reviewing all your children’s curricula and becoming familiar with what they’ll be learning. Reviewing the curricula will also help you prepare for additional resources and supplies that may be needed. For instance, looking at my second-graders curriculum ahead of time allowed me to make a list of all the things he’ll need to complete his science experiments, geography projects, and more. Reviewing curricula also offers an opportunity to peruse Pinterest for fun hands-on activities to accompany formal lessons.

4. Make a tentative schedule…or several schedules.

I don’t know where I’d be without my home management binder. I have a homeschool schedule, a daily schedule, a cleaning schedule, an exercise schedule, a meal planning schedule, a work schedule, a calendar of events, and more! Why do I have so many schedules? Because they make homeschool manageable! Which makes me feel like I’ve got this!

You don’t need all of these schedules. I’m just a bit of a scheduleaholic. I simply listed the types of schedules I keep as a reference for you to decide what types schedules will make your homeschool days run smoother. In the past, when I didn’t keep as many schedules, I found myself using homeschool time to get things done—especially cleaning and meal prep. Having a system for all things “life” ensures our formal homeschool hours are solely spent on lessons.

Home Management Binder

AirBrush_20170821222002 (1)

5. Create a learning space.

You don’t need a classroom, just a functional learning space. If you have a classroom, great! If you don’t, you can homeschool just about anywhere. Many of my friends like the living-room sofa just fine. Other friends prefer to sit around their dining room table. At our home, we like to homeschool outside on the back porch when we can. Other days, we homeschool in the boys’ room, which I turned into a classroom this year due to some changes happening around our home.

Personally, we did not have a decked-out classroom right away. During our first and second year of homeschool, we used what is now our office. The décor was VERY minimal and only included what I felt was totally necessary; a dry-erase board, a political map of the world, an alphabet border, and some reference charts for math and science, among just a few other things. This year, I approached homeschool with a similar attitude that “less is more.” So, everything you see in our classroom is something we’ll actually use on the regular basis—even down to the school supplies.

Homeschool Classroom Decor

AirBrush_20170821221639

6. Create a homeschool budget.

Not just for curricula and school supplies, but also for fun stuff like field-trips and extra-curricular activities. Personally, I like to create a homeschool budget month-by-month because, as business owners, our earnings look different each month. I also like to set aside money each month to save for curriculum purchases for the next school year. I know setting money aside makes me sound super responsible, but, trust me, I only implemented this system due to the mass amount of money I ended up spending in one lump sum on homeschool purchases. Don’t be like the old me, be like the new me. Plan ahead!

7. Join a co-op.

If you’re new to homeschool, I highly suggest joining a homeschool co-op. Why? Because it makes “back-to-homeschool” season that much more fun when your kids have friends who are sharing the experience. This year, my boys are looking forward to seeing all their pals again. They’re super excited to take on new classes with friends and go on field-trip adventures with their homeschool group. We did not have this experience during our first homeschool year and we did okay—but having a community makes things so much better!

Homeschool Co-op
First Homeschool Field-trip at the Museum Viewing the Solar Eclipse 2017

8. Organize your home.

It’s a great idea to get the entire house in order. After all, it’s your “school building.” Before we homeschool, I like to do a bit of spring cleaning in the summer. You’d be surprised at how many school supplies are buried in your catch-all drawers, closets, garage, etc. I barely had to purchase any new supplies this year. I found a bunch of Expos, craft supplies, markers, crayons, sticky notes, and so much more. And they were all in perfect condition.

Additionally, when your refrigerator and pantry are neat and organized, it makes meal time a breeze. The kids won’t have any trouble finding mom-approved items for snacks and lunch. And if you still prepare all the meals, you’ll feel so much better preparing them in an organized kitchen. I like the notion that a decluttered home helps declutter your mind, shifting the environment and making you feel more at ease.

9. Make the first day special.

Roll out the red carpet! Hey, why not? It’s your homeschool and you can be “extra” if you want to (you totally read that to the “It’s My Party” melody). At our home, we play music, take pictures, talk about what we’re most excited about for the upcoming year, and I even give my boys a special goodie basket filled with fun stuff I know they’ll love. I don’t spend much on the goodie basket items, as most were from Dollar Tree or Target. I probably spent $20 bucks at the absolute most. They’ve got stickers, markers, ninja turtle pens, color pencils, mechanical pencils, fun pencil sharpeners, paint sets, art kits, sketch pads, fruit snacks, and other little odds and ends.

Back-to-Homeschool Ideas

10. Read my previous posts on “Ready, Set, Homeschool!”

In my previous posts, I go over homeschool laws, free curricula and homeschool deals, homeschool must-haves, and more. I don’t want to sound redundant, so click the links below to read them!

7 Homeschool Must-Haves That Didn’t Make Your List

30 FREE Homeschool Deals That’ll Help You Save Some Coins

10 Things You Should Know Before You Homeschool

 


 

And there you have it! This is not an all-inclusive list, but it’s definitely something we do in our home that makes a huge difference in starting our homeschool year off right. Congratulations on your first year of homeschool!  If this is not your first year, welcome to a brand new year! I pray for much success for all of you reading this post. Let me know in the comments: How do you prepare for your homeschool year?