Busy Homeschool Mom’s Cool Bag of Tricks

Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart. You know that’s true if you’ve been at it more than two hours. A busy homeschool mom needs all the tools and tricks she can find to keep things running smoothly (or at least… running).

A few days ago I shared with you a typical day-in-the-life of this busy mom. You had a peek into the chaos that happens in our house and in my mind on any given day. I have had it on my heart to bring more calm and peace into our days. 

Busy Homeschool Mom's Cool Bag of Tricks

 

While we still have a long way to go, with a houseful of littles and only so many hours and hands to spare, I have learned a few things that help keep us on track.  Let me share with you what’s in my Busy Homeschool Mom’s Bag of Tricks! 

Prayer and God’s Word

The more time I have in the morning with God, the better things go. There are some seasons, however, where that 15 minutes before my feet hit the floor are all I have. Give God my first and my best, and He’ll take care of the rest. 

I read the scripture, pray as the Spirit leads, and use my homeschooling prayer cards. I do more reading and study later in the day. Sign up for the prayerful homeschool ecourse!  

Pray Over Your Homeschool Prayer Cards

“The Haps”

We have a simple white board on the fridge that we call โ€œThe Haps.โ€ It shows the dayโ€™s events for my kids, mostly so they stop asking. 😆 I do my menu planning elsewhere but I list the day’s meals here for them to see. The (J) next to lunch is to let my oldest know heโ€™s in charge of making it. The Screen Time Forecast tells them what to expect as far as screens, including any conditions on it for the day. My kids are also aware that I reserve the right to change anything at anytime without warning. Lol! It’s a simple, not-so-pretty, but SUPER effective tool in our home! 

 

The Green Clock

Yes, I love this thing. We bought a clock for my kids that helps them learn time but also (and more importantly) helps keep them on a schedule in the morning! It’s simple, really. I set the clock so that it turns green at 7:45 AM. Before then they are allowed to play or read quietly in their rooms but cannot come downstairs.

The whole “quietly” idea is up for interpretation sometimes, but usually they follow the rule extremely well and it ensures I have the time I need in the morning to prepare for the day. It was kind of steep at the time, but worth every penny in the long run. If you can buy the American Innovative Teach Me Time clock or one like it, do it!

Teach me time alarm clock turns color at wake up time

Loop Scheduling

I struggled for a long time in homemaking and homeschooling until I made loop scheduling work for me. Having a short list of things we have to do each day and a list or two of things we can loop through has been a game changer. Come see how to use it in your home or homeschool! If you really want to learn it and adapt it for your needs, check out the Loop Scheduling Workshop

Use loop scheduling for flexible and effective task management - great for homeschooling, homemaking, and more!

Student Work & Habit Tracker

My older kids (about 8 and up have their own homeschool loop schedule. when they turn about 10, they start using the Student Work & Habit Tracker that goes even deeper and helps them manage their time, build effective habits, and focus on Christ, all while tracking their daily and weekly work!

Teach good habits for kids by starting with prayer and these Scriptures on diligence! Includes a download of printable Scripture bookmarks in ESV and KJV.

Chores and Responsibilities 

Housework is important and so is feeding the children. We all know this. However, if I’m doing those things all day, even though learning is always happening, there is little room for more academic pursuits. Teaching children to do chores and responsibilities is critical, as is having a super basic cleaning routine of my own. A load of laundry and a mostly clean home. That’s all I’m aiming for most days!

Why and How we Teach our Kids to Do Chores

 

A Megaphone

I’m completely serious. My parents bought us a megaphone for Christmas. I thought it was a joke, but it wasn’t. Thanks Dad and Mom! Now I can speak above the din without raising my voice. That has more value for sanity and maintaining relationships with my kids than you can imagine! Plus, it’s fun. 

We keep ours hanging by the front door or in the kitchen. I use it to give reminders, call the kids from upstairs, calm a chaotic moment, and call outside for dinnertime. The neighbors must think I’m nuts! But what do they expect? I homeschool. ๐Ÿ˜‰

This is our megaphone. You can buy one like it at a sports store or find a similar on on Amazon. Note to self: Buy one that fits in my purse. 

Busy Homeschool Mom's Cool Bag of Tricks - use a megaphone!

 

Homeschool Planner for a Relaxed & Christ-Centered Approach

I have tried several planners but finally decided to design one of my own that would accommodate a more relaxed, yet intentional, homeschool planning style. I plan my goals, yearly forecast, loose quarterly plans, and then carefully design a weekly rhythm based on our life routines. From there, I simply record what I actually DO each week in a weekly record section, happily ignoring the existence of detailed lesson plans.  ๐Ÿ™‚  This approach to planning and daily work has been such a blessing to us and our homeschool that I designed some tools to help YOU do the same

The Rhythms & Routines Homeschool Planning System helps you craft a flexible schedule for your homeschool and use a simple but effective planner to hold all the pieces together! You'll get a customizable planner and a course to guide you through each step of the way, including videos and helpful worksheets!

Our popular Loop Scheduling Workshop helps you with templates and examples to set up loop scheduling for a variety of purposes and needs. It includes video lessons and an exclusive FB group! 

You will also love our Rhythms & Routines Homeschool Planning System! It includes a printable planner and a course that walks you step by step through how to use routines for homeschool planning and set up a system that works with YOUR family and personality, with fillable pages and various templates to choose from. 

Indoor Trampoline

We have a small home, by modern American standards, and yet we make room for this bad boy. We even moved one of my favorite chairs upstairs just to have room for a mini trampoline that is always set up.

The kids use it all the time and it is especially helpful on rainy days and for kinesthetic learners. Bonus: This one has a handrail and is made for adults as well! 

Indoor trampoline for homeschooling and parenting sanity

 

iPad, Kindles, and Apps, Oh My!

We read a lot of books in our home, but having digital learning tools can be a cool busy homeschool mom trick indeed. Math is 110% cooler on an iPad. You can find so many free and cheap kindle books as well as great educational apps! Whether I am trying to keep some kids occupied while teaching others, or just want to have a screen time reward that’s more educational, our iPads are gold here. 

Who's iPad Is It? Language Teaching Games

 

Learning Songs

Kids love to learn with song, and it can be a very convenient tool for busy moms as well. Find some learning songs you know your kids will enjoy and use them during mealtimes, quiet times, in the car, or just as you go about your day.

We use Songs for Saplings to learn about God along with our Sound Words curriculum as well as the Classical Conversations songs we purchased even though we aren’t in the program. Some other options we’ve enjoyed are just kids’ recordings of the Bible, geography songs, math fact songs, and more!

Theology and catechism lessons for children

 

Home Blessing Day

We have just started trying this new idea in our home. Every Saturday is Home Blessing Day. We have a Tues – Sat work week in our household. Sunday is Sabbath, Monday is family day, Saturday is Home Blessing Day, and the rest of the week are “school” days.

On Home Blessing Day, we spend most of our focused time “blessing” our home with extra housekeeping, cleaning and decluttering projects, training in chores and good habits, and teaching the kids topics that best fit under the Home Ec. category.

Right now everyone is very interested in learning how to cook and serve meals, so we have checked out some kids’ cookbooks from the library and explore those ideas on Saturdays. It is perfect for us because it helps ME remember to spend some TLC on the house before a new week of crazy begins, and it also helps us have a place in our week for teaching these important skills. 

Start a Home Blessing Day every week in your homeschool!

 

Essential Oils Diffuser

I love to diffuse essential oils in our homeschool. Wether it’s just the calming effect of a pleasant scent, the therapeutic value assigned to them, or the pretty lights and mist, we have really enjoyed diffusing oils at different points during the day. Right now we enjoy using lavender and orange, geranium and bergamot, Peace and Quiet, and Attention Assist. 

Aroma Cloud Spa in use

 

What’s in YOUR Busy Homeschool Mom’s Cool Bag of Tricks? I’m sure I’ll think of more later and add them here. Hope you found some good ideas!

 

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This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. I am laughing right now, Tauna. What a wonderful homeschooling article. I totally need to go out and buy a megaphone. And a little trampoline. And an essential oil diffuser. One question, though: am I allowed to teach while jumping on the trampoline? Thanks for these suggestions. I think that I need them more now at the end of the year than I did in the begining.

    1. You totally are allowed! Lol! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Love the “Home Blessing Day!” It sounds so much better than clean the house! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I hopped over from the Mom2Mom linkup.

    1. Lol! It really does. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Such cool tips! I especially love the indoor trampoline – we have one as well :). I’m going to have to check out the green clock ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Just found this article via facebook repost and seriously, I didn’t even finish reading it before I went over to amazon and ordered a megaphone. It is the most obvious, perfect, inexpensive answer to a problem I’ve been struggling with for years — my kids can’t hear me when they are upstairs playing inside their closet with 2 doors closed between us and it drives me nuts. I shouldn’t have to walk a flight of stairs every time I need to call them for something. And that doesn’t even address when they are playing outside. Seriously, this solves a major problem that has been bugging me for years. Thank you!

    1. Lol! I’m so glad Kristi! It’s a funny but helpful thing to use. ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you found it helpful!

  5. We love diffusing essential oils and are working on various chores with our children

  6. Even after homeschooling four kids for the past seven years, I found these tips to be helpful! Love the megaphone idea. I have employed something a little different: a big bell. Looks a lot like the old school bells, but not made out of brass. Probably made more for just decoration, but I use it to call kids downstairs or to school room. It has a high, shrill ring that no one can stand, and they all come as quickly as possible to make the noise stop! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I have a daughter who would love a trampoline. We need to get her one. Our school room opens to the foyer, where she is allowed to do handstands & cartwheels throughout the day. It’s the one place downstairs where there aren’t lamps, picture frames, etc. that she might knock over. And it has a padded rug on top of the hardwood floor. She loves it. Hey – there she goes now, cartwheeling across the rug!
    And we are a HUGE game playing family!! My kids think that if they finish dinner early, games are what comes next. They don’t even think about the tv. I love it!! (Although, sometimes I am a bit too wiped out from a busy day and I insist on an easy game like Uno or Go Fish.)

    1. I love this! We should make better use of after-dinner games. Thanks for reminding me to try that!

  7. Gracias por tus comentarios y ayuda. Realmente admirable la organizaciรณn que tienes en casa.
    Gracias!!!

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