Do You Have an Efficient Chore Routine?

Teaching Tip

This is the next installment in our series of things to check if your school day seems to be running longer than you would like. I know this can happen to any of us, and hopefully these tips may help!

Do you have an efficient chore routine?

You might be wondering why I mention a chore routine on my list of things that can make your school day long. Yet, it is amazing how much joy and peace, not to mention time can be stolen by an inefficient chore routine. If you look around and see piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and clutter, how can you stay focused on school or even find a space to do school?

Conquer the reoccurring types of clutter.

The most important types of clutter to conquer are those that continually reoccur. Laundry, dirty dishes, school books, and toys are the most commonly reoccurring types of clutter in a homeschool home. These types of clutter can steal time and derail a homeschool day!! It is almost impossible to focus on school if you are schooling in the middle of a mess. So, a plan is needed to address these time-stealers.

An efficient chore routine includes a plan for laundry.

At our house, we have tried many different laundry routines through the years. The routine we use now is for each child to have his own laundry day. On Monday-Friday, the designated child for that day brings down his laundry hamper, sorts, and begins the first load of laundry. That child also helps fold and put away his laundry that day. It must be done by bedtime. We find having a day assigned to each child minimizes sorting. My husband and I have the same laundry day as the towel washing day. We take Saturdays and Sundays off from laundry.

An efficient chore routine includes a plan for dirty dishes.

Have you ever started making lunch only to realize you still have a sinkful of breakfast dishes? Now that my boys are eating big meals, the dishes can really pile up at our house. So, we assign the boys cleanup tasks after meals to keep the dishes under control. Our boys clear and wipe the table, dust bust the kitchen rug, wipe the counters, unload the dishwasher, rinse off and load dirty dishes, and take out the garbage. Our boys used to keep the same task for a long time, so each child knew exactly what to do after a meal. In that way the boys became very efficient at their chores. We also make sure to run the dishwasher every evening, so we have clean dishes in the morning.

An efficient chore routine includes a plan for putting away school books.

Schooling with Heart of Dakota means your house is filled with good books! But those good books need a place to be stored. At our house, we have a central cabinet where each younger child has a shelf for the books he is currently using in his guide right now. We have another cabinet where each child has a shelf or two for overflow books… or books the child is not using in his guide right now. We move books on and off the “current” shelf as needed. Each child also has a portable art box with basic art supplies. Our high school students have their own bookshelf near their work area containing all their books.

An efficient chore routine includes a plan for putting away toys.

Through the years, we have tried many plans for corralling toys. We cleared out a bottom cabinet in the kitchen to place storage tubs with toys for our 2-4 year olds. We used child protectors to keep the little ones out for awhile. Only one tub of toys was allowed out at time. It had to be picked up before another one could be gotten out. We turned our dining room into a playroom and put shelves on our walls. We lined our shelves with fabric cubes and placed the toys inside. Whatever you decide to do for toy storage, be sure that a routine for putting away toys is part of the plan. Also, try to find a plan where you don’t have to view the clutter of toy storage. Store toys in cabinets, fabric cubes, under bed storage tubs, or closets. In this way the view is more pleasing and less cluttered.

Make laundry, dishes, school books, and toy cleanup a part of your chore routine.

Once you have a plan for laundry, dishes, school books, and toys, make it a part of your chore routine. Involve your kiddos in the routine. Train them to do what they are able. This training will pay off as they mature! It is alright to train them to do only a few tasks well. We often keep the same tasks for each child for a year. This makes my time spent training worthwhile! Try some new chore routines and see what you think!

Blessings,
Carrie

Have a Routine for Breakfast and Lunch

Teaching Tip

This is the next installment in our series of posts about things to check if your school day seems to be running longer than you would like. I know this can happen to any of us, and hopefully these tips may help!

Tip #6:

Do you have an efficient breakfast, lunch, and chore routine?

Not having a set routine for meals can steal a huge amount of teaching time from your day! If meal time is always a big production, and it comes around three times a day…think how much valuable teaching time is lost while preparing meals! It is equally easy to have your time, focus, and joy stolen by a messy house and half-done chores. So, let’s talk about ways to conquer these time stealers.

In today’s tip, I will address the breakfast and lunch routine. Next week, we’ll talk about possible chore routines. You may also want to check out my previous post on Keeping a Similar Routine Each Day.

As you ponder an efficient breakfast and lunch routine, I will share what we currently do. Hopefully that will get you thinking of possibilities that might work at your house.

Having a set breakfast and lunch routine saves you time!

Through the years, we have changed what we eat for breakfast and lunch. One thing that has remained the same is to have a set breakfast and lunch routine Monday – Friday. I write the routine on paper and post it on our refrigerator in a magnetized plastic page protector. That way I can change the menu easily whenever I feel we need a change.

Having a posted breakfast and lunch menu helps you plan ahead.

You can easily use any rotation you desire for breakfast and lunch, but having the routine written and posted helps you plan ahead. It also means you have a routine shopping list for the bulk of your meals each week. Keeping the rotation the same each week allows you to become efficient at preparing those particular meals. As your children get used to the routine, they can look ahead and help you prepare the meals.

Our Current Breakfast Routine:

Monday: Pumpkin Pancakes (with cinnamon/sugar/Reddi-Wip) and Eggs
Tuesday: Yogurt Parfait (yogurt with granola, honey, berries) Toasted English Muffin (with butter and jelly)
Wednesday: Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Hashbrowns
Thursday: Whole Grain Eggo Waffles (spread with Nutella/cut up bananas/Reddi-Wip) and Applesauce
Friday: Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie and Toast with Peanut Butter

Our Current Lunch Routine:

Monday: Tortilla Chips, Shredded Cheese, Ground Beef, Salsa, Sour Cream, Corn, and Grapes
Tuesday: Ham n’ Cheese Croissants, Carrot Slices, Blackberries, and Gold Fish Crackers
Wednesday: Bagged Caesar Salad, Shredded Rotisserie Chicken, Apples (cut up with peanut butter), and Yogurt
Thursday: Tuna (open-faced on toast), Cheese Slices with Wheat Crackers, Craisins/Almonds, Grapes
Friday: Rotation of Frozen Pizza, Salmon, Pot Pies, Mac n’ cheese, Soup and Toast, Hot Dogs with Pears or Peaches and Go-gurt

Basic menus become an efficient part of your daily routine.

As you can see, our menus are pretty basic. Yet, we typically keep the same menu for quite awhile, because it has become an efficient part of our daily routine. Our boys actually look forward to certain days based on the menu. They go to bed at night saying, “Tomorrow we have pancakes for breakfast. I love Mondays!” Or, “Tomorrow is my favorite lunch!” Try developing your own rotation for breakfast and lunch and see what you think!

Blessings,
Carrie

Have a Written Routine and Provide it to Your Child

Teaching Tip

A written routine promotes independence and efficiency.

This is the next installment in our series of posts about things to check if your school day seems to be running longer than you would like. I know this can happen to any of us, and hopefully these tips may help!

Tip #5:

A written routine can make all the difference.

Have you written your routine down and provided it for your child, so the child knows what to do in what order each day? I know this seems like such an easy tip, but I find the easiest tips are often the easiest to overlook. When I first began homeschooling more than one of my boys, I spent endless hours planning and writing the “perfect schedule.” I typed the schedule, printed it, and launched into our homeschool day. As we progressed through our day, my boys were constantly coming to me to see “what to do next.” As the official holder of the schedule, I was interrupted over and over throughout the day to delegate to each child what to do next.

Where do you place your schedule?

The next day I typed a schedule for all to see and placed it on the refrigerator. This was a better plan than the day before, as my boys could now check the schedule without bothering me. However, it also left them standing in front of the refrigerator all day and led to quite a bit of unnecessary chatter and even horseplay! So, the next day I typed a schedule for each child, placed it in a plastic page protector and gave it to each child. Success!! The boys could now check their own schedules without coming to me and without bothering each other. I added a dry erase marker for each child to check off the items on his schedule each day, and we were off and running. Of course, I had to remind the boys to check their schedules fairly often throughout the day, and I needed my own master copy of the schedule. But, for us, having a written routine provided for each child was a lifesaver.

How does a schedule become routine?

As the year progressed, I found that the boys had memorized their schedules, and so had I. We rarely had to refer to them, because the schedules had now become routine. For us, having a written schedule for each child is a necessary step in making a routine function effortlessly. As you look at how to make your school day run more smoothly, try writing down a schedule and giving it to your child. See if it makes a difference for you too!!

Blessings,

Carrie

Keeping a Similar Routine Each Day

Teaching Tip

Is your school day running longer than you would like?

This is the next installment in our series of posts about things to check if your school day seems to be running longer than you would like. I know this can happen to any of us, and hopefully these tips may help!

Tip #4

Do you keep a similar routine each day?

Do you keep a similar routine each day so that your children’s routine becomes second nature? While you don’t necessarily have to be exactly on time each day, it is so helpful to keep the same general routine or order of subjects each day. This takes away the question of what a child should do next and minimizes interruptions. I’ve had to become more scheduled and more routine the more years I’ve taught, however it has actually been a blessing at our house as everyone knows what to do when. Try it and see what you think!

Blessings,
Carrie