Declutter Your Homeschool: Tips for Purposeful Routines

Declutter your homeschool? Everyone loves a discussion on lists, routines, time management, and planners.

We may have various reasons why we’re eager for another list, routine, or time system.

However, if you want to declutter your homeschool, you need to declutter your homeschool mama mind.

  • Is it a sense of order or control we’re after?
  • Clever ideas to save time?
  • Strategies to keep clutter from overwhelming us?

I don’t believe I need to add to your to-do list because I think we’d be better off adding to our to-live list.

Our culture thrives on order and productivity tools. I think our souls thrive on meaningful activity.

So I’d rather you live on purpose, bolster your to-live list, not live on task for your to-do list.

Homeschool mom routines should serve your true sense of purpose.

Reimagine your Homeschool Coaching: Declutter your Homeschool Mama Mind

In the spirit of living purposefully, let’s declutter your homeschool…

At the end of our days, we won’t be wishing we spent a little more time…

  • vacuuming, sweeping, wiping, folding, tidying anything,
  • rearranging items in our closet, storage room, junk drawer, vehicle trunk,
  • organizing our daytimer, planner, grocery lists, menu plans, health appointments,
  • or any of the numerous activities we do to declutter, and organize.
All these things do is serve to clutter our minds and make our to-do lists endless.

An unfolded laundry basket, a counter full of dirty dishes, and an unswept floor could remind us that we haven’t done enough and aren’t enough.

Since you live in your home, along with 1-12 children, and possibly a partner, dog, cat, gerbil, and pet snake, (& other pets you don’t even know about, I know I nurtured a goose egg for two days under my pillow without anyone discovering it), you will see a few messes, because….you LIVE there.

Perfect order, ownership, and organization will not be yours for your homeschool years!

With or without the homeschool life, with or without a mom life: if you’re human, there’ll be some clutter, disorganization, and disorder, because you’re human.

Because you own stuff, you do stuff, and you don’t want to spend your life cleaning, tidying, and decluttering.

To declutter your homeschool: recognize that these are not top-priority To-Live list activities.

Having said that, I know the experience of disorder and feeling that there is never a time to address any of it, or at least not enough consistent time, because there are so many voices, demands, expectations (from myself and others), many places to be and many things to teach.

Creating space to think, plan, declutter, and organize does make a homeschool mama’s mind a little clearer.

Sometimes, decluttering, tidying, and organizing are even part of your Wellness Plan.

House cleaning, decluttering, and organizing are self-care for the homeschool mama’s mind.

The question is though, how MUCH house cleaning, decluttering, and organizing is self-care? And how much is an obsession with achieving the impossible??

I believe the answer lies within this rather meta question: why are you here on the planet and what are you meant to accomplish?

A discussion that large will influence the minutiae of your daily life: like helping you determine how much of your life you want to invest in lists, cleaning, decluttering, housework, and organization…

When you can answer the question: why am I here on the plan and what am I meant to accomplish here in my brief wisp of life, you can determine how much time you have to clean, declutter, organize, and tidy.

Assuming you’ve completed a time audit, to clarify how much time you’re using for various tasks, time with the kids, sleeping, eating, and any activity whatsoever (so that you’re realistic with the time you have), you can decide how to organize.

When do you want to declutter, make lists, tidy, organize, and all the things?

So you know, there is no right answer. There are many ideas, but only your answer is the right answer for you.

You get to decide. It’s your life!

I offer you ideas to clarify your lists, routines, and systems so you can declutter your homeschool life…

More straight talk coming your way: let’s be real.

Life happens.

Kids get sick, unexpected visitors show up, or the washing machine decides today is the perfect day to break down.

Our systems have to be flexible and when we allow them to be, we become more comfortable with imperfection.

But here’s how I’ve approached these various lists, routines, and systems. I hope they help you.

Declutter your Homeschool Mama Mind

Declutter your Homeschool Lists: Your Daily Compass

Why Lists Matter

Lists are like mini roadmaps for your day. They help you prioritize and ensure nothing crucial slips through the cracks. Plus, there’s something incredibly satisfying about crossing things off!

Now I’ll share lists ad nauseum, but you only take what is useful for you, and leave the rest.

Types of Homeschool Family Lists

Daily To-Do List

Each evening or morning, pick 3-5 tasks from your master list that you need to tackle the next day. Keep it realistic and focused. Learn to Time Block: only invest the amount of time you want to invest, not one minute more.

Errands List

When do your kids do extracurricular activities? Do it then. Or do it on the same day of the week when the kids are at their best. Do it with just one child and tack on a special drink together at the end. Let them choose their choice of cracker, snack, or cereal when they join you.

Grocery List

To not buy random things at the grocery store, use grocery apps, a fridge list, and a pantry or freezer checklist.

(So when something runs out in the pantry or freezer, write it down immediately.)

Use a menu plan: I’ve got ideas here.

Readaloud List

In June or July, determine to add to your Individualized Home Education Wishlist for each child. Check out the curriculum catalogs, plan to attend your favourite influencer’s booklist reveal, and ask others what their favourite readalouds are.

Goodreads List

While you’re at it, prep for yours too. I typically do this for me in December when I’m planning my upcoming year.

I’ll create a list for my personal growth, for my coaching development, for mothering, for spiritual exploration, and for pleasure reading.

Curriculum List

Also in June or July, you’ll want to create an IHEW (Individualized Home Education Wishlist) notebook and determine what you want to include for the upcoming year.

You can think through this via subjects if that matters to you (it helped me clarify that they really are getting a broad education).

Also, you can include extracurricular activities, field trips, travel trips, volunteer experiences, work or mentorship experiences, and anything else they do.

Self-Care Checklist — Boundaries, Big Emotions, Deschool, Overwhelm

If you’re looking to intentionally build upon your personal growth in the areas of relationships, your emotional responses, deconstructing schooled mindsets, or simplifying your life, consider using any of these checklists as part of your morning routine.

Journals — Big Emotions, PMS cycle, Date Nights, Budget, Reimagine

If you’d like to routinely engage in morning journal prompts that will help you become more self-disciplined and intentional in your life, consider using one of these journals. Or if you’re able to spend just five minutes exploring one journal prompt each morning, or before bed each night, you will iron out life wrinkles as time goes by.

Writer Notes

If you’re a writer, consider three easy recording resources: voice-to-text in your notes, a tiny notebook for your bag, or Trello lists. Those random thoughts need a storage space; otherwise, you’ll forget them. I’ve got oodles of these recording spaces.

Recently I’ve been sharing some of the quotes in Instagram stories, and meaningful journal prompts every Thursday in the Confident Homeschool Mom Collective. (Also, if you’re a writer, join us in the Confident Homeschool Mom Collective).

Flexibility Tip

If something doesn’t get done, don’t stress. Move it to the next day’s list. Life is fluid, and so should your lists be.

Declutter your Homeschool Systems: Your Operational Backbone

Why Systems Matter

Systems are the backbone of your family life. They help streamline repetitive tasks, so you spend less time managing chaos and more time enjoying your family life.

You feel like you’ve got a sense of “enoughness” when you consistently set aside time to do the things that need to get done because this is what you don’t want on your tombstone: “Carla washed all the dishes, swept the floor, and put away the Lego before she went to bed each night.”

Creating Simple Systems

Morning Routine System 

Start the day on a positive, quiet note. Establish a consistent routine of whatever matters to you:

  • Breakfast prepped with the kids? Breakfast left on the counter for the kids?
  • Top 5 activities kids need to complete before breakfast — teeth, hair, clothes, bed, and tidy room?
  • Assigned chores for each child before studies, after studies, before dinner, or before screen time?
  • Free play before diving into lessons? Perhaps while you work on a creativity or an online business, or read a book?
  • This all helps set a productive tone for the day.
Weekly Planning System

Set aside time each week to review upcoming study intentions, gather materials, and adjust plans as needed. Sunday afternoons work great for many families. Including Daytimer, planners & notebooks, and portfolio.

Chore System

My take: kids should have chores.

Because they get to learn how to do adult-ish things and confidently accomplish adult-ish things. They contribute to the household and learn the value of putting things away the first time, as well as how to organize their stuff, recognize its value, and keep it in good condition. Finally, they have a ton of time: when they need to do a few things they don’t want to do, they appreciate the free time to do the things they love.

(ps I think this boredom prevention strategy also works for full-grown adults).

You can create a chore chart or use an app to assign and track chores. This seems like too much work to me. You can also assign a particular time of the week you work together, and just clean for one to two hours a week together. Or you can assign specific chores that need to be completed before Saturday at cartoon time.

My experience? It very much depended upon the child, the season, and the size of the home we lived in. The smaller the home, the more frequently we tidied. The larger the home, the more compelled I was to save up for a sweeping robot.

In our home, some chores were paid: ie building a goat barn, fixing the chicken fence, and washing and painting the verandah. And spring clean deep dives. (ps When kids learn to do chores, they’re not doing them like you. If you want them to do it like you, they need to be your age).

Extracurricular Basket

If your kiddo is in soccer, hockey, ballet, gymnastics, or any activities outside the home, keep a basket in the mudroom or the garage. They can drop stuff when they come in from the car, so it doesn’t get lost in their toys or bedroom. They always know where it is before they leave (well, most of the time anyway, let’s be real here).

Menu Plans & Food Prep System

Grocery list, pantries, and freezers. Make a menu plan. 7 meals. On repeat until you’re bored of those meals. Breakfast simple: easy to access. Pre-prep trays of vegetables and hummus, containers of pre-washed fruit, protein, and carbs. Think simple: but think in threes. Fancy not required.

Dentist, Doctor & Vet Appts

When you leave an office, preplan for your next visit. Book that appointment or put it in your calendar.

Clothing Needs & Seasonal Shifts

In my part of the world, this is a necessary discussion. If you’re from California, fast forward to the next section.

  • Pre-season shift, have a fashion show.
  • Check out their closet.
  • Do they have enough socks? Trick question…at least they didn’t in my home, one sock was always lost.
  • Keep it simple: three pairs of pants, five tops, 2 hoodies, and dressier clothes as required. Winter jacket, boots, mittens, scarf, toque. Rain jacket, boots, heavy sweater, or windbreaker. Shorts, swimsuits, and whatever else you think they need.

Keep it simple.

Flexibility Tip

Systems should evolve with your family’s needs. If something isn’t working, tweak it, but know that systems are there to serve you, you’re not there to serve your system.

Declutter your Homeschool Routines: Your Daily Rhythm

Why Routines Matter

Routines bring a comforting rhythm to your days. They provide structure, so your kids know what to expect, and you can include the activities that matter the most for you.

Building Flexible Routines

Morning Routine

Start with a consistent wake-up time and a sequence of activities (breakfast, getting dressed, morning chores, etc.). A predictable start helps everyone ease into the day.

Learning Blocks

Break your day into learning blocks with breaks in between. For example, have a 9-11 AM block for focused lessons, a break for a snack and play, and then another learning block before lunch.

ps this is only a suggestion. Do what works for you.

Afternoon Routine

Use the afternoons for more flexible activities like art, science experiments, or field trips. This is also a good time for independent reading or outdoor play.

Enjoy a quiet afternoon reading time together.

Assume everyone is heading outdoors after that quiet time.

Evening Routine

Wind down with dinner, family game time, and a calming bedtime routine.

Create a check-out time…where you’re no longer available, a partner puts the kids to bed, and you take a consistent evening or two away every week.

Flexibility Tip:

If a routine gets interrupted, know that life happens.

Life doesn’t happen with predictability. Pick up where you left off or adjust as needed. If an activity is truly important, it’ll get done.

If it’s not, you’ll learn to put it in its place, or let it go.

Leaning into flexibility is key to maintaining sanity: also, you don’t have a choice anyway. Suffering occurs when we resist reality.

mother and daughter looking at each other: declutter your homeschool

Embrace the Unexpected

Despite our best planning, life has a way of throwing curveballs. Here are a few tips to keep your cool:

Some days will be tough, and that’s okay. Remember that tomorrow is a new day.

Final Thoughts

Remember, homeschool mama, this homeschool life is a marathon, not a sprint. Getting everything ticked off your to-do list isn’t what you hoped to see on your gravestone anyway.

Be here now. Lean into living your To-Live list, not your To-Do List.

Teresa Wiedrick, Homeschool Life Coach

To declutter your homeschool: lists, systems, and routines are tools to help you live this saturated family life with more intention.

They’re available to support you, not be yet another thing to check off the box.

Now, go live your life on purpose!

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Teresa Wiedrick

I help overwhelmed homeschool mamas shed what’s not working in their homeschool & life, so they can show up authentically, purposefully, and confidently in their homeschool & life.