3 Ways I Homeschool Without Sacrificing My Sanity

When I first considered homeschooling my daughter, I wasn’t so much worried about the curriculum or the schedule as I was making sure my house and my brain didn’t turn into a cluttered disaster. I won’t exaggerate and call myself obsessive compulsive, but I must have a clean, organized house and time to myself or my mood and attention suffer. 

In the beginning, I failed miserably. My house really did look like someone used a t-shirt gun to toss papers, glitter, and every other school tool throughout my home. I put my interests on a shelf in favor of trying to be the best homeschool mom in existence. I had great intentions, but the execution was lacking. 

The clutter in my mind manifested itself in my home. I had a cabinet in the kitchen especially for the school materials, but it wasn’t organized at all. Plus, with it being behind closed doors at the end of the school day, my daughter rarely touched the books once homeschool lessons were finished. The bins I had intended to use for scissors, pencils, and other supplies were full, but I had just tossed things in indiscriminately. It was a disaster, and if my daughter needed to find something, I’d have to spend time rummaging through the mess. 

It was not the best environment in which to learn—or to live, to be honest. 

Something had to give if we were going to continue homeschooling, and we definitely wanted to continue to homeschooling. 

I remember letting my daughter sit down to watch a movie one afternoon. I poured myself a cup of coffee and sat looking out the kitchen window to the backyard, wondering how to make things better. Since we made these three changes, homeschooling has been a lot of fun, and our house has been much more peaceful. 

1. Schedule Self-care Priorities

This will help you maintain your self of self as you homeschool. This is so important. Go to your calendar and each day, schedule time for something you enjoy. For example, I spend an hour each day reading and crafting, and I schedule in my 30-minute workouts. Without these, I just don’t function well. 

  • What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? 
  • What passions do you have? 
  • What would you like to give more time to? 

2. Separate and Organize Homeschool Materials

Ask the kids to help. This will make organizing go faster, and they’ll be more inclined to put things away when finished. I must be honest. Training my daughter took me a couple of days, but it was so worth it. Now, my daughter knows to go to the glue box for any sticky stuff. She has a container for all of the paints, ribbons, etc. When she asks me where they are, I say, “Go look in the closet.” We keep everything in a closet in the spare bedroom. If you don’t have a spare bedroom, you can have a shelf in any room of your house that’s near where your child does most of his/her work. 


Buy a bookshelf, or find one for free. Grab little totes or crates for your materials. Label them if you like. Use whatever helps you feel more organized and empowers the kids to use the materials as needed. Have paper in bins where they can be easily grabbed for spontaneous art sessions or story writing. 

organize books by subject

Organize books by subject. I divide books into categories such as nonfiction, fiction, science, math, art, etc. Be sure your children know where to find different books. 

enlist children to help

Use old jars for keeping supplies tidy. Fill glass jars with pencils, googly eyes, erasers, markers, push pins, math manipulatives, etc. and have them in a place where they are easily accessible by anyone who needs to use them. Train your kids to always put things back into the jars.

3. Clean House a Little Each Day

3 Ways I Homeschool Without Sacrificing My SanityI know, but stay with me. I don’t enjoy cleaning my house, but I have to have a clean house for my well-being. Until we win the lottery, a house keeper is out of the question. If you have one, you can skip this step and know that I envy you. Those who don’t, trust me when I say that tidying up a little each day (with your trusty little people helping out) makes it much less a burden and it gives you more time for things you’d rather be doing anyway. Plus you won’t have to have a Saturday cleaning day. I mean, really, there are so many more fun things to do on a Saturday than be inside vacuuming. Here’s an example of a possible weekly schedule for housekeeping. 

  • Monday: Make beds. Sweep/vacuum floors. Toss in a load of laundry and finish it. (Don’t dry it three times to avoid folding like I used to do!) Do dishes. 
  • Tuesday: Make beds. Have children help you dust each room. Toss in a load of laundry, fold, and put away. Do dishes. 
  • Wednesday: Make beds. Sweep/vacuum floors. Mop if needed. Toss in a load of laundry, fold, and put away. Do dishes. Clear clutter from tables as needed. 
  • Thursday: Make beds. Clean bathrooms. Do dishes. Children straighten rooms. 
  • Friday: Make beds. Take care of any household chores you missed through the week. 

If your children are less than enthusiastic about helping around the house, let them make a helper board. Dry erase boards are great for this because they can be changed each week. For each day of the week, give them a job. Let them work for some cash, a toy, or an ice cream, or other fun treat for their particular age, as a thank you for helping. 

I know from experience that being buried under a pile of homeschooling materials and house work can diminish the fun of homeschooling. But don’t despair! With a little organization, you can create an inviting environment for learning and creating that doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve not done enough, because you really are doing so much every single day.

About the Author

Resa BrandenburgResa Brandenburg is a former teacher who is now passionate about unschooling her daughter. She lives with her husband in an old farmhouse by the river in Kentucky. Her favorite thing to do is spend the afternoon with her family, including her grown sons and two grandchildren. Her hobbies include traveling, reading, and quilting. She blogs about life, love, and learning at A Musing Mother.


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