(This photo of Ella is a great illustration of how I felt after my first week of the February Challenge!)
Last week, I introduced the February Challenge. If you did not have a chance to read about it, it’s an opportunity for each of us to self-identify areas of our life that could be more simple, natural, and joyful, and to take baby steps toward our goals. Each day on the Homestead Honey Facebook page, there is a thread for anyone that wants a little support, accountability, or just a shout out!
This past week, I have been tackling areas of Personal Organization. Brian and I both work from home, homeschool our two young kids, and make virtually all of our meals from scratch. But we do so in a very haphazard and somewhat disorganized way. Each day, we tend to wake up and make a rough plan for the day, but it is hard to plan ahead for the week. This was starting to feel like a really inefficient way of living, so I worked on creating a meal plan, identifying homeschool days, and trying to craft a weekly schedule.
Meal Plan: This was really successful and enjoyable! I planned 10 meals – lunch and dinner – and left the weekend open because we were having guests. I flipped through some of my favorite cookbooks, wrote down a few recipes that I would like to try, and made a shopping list for the ingredients I would need. We enjoyed some really delicious meals, such as a Pinto Bean and Yam Soup, Chicken Tortilla Soup, and Grass-fed Burgers with Acorn Squash.
I enjoyed reading what others have to say about meal planning, such as this post from my friend Tatiana, and this one from Cluck & Hoe. Meal planning really makes a lot of sense to me, and I expect that I will continue to do it, although I will probably only plan for 5-8 meals, rather than 10. I did notice that in my eagerness to try new recipes, I actually ended up spending MORE money at the grocery store than I usually do!
Homeschool Schedule: This year, I am doing Kindergarten and Preschool with my 6 and 3 year old. We have been doing lots of drawing, finger knitting and other handwork, and stories this year, but never on a set schedule. This week, I did school with the kids on Tuesday and Thursday, and it worked great. It allowed me to use Monday to get organized, which I needed, and felt like a good school rhythm. I would like to continue this approach.
Weekly Schedule: It is just SO hard for us to seem to follow a weekly schedule. Because our days are so open, with very few outside commitments, they flow very organically. Now, I have to admit that this allows for much spontaneous fun, such as cross country skiing and snow play in fresh powder, but it is less ideal as a work schedule. I am going to continue to strive for a balance between openness and schedule – perhaps our mornings will have structure and our afternoons will be open.
This week I am going to take a closer look at my Personal Finances. I would like to track exactly where my money goes, and how much comes in. I expect that this will be a month-long project as I collect and tally receipts and bills, but I’m looking forward to having a bit more financial clarity.
I look forward to connecting with you on my Facebook page, and learning what baby steps you are taking!
We plan meals based on what is in our stores for 1 week at a time and then make the shopping list from that. We do not homeschool even though we have thought about it, but our boys are not interested and we look at it as a team effort.
Teri Page says
I totally agree. If your kids are not on board, it would probably be a struggle all around.
Our family is doing the Feb. challenge too, and I started the meal planning. I planned for the month, and bought for the week on Sunday. I TOTALLY understand the buying more and costing more because I too am trying new recipies. We are loving it but I am wondering what our budget at the end of the month will look like if I keep this up 🙂
I am trying new slow cooked meals in the crockpot and love the way it frees up my afternoons from cooking and lets me enjoy the extra time with the kids.
Thank-you so much for blogging and putting this out there.
Teri Page says
So glad that you are participating! I loved using my slow cooker (when we had electricity). Now we set something on the wood stove to simmer all day, and it works well if we are home to keep the fire going. Glad to hear from you!
I homeschooled for 21+ years, six of my eight children, the kids were involved in sports, church and 4-H, and we had an active homeschool group, worked from home, and physically attended college classes/worked outside the home the final years as well. What worked for us was not so much of time schedule (8:00 math, 4:00 feed the animals) – certain things completed on certain days – a big one for us was the order of our day, a basic routine for everyday.
Teri Page says
IT is great to hear how other families make homeschooling work for them. I feel like this year is a bit of a “practice” year, so I can get into a good rhythm before First Grade. Thank you!