Managing Chaos in Your Homeschool

Picture it…..It’s 4:45 PM and you look around.  The house is an utter disaster, you still need to finish up school, and you have no plan for dinner.  Everyone is still in their PJs because the dirty laundry is stacked to the ceiling.  You have given up on finding the smell in the kitchen.  Maybe there are papers that need grading, and everyone is cranky. You are frazzled.  This my friend, is homeschool chaos.  I know because I have been there, multiple times.  Fear not!  I am here with a solution.  It’s my no-fail plan for controlling homeschool chaos.  So sit up and take notes, it’s time to take back your home!

Managing Homeschool Chaos from Homeschool Balance


The Prep Work! (Also know as….You have to start somewhere)

  • Go into chaos survival mode! Take some time off.  Nope, these are not vacation days. These “work harder than you normally do” days.  School is out, but hard work is in.  It’s time to catch up.  The chaos stops now.  We can’t create more chaos and expect to make progress.  Put all arts & crafts on hold, and switch to sandwiches and cereal for meals.  Don’t feel guilty.  Turn off the internet & focus.  You are in survival mode.  What if you have small children?  Then turn on some movies.  Shhhhh…..Don’t tell anyone I said that, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
  • Gather your troopsHere’s the thing about homeschooling….It’s a great decision for the whole family, but the majority of the work USUALLY falls on mom.  Not today.  Today you will delegate.  Hand out those assignments.  If your spouse is home don’t be afraid to ask for help.  There are tasks that even the smallest family members can tackle (matching socks, gathering toys, folding wash cloths).  Gather help wherever you can. Don’t take no for an answer.

Day #1 – Focus on the biggies

Today you are going to focus ONLY on two things – the kitchen & the laundry.  Just for now, the bed can stay unmade.  We are NOT going to feel guilty about the things we are letting go of today. Remember this is just one day.

  • Laundry – For today you are chained to your washer & dryer.  If they have those annoying buzzers to tell you when they are finished, turn them on.  Put the troops to work sorting (do a quick double-check before washing).  Do every load start to finish.  This means to wash, dry, fold AND put away.  No halfsies here.  If this takes more than one day, then do it for two.  Don’t forget to put your helpers to work.  They can easily fold and put away.
  • Kitchen – In between loads of laundry, you will be found in the kitchen.  Today is also the day to deep clean the kitchen.  What does “deep clean” mean?  It means the dishes, the counters, the floors, and even the refrigerator.  Remember that just for today breakfast, lunch, and even dinner will be simple.  I won’t even tell if you have the hubs bring home something from the drive-thru.  Just for today though 😉

At the end of today you will be exhausted.  You will also be MUCH closer to regaining control of your home.  Look at what you have accomplished!  With the laundry caught up, and the kitchen clean, everything else seems easy!

Day #2 – Day #5 – The rest of it.

Now….You are WAY better off than you were before.  However, your work is not finished.  Today you can resume school, but you may need to go with a lighter schedule.  Plan to devote at least 1/2 a day to your home for the next week.  Each day pick one of the following tasks to add to your day.  You also need to allow time to spot clean the kitchen after every meal.  This means no dishes left in the sink, or on the counter, as well as wiping the countertop, and a quick sweep of the floors at the end of the day.

  • Bathrooms – Yeah, no one like it, but it has to be done.  Plan to spend at least one day deep cleaning the bathrooms.  Clean the tubs, the toilets, and wipe down all the cabinets.  Don’t forget the mirrors and the floors.  While you’re at it wash the rugs.  Take out the trash.
  • Floors – Spend one day cleaning the floors.  This means sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming.  While you are at it do a quick wipe of the dust boards.
  • Bedrooms – Spend one day giving your bedrooms a good clean.  Wash the sheets and blankets.  Make sure everything is dusted (top and bottom), and that the windows are clean.  If there are any areas of clutter address them now.  Bonus points if you get time to straighten the closets.
  • The School Room (or wherever you store your massive amounts of junk) – Surely you didn’t think you were getting out of this right?  I wish!  We homeschool moms know how to accumulate MASSIVE amounts of books and papers.  Get this all in shape.  I start by organizing books and supplies that we use every day.  Then I check my system for storing graded papers, and worksheets that will be completed.  Finally, make sure you sanitize the desks and take out the trash.  If you missed these floors on floor day make sure you get them now.  I purposely left this for last because you may need two days.

Finishing Touches

Now you need a plan to make sure you don’t end up in this mess again.  Ask yourself?  What happened to cause this?

Are you overextended?  Maybe you need to Stop, Drop, & Say No.  Ask yourself honestly….Do you have too much on your plate?  It might be time to STOP and evaluate your priorities.  Then you can DROP things that are unnecessary, and SAY NO to new opportunities that won’t add value to your home.

Is everyone doing their fair share?  If not, then you need a plan to remedy that.  Check out my post on sanity-saving chores.

Do you have a good plan in place moving forward?  Do you have a time designated to do the laundry?  How about changing the sheets or cleaning the floors?  You know the saying “fail to plan, plan to fail.”  Your house will not keep itself, and you are a BUSY homeschool mom.  Have a plan in place.  If you need help check out my post on Designing a Cleaning Schedule.

I hope you found help to control your chaos.  Above all else remember to give yourself grace.  You are a busy homeschool mom, and sometimes we just muddle through.  There will be seasons of chaos and seasons of smooth sailing.  Just tackle them as they come, before they spin out of control.

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Managing Chaos in your Homeschool




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  1. Wonderful post. I will add one caveat/suggestion. Yes, chain yourself to the washer and dryer BUT I disagree with folding and putting everything away every load as that is inefficient. Fold everything that wrinkles and stack them in stacks by owner on top of the dryer (or table or baskets or whatever you have). Hang stuff right away that has to be hanged. Everything else (socks, underwear, towels), put in clean baskets OR on top of the largest bed in the house (put clean sheets on it first). Make sure to stop adding loads to the washer/dryer at least 2 hours before bedtime, then as soon as that last load is done, have everyone together sort the socks and undies and fold towels together, then put those and their clothes on top of the dryer and put it away. It gets it done so much faster (no multiple trips to all ends of the house throughout the day, or missing socks that have to be put aside to be matched later…or at least not as many).

  2. Good idea!! I have a thing about unfolded laundry so that’s probably why I do it immediately. Your way sounds much more efficient though! I will have to try it.

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