Welcome to Flawed yet Functional! I’m Emily, and during this time of school closures, work-from-home, and general upheaval, I’d like to offer some hope. Social distancing (or rather, physical distancing) doesn’t mean the end of a happy life or a happy home. You can not only stay sane at home with your family, you can thrive. Here are ten ways my family and I are still loving life while sheltering-in-place.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links which just means if you purchase from the links provided, I may get a small commission at no additional cost to you! At Flawed yet Functional, I only reference products that have real value that I actually use.
You may or may not know this about my family, but we homeschool. So you might think this pandemic has no effect on us. We’re used to being at home. Well, yes and no.
While school closures did not mean the end of the world for us, we are greatly missing our extracurricular activities and friends, just like you!
Even though we have the schooling part in the bag, it has been our everyday routines and structure that are keeping us thriving even without seeing our friends. So what are we doing? Keep reading to find out!
Keep Your Flow
Not the perfect color-coded schedule for the now-homeschooling mom nor your mom/neighbors well-intentioned advice from the good old days. Not just any schedule, your schedule.
Play with your daily activities until you find the flow that fits best. Morning routine then breakfast followed by chores or is it morning routine then chores followed by breakfast?
Flow is an order not a set start/stop time or even a duration. Flow moves and bends with interruptions, sibling fights, and even breaks for vegging on social media.
There are homeschooling schedules aplenty floating out on social media these days. While those are a good starting point, do not make or break your day by how well you adhere to those schedules. A schedule needs to fit each family individually. If you don’t know where to start, by all means grab one of those schedules and give it a try for a few days or a week. Then look over your week and evaluate how it went. Adjust your schedule accordingly searching for your best flow for the day.
Once you have a set of activities and rough time frames that works for you, your kids, and your spouse, stick to it every day. It can be tempting to let vacation-mode creep in allowing all schedules to go out the window. But you will find that your kids and yourself do much better with some structure and flow for the day.
My kids’ favorite question at the end of the day is, “what are we doing tomorrow?” When you have a flow, you can quickly tell them what is on the docket for tomorrow. That gives both you and them forewarning about what is coming and prepares everyone’s expectations. A smooth day starts with a plan (loose or structured to your family’s needs!).
Find your best flow and stick to it!
Journal the Good and the Bad
I have been doing a lot of soul-searching and reflecting during this time of social distancing. One thing I have noticed is that I love to do things with my hands. When my hands are busy, my mind can process. When my mind processes, I find peace.
Every day, after I read my Bible and do my Bible study, I journal. I’m not a journaling pro by any means, but I like to write out my prayers. There’s something about physically writing that slows my brain down long enough so that I know what I am actually thinking and feeling.
I encourage you to give this a try. You don’t have to write out your prayers like I do, but write some things down. Write out in full sentences what was good about the day, what was hard or rough about the day, what great memory can you hold onto from today. Writing things out longhand brings peace to your mind, and also provides a concrete way to remember this crazy time for your family in the whole world.
Would you like some help beginning to journal and remaining positive during this hard time? Sign up in the box below to receive a free printable to color and help you journal!
When it comes to education, learning, or simply killing boredom, reading has no equal! If you are struggling in your school-at-home ventures, just read. You read that right. Just read. Read out loud to your kids. Find good books for them to read to themselves. Start a family audiobook time each day. Read, read, and read some more.
I encourage you to read in multiple ways. First of all, read for fun. Whether you like graphic novels, fiction, or nonfiction pick up a book that you enjoy and spend time reading it.
Second, read to know God better. Do you neglect digging into God’s word because you don’t have time? You will never have a time like this again (well, I desperately pray that you do not!) There’s no time like the present to get to know your Saviour better. Dust off your Bible and read it. Don’t know where to begin? Check out this free two-week study from BSF International! Another resource I love is Kay Arthur’s inductive Bible studies. Try these “light” versions of the inductive study method that teach you the great skill of being able to study the Bible on your own!
Third, read aloud to your children. Take this blessed gift of time to interest your kids in a long book or series. Pick well-written, multiple book series to engross your children and a greater fantastic story. Check out some of the series below for good places to start.
- Little House on the Prairie
- The Chronicles of Narnia
- The Wingfeather Saga
- Harry Potter
- Anne of Green Gables
I’m sure you have unfinished projects lying around your house. I most certainly do! This is the time to get those completed and finally marked off your to-do list! Use curbside service at Home Depot to pick up more paint or supplies, and get those jobs done!
I’ve got more than a few projects that I hope to finish during this time of quarantine. What do yours look like? I would love to know! My list looks like the following
- A fresh coat of paint on the banister
- Finish a painting
- Sew curtains for our master bedroom
- Sand and paint trim work in our guest bedroom
If you do not have the supplies for your project, you may not be able to finish it. Here in Michigan, hardware stores are still open as essential businesses. So I’m sure I can get my hands on the supplies I need if I don’t happen to have it all here at home. Check out what you’ve got on hand and finish those projects!
Do Yard Work
Depending on where you live, yard work may or may not be a real possibility. Here in Michigan, spring has sprung! Early spring flowers are starting to emerge from the ground, and the grass is beginning to awaken. Dan and I plan to take advantage of the time we have at home to rake our yard, dethatch, and possibly even aerate it.
You don’t have to go crazy though to freshen up your yard. Grab a leaf blower or a rake and simply clean up all of those leftover leaves from the fall. If your grass has already begun to grow, then fire up your lawn mower and give it a trim. A little bit of sweat equity goes a long way!
Cook With Your Family
You guys, I am a huge believer in doing things with your kids. All the things. Recently, I was asked what things in my house are my kids not allowed to touch or use. I had a hard time coming up with anything. My husband and I strongly believe in doing everything with your kids. We don’t play sports without them. We don’t do woodworking without them. We don’t even cook a meal without them. Our goal is to produce well-educated, productive members of society. Because of that, we treat them like adults right now. Not that we put them in danger, but we welcome them into each and every endeavor and teach them the things they need to know to participate in that activity.
So really, this point could be just “do things with your kids!” But the point I want to make is “cook with your kids.” You are likely eating at home more than normal. Take this time to teach your kids the basics of cooking. They can do many things as long as you provide a safe environment and proper tools. Let them cut vegetables, stir, and wash the dishes. Prepare yourself ahead of time to be patient and go slowly, and your kids will fondly remember the time they learned to cook by your side.
Oh my friend, in this time of quarantine you need some alone time. Not only do you need it, but your kids and your spouse need it too. It can be extremely difficult to find time alone when you’re not allowed to go out and about for your normal activities. Be intentional about creating alone time for each and every member of your family during quarantine.
My kids are beyond nap time, so we created “quiet time” in its place. Quiet time is quiet in name only. We do not monitor the volume of our children’s play during quiet time. We just expect them to play in their room by themselves until we say quiet time is over.
For the adults, we get quiet time too! Dan does his own activities, and I do mine (actually, I’m writing to you during quiet time!).
If you are new to this activity, you will need to start out with a small amount of time until your children are more used to it. Our quiet time is an hour and a half every afternoon, and it is the most blessed time! Children emerge with better attitudes, parents have renewed patience, and everyone is ready to come together as a family again even if they were on edge with each other at the beginning of quiet time.
I cannot tell you enough the benefits of quiet time. Make it a part of your day today!
Heavens-to-Betsy, the whole family needs to be doing chores! If your kids are school age and both you and your spouse are usually working, you may have noticed that the house is far dirtier with everyone home all the time! Girl, I know what you’re feeling! It is hard to be relaxed when the house is dirty. So if your kids have never done chores, that’s ok. Start today! Just like with quiet time, set expectations low and age-appropriate then build on them as your kids master the chores.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert in setting up chores for children. Just this past December, my husband and I committed to a chore chart for our kids and teaching our kids how to do chores properly. So we’re newbies! However, there is a remarkable difference in the cleanliness of our house when our kids are working alongside us to keep the house clean. I feel like I need to emphasize this again. Our house is SO MUCH cleaner when our kids do chores. So. Much. It breathes life to my soul each and every day. I’m not exaggerating. Even though I’m not the tidiest housekeeper, clutter bothers me, so having help picking up and cleaning is a lifesaver.
Do whatever system works for you paid or unpaid, complex or simple. Just get your kids working alongside you to keep house. You will be amazed at the difference in the cleanliness of your house and your stress level!
Ask for Help
This one is a hard one for me. I don’t like to ask for help. I am willing to accept help when it is offered, but I either feel awkward asking for help or I feel angry that someone is not offering help when clearly I need it. So when I put this item on my list, I am telling myself too!
Everyone is home, right? Everyone is making the house dirty. Everyone needs to eat. Everyone needs clean clothes. So…everyone can pitch in.
Here’s the problem in those statements. Sometimes mom is the only one who can see the need. Oftentimes, you are the only one who will notice the dirty socks, the crumbs under the table, and the trail of dirt leading from the front door. Instead of putting the burden on yourself to take care of each of those messes, ask for help. When family members are not pitching in, ask for help. You may be the only person in your household with eyes to see the work that needs to be done. Just because you see it, doesn’t mean you need to do it. Ask for help my friend. Ask for help.
Be Intentionally Positive
Staying at home can get suffocating. Social distancing from others, aka tons of family time, can get on your nerves and be irritating. However, there is one thing you can always choose each day and that is your attitude. Even if it is hard some days, and it is for me too, choose intentionally to be positive.
Fake it ’till you make it, my friend! There are going to be days we absolutely do not want to be positive, but there is a definite difference when you tell yourself that you will be content with your circumstances. My attitude is better and the burden of my day lighter when I choose to look at the bright side.
- My kids are doing awesome things when they craft, paint, or do school work!
- This time I have to sit on the couch and read for an hour without interruption? A priceless gift!
- Freedom from extracurricular activities? Choose to bask in the gift of time you and your family have been blessed with!
Be intentional about your attitude each and every day and watch your days radically change for the better!
Even though these times are not of your choosing, you can thrive today. You can make the most of this time with your family and your home. Find your schedule, your rhythm, and add things into your schedule that will bring peace and positivity. Make sure you are taking time to quiet your soul through reading your Bible, quiet time for the whole family, and journaling to get your thoughts out of your head and onto paper (don’t forget to grab the freebie above!). I hope you use these 10 strategies to bring peace to your home through this time of social distancing!