Why You Don't HAVE to Have a Cleaning Schedule

Inside: The reasons why a cleaning schedule just doesn’t work for our home and what we do instead.

Struggling to find a routine for keeping up with housework but feeling like a cleaning schedule just isn't your thing? Check out what I do instead to keep my house tidy and fresh!

Not long ago I was the one searching for cleaning schedules to help keep my home tidy. I tried all the things. Room-by-room. Task-by-task. A checklist for monthly, seasonal, and yearly items. You name it, I was trying to juggle it.

I made a chart, hung it on the fridge, and tried my best to stay on top of things. But somehow, it never seemed like there were enough hours in the day with all the other duties I had to fill.

Like, seriously, who WERE these super people who were able to get all this stuff done?

I was about to have baby #4 and thought I NEEDED to get the hang of a cleaning schedule in order to keep our house from becoming a total and complete train wreck.

Thankfully, I was wrong.

Blankets & Bear -- No More Cleaning Schedule

After trying to stick to my schedule for months after our son was born, I threw in the towel on cleaning schedules. And opted for a simpler approach (that was WAY less stressful for the season I was in).

A Simple 2-Part Cleaning Method

There are 2 main ways our home gets clean and stays clean:

  1. With a daily cleansing power hour and
  2. With simple routines to help KEEP our home clean.

Every day, I have one main burst of cleansing energy. This is the time when I do all the little things throughout the house that are bugging me. Any little loose ends that need to be taken care of are tied up. We’ll talk about that more in a minute.

Then we all have smaller routines throughout the day to keep the house from getting unmanageable and make sure everyone is doing their part to help.

It’s simple, easy to follow, and may just work better for your home if the cleaning schedules aren’t cutting it.

Morning Power Hour

So at some point every morning (either before or after homeschool time, depending on the day), I would quickly go throughout the house, tidying anything I saw out of order. Picking up stray clothes that need to go into a laundry bin, wiping down counters, carrying things upstairs, sweeping floors, cleaning toilets, clearing clutter off the mantle, dusting.

You name it. Whatever catches my eye and needs to be done, I do it.

It’s truly amazing how much can get accomplished in that time. Even if your time spent cleaning doesn’t end up totaling an entire hour, spend as much time as you can accomplishing as much as you can.

I usually already have a running mental list of things that need to happen when I get a minute, just because they’re often things that have already been on my mind. For example, while breastfeeding my son, I’ll see things on our bookshelf that need straightened, mail on the piano that needs to go to our office, and that the rug needs to be vacuumed.

So as soon as power hour drops, I’m ready to get at it.

No More Cleaning Schedule

Simple Built-In Routines

So other than power hour, I have simple things built into my day that help me stay on top of housework. For example, I do dishes at pretty much the same spot in our daily routine, every day. And every morning before I wake the kids up, I throw in a new load of laundry.

My husband and kids have things to get done, too. After everyone is dressed in the morning, we all make beds. When my kids are done playing in a room, they have to pick up their toys before they move on to a new activity. Every evening, my husband takes out the trash if it’s full.

These are all just little ways to keep the mess from piling up and keep our home running smoothly.

No cleaning schedule needed.

Toy Area -- No More Cleaning Schedule

When Tasks Get Overlooked

With a cleaning schedule, if I ended up NOT having time to get something done, it was a big deal. Either it was left untouched until the next week rolled around OR my to-do list for the next day got THAT MUCH LONGER. Neither of those is a good option.

But with this method, if something doesn’t get done, it just goes to the top of my mental list (or note in my phone) for the next day. No biggie.

Easing the Burden of Cleaning Schedule Stress

Maintaining our homes this way can come a little more naturally to us and may also be less stressful. Sometimes we over-complicate things in our quest to find solutions for our time management problems.

It’s not possible to get everything done in a day, and some cleaning schedules seem to heap on the burdens. So it’s often easier to get more done by intuitively checking off the things we SEE rather than incessantly checking a list and struggling to stay on track.


Side note: I use a monthly ordering service for my cleaning products called Grove collaborative. They have so many natural options, and their prices are amazing. If you’re in need of a little motivation to enjoy cleaning, I highly recommend checking them out. Use my link to get a free 5-piece gift set!


If you found this post helpful, don’t forget to like, comment, and share!

Until next time,

Audriana

Homeschooling a 2-Year-Old | Fun Learning Activities for Your Little One

Inside: Thinking about teaching your little one at home? Homeschooling a 2 year old is simple with these educational activities!

Homeschooling a 2-Year-Old | Fun Learning Activities for Your Toddler

Hi, friend!

If you haven’t seen my original post on homeschooling a 2-year-old over on my first blog, you can check it out here:

Homeschooling a 2 Year Old post on plantingvineyards.com

Last summer, I began homeschooling my 2-year-old daughter, as radical as that sounds. She was thirsting for knowledge, and I was more than willing to oblige. Homeschooling had been on my heart for years, so beginning to teach her just made sense.

What I DIDN’T want to do was make learning a dull experience and crush her blossoming curiosity before it truly got the chance to take root.

Our daughter ready for her homeschool lesson

So while I gave structure to her interest, we were also careful to keep learning fun. And before I knew it, we had sailed through nearly all of what I’d hoped to complete for the YEAR in only 6 months!

I quickly regrouped, got other (more challenging) materials, and she’s continuing to thrive.

So I want to share with you everything that we’ve used in the past year and how we implemented it.

Homeschooling a 2-Year-Old

Some of these learning activities are things we’ve done all year. Others are things we started in January or have slowly incorporated over time. We don’t do all of them in a day but follow a flexible weekly rotation. I may do a post or video of our general weekly schedule later on.

But these are the activities that we do on a regular basis to keep her engaged, challenged, and happy!

(To see a selection of the preschool homeschool curriculum we use and experience the general gist of homeschooling a 2-year-old, watch this video!)

Psst.. some of the following links are affiliate links through Amazon. That means that (at no additional cost to you), I’m compensated when you click a link and make a purchase. I promise to only recommend products that I personally use and love!

Calendar

Every day, we start off our structured educational time by using our Melissa & Doug calendar. We go over the date, day of the week, season, temperature, weather, any special activities for the day, upcoming holidays, and her feelings for the day.

Calendar activity for small children -- Melissa and Doug calendar for homeschooling a 2 year old

During this time, I allow her to answer as many things as she can on her own. So for example, she’s usually able to tell me the month, year, season, temperature, holidays (once we’ve gone over them a day or two before), and feelings.

We look up the weather together on my phone. To figure out the date, we count together to see which number comes next. For the day of the week, we sing our song, which you can hear in this video. (Be kind! It was one of the first videos I ever recorded, and I wasn’t used to being on camera.)

I use the activities portion to get her ready for any transition that we’ll need to do later on in the day (like having a doctor’s visit).

BUY THE CALENDAR HERE

The Good and the Beautiful PreK

I am NOT an affiliate for The Good and the Beautiful. Nor is this a sponsored post for them. I make NOTHING from recommending their curriculum to you. But I still recommend it because it’s something we truly enjoy, and I’ve seen my daughter thrive while using their products.

The Good and the Beautiful Pre K is full of great learning activities for homeschooling a 2-year-old

This is something we started in January and are loving!

Before purchasing, I watched lots of reviews and read plenty of blogs to make sure this was something that she could benefit from. After taking the plunge, I couldn’t be more happy.

Arwyn is writing letters, knows the difference between upper and lower case letters, and is solidifying her understanding of all letter sounds.

Letter Flip Books (Learning Activity)
Letter Flip Books (Learning Activity)

Plus, the curriculum is open-and-go, meaning I don’t have to plan that portion of our homeschool day. I just write down that we’ll be doing 1 lesson from the Good and the Beautiful on any given day and know that when we get there, whatever she learns will be relevant to what she’s been learning.

You can learn more about The Good and the Beautiful homeschool curriculum here.

And see my FULL REVIEW on the Pre-K curriculum here.

Bible

We do Bible lessons a few times a week. At one point, we did them daily, but I felt that the information was getting jumbled for her. So we slowed it down a little and do a quick refresh of each passage on off-days.

This year we used this children’s Bible story book.

Our Bible for our small children -- just one of the many parts I love about our homeschool day.

I like it for the most part. There are a few things that I found didn’t stick to the Bible story being read, but this happened in only a few instances. otherwise, it was great at telling each story simply while still hitting all the main points and keeping her interested!

You can BUY READ ME A BIBLE STORY 365 HERE

Letter Acorns

These were a Christmas gift that Arwyn got from her pappaw, and they have already proved their worth. Even on days when they aren’t part of my general lesson plan, Arwyn asks to do them.

Letter Acorns Learning Activity -- perfect for homeschooling a 2 year old.

Each acorn has a capital letter, and the lids have the lower case letter on the inside. They also come with little figures (like a pig, zebra, apple, etc.) that fit inside each acorn.

In the beginning, I had her only practice matching upper and lower case letters while saying the names of the letters. But now she puts the figures into their corresponding acorns too.

It’s a simple learning activity for her that’s also effective.

BUY THE LETTER ACORNS HERE

Toddler Learning Folder

I am NOT an affiliate for this product.

We’ve used this since August last year, and she loved it! It was part of our daily routine, but now we usually stick to 1 or 2 days a week (because many of the activities in the folder are no longer a challenge for her).

We used this Toddler Learning Folder as we began homeschooling our 2 year old.
Toddler Learning Folder

This binder teaches letters, numbers, shapes, colors, seasons, fruit, animals, days of the week, articles of clothing, body parts, counting, vowels, visual discrimination, continents, and even planets.

All of the activities are great practice, and Arwyn learned so quickly with this binder! It gave her a great foundation that we’re now building upon. If you’re thinking of homeschooling a 2-year-old, I couldn’t recommend it enough as a starting point!

You can visit Jady A’s site on Teachers Pay Teachers and purchase the printable binder HERE.

Name Letter Unscramble

This is something I created on my own. All you need is an index card, scissors, and a marker.

Teaching my 2 year old to spell her name during homeschool time

I cut the index card in half (hot dog style) and wrote her name on the upper half. Then I cut the lower half into 5 smaller rectangles (for the 5 letters of her name) and wrote a letter on each piece.

Every morning, I would lay down the long piece with her name written on it and ask her to match the cut letters. She was able to spell and recognize her own name within only a couple weeks of starting.

Counting Puzzle

This was another Christmas gift for our homeschool.

Counting Learning Activities for a 2-Year-Old

Some of the pieces are for counting, and others are for basic addition and subtraction. With Arwyn, I’ve just used the counting ones so far. It took a while for her to understand one-to-one correspondence, and I don’t want to confuse her until she’s fully solid with her counting skills.

These puzzle pieces are brightly-colored and great as added practice for counting, addition, and subtraction.

You can BUY THEM HERE.

(It also comes with a spelling puzzle set that the kids enjoy too!)

Wipe-Clean Books

Your little one can practice, wipe it clean, and use it again next time. With young children who are just learning to trace, it’s great to not have to waste paper!

Plus, it’s exciting for them when they get to use colorful Expo markers.

Wipe-Clean Books are perfect writing practice for 2-Year-Olds

Some of our favorite wipe-clean books are:

Library

We enjoy trips to the library once a week (although we didn’t go every week when it was super cold). So I incorporated library time into our homeschool routine.

For more on that, check out this video:

Arts & Crafts

I know that not every mom is big into arts and crafts ( I get it!), but we do them as much as we can. I used to try to do them daily, but with adding other activities, that’s just not possible anymore. So we usually do a couple every week.

Crafts have helped Arwyn bring letters to life. We do them for every letter she’s learning to write.

Letter Crafts for Small Children -- Homeschooling a 2-Yer-Old

We also have done paintings or colored pencil drawings to go with Bible units.

Animal Flashcards

We’ve used these since the beginning of the year, incorporating a few animals at a time.

Animal Flashcards Learning Activity for 2-year-olds

I have the deck separated by ones she knows, ones we’re working on, and ones we haven’t started yet.

Animal Flashcards (Learning Activity for 2 year olds)

When she says the names of the animals, we make silly sounds together and pretend to be the animals. It’s a way to make using flashcards more fun for her, and she often asks to say her animals.

BUY SOME HERE

KiwiCo STEAM Boxes

KiwiCo is a company that encourages kids to fall in love with science, technology, engineering, art, and math. With a subscription, you get a crate shipped to your door every month. They’ve sent us crates with space projects, a claw arcade game, rainbows, musical instruments, ocean studies, a kaleidoscope, bug activities, and more.

STEAM learning Activities for 2-Year-Olds

We LOVE KiwiCo. All of my kids really enjoy STEAM activities anyway, so these crates were destined to be a hit.

We don’t get one every month, but every box that we’ve gotten, the kids thoroughly enjoy. And they’re fairly reasonably-priced.

To sign up for KiwiCo, you can use my link and get $10 off your first crate!

Sensory and Fine Motor

We do lots of sensory as well as little fine motor activities.

One thing that combines both of them is this great Play-Doh Shape and Learn set we got in December. Of course Play-Doh is a sensory medium but this box set also encourages fine motor skills.

Play-Doh Learning Activity for 2-year-olds

For example, after we stamp out some fun butterfly shapes, Arwyn can pick them up with the tweezers included in the box and drop them into one of the beakers while she counts them.

We have the “Make and Measure” set, but Play-Doh makes many other Shape and Learn boxes as well. Any of them would be great to use while homeschooling a 2-year-old.

BUY THE PLAY-DOH MAKE & MEASURE SET HERE

A few other great fine motor tasks are using a hole punch, doing scissor work, and clothespin play. We’ve especially been focusing on scissors lately (i.e. how to hold them properly, what it feels like to cut paper, and trying to cut on simple lines).

For more fine motor activity ideas, check out this post:

It may seem like age 2 is a little early to start practicing with scissors, but there are plenty of safety scissors that are great for little ones. It’s something Arwyn really enjoys and that also helps her.gain more hand-eye coordination.

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Some of Our Favorite Books

We also have a deep love for reading. Some of Arwyn’s favorites include:

Interested in homeschooling your 2-year-old? Or maybe you already do! I’d love to hear what other people do for toddler learning activities, so comment below!

Until next time,

Audriana

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