Originally Posted August 22, 2016
When our house went on the market almost a month ago, I decided that, unlike the last 6 years, I would start homeschooling right then. All my books were bought in June and July and I was ready to prepare for the coming year. Normally we take the month of July off of schooling and hang out by the pool with friends, then August comes and we hang out by the pool…….but mama has her school books and is lesson planning while they soak up the last rays of summer and their public school friendships. The last three years, I have put the kids in a two day a week homeschool program that teaches things not easily taught at home. Things like choir and drama, art and group science projects. It gives me a little time to go and do fabulous things like go get coffee with friends, lunch with new clients, learning about leadership through reading or ya know, ignoring housework and responsibilities while reading the latest Facebook gossip. I mean some days, it’s better than my stories. Am I right y’all?
When our house went on the market, I naively thought that packing everything up into bags and putting it in the van made homeschooling on the go a breeze. I was so wrong.
You see selling a house is much like the last month of pregnancy. You go through all these changes and you get everything ready. The crib is bought, the baby room or corner of your bedroom is ready. You have had the baby shower or if it is your 5th kid (like so many of my homeschool friends) you have had the meal and diaper shower. You are mainly just waiting for the first sign that the baby will be here. When you get the call that someone wants to show your house you go into the “friends we don’t know well” cleaning panic mode. You know we all do it. Our best friends can come into our homes and wade through the toys, push over the laundry on the laundry couch (or laundry chair) and put down their kids still dressed in PJs at 2:30pm and covered in Cheerio’s to go play with my kids. Friends we don’t know well get the kids who actually brushed their teeth and hair and a house that was dirty hot mess 15 minutes ago and is now sparkling clean.You are rushing out the door grabbing bags and screaming things like “PLEASE DON’T POOP IN THE BATHROOM, I CAN TAKE YOU TO CHICK-FIL-A!!!” And grabbing everything not staged and on display and putting it all into the van as you peel out and head for the nearest park. In our case, I did this and headed for the nearest indoor area to sit it out so we could do school and not die of heatstroke in the Texas sun. Only to put through all this effort and have to come back home empty handed. Then you get another call and cycle of madness continues.
Excuse me while I take this moment to laugh my head off.
In my mind, this worked. In reality, it was a bit more complicated. At first I made myself and my kids crazy. I like to start school by 9:30 each morning and end around 1:30-2pm depending. When you are showing the house, however, starting and ending are thrown out the window and you are left rushing around and car learning. It has been a learning experience for sure, but since I couldn’t find a happy little check list on my precious bestie Pinterest, let me help you homeschool mamas out.
Tips for Homeschooling and selling a house.
Tip 1: Have a bag ready to go. Seriously. This actually saved me time and kept my homeschool room neat and tidy. Usually by the weeks end we have all our books strewn about but keeping them in bags saved my sanity. I mainly kept workbooks and reading books in the bags or books on tape for the car. I didn’t want to put too much in it but enough that if we were kicked out for 2-4 hours, we would have enough to do.
(A little peak at the bags I am talking about)
Tip 2: If you haven’t already, get to know where your local library is. Most homeschoolers already know and are well versed in their library branches, but some may not be library rats like we are. Your library branch usually have study rooms. Sometimes they are unavailable if there is a class going on, but mainly they are open and free. We would take the bags there, do some instructional work in the library and do reading etc if there was time. The library is great because it is a quiet place and with my “squirrel” children, it is a great place for us. Our study rooms have doors that can close and so we can turn the chairs so their backs are to the windows and do our work in the quiet.
Tip 3: If you need fresh air, head to a park. During the summer you may melt but in certain parts of the US I have heard of this crazy phenomenon called “SEASONS”. I hear fall and spring are lovely times to be outside and are not hot. Just know, most parks have playgrounds and if your kiddos are little like my 5 year old, playgrounds are so much more exciting than learning letters and number recognition. Be calm and don’t think the kids will just hang out and do school work. Let’s face it, if you head to a park, a hike can be your schooling and maybe taking a field guide with you to look up flora and fauna but trying to make multiplication fun while there is a swing calling a kiddos name…….. it just causes stress.
Tip 4: Laugh. Laugh ALOT. Look, selling a home is stressful even if you don’t homeschool but getting all worked up and upset helps no one. If you have a showing scheduled for 4 pm and they show up thirty minutes early, you can ask them to wait. YOU CAN. Or you can just go with the flow, invite them inside and continue to clean up while you dump out the mop water and straighten the bathroom. People understand and are usually pretty happy to wait. Don’t stress yourself out. Our little ones know it is stressful and they want to be reassured mama isn’t going to just loose it.
Tip 5: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you need someone close to go over and pick up the dogs if you are too far away when you get a call to show the house, do it. If you have a couple close friends, ask them if you can bop on over during a showing. More than once we ate dinner at our neighbor and my son’s best friends house. I even brought over a crockpot of BBQ chicken one evening when we got a call just as I was sitting down to feed the kids.
Tip 6: Give yourself grace. I know we as women tend to be hard on ourselves. I learned that if there was one small little thing I thought was bad feedback, I obsessed over it. You can not control if your neighbors decide that they are going on a grass cutting strike or if the teenagers across the street have their Quinceanera the Saturday you have 5 showings and the street is full of cars making parking nearly impossible. Breathe and remind yourself that your house only needs to be loved by one family. All it takes is one family to fall in love with your home and they put in the offer.
Tip 7: Do not start any large projects the day after you put your house on the market. Just don’t. That’s a big mistake.
Tip 8: Get the kids involved. My 10 year has responsibilities like opening all the blinds upstairs and turning on all the lights. My 5 year old puts the dogs away in the garage and hides food bowls. Give them some ownership in the house prepping. It helps them understand why you are running around crazy and gets them involved which means less likely for messes to happen thirty seconds before you are supposed to leave.
Tip 9: Budget and know that sometimes, eating out will be unavoidable. I used that time to bond with the kiddos. We talked about what they anted in the next house and what was most important toi them as our time in Texas was coming to a close. Let go of the idea that showings will happen between 10am-4pm. They don’t. Most of ours happened on weekends and around times when most were getting off work. Dinner time was disrupted a lot so I had budgeted going out during this time simply because I couldn’t meal prep and cook it all before the showing.We also overworked the crock pot.
Tip 10: Remember this is only a season. Showing your house will only last a little bit, so just know you will not have to keep your house sparkling forever. Soon rushing out the door and bags full of books will be a thing of the past and you can breathe easy once the contract comes in and is approved.
Look it is never a good time to put your house on the market, homeschool speaking. It is stressful and can drive you nuts. I did all this while my husband had already started his job in another state, so all the responsibility had fallen on me to make sure the house was show ready at all time. This lead to many break downs that first week. The kids and I did get into a groove and we actually can blast out of the house at around thirty minutes notice. We are like ninjas.
Soon you will have an offer and this crazy moment that you were selling a house while homeschooling will be a thing of the past. Your contract will happen, everything will go smoothly and you will be done with this craziness.
Then it will be time to move.
Join the newsletter
Do you love books? Need something new to read? Have questions on content or age groups of a new read your kid picked up at the library? Keep up with all the latest in books and reviews and even some things every book lover needs. Subscribe to the newsletter and I promise not to email you but twice a month.