17 Favorite Books for Homeschoolers

Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone, welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am back with Aby Rinella and we are doing another Q&A episode, and these are so much fun. We love getting to encourage you and just having the opportunity to serve you, homeschool parents, and answer some of your questions. And so, if you have questions for us, be sure to send them to us at podcast@schoolhouserocked.com, and let us know how we can encourage you. Aby, welcome back to the podcast.

Aby Rinella: Hey, it’s good to be here.

Yvette Hampton: This is one of my favorite questions. I love being asked this question and getting to answer it, because I always have a ton of resources to offer. The question is 

“What are your favorite homeschool books?” 

We’ve actually done several podcast episodes with authors of various homeschool books. And that’s a broad question. Because we could talk about books that are related specifically to homeschooling, like how to homeschool, or books that relate to things that are related to homeschooling, or parenting, because that falls under the umbrella of homeschooling.

Aby Rinella: Right, for sure.

Yvette Hampton: Or…

Aby Rinella: Marriage.

Yvette Hampton: Marriage, or homeschool books could also be, “What kind of books do your homeschoolers read?”So, it’s a really broad question. So, I’m going to talk through some of my favorite homeschool books, meaning those that I think have been really helpful in teaching me how to homeschool, or at least given me some guidance. My… One of the new ones actually that I have, and we did a podcast with her recently, it’s by Aimee Smith, and it’s called The Restful Homeschool Resolution, and it’s a 21-day journey that she takes you on through scripture and through just thinking through like, “Where are we? What are we doing? Why are we doing this? How is God working in your homeschool and in your heart?” And it’s just fun.

Yvette Hampton: It’s a book/journal, and it’s very well written. You can listen to that conversation with Aimee if you want to know more about that book, but that one’s fantastic and it’s a brand new book. It just came out, I don’t know, some time in the last six months, I think. So, that’s a great one. Another one that we’ve talked about on the podcast that I really love is by Tricia Goyer and Kristi Clover, and we have had both of these homeschool moms on the podcast, and this one’s called Homeschool Basics. This is a fantastic book for  any homeschool mom, even those of us who are seasoned in homeschooling, but it’s a great one for those who are just getting started.

Yvette Hampton: And it’s actually called, Homeschool Basics: How to Get Started, Keep Motivated, and Bring Out the Best in Your Kids. And I love that last part, “Bring out the best in your kids,” because it’s not just about checking the boxes and having the right curriculum and doing it all the right way. But it’s really like, how do you make that connection with your kids, how do you build that relationship with them? We talked with Kristi about these concepts on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast and it was a great conversation. 

Tricia Goyer recently wrote another one called The Grumble-Free Year: Twelve Months, Eleven Family Members, and One Impossible Goal, which is also excellent.

Yvette Hampton: In our homeschooling. This one, I read this one a couple summers ago and loved it, it’s called Mere Motherhood, and it’s by Cindy Rollins. This one is not talked about a lot, I don’t hear a lot of people talking about it, but it is such… It’s like one of those gems that if you have it and you’ve read it, it’s… I almost feel like I’m in this secret club of moms in the know who have read this book.

Aby Rinella: Ooh. I want to be in that club.

Yvette Hampton: It’s fantastic. So, it’s called Mere Motherhood: Morning Times, Nursery Rhymes, and My Journey Toward Sanctification. So, it’s Cindy’s… It’s a story of her journey of getting started in homeschooling, homeschooling her kids, and her kids are all adults now and grown. So, it’s written by a veteran homeschool mom, and it’s not really a how-to book, but she gives so much… This book is just full of wisdom. And it is very well-written, it’s entertaining because she tells some really funny stories in the book, and then she has a ton of resources, but it’s interesting because the resources are interwoven through the book. And so, as I was reading it, I was highlighting like crazy, like, “Oh, I need to read that book. Oh, oh, I need to check this thing out, or check that thing out!”

Aby Rinella: I’m just sitting here putting things in my Amazon cart as we’re talking. This is an expensive episode. [chuckle]

Yvette Hampton: I know, it is going to be an expensive episode. But, Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins. The next one. This one’s by Heidi St. John, and it’s called The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight. And this one I read early in my homeschool journey, probably within my first one or two years of homeschooling, and it’s managing your days through the homeschool years, so talking about time management. [chuckle] Apparently, I need to read this one again. It’s been a while. Since we were just talking about time management. But, yeah, it’s The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight, by Heidi St. John, and it’s a fantastic book. Just another must-have. Another one, we recently did another podcast on this one, and I’ll link back to all of these, so you can actually just hear from these women yourselves, but this one is called, MOM: Master Organizer of Mayhem, by Kristy Clover. Another new book that just came out. And you’ll want to listen to that podcast, because Kristi is the master of organization.

Aby Rinella: Yes.

Yvette Hampton: She’s just wired that way and gives some really, really practical advice on how you can organize your day. So those are my how-to-homeschool books that I love and recommend. Two others that I think every homeschool mom should own, or every homeschool dad, is, Honey for a Child’s Heart. And… That’s so good. And there’s also Honey for a Teen’s Heart. And it’s just a book about books. And it’s about the imaginative use of books in family life. It’s a book that will help you figure out what books you can read to your kids, what books your kids can read on their own, and she gives little descriptions of each of them and has them broken down by category and tells what age groups each book is good for. And they’re just… It’s just a fantastic resource to have, so that one’s more of a resource book. And she talks about reading. And then there’s also Books Children Love, and that’s basically the same thing, it’s a guide to the best children’s literature. So, as you’re looking for good books for your kids, because we know with homeschooling, one of the most important things is good books. Read to your kids, read to them. Every day.

Aby Rinella: Right. And we also know that you can no longer just browse the libraries like you used to.

Yvette Hampton: Right. Yes.

Aby Rinella: And let kids pick out books. And I know so many homeschool moms are asking what books we can or cannot read. So, what an incredible resource that you can just trust to go to.

Yvette Hampton: Yep. Yep. And both of these books were written many years ago, and so you’re not going to find books that have been written in the last, even 10 years. Let’s see, Books Children Love, the first printing of it was 1987.

Aby Rinella: Oh, wow.

Yvette Hampton: So, we’re talking about books that have been around for quite some time. And not just classics, but just really good children’s literature, fantastic books. And Honey for a Child’s Heart, this came out in 1969 originally, and then the copy that I have was… Is dated 1989. So, these are just great resources that, really, I think every homeschool family should have those. And I know I’m going fast here, but again, I’ll link to all these. My two absolute favorite books on parenting are Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

Aby Rinella: Yes. You’re stealing all of mine.

Yvette Hampton: I’m sorry, Aby.

[laughter]

Yvette Hampton: You’re going to have to make up some others. Shepherding A Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp, and then Ginger Hubbard, who’s a very, very sweet, good friend of mine, she’s got two. I Can’t Believe You Just Said That! is her newest one and that’s been out for about two years.

Aby Rinella: And if you say Don’t Make Me Count to Three!, you have stolen almost my whole list.

Yvette Hampton: Okay, then, I won’t tell you my second, but from the same author, Ginger Hubbard.

[laughter]

Aby Rinella: You can. No, say it. Tell us. Tell us.

Yvette Hampton: Oh, it’s called Don’t Make Me Count to Three! .

[laughter]

Aby Rinella: This is how you know these are quality books because our lists look almost exactly alike.

Yvette Hampton: Are they? And we didn’t even talk about this beforehand.

Aby Rinella: I know. Isn’t that crazy?

Yvette Hampton: Yeah. Yeah, that is awesome. So, yeah, Don’t Make Me Count to Three!, that’s a book I read early, early in my… When my oldest was probably one or two years old, and she’s now 14. So, that’s an absolute must read. That, and Don’t Make Me Count to Three! and Shepherding a Child’s Heart, those two, if you could pick any two books on parenting.

And Israel Wayne has a new parenting book that just came out as well, called Raising Them Up: Parenting for Christians is what it’s called.

Aby Rinella: And we just did a podcast with him.

Aby Rinella: That is another phenomenal parenting… Those were definitely my top two parenting books, Don’t Make Me Count to Three! and Shepherding a Child’s Heart. Alright, do you have more on your list or can I give the measly two I have left that you haven’t stolen from me?

[laughter]

Yvette Hampton: Well, okay. This… I don’t know, I’m just bragging about this because I’m really excited, I just discovered for free… Well, I didn’t discover them for free. We had a book sale for our local homeschool support group. And I have wanted for years to get the McGuffey’s Readers, and someone put the entire box set on the free table for someone to just be blessed by them. And I felt like I had won the lottery, literally, because I got this whole boxed set, which I have wanted these… I’ve wanted this set for years and years and years.

Yvette Hampton: And these are the original McGuffey’s Readers. These were written in the 1800s. And the funny thing is, is we rarely watch TV, we don’t have cable to watch, but on Amazon, we will sometimes watch Little House on the Prairie, and these are what the kids read on Little House. And so, my daughter, she was so excited because she was like, “Those are the books that they read on Little House.” And literally, she’s reading them now and she’s loving them, and you know what’s so amazing is, guess what, they talk about God.

Aby Rinella: Oh, constantly.

Yvette Hampton: And they have Scripture.

Aby Rinella: Yeah, isn’t that amazing?

Yvette Hampton: Yeah, they’re all about morals and values in the Bible. And these are the books that they actually used.

Aby Rinella: For school.

Yvette Hampton: To learn how to read. They used them for spelling, for everything. And so, anyway, so those are great. If you guys can get your hands on them, you should.

Aby Rinella: That’s exciting.

Yvette Hampton: McGuffey’s Readers, they’re amazing. So, that’s the end of my list. Aby, do you have anything left? [chuckle]

Aby Rinella: Well, do I have anything… That’s the question, do I have anything left? because you… She took that one first. No, it’s actually, I kid you not, of my whole entire list, I only have two left.

Yvette Hampton: Oh, no.

Aby Rinella: That means those are amazing books. One is Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie, and it is… I read this book before the beginning of every single school year.

Yvette Hampton: Love it.

Aby Rinella: And I just keep re-reading it because it puts you back where you need to be when you start. 

And we have talked about about time management. So many homeschool moms, “Let’s talk about time management, let’s talk about curriculum, let’s talk about this,” but this book will put you back to where your heart needs to be before you even start looking into those things. And last but not least, the one I have on my list that you didn’t, but you’re going to go, “Oh yeah, that one too,” is by Todd Wilson, called Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe.

Yvette Hampton: Oh, yeah. I haven’t read that.

Aby Rinella: And that’s a fun one because it’s written from a dad’s point of view, and Todd Wilson is absolutely hilarious. And what’s really great about it is you read these things and you’re like, “I’m not the only one that believed that lie?” So, it debunks a lot of the lies that we as moms tell ourselves. So, that’s another really great one. So, that’s really… That’s really all I have on my list after you stole all of those from me.

[chuckle]

Yvette Hampton: And I thought of one more.

Aby Rinella: Oh, you… Okay.

Yvette Hampton: Just one more. By Durenda Wilson, The Unhurried Homeschooler.

Aby Rinella: Oh, that is a…

Yvette Hampton: That’s another good one.

Aby Rinella: That was like the precedent to teaching for… Yeah, absolutely. The Unhurried Homeschooler.

Yvette Hampton: Yes. And that’s a short one too. That’s a super easy read.

Aby Rinella: Yes. I would say that one would be one that you read every single fall too, or in the summer. That’s a yearly and annual reader to get your heart back where you need to be.

Yvette Hampton: Yes.

Aby Rinella: In fact, put that one almost to the top… I mean, put it to the top, Durenda Wilson’s Unhurried Homeschooler.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah. So now, go out and buy all of these books and read them all before the next school year!

[laughter]

Aby Rinella: No pressure.

Yvette Hampton: You will be blessed. I promise. [chuckle] You may not…

Aby Rinella: Manage your time well.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah, manage your time well. You may not get to make dinner or do laundry or anything, but you will be well read, and you will know all you need to know about home homeschooling. 

Aby Rinella: You won’t have time to homeschool, but you’ll know all about it!

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Photo by David Lezcano on Unsplash

Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

Organizing the Mayhem – Homeschool Organization, with Kristi Clover

For the first episode of the third season of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella sat down with Kristi Clover to talk discuss a subject that most of us consider at the start of every year, ORGANIZATION. Kristi is a master organizer and has just released a fabulous book on the subject, that is sure to be an encouragement and valuable resource to you, M.O.M. – Master Organizer of Mayhem.

Kristi offers 10 simple rules to help parents manage the chaos of their homes on a daily basis. From learning routines and habits to creating systems to stay organized, she dives into the most common areas moms struggle with in their homes.

In addition to Kristi being a home organization and efficiency expert, she’s also an author, a speaker, and the host of the Simply Joyful Podcast. Her passion is to encourage families to find simple ways to bring more joy into their home and life. She loves to share about her adventures in motherhood and home life through a variety of media that you can find at KristiClover.com. As a mom of five, she’s never short on opportunities to “practice what she preaches” in the realm of home organization and #momlife. Kristi lives in San Diego with her husband, Steve, and their five children. Be sure to connect with Kristi online for an extra dose of encouragement. She’s @KristiClover on most social media networks. Enjoy this transcript of their conversation.

Yvette:                 Hey, everyone. This is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. As always we have such an exciting guest on today. I also have my amazing cohost with me again today, Aby Rinella, We are talking to Kristi Clover, mom of moms, homeschool mom of homeschool moms, and part of the speaker line up for the upcoming, Homegrown Generation Family Expo. She is so much fun. You guys are going to love this episode with her. We are talking about her new book, M.O.M.is that what you actually call it Kristi? M.O.M?

Listen to Kristi Clover on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

Kristi Clover:                 Yeah, M-O-M – Master Organizer of Mayhem. There it is.

Yvette:                         M.O.M. – Master Organizer of Mayhem. I love that title. I love the cover of the book. It is so much fun. It’s so eye-catching when you first look at it. It’s got a bunch of Legos all over it. So, welcome. And this is a great time, because your book just came out and I’m excited about it and want to tell people all about it. And Aby, thanks for joining us again today.

Aby Rinella:                  I’m excited to be here. Organization is my Love Language, so I’m super excited to be on here.

Kristi:                           I love it. Let me speak love to you today.

Yvette:                         It’s the eighth Love Language, huh?

Aby:                             Oh, it is.

Kristi:                           Oh, yeah! No, totally. I laughed, because I was so stressed out at one point because, I shared with you guys before we started that we started this home renovation. My friends are like, “You cannot call it remodel. You’re down to studs.” I’m like, “Great.” At the same time, we’re doing book launch, so I just, I have moments where I’m like, “Oh, find a happy place. Find a happy place.”

Kristi:                           I started doing this deep declutter, and my husband was laughing. He’s like, “What are you doing?” I’m like, “I feel really happy right now.” He’s like, “I’m just going to walk away.” I’m like, “Yeah, you do that. I’m really happy right now.” I was in this delirious moment. He was like, “Okay.”

Yvette:                         Oh my gosh. It’s like nesting, right? Because, instead of birthing a child, you’re birthing a brand new home.

Backstage Pass members can watch the full video of this interview – over 40 minutes!

Kristi:                           Yes! And a book. This is not recommended. I’m like, “I brought this upon myself because I called it Master Organizer of Mayhem”, so the Lord was like, “Ha-ha-ha, let’s bring a little more mayhem into your life”. And school, and homeschooling.

Aby:                             Like when you pray for patience and you’re like “oh, I shouldn’t have done that”.

Kristi:                           Oh, I don’t do that anymore.

Yvette:                         So very quickly Kristi, tell us about your family, because you’ve got some kiddos, and a husband, and people you like.

Kristi:                           Oh yes. Just a few kiddos. I love it because the homeschool community, I can say this: We only have five kids. Here in San Diego, people are like “you have what! Are you crazy? Do you know how that works?”. And we’re like yeah. And I have a funny story about that in the book actually. Someone here in San Diego who asked that to me. I was in a very hormonal state. I was pregnant with our fifth and yeah I had a very snarky response.

Kristi:                           So, Steve and I have been married for 22 years. We just celebrated our 22nd anniversary. We have five kids. Grant is the oldest, he’s 17. Then Blake is 16, Wade is 11, Ashlyn is 8, and Kaitlin is 6. So when I was pregnant with Kaitlin, it’s socially acceptable to continue to have more kids if you have all of one gender. So when I was pregnant with Ashlyn, everyone was like, “Aww, did you get your girl?”. And Mama Bear, mom of boys was like, “I did but I love my boys.” Leave me alone!

Kristi:                           When I was pregnant with Kaitlyn, I had the gentleman who decided to hit me on a day when I was very tired and hormonal. And he looked at the three boys and Ashlyn and he’s like, “You do know how that works, right?”. I’m like, “Yeah and you know what they say, practice makes perfect.”

Kristi:                           So sorry I went a little rated-PG there. But yeah it was awesome. And he is like “Ahhh.” And the woman behind him was blushing. The woman at the cash register was laughing so hard. So, I’m trying to get the kids out of the store and all of my older kids were like, “What does that mean? What do you mean?” And I was like, “Nothing! Nothing, mommy shouldn’t have said that.” Don’t speak when you’re pregnant, I don’t know.

Check out Kristi’s other excellent books:
Homeschool Basics: How to Get Started, Keep Motivated, and Bring Out the Best in Your Kids

Sanity Savers for Moms: Simple Solutions for a More Joy-filled Life

The Scoop on Scope: Periscope Pointers for Bloggers, Beginners, and Beyond 

During the interview, Kristi also mentions Kathi Lipp’s books on organization:

Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps to Simplifying Your Space

Clutter Free – What Jesus Has to Say About Your Stuff

Yvette:                         Oh goodness. Well come to the South, where lots of people have lots of kids. And it is totally socially acceptable. And we’re the family that only has two kids. We don’t drive a mini van, and what else don’t we do, probably lots of homeschooling things.

Kristi:                           We don’t fit in a mini van anymore, because my teenagers are 6’2″! So they won’t fit in the car very well, and everyone is too scrunched for a mini van. So we’re literally at the stage where we have an SUV, but everyone is trying to talk us into a mega sprinter thing that fits 12 and ya know 10 bikes and a camper.

Aby:                             It’s got a camper in it. You can sleep in there.

Kristi:                           We’re just gonna drive a motor home.

Don’t miss Kristi Clover at the 2020 Homegrown Generation Family Expo. You can enjoy this live, interactive, online conference from the comfort of your home. Coming February 17-21, Lifetime Registration for the Expo is just $20.

Yvette:                         So much fun. So these multiple kids that you have, that you’ve practiced for, for many years. And you now have a perfect child. This has been, I’m sure one of the many things that has caused you to write this book, called “M.O.M.– Master Organizer of Mayhem”. I love the title of it. Tell us about your book and help us, moms who are trying to figure out. Because I know this is a difficult thing for any mom, not just homeschool mom. But homeschool mom when you add real life and then homeschooling, it can get really crazy and really chaotic and really stressful. So tell us about your book.

Kristi:                           he book is really fun because it started when I actually only had two kids. Way back, like you know go in that time machine, like flashback, whatever it’s called. The Wayback, so if we go back in time to when I just had two kids. I think Grant and Blake were only four and three at the time, I was asked to speak at our women’s event. So I was like okay what would you like me to talk on? “Can you please talk about home organization?” And I remember thinking, Okay, that’s weird, I know I’m a little, I love it and I thrive on it but I’m not perfect at it.

Kristi:                           So I sat down and I really tried to think through. What gives people the perception that I’m so organized? I started asking friends too, why do people think… Because anytime I asked a girlfriend, what are some descriptions of me, what do you feel are some of my strengths? Organization always came up. And I’m like you guys have been to my house, it is messy sometimes. I feel like when I’m overwhelmed, I do, I let things go. And that’s okay. And what I’ve learned is that is absolutely the right thing to do, because if you really truly need a break. Unless you’re really crazy like me and need to get in there and get a project done, and that’s wonderful.

Kristi:                           What I discovered is, it’s my systems. So I would have people over for a play date one day and the house would be torn apart with all the little kids. And the next day, I would be hosting an event and people would be like, “What happened here? Were you up all night cleaning?” I’m like, “No, I just put things away and I just have this little system for doing this.” And they’re like, “Explain that.”

Kristi:                           And on top of all of that my husband has been traveling for 20 years of our marriage. I think when people were trying to figure out how I did things. That was kinda where it started. So long story short, I sat down and I wrote out this talk “M.O.M – Master Organizer of Mayhem”, and I came up with 10 rules. And they’re kind of like this foundation for things that I’ve noticed have to be in place for me to feel most organized. It doesn’t mean that you have to have everything going on at the same time. But they are key components to how to be organized.

Kristi:                           Decluttering is one and asking for help. So there’s a lot of these core foundational things that I put in the book. And what’s fun is, that from 12-13 years ago when I first gave this talk, the rules are exactly the same. I changed the order, but the rules are exactly the same. So it’s been neat to see how when continuing to apply them as my family has grown they have continued to work.

Kristi:                           And the second phase of the book is actually a lot. I share some systems that I put in place as well.

Yvette:                         I definitely want to talk about the 10 foundational rules that you have set. But you also talk in there about setting a good foundation first. How do we do that as moms?

Kristi:                           Well, a big key part is, a good foundation is really looking at all the 10 rules and looking through it. But the key is, I feel like we need to start be redefining organization. Because unlike 12 years ago, we have so much being thrown at us daily. We have an onslaught from TV shows. HGTV has wonderful shows, that I personally love watching. But you know when you look at a house that Joanna Gains or the Property Brothers, or whoever it is that is doing the space, they’ve completely cleaned it out, remodeled it and made it look perfect.

Kristi:                           We’ve got Instagram that is so focused on these beautiful rooms. There’s Facebook, Pinterest, all these things that we didn’t use to have. I mean Martha Stewart was my only person breathing down my neck, “Be perfect like me!”.

Kristi:                           That’s what we feel like. So often people associate organization with perfection. That’s not it at all. Organization to me is creating more efficiency in your home life, so you can maximize your time with your family. As well as for other priorities. So I like to help people figure out what their priorities are, so that it gives you that motivation, because everyone need to know their Why.

Kristi:                           If you’re totally happy in your mess and chaos, the God bless you! You be happy in your mess and chaos. If it’s not effecting you or anyone else in your family, and you have your systems down. Then that’s working! But if you are feeling stressed and people in your home… I have had some moms come up to me like I need this! My husband and I are fine with it but, they might have a special needs child who needs structure. So they have had to learn to get organized. Much like I had to learn to get organized.

Yvette:                         Let me ask you a question about that, though because I have often to friend’s houses and I have friends on both ends of the spectrum. You know, those whose houses are always neat and tidy and they have systems in place. They have an order of their life and typically those are the people who like to purge. Of course, I’m sure that’s one of your 10 rules.

Kristi:                           No, it’s not my gifting, decluttering is. I have friends that are very gifted at it.

Yvette:                         I’ve gotten really good at decluttering. We just simply don’t have space. That’s a whole different topic.

Yvette:                         But I have friends that who have just very organized, clean homes, and I have other friends who their house is always just a mess, all the time. I feel like, both of those friends, but typically those friends whose houses are typically messy. As soon as you walk through the door, they might say that they are comfortable with it, saying we’re okay, we’re okay living like this. But as soon as you walk through that door, they apologize for the mess in their house, almost always. “I’m sorry my house is a mess.” And I’m like look, I did not come to see your house, I came to see you. I really don’t care if your house is a mess. But I know because of their response that it is something that is stressful to them.

Yvette:                         And a lot of people simply don’t know how to declutter, how to organize, how to get rid of the chaos in their lives. Let’s go through some of the 10 foundational rules. Aby what are you thinking?

Aby:                             I’m thinking before we get into that, what I love that you said is going back to, we’re all homeschool moms here. And I love how you said it’s not a one size fits all. It really is what works best for your family. What are your husband’s needs. I might be okay with one thing. I just love how you’re saying it. We’re all created uniquely and differently, and so what’s chaos for you might not be chaos for me. That’s what I’m really liking about the direction your book goes, it is not a “you have to do this the way the Clover household does this in order to be the exact mom and wife Kristi is”. But its really just some basic fundamental concepts that really can work in anybody’s home.

Aby:                             That’s like there’s not one sized box curriculum for every single homeschool family. It’s something unique for each of us. So I’m super excited about that then because this book is for everyone.

Kristi:                           It is, and that’s why my first rule is glean and tweak. Because we can learn from other people and learn from Pinterest and learn from other books out there, you can learn from this book. But unless you tweak it for the season that you’re in, and your personal family… I have friends that, if I cleaned and organized my house and you walked into my house and said “Wow this is perfect!”. I still have friends that would walk in and be like “This is stressing me out”. There’s people who can’t handle anything on the counter. I’m all about let’s put a knickknack here, not to an extreme, I’ve seen them where it’s a little extreme. I have friends that, they just need that. But I don’t have to live according to that.

Kristi:                           My husband likes clean counters, but he just doesn’t want all the Kristi piles there. That is what it is. And now my children have learned how to have their own piles and it’s not good.

Yvette:                         You’ve talked about your first rule, because you have 10 foundational rules that can help moms figure out how to get rid of the chaos in their lives. And the first one you’ve mentioned is glean and tweak, let’s talk about some of the others.

Kristi:                           Okay so it can be anything and 10 rules makes about 2/3 of the book. So the 10 rules are glean and tweak, figuring out your top priorities. In that chapter what I think is important is that I go at it from two different angles. I want you to figure out personally, what is your schedule look like? What are your priorities as a family? Prioritize based on that, schedule your life around that. Because the problem is, if you don’t have cushion in your life and you’re saying yes to everything, you won’t have time to get organized. It’s going to continue to sit at the back as a back burner thing.

Kristi:                           I try to talk people into giving themselves some margin, not making their family “go-go-go”. I feel like as parents, especially homeschool parents, we are horrible at this. We feel like we have to give our kids everything in the maybe 18 years, 17-18-19 years we will have them in our house, in our schools. So we feel like oh we need to give them every experience possible. Oh my goodness, I think about my own personal life and I have learned more as an adult than I ever did as a kid. And not to knock my education, which by the way was public school. They will continue to learn and grow, we don’t have to put it all in the first few years of their lives, so it’s okay to say no to a lot of things.

Kristi:                           So I try to talk people into saying no to as many things as possible, saying yes to things that are going to help your family thrive the most. And then, looking at it from the standpoint of what are your house priorities. So what’s driving you crazy in your house. If you’re married talk to your spouse, what is driving him crazy.

Aby:                             It’s all my son’s room.

Kristi:                           Everyone of us would say it’s my son’s room.

Aby:                             Just had to throw that in there.

Kristi:                           You do it, and you know my advice is, close the door.

Aby:                             Oh I love that! Really? Until the smell starts to waif out. Then the smell comes out. I like that, just shut the door. That is freeing Kristi. I feel like you just freed me and every other mom like me.

Kristi:                           Well, I mean you do have to get in there from time to time. It’s truly something that is an eyesore, close the door so you don’t have to deal with it. When you have time, make time make that your [inaudible 00:16:36]

Kristi:                           One of the other rules is tackle your worst project. And if that’s honestly what’s driving everyone crazy in your house. Then you have to go through and help him declutter. And the key with kids is you have to teach them the systems. You have to teach them where to put things. I always laugh because moms will go through and they’ll organize the whole house but they’re like “Oh my kids leave it messy!”. And I’m like do they know where toys go though? “No I have to help them”. I’m like teach them where the toys go, or you don’t have a system.

Kristi:                           You don’t create systems for other people based on how you process things. You have to create systems for the people in your house that work for them. So that’s the crazy thing, you can be the most logical person in the house, in the world, and if it doesn’t work for them. Everyone’s different, I have a very neat child. I can trust that his room is, in fact if we have too much pounding and grinding and whatever they’re doing down below me happening in the house, I go to his room to do any kind of video or audio, because I always know that its always going to be perfect. And that is just him, that’s the way that he is wired. He thrives in that situation. He knows how to take care of it. Then I have other children. They don’t quite get it.

Aby:                             And I think that’s where the master organizer comes in, because you’re the master of finding what works for each kid. What are the systems that work for them, not just what is the system that works for me. I appreciate that, because my system is obviously the best system in the house. But each of my kids have a different system, so I like how you said that we need to find what systems work for them and then implement that into their space.

Kristi:                           Yeah, and I literally just ran into that in our own home, because I have a chore system that totally works for me. I know visually, like that is what they’re supposed to do, but for my little kids, it’s just too complicated for them.

Yvette:                         You talked about teaching our kids how to do this alongside of us, because we’ve talked about this with Ginger Hubbard, and we talked about coming alongside a child and training them on how to do things. Because often times as moms and dads, we just assume when we tell our child to go clean their room that they know how to do it, because we know how to do it so it should make sense to them. When we say go load the dishwasher or do the laundry we just assume that because we know it they understand it. And I think that’s oftentimes what causes so much frustration between us and our children is that we are saying go do this and they’re like No. Then they don’t do it and then they get reprimanded for it because they’re not obeying. In reality its sometimes maybe because they’re lazy, often times I think it’s because they simply really have not been taught how to do it.

Yvette:                         And I mean it may be with some kids, you know you said you have your son, he’s just wired that way. He is, just by nature, an organizer and he’s very clean. And I have one of those. I have my oldest, she loves to organize things and she does it for fun. And my youngest, not so much. She’s not uncontrollable but we have to come alongside them and say let me show you how to fold your clothes and how to put them in your drawer. Let me show you how to hang your shirts. And then practice it with them, don’t just show them one time. We can often, take it off the hanger, okay put it back on the hanger now. You can even make it into a game. Let’s fold the clothes again, now let’s throw them all over the floor and let’s refold them and put them back in the drawer. You know two or three times so you know that they understand what it is you’re asking them to do.

Yvette:                         And then if they do it right then you really know, okay you really understand this. And then if they don’t obey then that’s a different topic.

Aby:                             I think that’s what’s great about homeschool moms too, we have all day to do this. They’re not showing up at the front door after school and sports at 5 o’clock and we’re trying to get dinner. So, we’re very blessed that we can bring them alongside of us as we are cleaning the kitchen, as we’re cleaning up the toys and they get to do it with us. What are some of the things that you outsource to your children, that you delegate to your kids to do in your home?

Kristi:                           Oh you’re going to love this, this one is my secret one, no kids at the door, when my kids read this someday they’re going to be like “What!”. My number one tip is work yourself out of a job that you hate. So my kids learned how to do the dishes and the trash, because I don’t like dishes and trash. They also learned how to do laundry. Because number one, dishes and laundry those are crazy things that continue to repeat and repeat, so it made sense for them to learn that. Those are my three least favorite things to do. I am fine, I’m weird, we have a little floor vac that we use on the floors not just on our carpet but on our actual hard floors. It’s a little therapeutic for me, I kind of like it. Counters, I like cleaning them, I don’t mind those jobs. And of course, because I’m finding such joy in them my kids are like “Can I do it too!?” And I’m like no, go do the dishes first.

Kristi:                           We all have those little things and it really depends on number one, what do you need to have done around the house? What do you need help with? And I wrote, I think it’s just a blog post, but we happened to use a hashtag that said chore systems. And I laughed because I had two people, I think it might be the same person with two handles on Instagram, we’re like “That is child labor, you should not be making your children do the work that you should be doing.” And I didn’t respond, because that’s where my snark thing just comes in.

Yvette:                         You should have responded with “Practice makes perfect!”

Aby:                             That should be your hashtag.

Kristi:                           They live here so they have to.

Yvette:                         It’s a life skill.

Kristi:                           It is. My daughter cleans the bathrooms and she earned that, because she told me, “Mom, I feel like the bathroom could be cleaned more often.” And there was a little corner that I missed, and I haven’t cleaned the bathroom since she said that, ever. That became her job, and blessedly she’s a little OCD so I have to clean this bathroom in town.

Yvette:                         Oh I love that.

Kristi:                           I also think you cue in, you’re like if that’s bothering you, to your child, that is a job that you can take over in the household. And if you can’t find your socks, you just became the sock folder.

Kristi:                           I laugh because I don’t lose socks. I’ve never totally understood that lost sock thing, until having kids. It wasn’t even the two older boys, it was when it just got crazy and one of my kiddos, he is, we call him “Mr. Fun” because he is all about fun. And he does not intentionally disobey, it’s just that if something fun and shiny is happening, then he needs to be a part of it. So, it’s like we have to make sure we are helping him to narrow his vision, no wait finish this and then move on to the next thing.

Kristi:                           So it’s really hard. So yeah, I don’t remember what the original question was at some point. Help them to find what needs to be done and what do you want to work yourself out of a job on. And I loved your point too Aby, is you know seeing what they naturally have a tendency toward or what they are bothered by.

Yvette:                         Since you were just talking about laundry, I know you have a few systems for laundry in your home. Share those with us, because I know that for homeschool moms, especially if you have multiple kids, that can just be a drag. I mean it really can consume so much of your time

Aby:                             Because when it’s done it starts again.

Yvette:                         Yes.

Kristi:                           Right.

Aby:                             I’m so excited.

Yvette:                         Okay ready?

Aby:                             Yeah, I got my pen, I got my paper, I’m ready.

Kristi:                           Well I have an entire chapter on my hacks, but I will say this, that with laundry you do have to figure out what works best for you. I have heard so many different ways. There’s so many ways to do laundry as far as some people say, do a little bit everyday, that would drive me bonkers. I want to have a break from doing laundry. I cannot do it every day, then it really would pile up because if you get behind or life throws you any kind of a curve ball, your laundry is going to be missed.

Kristi:                           So what works for our family, especially since we have 7 people, is that everyone gets a day of the week, and my husband and I have one day together. I still do both of our laundry together, because he was traveling so much. Now, he’s not traveling. He’ll do the laundry sometimes, but even then I’m like oh wait I’ll just do it. I know what doesn’t go in the dryer and I know that this is how this is going to work.

Kristi:                           So, backing up a little, each person has their own day. What’s beautiful about that it creates a natural accountability, because if you don’t do your laundry and get it out of the washer, dryer and get it into your room to at least start the folding process. Someone else is coming behind you and your laundry is going to get moved, because they are ready to come and do it. So that has worked really well for us.

Yvette:                         That is brilliant.

Kristi:                           Because of that natural accountability. My other thing that is key, if you are doing that kind of laundry.

Kristi:                           So I can even talk through, I have a SMART, SMART is one of my little acronyms for five laundry hacks. So the M in SMART is mesh bag, they should be your best friend. Because if anything needs to go from the washer to like being hung up, you put it in a mesh bag. So that if somebody is moving your clothes from the washer to the dryer, the rule in the house is mesh bags do not go in the dryer. I do that with my husband and I too, so that if he is doing a load, he knows that doesn’t go in the dryer. So it’s not just for delicates.

Aby:                             Oh my gosh. I’m so excited about this. So for example, say Joey has a Tuesday day, as soon as he dries, he folds, he puts away his own clothes, he’s not doing like everybody’s clothes on Tuesday right? It’s his own clothes on Tuesday?

Kristi:                           It’s his own clothes on Tuesday.

Aby:                             So then, if on Friday he fails to do that special shirt, you say hey sorry you wait until Tuesday?

Kristi:                           No. Well…

Aby:                             Like you can cut in? You can share if you need?

Yvette:                         It’s called Laundry Grace.

Kristi:                           Laundry Grace, that’s right. And we aren’t sticklers on the day, all the time. So like if we just got back from Hawaii, we got back on a Sunday, you gotta be flexible. There’s days when suddenly we have three people that need to get their laundry done, because life has been crazy, we were out all day and didn’t have a chance to get laundry going. Then you know, we’re going to have to double up.

Aby:                             How young do you start this? Is your six year old doing it?

Kristi:                           My six year old is doing her laundry. She still needs help with the folding and putting away. She can do it but she doesn’t do it all the time, because she gets flustered, it takes her awhile. And Everyone’s different. My oldest, he does it all.

Kristi:                           One of my other things is, I truly believe in small loads. The larger the load, the more apt you are to let it sit there and not get it done. So it’s really important to have smaller loads. Which is why, again, having a day, that means everyone should be doing their clothes weekly. So my oldest, he was getting in the habit of doing huge loads, because of course his clothes are big too. He’s not in itty bitty little clothes anymore. So he was in the habit of waiting two weeks to do his if he just got busy. What was happening is, his clothes just weren’t getting as clean. And I had to explain to him again, small loads, clothes get cleaner. Everyone tells me I’m crazy to get my laundry done all in one day. But I’m like washer, dryer, fold really quick, washer, dryer, fold really quick. And then I pile it in order, so I’m literally just putting it into the drawer.

Aby:                             If you’re doing everyone has a day, you’re just doing it once a week. So it’s not stacking up, because you know that it’s just a once a week. That’s brilliant. Whats another, okay one more laundry hack before we have to move in.

Kristi:                           One more laundry hack, okay. So this is my rule breaker laundry hack for kids, have them wash everything on cold. I don’t buy a lot of white, if they have anything that’s white, they throw it in my whites divider. And I say white because people normally do, whites, brights and darks, but we actually do cold, warm and hot as our divider. So it’s kinda two laundry hacks. Divide by temperature and have all your kids wash their clothes on cold. If they have items that need to be washed more thoroughly, then you just do a separate wash with that, or throw them in one more time. Because quite frankly, I need to make sure they know what they are doing and if I have them, who knows if that black sock is going to sneak in with those white tank tops or whatever it is. I just don’t deal with that so everything gets washed on cold in our house, not my clothes but the little kids. I mean my oldest, sorry I mean my second oldest. he does do two loads, because he does have enough white clothes that he’s separating those.

Yvette:                         Let’s talk about a few more of the rules that you talk about in the book. So we’ve talked about laundry, we’ve talked about glean and tweak, we’ve talked about priorities.

Kristi:                           Well here’s a big one. The buzz is always on decluttering and everyone’s talking about KonMari method, and you know Marie Kondo. Her little spark joy, which I think is fun, if you hate something then why are you keeping it. But I don’t love, I mean my plunger does not spark joy for me but it is a necessity. I wrote that somewhere and I had someone, I have interesting people who follow me on social media, because this person was just like, “but my plunger sparks joy when I need it.” I’m like, no even when I need it I’m like, blah.

Aby:                             Yeah, the whole situation, there’s no joy in any of that situation.

Kristi:                           I don’t understand that, but it’s all good. My approach with the decluttering process, I call it a Four Leaf Method, because we have four categories, mostly. It’s the traditional what are you going to keep, so what’s gonna go back into your home. That’s when you want to make sure you’re categorizing to organize those things that you are keeping and keeping like things together. Your toss pile, things that just need to go in the trash. Whether it is just trash or toys that are broken that really don’t need to go anywhere other than in the trash can. Then also, we have a sell pile, so if there’s big items that need to be sold, those are going to be that sell pile.

Kristi:                           ut the key pile for us is, the blessings pile. The blessing pile is the traditional donation pile. But what’s helped us, it’s like some mental road block that changed for everyone in the house. That if this item is not useful or a blessing to us, then maybe it can bless someone else. It helps when you have that thing that you’re like, “But I spent money on that! I should keep it.” Why? If you spent money on that and it’s in great condition, see if a friend want it. And if they don’t want it, give it to Salvation Army.

Kristi:                           Because I’ve heard stories, in fact it was Kathi Lipp, she’s another organizer. She’s written a lot of books on organization and decluttering, and has another book coming out, I think in February on the topic. And I heard her speak recently, and she talked about how when she was really going through a hard time, she went into a Goodwill or Salvation Army, and her son really needed a new pair of shes and he was really bummed because he wanted this one kind of shoe. And they happened to find, in Salvation Army, the right size of the exact shoe. She was like it was God’s blessing on us. I think, that if that person hadn’t taken the time to donate that. You’re kinda giving God room to be like, “I can use your stuff.”

Kristi:                           If you don’t need your stuff, get rid of it. So if it’s not doing me any good in our house. Then let the lord use it somewhere else. And who knows, if it’s in horrible condition, maybe Salvation Army is just going to throw it away. But still, I just think it’s important, and it helps my kids to realize if we’re not playing with it, we can bless somebody else. It’s just neat to see how just changing that mentality of, this can bless someone else. So like when we got rid of a ton of our baby clothes, I literally sent an email out to all of my friends and we made this mountain, it was taller than most of my kids, of baby clothes. And my friends came over, and we had all of these babies that were being born, and so people were just coming over and grabbing them. It was great and it was fun and it was crazy, at church I see everybody in my kids’ clothes, and I’m like oh that’s so sweet. It was just fun to see them being reused.

Aby:                             I love that. I think it’s good for kids too because, like with my son, we talked to him. Well, he’s a boy so he’s hard on things. And we talk to him a lot too, when you’re done with things, we want to be stewards of the things that God has given us. Because when you’re done with it… We don’t want to give anyone else our junk, but if we’re stewards with our things. Then when you’re done with that, it’s in really great condition to bless somebody else. So it also, just inspires us and encourages us to take care of the things God has given us. Even if we don’t see them long term for our family. Then they can bless another family.

Yvette:                         And I love what that teaches kids, because we want to teach our kids that they can be content no matter what. And I think often times, especially in our society, we feel like our kids need more and more, we have to get them the newest, and the best and the biggest thing that’s out. That’s why Black Friday, that’s why people stand at in line for 24 hours before the big sale or even longer sometimes, even days, a week! It’s crazy to me. Why are we teaching our kids that? Be content in all things. And when we show them that the things that they have, that they are no longer using can be a blessing to someone else, I think that’s huge. And we have done that with our kids as well, since they were really little. What friend do you have that this might be a blessing to, or often just donating it, because it’s stuff we don’t use.

Yvette:                         I know moms, not that I’ve never done this, I have done this before, but I know moms that will sneak things out. But then I think you’re missing that opportunity to teach your kids to be a blessing to others. And not just to be a blessing to others, but to realize that they don’t need to have all these things to make them happy and to have joy in their lives.

Aby:                             Say, I’m storing up our treasures in Heaven.

Yvette:                         Yes. We have a few minutes left, so lets run through just a few others and then what we don’t get through, of course people just need to get the book.

Kristi:                           You need to get the book, because it’s so fun. Oh thank you. It was so much fun to write. It was fun to tell all my stories. I tried to make it playful and fun and just like we’re sitting down and having a cup of coffee. That’s kind of my approach to writing, I try to make every book I write feel like that.

Kristi:                           Okay, so a few other rules. So this is, a big one, especially for moms, especially for homeschool moms. One of the stories I share in the book on this rule has everything to do with a homeschool moment, and that is ask for help. I think so many moms try to be super heroes and do everything in their own strength, or even if they’re leaning on the Lord, he will give you strength but there’s just not enough time in the day to get everything done. So I like to encourage people to ask for help, and when people offer help you have to say yes.

Kristi:                           So one of the stories I share in the book is all about when we just had our 4th, and I had a bunch of friends who had mommy’s helpers coming in. And I’m like no I can handle this. And Steve was traveling like crazy and we were homeschooling, it was just so much, and I was just kind of at my wits end. I was trying to get Ashlyn, my 4th to sleep and she just wasn’t sleeping well. I just have a technique that use with the kids to, sleep training, to get them to [inaudible 00:38:01] to sleep, and it is hard on me the first several nights, trying to get them to kind of recreate that sleep cycle. I think she had just gone through a teething thing or something, but I was exhausted.

Kristi:                           So I decided to do what so many of us do is, ask for prayer. “Please pray for me. I have a definite need but I’m not going to say it. I’m just going to ask for prayer.” So at the end, I had a girlfriend say, “Kristi, I have a daughter who is trying to earn money for ballet camp, she would love to come over. Where do you live?” We lived three minutes apart and had no clue. It was the biggest blessing. Her daughter would come over and what was so funny is that so often when we are getting, my friends are like, “I have the mommy’s helper come over and play with the kids while I go run errands.” Well that’s fine if I really need the time alone to just get out of the house. But I did that from time to time, but I would often have my mommy’s helpers come over and help with the things I didn’t want to do, so that I could play with my kids.

Kristi:                           You can use help however you want to. And I’m always really upfront too, we have cleaners. I love my cleaners, I help them when they get here, and I help them when they leave. And they come every other week, and the day they come, man by that evening you can’t tell they were here. Unless you’re looking deep, because sometimes it’s just that whole Murphy’s Law of when I have a clean floor someone’s going to spill something. It works no matter if you have cleaners or not, if you clean the floor, your child will spill milk everywhere. It helps because it means, all at one time my house is clean.

Kristi:                           We had a season where we were hosting two different events. I was hosting our Co-Op and I was hosting our Bible study, and my husband was adamant, “I know you. You are going to want the house to be tidy, and you’re going to want it to be clean. We need to have the cleaners come on the off week.” We didn’t have the budget for it, it wasn’t so much a budget, we didn’t want to spend for another cleaning. I just asked them, for this much money will you do the kitchen, the bathrooms, just like the key things I knew I needed done, because I knew that’s where people were going to be. And they were like, “Oh yeah we can do that.” And they were already in our neighborhood.

Kristi:                           So again, ask! If you’re not asking, you’ll never have the solutions. I just think it’s so important for people to see where they could use help and get it.

Yvette:                         Yeah, I think so too. We sadly are out of time, but I would love to continue on and do this for the next two hours, but just tell me to get to work.

Kristi:                           Yes, we have lives. And I have to go get my grays covered. We were joking about that beforehand, I have to go get my hair done because I have spray paint on my grays now.

Yvette:                         Is it like a spray paint you go and get at Lowe’s? You just go to Lowe’s and get some brown spray paint that matches your hair color.

Kristi:                           I laugh because I had a girlfriend tell me about it, and I was like “Are you kidding me?” And she’s like, “No it’s a real thing.” It’s like L’Oreal or something like that, I get it off of Amazon, so yeah. I’ll share the link with you, I’m telling you, you got to do what you have to do. I’m telling you 40 takes over and you got to roll with it.

Yvette:                         I haven’t hit the grays yet, but I have hit the eyesight. I now have to wear reading glasses, which I didn’t have to wear before and I look at small print things like “I can’t see!”. So in order to read your book, I had to put my reading glasses on, but it was well worth it.

Yvette:                         So you guys, get this book.

Aby:                             Where can we get it Kristi?

Yvette:                         It’s fantastic.

Kristi:                           Thank you. You can get it anywhere books are sold. If your physical bookstore doesn’t have it, you can ask them and they will get it in. It’s on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, everywhere. It really is.

Yvette:                         We of course will put links in the show notes to it. It is called, “M.O.M – Master Organizer of Mayhem” by Kristi Clover. And Kristi, thank you. You have written a few other books, I know I would definitely love to have you on the podcast again to talk about some of your other stuff you have going on. You have got all kinds of great encouragements, so I love it. So maybe it won’t take us a year to have you back on, right?

Kristi:                           Life is a little, we’ve been told two more weeks and the house is done.

Aby:                             How long have they been telling you two more weeks?

Kristi:                           They’ve been great. They are keeping right within their timeline, so we’re very happy.

Yvette:                         You are a blessing, thank you for using what God has taught you and shown you to encourage me as a mom and Aby and to encourage all of our listeners. Because you really do have a gift for organization but not just for doing it for yourself but helping others to learn how to do it as well. And it is doable, so for those listening who just feel overwhelmed, truly, honestly get this book because it really will help you. Because it helped me to see things that I just couldn’t see them inside of my little box. So I would read a chapter and go well I can do that. And it really did change my perspective and my habits of doing things around our home. So this is a book that does the same thing as that. So thank you Kristi, you are a blessing.