Author, content creator, and homeschooling mom of five Kristi Clover encourages other moms to get organized and create more joy in their lives through her books, podcast, online courses, and YouTube channel.
Clover sat down with The Epoch Times to tell us just how she does it all.
The Epoch Times: You homeschool your five children. What led you to decide to homeschool, and how has homeschooling benefited your family?
Kristi Clover: There are so many reasons that we decided to homeschool our kids. We love that we’re able to tailor each child’s education to their interests and strengths, as well as to their needs. If they need more time to learn a subject, then we can slow down and work on it as long as it takes for them to truly understand it. The opposite is true as well. If they quickly grasp the concept, then we can move on more quickly. My older boys have shown talent in writing and photography, so we create more opportunities for them to practice those skills.
The Epoch Times: What advice would you give parents who are thinking about homeschooling their kids? Where should they start?
Ms. Clover: Start with what you’re excited about teaching or what your kids are interested in learning. Too many people get bogged down with finding the perfect curriculum to use for every subject that they want to teach. Sometimes, it’s best to start with a few basics for curriculum, like a good phonics program and math program.
Then, create a simple unit study for the other subjects. A unit study is picking one topic to base all your other subjects on. So if your child loves airplanes, you would study the history and science of planes. Borrow a bunch of books from your local library and enjoy learning more about them. Write stories or essays on the subject. You could also take a field trip to a local airport or talk with a friend who is a pilot. Add to the fun by learning how to sketch an airplane, watch a movie or documentary about planes, and make some airplane-shaped snacks. Food is always a great way to create memories around anything you are studying.
Of course, I’d also encourage folks considering homeschooling to read “Homeschool Basics.” It’s a book that my friend Tricia Goyer and I wrote together to answer questions just like this to help parents figure out the ins and outs of homeschooling.
The Epoch Times: What made you get started creating content online and writing books?
Ms. Clover: I started speaking at moms’ groups back when my oldest two boys were only in preschool. It sparked a passion for encouraging moms.
I’d always been interested in writing, so I started blogging as a hobby in 2014. I discovered YouTube and live video and fell in love with that platform, and found that my audience wanted more details about how I homeschooled and organized my family. So I created an online course based on my most popular video about homeschool organization.
“Homeschool Basics” followed the next year. However, it wasn’t until early 2018 that I finally turned in the book proposal for my dream book, titled after my very first moms’ group workshop—”M.O.M. = Master Organizer of Mayhem.”
The Epoch Times: You’ve created so many encouraging resources for moms—especially homeschooling moms. You probably get this all the time, but how do you do it all?
Ms. Clover: Ha! Yes, I do! The big secret is that I don’t do it all at the same time. When I’m podcasting, I’m usually not creating YouTube videos. When I was writing “M.O.M.,” I took almost nine months off from pretty much everything I did online.
I can only juggle so many things well, at one time. So I prioritize and just do what I can do. There are seasons when it seems easier to get more done at once. There are also times when I have to pull back completely in order to maintain balance for my family and myself.
The Epoch Times: You talk a lot about organization and joy. How do you think the two are related?
Ms. Clover: Most people would probably agree that chaos and joy are not synonymous. What I’ve discovered is that when my house isn’t adding to my stress level and filling up too much of my to-do list, I can more readily enjoy time at home. It’s totally possible to have joy in all kinds of circumstances, but it comes more easily when my house isn’t overwhelming me and those who live here.
The Epoch Times: Your new book is coming out soon. What can you tell us about it?
Ms. Clover: Yes! “M.O.M. = Master Organizer of Mayhem: Simple Solutions to Organize Chaos and Bring More Joy into Your Home” is coming out Sept. 3!
This book is all about helping moms create more efficiency in their homes. Kids add a completely different dynamic to trying to stay on top of the daily mess that naturally happens in a home. Most moms carry around this weight that they need to have it all together and keep the house looking perfect as much as possible. It can be quite overwhelming.
I want moms to understand that it’s okay if their homes look lived in, especially in busy seasons that seem to accompany #momlife. However, I also want them to have practical advice and systems to implement to help them be more efficient in managing their homes. I really think this book will be a breath of fresh air to moms in all stages of life.
The Epoch Times: As a very busy mom, what organizational habits or practices have you found to be especially important in order to keep that joy in your family?
Ms. Clover: Prioritizing! I guess I kind of gave that away earlier. It’s one of the early chapters in my book: “Don’t Forget Your Top Priorities.”
There are always going to be times when life is busy and the house will be harder to keep straightened up to your normal standards. So during those seasons, I’ve had to learn to lower my expectations and be okay with it.
The key is that my faith and my family are my two top priorities. My home is the hub where I do try to bless my family, but not at the expense of my sanity or my time with them. In the book, I share how I redefine organization. To me, it’s about creating efficiency in my home in order to create more time for my family and my other priorities.
Now, here’s a bonus tip: You can prioritize your household to-dos. I like having tidy floors and clean toilets. My husband likes clear counters and knowing that we have a plan for dinner (even if it’s pizza). So when push comes to shove, those are the things that get done in our home.