I’m baaack! Yes, the suitcases are put away; yes, the dirty clothes are all washed; yes, the sand pails and towels are cleaned up and stored. The pictures are even off my camera and onto the computer. What?! Already?! Yep. How?

Day one: unpack all suitcases to either hampers or drawers, as appropriate; put suitcases away; empty coolers and food bags. Day two: store coolers in shed and start laundry, make menu and grocery lists. Day three: continue laundry, go grocery shopping, clean and store beach toys, mats, umbrellas, etc. Day four: finish extra laundry, transfer pictures, make sure kids have finished unpacking and putting away items from their car/toy/book bags. Day five: sort pictures for printing and upload to internet, make lists for coming week. Done!

Next project: have my kids produce something that looks educational from our vacation. We went to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and spent most of our time playing in the ocean and sunning ourselves on the beach. Doesn’t sound very educational, does it? But, do you know the composition of sand? Do you know why there are tides? Neither did we, until we visited the Cape Hatteras National Park. Everyone has heard of the famous pirate named Blackbeard, but did you know that there were also some women who were pirates? Again, neither did we, until we sat through an interesting ranger talk. My youngest daughter earned a Junior Park Ranger badge and patch by completing an educational packet. We can also write short essays, make photo scrapbooks with journaling, draw pictures with captions, or make lap books to show what we learned. Of course, I didn’t breathe a word about “school” while we were on vacation, but that doesn’t mean that learning didn’t happen or that it can’t be recorded. And that is the beauty of homeschooling.

So, with a bit of planning and effort you can have a well-organized house after your vacations as well as before it. I say that it’s an effort because I recognize that it would feel easier (for a while) to dump all the suitcases and sand pails on the living floor for a few weeks; however, the sooner things are back to normal, the better you’ll feel, trust me!

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