When I first began homeschooling I asked a friend how to do it all. Her response? “Hire a maid!” At first I thought she was joking until I realized she did in fact have hired help.
Just imagine, long nature walks with the kids while someone else scrubs my toilets, folds my laundry and empties my dishwasher. Sigh. If only my budget would allow for such fantasies. The reality is, my home needs to be kept in order and I am the one that needs to make sure it gets done. Is it really possible as a homeschool mom? Can I really keep a tidy home while homeschooling? Although it may not sparkle like the empty nester’s home down the road, it can in fact look decent enough to feel good about at the end of the day.
A load a day is the easiest way. Rather than trying to establish a “laundry day,” I find it easier to always have a load going. This way, when I have to put laundry away, I am not greeted with a never ending pile. I treat it the same way I do dishes or cleaning off the dinner table. I would never let pots and pans pile up for weeks at a time! In the same way, I try not to let laundry pile up. If I do, the task always seems insurmountable because I then have to carve out several hours at the end of my week to tackle it. If I keep a steady stream going where I am always loading, unloading and putting a small bit away each day then the chore doesn’t seem as bothersome!
Age Appropriate Chores
Keep expectations realistic. You can’t expect your six year old to make your bathroom shine or your two year old to clean her room spotless. What you can do is give your children goals that they can easily and proudly accomplish. Look at their ages and give them chores accordingly. Personally, I am not a fan of chore charts where the chores change each day. Rather, I give my kids a job to do that they are responsible for the entire week. Some jobs are indefinite and will remain the same until further notice! Kids thrive off of structure and do much better when they know exactly what is expected of them. If they become confused as to what they are supposed to do each day, at a young age, they will grow up to hate cleaning or housework. If they have an understanding of what is expected from them and can realistically meet that goal, they can actually enjoy helping out and will feel as though they are a part of something greater than themselves.
If you are expecting company or you simply look around and realize that your house is an absolute mess, then don’t be afraid to take a day off of school to clean! Your children might actually thank you. Sometimes it’s good to take a break from the daily routine. When finished, schooling may be more enjoyable in a tidier environment! Hand one child a washcloth and have them clean the baseboards. Give an older child the job of washing the windows. Your children might surprise you and have a good time. Sometimes just spending time with mom, doing what needs to be done is just what your child needs to feel accepted and part of the family. It helps teach them life skills as well.
Look around your home. What messes make your stomach turn? Is it the bills and receipts billing up on the countertop? Are your children’s shoes preventing entry through the front door? Pick an area of your home each day to tidy up. Just one. Rather than trying to tackle all the messes in one shot, just pick one a day and eventually your home will seem a little bit more livable!
Remember, your home is lived in. It is your schoolroom, cafeteria, art room, science lab, media center and so much more. It is okay if your home is not in pristine condition at all times, it is unrealistic. Keep your goals practical. Don’t overwhelm yourself or your children but enjoy each other and the home you live in!