Homeschooling parents: How do you clean your house???
I’ve got the “scrubbing” down. I’ve broken the big stuff up into days. One day, I’ll scrub the bathroom, and another day, I’ll mop the floors, etc. But, it’s the little stuff that’s killing me: laundry, doing dishes, picking up, etc. And we haven’t even hit a full on curriculum yet!
Does anyone have any advice? How do you organize your day so you can get everything done???
I drove myself crazy for a couple of months one year when I was looking after a 5yo as well as my 4yo and my 1yo. How? I spent my entire day picking up after the kids! I realized what I was doing was insane and did 2 things: 1) limited how many things could be accessed (stuff was stored away and they had to ask permission to get it, which meant having the first thing cleaned up); 2) allowed the mess (which was smaller due to #1) and had the GIRLS clean it up at the routine times I had set up (before lunch, before going out somewhere, etc.). It truly is possible to spend the entire day doing housework if we have in our minds that our goal is to “be done”. There’s no such thing as being done. So set it up so that housework is only certain times of the day.
Laundry can be part of that routine: throw a load in at breakfast, put it in the dryer at lunch, fold it up just before supper (your two oldest can help!).
Above all, keep in mind that having a 2mo can THOROUGHLY make things difficult. It’s okay if you don’t have a even a half-hour to spend with one or the other child. It’ll come.
2. Break up the tasks – I try to start one load of laundry each morning before the kids are up. Switch it to the dryer at lunch. Fold and put away after kids are in bed.
3. Enlist help – my husband helps with the dishes and folding laundry each night. We also have a cleaning person come in a few times a month for the heavy duty cleaning (I know this isn’t always financially possible but it’s worth it to us so we skip meals out in order to have some help)
4. Minimize the damage the little ones do – I try to keep them all engaged in activities at the kitchen table (they are 7, 5 and 2). If the older 2 are doing schoolwork, I give the youngest some crayons and paper to color or a puzzle to work on at the table.
5. Take a day off from school every once in awhile to get caught up on the household chores – public schools have inservice days and teacher-conference days – you can take a day off once or twice a month too!
6. Have some quiet time or recess time after lunch each day. While they are playing or resting, spend 30-45 minutes doing a quick pick up downstairs.
The key thing is that not everything gets done around the house (especially since the kids are still young). My house tends to be much tidier in the summer when we are spending less time on schoolwork (although we do school year round).
Have the kids help you with the laundry and dishes and picking up (no they are not too young other than the 2 month old :p)…..mine is 9 yrs old and she has been ‘helping’ since she was 2. She is responsible for sorting the laundry into color piles, emptying the dryer and folding/putting her clothes away. She is also in charge of putting the dishes in the dishwasher and starting it when it is full>>>we have a rule in our house, whoever doesn’t cook that night does the dishes.
Also in our house we go by the old saying ‘A place for everything and everything in it’s place’ and school is done in an area where the ‘mess’ can be contained (we are lucky enough to have a spare room that we use as a schoolroom).
Another rule we ‘try’ to follow is an old pioneer rule>>>
Wash on Monday
Iron on Tuesday
Mend on Wednesday
Churn on Thursday
Clean on Friday
Bake on Saturday
Rest on Sunday
While we are not pioneers anymore, you can design this saying your own way.
Bottom line, give them areas that are theirs to keep neat and tidy, have them help you and remember ‘Dirtyer than some, cleaner than most.’
In the evening I start a load of laundry, place it in the dryer, and go to bed.
With all the little ones you may have to add another one in the washer before retiring, and switch them in the morning.
You can teach them by letting them help, and spending time with them; leave the main cleaning for later, and do let your husband know it takes two !!
Make simple meals that they can help with as well.
Lower your standards/expectations for a while as well; at least until they are a little older; it’s okay to have a clean house, but not at the expense of having a *home*.
It will start all over again when they are teenagers 🙂
Teach them what is truly important, the house will still be there tomorrow, or next week for that matter.
A home needs to be clean enough to be healthy, and messy enough to be comfortable.
My motto if you (company or in-laws) don’t like it, feel free to start picking it up, it won’t hurt my feelings none.
A friend recently put it this way; if you are here to visit me, you are welcome, if you are here to see or critique the house, make an appointment; I say Amen.
So grab some baskets, place them around the house, and pick up on the end of the day; great way to let them practice basket ball 🙂
1. Remember that you cannot be all things to all people. Something is going to suffer. I know one homeschool mom who just flat out asked her husband if he preferred a clean house or hot meals. He picked a clean house and sandwiches for dinner. The children’s education was a given. Prioritize. Be willing to sacrifice something.
2. www.FLYLady.net This changed my life. No joke. It sounds too simple to work, but it does. If you want a miracle fix, this program is it. It works great for parents with careers outside the home too.
3. Let greed work for you! I know a homeschooling mom who has a paid staff. That staff is made up of her kids and she pays pocket change, but the kids don’t care. Instead of one weekly allowance, she pays by the chore. The kids get ambitious and try get more chores than their siblings, thus more cash.
4. Routine. I’m dead in the water without it.
5. Are the kids helping? Even when they do a sloppy job, praise them and let it go. They will be proud and you will have less to worry about.
Both my girls are really, really into being first, winning and playing games right now so this works out beautifully for us. We even use it to get dressed without arguments.
I had to give up on a lot of perfection when I became a HS mom. I try to focus on the daily stuff that has to be done – cooking and doing dishes. Laundry is done once a week (works best for me). I try to run errands only on one day and make a long day of it so I don’t break up days all the time.
Many HS’er love following the Fly Lady’s techniques. I do some of her stuff, but not all of it. She has a page on her site just for HS’ing.
Also, with cooking, I do things like purchase 16 lbs of ground beef and turkey and cook it all at once, then freeze it in one and two-pound portions. It’s already seasoned, too. I use my crock pot a lot. I have a stockpile of recipes in my recipe book at AllRecipes.com. I’m almost done making out a six week menu rotation.
Those are just a few things off the top of my head. Oh, and I use our kitchen island for DS to do work where he needs to ask me stuff but not for me to be right there. He can work at the island while I cook or do dishes, etc. He does a lot of independent work, which is nice.
I also don’t answer the phone during schooling times unless it’s important, like a doctor’s office calling.
I try to just keep the “public” parts of the house clean and the bedrooms and basement I don’t stress so much about. With more people home every day the house gets untidy quicker. If I worked and the kids were in a B&M school, the house would have 8 less hours a day to get messy :-).
EDITED TO ADD: Oh, and DH gives me one night a week of “mom” time and three hours in a block on the weekends. If I’m at home, no one is to talk to me. I can choose to do work or I can relax – my choice. On weekends I usually do errands sans kids because I can get so much more done.
And just generally try not to be too much of a neat-freak 🙂
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