I’m one of those strange people who actually enjoys housework if I know that I can relax and enjoy my clean house after I’m all done. Throw in seven children and homeschooling and you’ll find that I can barely keep one room picked up long enough to clean it. And that’s if I can find the time to clean in between homeschooling, preparing meals, running errands and keeping track of my kids.
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It took me several years to figure out a way to balance housework and homeschooling. I still struggle to keep my house as clean and organized as I like while keeping up with home education. I don’t always follow my own advice and I never do it perfectly but here are a few things I’ve learned about keeping my house clean and my kids educated.
Prioritize and Lower Expectations
Before I started homeschooling, I was already struggling to mange motherhood, my marriage, my home and my other commitments. Adding in homeschooling meant that something else had to give. There just isn’t enough time in the day for me to do everything well.
My solution was to prioritize the housework and then lower my expectations.
I made a list of all the tasks that needed to be done around my home and then prioritized them. Laundry had to be done because we needed clothes to wear and meals had to be made so my family could be fed. However, the windows of my home could handle a few more weeks of hand prints and baby slobber. The dust could be ignored until someone started sneezing frequently and the bed sheets didn’t have to be washed as often as I’d like.
My husband and I each picked one household task that really bothered us if it wasn’t completed regularly. Clutter makes me feel unsettled and my husband prefers a crumb-free floor so we make those two things a priority to help save our individual sanity.
Prioritize what is most important and then learn to be okay with letting the rest go.
Limit Outside Activities
I discovered early on that I can’t clean my home if I’m never at home. It seems that the more activities we have outside the home, the more cluttered my house gets. We have just enough time to plop everything from the car onto the floors and counters of my home but no time to put them away where they belong.
I’d suggest that if you are new to homeschooling and still trying to find your rhythm that you limit your outside activities. This goes for those of you with little ones and no older kids to help around the house too. Eventually you will find a good rhythm for your family and your little ones will learn to help more with chores. Then your house will be a little easier to clean and you’ll be able to add in more outside activities.
If you want a clean home you’ll have to limit your outside activities…for awhile.
Have you ever tried to vaccum a room that is covered in toys? Or dust a surface that is piled high with stuff? Clutter is a time sucker. You have to move it around to get anything accomplished. Better to tackle the clutter first before it takes over your home and your sanity!
You don’t have to declutter your home all in one day. Pick one room, set a timer for 15 minutes and see how far you can get. Repeat the process again at a later time. A little bit of decluttering everyday makes a big difference over time!
Schedule Your Housework
The best way to succeed at anything is to have a plan and that includes housework. I have found it helpful to schedule my housework. For several years I assigned a household task to each day of the week. For example, Monday was laundry day, Tuesday was office day (balance checkbook, make phone calls etc), Wednesday was the day for errands, Thursday and Friday were for cleaning.
Other times I have focused on school for three weeks, doing very little housework and then taken a week off of homeschooling to dedicate to getting my home in order. Whatever schedule you follow, make sure to have some sort of plan for tackling the housework while homeschooling.
Enlist Your Kids
My kids aren’t the most thorough household workers but they definitely help keep things from getting out of control. My forks, spoons and knives end up in one big heap in the silverware drawer but at least the dishwasher gets emptied. The kitchen floor still has some remaining crumbs after my son sweeps it but we also aren’t stepping on large chunks of food either. I also have my kids help with laundry.
Over time and with lots of practice and patient instruction, my older kids have become very good at helping around the house. It wasn’t always easy when they were learning how to complete a new chore but I kept reminding myself that it would pay off in the long run. And it did!
Hire Outside Help
About once a year my husband and I splurge and hire housecleaners to deep clean the house. We can’t always afford it, but when we can it is a huge blessing. It’s hard to find time to wipe down the blinds, clean inside the microwave and scrub the bathroom shower until it shines so it is relief to have it done by someone else while I am caring for other family needs.
What is your one greatest challenge when it comes to balancing housework and homeschooling?
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