9 Tips to Keep Housework at Bay
BY LINDA DOBSON
You think your house has that “lived-in” look now? Wait until it’s actually lived in! But where is the law that says our homes must be void of dust bunnies, and who gave Martha Stewart the final say on it all?
Homeschooling families leap the housework hurdle in their own ways, but many share a relaxation of standards to ensure there’s still time for sleep each night. When you learn to be content with some things “kid-cleaned,” in this way you’ll be able to enjoy putting your energy into your fellow inhabitants, instead of into the “box” in which they live. Put these 9 tips to keep housework at bay while homeschooling to work for you!
Clear the Clutter for Homeschooling
Clearing the clutter first helps you clear the housecleaning and homeschooling hurdle. When she started homeschooling with a new baby in the house, Kimberly McLamb, of Kensington, Maryland, also brought home her work as a certified public accountant. “I had to choose to simplify or go insane,” she says. “Out went items not used, clothes not worn, crafts not completed.’
Kimberly also feels that making it through Christmas without adding to clutter is another victory. “Grandparents are given curriculum lists in place of lists full of toys with short lives or little educational value,” Kimberly explains. “It’s tough! Non-homeschooling cousins open gifts containing whatever caught their eyes on television the week after Thanksgiving, then peer curiously at my daughter’s CDs, math manipulatives, and educational puzzles.”
Homeschooling for Three Weeks On, One Week Off
When you’re in charge of the schedule, you can shape it any way that best fits your family and homeschooling needs. When Joy Hayden, of Sterling, Virginia, got tired of forgetting to do the laundry during the first two weeks of homeschooling each year, here’s how she decided to handle housework.
“We are homeschooling for three weeks and take one week off,” Joy says. “During the week off, my children catch up on any work they failed to finish during the first three weeks. I use the time to run errands, make appointments, and do some heavier cleaning.”
See also Lazy Learning
The week off has always included visits to Grandma and craft projects, but now the Haydens have taken advantage of homeschooling flexibility and added a unit study with another family as well. “We moms take turns leading the unit study, which means I don’t have to prepare one every month,” says Joy. “This way we don’t forfeit our entire week off, and the kids love it.”
Prioritizing Helps with the Homeschooling
On some mornings we wake up and realize that, if given the use of ten extra hands that day, we still couldn’t accomplish everything we would like to. While this problem isn’t unique to homeschooling parents, our additional responsibility can make some days seem far shorter than twenty-four hours.
“I wish someone had told me that it’s okay if your house isn’t always picked up or even cleaned up and dusted,” Gwena Chavez, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, says. “I wish someone had told me how to juggle a million things all at once – especially pleasing my husband, who doesn’t always agree on what should be a day’s priorities. I just can’t do it all at once, and I had to learn to relax and pray for wisdom and discernment in prioritizing my daily chores – chores, by the way, some of which I now assign to my young children.”
More Tips for Keeping Housework at Bay While Homeschooling
Where there’s a will there’s a way, and homeschoolers must have a lot of will, because they’ve found a lot of ways to accomplish as much as possible in any given day. Here are a few more tips to help make homeschooling easier for you!
- Find out more about once-a-month cooking, a real meal-preparation time-saver.
- Organize – with shelves (and more shelves), plastic bins and baskets, covered containers big and small, and anything else that helps create “a place” for everything.
- Cut back on nonfamily activities; when the children get older (in what will seem the blink of an eye), you can resume same.
- Have more activities outside.
- Find a mother’s helper – sometimes neighborhood teens are willing to entertain children for an hour or two for a day or two each week, either for pay or in barter exchange for something you can provide in return. (I exchanged tutoring with whatever homework needs the girls were wrestling with.)
- Family and friends may want to help – you don’t know if you don’t ask!
Find much more information helpful for your family’s homeschooling in one of Linda’s many books, The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child: Your Complete Guide to Getting Off to the Right Start, available at the link.