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Tuesday March 21st 2023

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Why Homeschoolers Should Avoid Housekeeping by Debbie Harbeson

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Debbie Harbeson

With this wonderful post, Debbie Harbeson joins the growing crew of Parent at the Helm, adding her signature brand of humor to all things homeschooling, including housekeeping! Debbie has homeschooled two children, written a book called Okay Kids, Time For Bedlam (love the title!) and, like so many homeschooling moms has turned her attention to new adventures you can read about in her brief in our “About” section. Help us welcome on board Debbie, who who was already training for this role years ago!

All families who are very active at home will naturally create messes and the temptation is to clean them up as soon as possible, but take my advice and don’t do it. Cleaning up a home filled with children actively learning is irresponsible.

Now, some of you might consider these to be the words of a writer who is in reality just lazy and you’d be right. But I don’t see what that has to do with it.

After all, decay is an important part of biology.

Oh sure, eventually you’ll want to clear out those snails, turtles, marsupials and other apparently homeless creatures your hospitable kids invited into your home, but there’s really no hurry. Even if they pass away, they are valuable far post mortem. After all, decay is an important part of biology.

What? Well, sure, I guess you could build a worm farm neatly secured in its plastic box but, really now, what fun is that? Watching the natural decay of the deceased wild animals your kids dragged in is much more educational.

Besides, cleaning is completely futile anyway. As a matter of fact, art materials, like green sparkly glitter, actually multiply the more you try to clean it up. Particularly when your kids decide to create a giant snow-globe by sprinkling piles of it on each blade of the ceiling fan and turning on the switch. Trying to get glitter out of the carpet and furniture is bad enough, but pieces will fall out of various crevices in your body for months.

Nor should you be concerned about stain removal. Stains from family cooking projects are marks of pride. You are doing your children no favors by working hard to remove them.

What? Well sure, I guess stain removal can be a science project of its own but it’s far easier to ignore irritations. So go away.

Okay, okay, I admit it, I just don’t want to clean. The only sponges I have in the house are Nerf products. But is that really so bad?

After all, my desire to avoid cleaning taught my kids valuable job skills. For example, like many lazy moms, I used paper plates so I’d never have to waste energy washing dishes but I saw additional benefits when home-use paper shredders came out. Clean up was fun and easy and I feel good that my kids now know how to use important state-of-the-art technology they will likely need in their future jobs.

But the best reason for not being so quick to clean up is for studying history. I feel like an excited archaeologist entering a cave every time I go down to our basement to study chalk drawings my kids created on the unfinished concrete walls years ago. I learn something new every time I venture down there. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

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4 Responses to “Why Homeschoolers Should Avoid Housekeeping by Debbie Harbeson”

  1. I love it! Were you peaking in my direction, maybe?

  2. Debbie Harbeson says:

    Yes I was Carol. I knew we had a lot in common when I saw a few pieces of glitter in your ear.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by SecularHomeschool, Parent at the Helm. Parent at the Helm said: New blog posting, Why Homeschoolers Should Avoid Housekeeping by Debbie Harbeson – […]

  4. Miranda says:

    I have found that my kids play more and make more connections between the different kinds of toys that they have, if I let them leave their toys strewn all over the house. The problem is that I NEED a tidy house to be a Happy Mommy ™. So I compromise and have declared Thursdays to be Deep Clean days. We spend all day tidying up everything in our house and cleaning the floors and bathrooms, then we bake cookies together and spend whatever is left of our day being utterly lazy 😀 We've done it enough times now that we are usually done with our whole house (it does help to have the very smallest house you can fit into!) by lunchtime! I do think it is important for my kids to learn how to clean up after themselves and in their family, but I do love to see how much more creatively they play when their toys are in disarray and they have no fear of having to clean it all up soon!

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