Being able to homeschool is a huge blessing in my life and the life of my kids, but it doesn’t come without sacrifice. I’m a firm believer that it is impossible to balance it all. Our society tries to pile on too much, too many ways to measure our value in terms of volume of activity. This has got to stop! At the same time, when you homeschool you can’t just stop cooking, cleaning and managing your home. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and your homeschool doesn’t have to be perfect. But some sort of balancing act is going to have to happen in order to make sure your home is livable and everyone is fed and clothed and educated.
My house is messy right now, but in general it is so much better than it was when I had all six under ten. Life happens and it is okay if you don’t have anything close to perfect housework. The key is to find a healthy routine that covers the biggest pain points — that means the most important housework tasks mourned your home. Priorities my friend. What absolutely must be done and what doesn’t really matter.
For me, dusting doesn’t really matter all that much. Windows are covered in dog slobber an hour after we clean them. Those things get done, but not nearly as often as dishes and laundry! If we are sick or really busy, things just have to sit for a day or two and messes build up. That’s life. I have learned not to stress about it. In fact I have a cold right now and dishes on my kitchen counter. I’d rather go to bed and rest.
Homeschooling vs. Housework: Manage Your Expectations
Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture. Let’s say you all are getting over a stomach virus, you have to give yourself and your family grace. Take it easy. Rest. Get plenty of fluids. (Sorry, thats the mom in me refusing to be quiet.) Catch up when you can. Don’t overdo it though – that’s just a recipe for getting sick again. But even in the day-to-day, if you are getting stressed about housework that isn’t getting done, lower your expectations. Manage your expectations well. Don’t stress about things that have no eternal consequence! Cleanliness is not nearly as close to Godliness as we were led to believe.Don't stress about things that have no eternal consequence! Cleanliness is not nearly as close to Godliness as we were led to believe.
Homeschooling vs. Housework: Declutter Often
One of the things I do on a fairly frequent basis is work on decluttering each room in our home. Start with one room or one drawer or one closet and work your way through your home getting rid of trash (mail that builds up in random places for instance) and anything you don’t actually use or need. If you have closets stuffed to the brim, it can feel like your home is never clean. I like to shop at the Dollar Tree or Dollar General for plastic bins so it doesn’t cost near as much to store your toiletries, notebooks, and more inside. Buy those cheap containers and add labels so everyone knows where items go. Once your home has less clutter it will be a lot easier to keep things tidy if everything has its own space. If you can’t find a place for everything – you have too much stuff!
Homeschooling vs. Housework: Get off the Crazy Train! Limit Activities.
I’ve got six kids. If each child had three different activities all at different times of the day, I’d be in an insane asylum. But having so many kids to manage gives me an easy out and say no. Even with two or three kids, its easy to fill your days with too many activities. If you go straight from finishing up the last subject of your homeschool day into a frenzy of activity, how will you ever clean up the science experiment left on the counter. Seriously, you can only do so much, and not only do you need to have time to feed your family and do basic housework, you also need room to breathe. Everyone in your entire family needs room to breathe. If you can’t spend thirty minutes sitting out on the back porch doing nothing but breathing, you’ve got too much to do.
Homeschooling vs. Housework: Have Kids Help
Nobody wants to be the mom who’s son gets to college and gives his dirty laundry to his girlfriend. Your children need to learn basic life skills. In fact, it is one of the most often mentioned lack among college students these days. How will your kids ever learn if they never have to help? At our home, its all hands on deck. We all have chores, including me, but during those occasional weeks when I am crazy busy with this business one of the older teens will take over for me.
Delegating housework to children is training them for life. That doesn’t mean they are slaving away while you eat bonbons! In fact I suggest you work together. It does mean that everyone shares in the responsibilities of keeping the house. And also — make it fun! Dance in the kitchen with a broom. Laugh together! Model a great attitude about housework instead of grousing and complaining. I could write a whole separate article on just that topic.
Homeschooling vs. Housework: Embrace a Loop Schedule Routine
You probably already have something of a routine, but organizing a loop schedule can make a huge difference in your home and its perfect for those of us who hate strict schedules and timelines and appointments. Instead, Each day of the week is designated to a few different tasks. Then each day you take a short amount of time to tackle just those tasks, rotating through tasks on a weekly basis. You might even set up two weeks worth of tasks and loop through those! You can also use loop scheduling to loosely organize your homeschool and help your kids help themselves stay on track. Check out Loop Scheduling more here.