Housekeeping got you down, homeschool mom? You aren’t the only one!
Homeschooling and maintaining your home at the same time is possible - it just takes some thought and planning. I’ve asked some homeschool friends to share their best tips - and they delivered!
Find out how other homeschool moms manage their home with simple systems (and still get homeschooling done!).
Systems for Housekeeping from Homeschool Moms
There are plenty of methods and ideas for keeping your house clean. The trick is finding the methods you can stick with. We’ve all been there - so take the advice of these seasoned homeschool moms and create some systems to help you manage your home.
Create a Morning Routine
Routine, routine, routine! I can’t stress how important creating a few simple routines is. Believe me, a morning routine (and an evening routine) is the first step to managing all the daily tasks on your schedule.
But it’s important not to overload your routine - which will just burn you out and make you fail. Instead, choose the most important things you need to tackle each morning. For me, that’s getting myself ready for the day (so I don’t stay in my pajamas every day!), reading my Bible, doing a quick wipe down of the bathroom, emptying the dishwasher, and taking 15 minutes to tackle one area of my home (see the section about deep cleaning for more information about that part of my routine). My evening routine is just as simple: a 10-minute clean-up, loading the dishwasher and doing the dishes after dinner (kitchen counters and sink must be cleared and cleaned every night).
One tip: I don’t do all these tasks myself - my family pitches in too! I’m just the ‘routine keeper.' I make sure everything gets completed.
Read more about creating a cleaning routine with Sara at Classically homeschooling - “A good routine will effortlessly help you stay on top of all the daily chores that make a difference between a filthy house and a tidy one.”
Kirstee at This Whole Home has some great tips for creating a morning routine - “It isn’t a full on cleaning routine, it’s just a home reset. Keep it to just the chores which will help your home to feel like a calm space, and give you the freedom to use your home without feeling hemmed in by clutter.”
And don’t forget the kids - get them started on a morning routine and make it a natural part of their day. Kris at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers has some advice about that!
Everything in Its Place
I really can’t stress this fact enough -- everything in your home should have a home. No piles or baskets filled with odds and ends. Find a place for everything. Then, when you use something, don’t put it down, put it away!
Your home will feel cleaner when it’s clear of clutter and it will be easier to actually clean your house with all the stuff cleared out of the way.
Plan a few 5 or 10-minute pick-up periods in your day to keep ahead of the mess. Give everyone a basket and have them clean up their clutter.
Scheduling Tip: we schedule an after homeschool clean-up and after dinner clean-up every day - it keeps the mess under control.
I’m not the only one who follows this philosophy. Read Sallie’s thoughts here: My Number One Rule of Homemaking
Loop Scheduling for Weekly Cleaning
We’ve loved using a loop schedule in our homeschool (it’s a great way to fit in those subjects that often get pushed off the schedule). In its most basic form, it’s simply a list of tasks you want to complete. You start at the top, working for a set amount of time. When your time is up, you note where you finished and start at that spot the next time you work on your loop. When you get to the last task you ‘loop’ back to the top of the list and start over.
This fabulously simple tool works so well for weekly cleaning. I have tried (and failed) to stick to a schedule where I do laundry on certain days, wash floors on certain days, etc. Inevitably my schedule gets interrupted and my chores go out the window.
But with a loop, I simply pick right up where I left off on the list, making sure I cycle through my weekly chores and keeping the house basically clean.
Here are some more ideas and resources for looping your household tasks:
Jamie from The Unlikely Homeschool also follows this method and she has plenty of tips in this post: Balancing Homeschool & Housework
Kristi at Savvy Schooling uses a loop method and a great tip for automating the process with an online app: Two Steps to Get Your Housework (and Life!) Under Control
Tauna at Proverbial Homemaker has a free printable for loop scheduling!
Plan for Deep Cleaning
While I don’t have much trouble keeping up with the daily and weekly chores (thanks to my daily routines and weekly chore list), deep cleaning often feels like the bane of my existence. Until I came to the realization that I didn’t have to deep clean every day or even every week. There are two methods I’ve used for scheduling time for deep cleaning (and both work really well!).
Method #1 - Clean one area of your home each week
One method that works well for me is dividing my house up into six areas (kitchen, dining room, entrance/outside, bedrooms, bathroom, and living room for our home). Each week I tackle one area, taking 15 minutes a day during the week to tackle something in that space. I include this 15 minute cleaning time into my morning routine so it feels a little more manageable. While I might groan at the thought of spending an hour cleaning a room, for some reason that 15-minute timer doesn’t bother me as much.
Method #2 - Deep clean on your week off
This is another method we’ve tried and loved. It works best if you follow a 6-week school schedule (or Sabbath schooling) - homeschooling for six weeks followed by a week off then rinse and repeat until you’ve fit in your school days for the year. During that week off, you take a day or two to tackle all the deep cleaning at once.
For more tips about using this method, read this post from Shelly at There’s No Place Like Home: Life Skills Day
More Cleaning Tips for Homeschool Moms
Need a more organized system? Sara at Classically Homeschooling shares her favorite resources: 7 Excellent Ways to Keep a Clean House with Homeschooling
10 Tips for Cleaning Up After a Big Family from Shelly at There's No Place Like Home - “Aim for presentable, not “Better Homes and Gardens.”
Tiffany at Homeschool Hideout: Housework & Homeschooling: 8 Easy Tips to Keep You Sane - I love her tip for tackling the most important items first!
3 Benefits of Dropping the Ball from Michelle at Homeschool Your Boys - “The more our kids do for themselves, the more prepared they will be for life.”
A must-read from June at This Simple Balance: How to Stop Obsessing Over a Clean House - “So my advice is to scrap the cleaning schedule, pick your one thing, and make room in your life for you.”
Special mention needs to be made for those moms with little ones. It is HARD to keep up when you have little ones that take so much of your time (and make messes so quickly!). Take it easy, don’t obsesses over cleaning, and enjoy your family. They will only be small for a season. It passes all too quickly. I know, you’ve probably heard that a million times - but it’s still true!
And while you’re in this stage of life - get prepared. Read How I taught my kids to clean by Jamie at Simple Homeschool. It'sa detailed post about the stages of teaching kids to clean.