Homeschooling is such a blessing for our family - I really believe it has created a family bond that we would not have had if we'd chosen another educational route for our daughter. But, that doesn't mean it isn't difficult! One of the biggest issues I've found is learning just how hard it is to keep up with all the housekeeping chores while we're homeschooling. Over the years, we've discovered a few tips and tricks that help us keep up with those daily housekeeping chores.
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Homeschooling & Housekeeping
When you add homeschooling to the daily schedule, it isn't long before the books, maps, white boards, and other miscellaneous school supplies start to take over. It's difficult enough keeping the house clean without all that stuff - what's a busy homeschool mom to do?
She needs to create systems and a simple schedule to manage all her daily tasks.
I don't mean some huge planner that looks all pretty and color-coded and then never gets used (that's never happened here... ahem). Simple checklists and an easy routine that incorporates daily chores into the schedule are so much easier to manage - at least for me. If that pretty planner works for you - great! But if you're like me and just want a simple method that helps you keep up with it all, this is what I've learned:
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Create a few simple systems
The first step is to create some simple systems. Pick ONE thing you want to work on and find a simple (and I mean an easy, no need to think about) routine that fits your day. Here are a few ideas to help you get started creating your own daily systems:
- Laundry: choose to do either one load a day at the same time every day or choose one day to do all the laundry
- Meal planning: keep a list of easy meal ideas that your family loves (and the ingredients to make them) on hand at all times
- Daily chores: make a list of all those chores you like to have done every week and slip it into an erasable pocket holder. Then, everyday EVERYONE picks a chore, does it, and checks it off the list - the same time every day. If you have kids that dawdle, set a timer for 10 minutes, put on your favorite music, and get to work. When all the chores have been checked off, erase the list and repeat.
- End of day cleanup: this one is a must for every homeschool. At the end of the school day, everyone helps to get the house back in order - piles are cleared up, school supplies are put away - you could even include setting the table for dinner in that list.
- Daily bathroom cleaning: Instead of having to scrub the bathroom once a week, a quick daily cleaning keeps things company ready all the time. Here's what to do: grab a paper towel, spray it with cleaning spray, and use it to do a quick wipe down of the sink, the counter, and the outside of the toilet. For keeping the toilet bowl nice and clean, keep a toilet brush immersed in a mixture of cleaning fluid and water right beside the toilet. When you're doing your daily bathroom cleaning, give the inside a quick swish with the brush. And, to keep that shower sparkling clean, put a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser in the shower for quick and easy cleaning. Now, do this simple routine every day when you are getting ready for the day and your bathroom will always look good. And, if you have more than one bathroom get the kids cleaning too!
When you're ready to start, choose your own simple system, work on it with the family until it becomes a daily habit, then introduce another system. After awhile, the daily housekeeping and chores will be second nature.
Related: Simple Systems for Home Management
Get everyone involved
The next step is to get everyone involved. When homeschooling is added to your day you have basically added another part-time or full-time job to your day. You can't expect to keep the same schedule you had pre-homeschooling. It has to change. Mom just can't do it all. And that's okay.
It's important that your kids (and husband) get involved with taking care of the home. After all, everyone lives in the house so they should learn to take care of it!
For us, that means a simple daily chore checklist - everyone picks the chore they want to do and does it. Everyone helps with after school clean up and cleans up their own piles (I have a husband and daughter who leave piles of stuff everywhere!).
Follow a basic routine or schedule
One final tip - create a basic daily routine. The best way to stay on-track with all the chores, housekeeping, meal planning, and homeschooling is to stick to a basic routine or schedule.
There's no need to schedule every moment of your day down to the minute, but a basic daily routine will help you stay on-track. Do meal planning and budgeting on specific days, laundry on another day, deep cleaning on another - create a routine and use it.
Getting back on track
Now, I know life happens and routines go out the window for a season. That's life. But, as soon as you can manage to, get back to that routine as quickly as possible. Your family and your home will thank you for it.
Have a tip for managing housekeeping while homeschooling? Leave me a comment!