How do you seasoned homeschoolers keep your house tidy and your homeschool things organized? With 4 kids I have a hard time as it is, so you can imagine my worry when I start homeschooling my daughter in the fall.
I would also be very interested in strategies here as well! Do people use Fly Lady and like it?
Having a small house helps! I have lowered my standards a bit with the school stuff and let my son keep it how he wants as long as it is in one place. I do a little housework every day (which I learned from flylady several years ago) and do my best to stay on top instead of waiting until it needs doing. Keeping clutter down has been a huge help with keeping the house tidy. I know this isn’t any awesome advice!
Check out Erica’s chore chart!! Get all hands on deck to help out The cleaning may not be perfect but it will help take some of the load off of you! Also, assign an hour after homeschool to doing chores for that day…Home Economics or REAL LIFE class And praise God for washing machines!!! WooHoo!!! http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/blog/2011/01/chore-chart-cards.html
I went to a homeschooling sharing the other day. The speaker was a mama who had homescholed for 20 years. She is also a singer, speaker and writer. She mentioned four important things in homeschooling: Vision, Joy, Discipline and Creativity. When she talked about joy, she said you need to enjoy the kids and homeschooling and embrace it fully. 1. Do not try to do too many things at the same time. You need to expect that the house is a little more messy when homeschooling. 2. Do not compare. That includes comparing yourself with other homeschool mamas, comparing your kids with other people’s kids and comparing all your children with each other. Comparing kills the joy. 3. Do not over expect or have unrealistic expectations.
I don’t have children yet. But I find that very interesting and helpful. I don’t know what it is really like when doing homeschool. I am actually very disorganized. I hope I can get some tips here too
We have just lowered our standards for tidiness. I clean a little bit every day. My husband and I make sure dishes are always done at night, and we almost always throw one load of laundry in before dinner and get it folded and put away before we go to bed. I can’t keep up with the clutter and toys the kids leave around the house. They are expected to pick it up, but we are not drill sergeants about it. We are fortunate enough to have a dedicated school room. It’s small, but it keeps school stuff separated from house stuff. In the same regard, my one “rule” with the homeschool room is that toys do not enter it (please don’t take that to mean we don’t do fun, hands on things… there are times I invite toys in for something we are doing… math for example!), but the kids are not allowed to just bring all their toys in and use it as a play room. I used to let them do that - the toys accumulated because they never took them back out. I also have a yearly calendar I made of some of the stuff I’d likely forget to do each month (or however often is necessary) - smoke detector batteries, change the air vent filters, etc - those types of maintenance things that are easy to forget. I have my yearly calendar on the wall - each week I just look and see if there is something “extra” I should get done that month. And again, as I mentioned, our standards have lowered quite a bit!
I keep trying to use Fly Lady. I do love her 10 min boogie. I try to do that often. I am better at cleaning, but not that great. I did find her book inspirational.
Before we get started I run a load of dirty laundry to the laundry room and start it. Boober will then gather the dirty dishes from the different rooms and bring them to me as I do the dishes, and prepare breakfast.
After breakfast I grab the dirty dishes and finish them quickly before handing out the day’s workbook or setting up our first activity. As he does what he can independently I may wipe the countertops and mop the kitchen floor.
At night Boober gathers the dirty laundry for me and puts it in the hamper to be washed the next day. I also keep a small basket to gather clutter from room to room throughout the day. I put it all away at the end of the night. Boober is also in charge of putting away his toys at the end of the night. The rest of the cleaning depends on the day of the week.
We have little pockets of time throughout the day when we all work. For example, when we get up we do our morning chores. For me, that is starting a load of laundry, making my bed, changing out the bath mat to a fresh one, using my swiffer vac to vacuum the bathroom (we have a hairy dog…it’s a must every day), and cooking breakfast. For my 11 yr old daughter, she uses a cleaning wipe to wipe down the bathroom counter and sinks, feeds/waters the dog, makes her bed, and does personal care things. For my 8 yr old son, he takes the trash out of the bathroom and replaces with a fresh bag, takes the dog out to potty, makes his bed, and does his personal care things. My 7 yr old son uses a cleaning wipe to wipe down the potty under the seat and behind it (main mess maker there), feeds the aquatic animals, makes his bed, and does his personal care things. As you can see, we really focus on beds, pets, bathroom, and personal care before we have breakfast. It’s a nice way to keep from letting the bathroom go in between heavier cleanings.
After breakfast, we all rinse our own dishes and put them in the dishwasher. Each person also wipes up their own crumbs. Then we start school.
After school at lunchtime, I fix lunch while the kids put all the school supplies/books away. After lunch, everyone again puts their own dishes away and cleans up crumbs. I will do the pans and switch the laundry to the dryer. At this time, the kids get to go play while I focus on one or two larger chores like vacuuming or dusting the whole downstairs (the kids are responsible for the upstairs once a week). I’ll also do any dinner prep or cooking during this time because we always have afternoon/evening activities. If I have any grading or other teacher related things to do, I do them during this time. The laundry also comes out and my daughter makes sure to fold it before we leave the house.
Before we leave for activities, the kids are responsible for cleaning their rooms back up so we don’t come home to messiness. (I don’t let my kids go to bed with messy rooms. I’m one of those moms that thinks an emergency might occur and it will be harder to get to them if their rooms are a mess. It’s weird, I know.) Sometimes, I have my kids help me with other non-paid chores like stripping beds down to wash sheets, or cleaning feet prints off the door frames where they climb, etc.
But I do offer them one paid chore a week. We do this for a few reasons. One, they learn to work hard for a wage. Two, they learn money management now when the stakes are low instead of as an adult when bad money management can ruin you. And three, these jobs are jobs that must get done, but neither my husband or I enjoy them. My daughter folds and puts away all the laundry. One son’s job is to scoop the dog poop out of the yard twice a week. And the other son’s job is to sweep the garage, organize the bikes and toys in there, and clean all trash out of the car.
At dinner, the kids set the table including preparing drinks while I finish preparing the meal. After dinner, my husband and I clean the dishes, wipe the counters down, and vacuum the floor. The kids will get baths and we have more family time before bed.
Obviously not every day can be like this, but most are and it’s the routine we try to stick to. And as the kids get older we add more chores. It sounds like a lot, but we’ve had this routine for so long that we get them done so quickly. Since its summer now and we have a garden, they help their dad weed the garden and are solely responsible for watering the potted tomato plants.
Anyway, I hope this helps you see how one family structures their day.
I work a 9-5 job and my wife is a stay-at-home-mom. We find that after the kids are in bed for the night is the best time to tidy up the main floor; we try to keep this to under 30 minutes so that we can still take a quick breather and watch a TV show before bed.
For laundry, we TRY to do this while we’re watching TV in the evening, but we’re usually zombified at that point.
I try to do at least 1 load of laundry a day, and when it’s folding time everyone helps and puts their stuff away. (My older ones show the littlest where to put things but they get to put it in the drawers, it may not be neatly but it gets it done haha and they have smiles on their faces so whatever) I make sure dishes/sink is clear after lunch and before bed (also kids like to help empty dishwasher (which I’ve only had for a week YAY, but before that I would try to do as many dishes as I could during playtime, or snack time, or basically whenever I had a quick moment - and I used paper plates and cups then) I make the kids clean up toys before bed or before outing events, I’ve also learned to balance toys coming into/out the house during holidays/birthdays - if 1 comes in 1 must go out (give away). My kids help clear dishes from table and wash counters, it’s not the cleanest like when I would do it but it’s better than it sitting there until I can get to it a few days later when I have that free moment YUcK haha. I always have to remind myself, I LIVE in my house, I’m not here for a visit.
I like the basic concepts behind FlyLady. I cannot keep up with her emails, so after I learned the program, I stopped doing it. She really focuses on having a set bedtime and morning routine. Then you focus on one area of the house per week (15 minutes per day) and a “Weekly Home Blessing Hour” twice per week. Breaking things up into small chunks really makes it less of a chore and calling it a “Blessing” for your family helps to make me grumble a little less.