One big question I often hear among homeschooling moms, or those considering it, is “How do you keep your house clean while homeschooling?” Until last week, my answer would have included a lot of stuttering and stammering and mumbling something about a clean house being overrated.
Or something like that.
Basically, since we began homeschooling, I’ve been able to keep things relatively clean. Those time when things would really get out of hand, I might call for a life skills day to get caught up. And, I worked on getting some deep-cleaning done this summer.
But lately, housework has been kicking my butt.
I started to take a life skills day a couple of weeks ago, but I really felt like the kids would just take it as a day off of school and things wouldn’t get done to my satisfaction – that the day would be seen as a reward, encouraging future slothfulness. I’ve never felt that way about a life skills day before. Call it mother’s intuition.
So, we kept plugging away and my to-do list kept growing and I kept getting more stressed. Then, I read this post from A Slob Comes Clean. Daily checks? Weekly tasks? Hmmmm….
In some of my attempts to get my housekeeping on a more consistent schedule, I’d tried to make myself a schedule for different household tasks, such as vacuuming, mopping, and dusting, on different days of the week, but it never worked.
The simplicity of Nony’s plan, however, triggered something key in my brain, something she didn’t even mention – I don’t have to do these household chores in the morning before school. That was always my downfall. I would run out of time in the morning, stuff wouldn’t get done, and that would be the end of that schedule.
In the afternoons, however, I typically have about an hour between the time we finish school and the time I need to start dinner. I usually spend this time online, but it’s wasted time. My best blogging time is at night while everyone else is watching TV or in bed. I read email, Facebook, and blogs during lunch, so most days nothing major has happened by the time I sit down to read again in the afternoons.
While it may be nice to sit down and waste some time in the afternoons and just relax for a bit, a neat, clean house is relaxing, too. I’m one of those people who gets stressed when the house is cluttered. So, I figured a better use of my time would be to tackle a daily cleaning task.
It’s worked out great so far! My schedule is as follows:
- Monday: Sweep and mop the kitchen and dining room
- Tuesday: Clean bathrooms*
- Wednesday: Dust
- Thursday: Vacuum
- Friday: Errands and grocery shopping
- Daily: at least one load of laundry
*One of the kids is responsible for cleaning the mirror, sink and countertops in their bathroom and I do those in the master bath. I’m going to alternate cleaning the tub and toilet and mopping the floor between the two bathrooms each week.
In addition, I pulled out my laminator and got the kids set up with a daily checklist thanks to Nony. We are, of course, still using our chore chart, but it’s more for things that don’t have to be daily (such as unloading the dishwasher) or that I want to alternate between the kids (like feeding the pets).
There is a morning and an evening section on their checklists, with items such as:
- Brush teeth
- Put away toothbrush and toothpaste (Yes, this is necessary.)
- Wipe down counter and sink
- Make bed
- Bring dirty dishes to kitchen
- Put dirty clothes in hamper
- Put away clean clothes
- Pick up clutter/trash from living room
- Pick up bedroom clutter
At first, there was grumbling because it looked like a lot, but when they realized that most of it was stuff they do anyway, they quit complaining. So far, they have done their checklist every day without complaint. I have been amazed at how clean the house has stayed!
I keep their checklists hanging on the closet door with our chore chart, along with a dry erase marker on this awesome pen clip that I found at Walmart. (I stuck the second of the three clips to a magnet and put it on my fridge next to the “things we need from the store” list.)
I am so excited! This is something that I can see us maintaining for the long term. It’s simple and manageable, which is exactly what I need. And, even if I miss a day now and then, I know I’ll get that day’s task done the next week, which is a far cry more consistently than some of this stuff has been getting done.
Have you found a method of keeping on top of housework that is working for you? If not, does something like this sound doable?