We are starting our third week of homeschooling this week and I was reflecting on the fact that I have been homeschooling for ten years (I am counting my oldest child’s six year old kindergarten year forward to ninth grade this year). I was trying to think the other day of what really helps hold everything together for me as a homeschooling mother in terms of also being a homemaker, since as homeschooling families we are moving in both overlapping circles continuously. When children are smaller, the academic demands are less and I think easier to work into homeschooling, but as children get older these arenas become more separate in some ways. After some thought, I found five things that help me homeschool and make a home:
- Accept some mess will happen…If you look at my house on a homeschooling day, yes, it may have papers and colored pencils and clay and main lesson books and projects in both our homeschool room and in our breakfast nook. Our high schooler tends to work in the breakfast nook, and the other children tend to work in our homeschool room so that is why we have two places. The garage, where we do a lot of movement, can also get messy. However….
- Accept that mess can be cleaned up within a half hour window. That is sort of my barometer. Can everything be tidied up within half an hour? If it can, then the part of me that is extremely sensitive to visual clutter rests a little easier. Everything everywhere just doesn’t work for me.
- Do things as promptly as possible and have a rhythm. For me, the prompt part means doing dishes after we eat, sweeping up when the puppy drags in mud and grass on her paws, throwing in a load of laundry every morning, etc. Of course, having a rhythm really helps with many of these pieces. What day do we change the sheets on the bed, clean the bathrooms, dust? At what points during the day do we tidy up and clean up? I cannot always free up hours on end to these things consecutively, but all of these things can get done within in the course of the week.
- Elicit help. All members of the family can help, and i notice the more upper level grades I am teaching and the more subjects I am teaching, I simple need more help because I am spending more time teaching and then older children may have activities they need to be driven to after teaching is done. I need everyone to pitch in and help, and at this point, our older two students are adept and independent in many areas of housemaking.
- Think ahead and streamline. For me, things such as menu planning; sitting down and figuring out doctor and dentist appointments and field trips for two to three months at a time; deep cleaning at various points in the school year actually ends up saving me time in the long run.
I would love to hear your best tips for homeschooling and homemaking together.