With school back in full swing, you may find it difficult (like I do) to teach and keep up with housework at the same time. This is a common problem in any household, whether homeschooling or not. There just never seems to be enough time in the day. Homeschooling just adds a different set of challenges.
First, get up early. I know, no one wants to hear that, but it’s amazing how much you can get done when you’re alone with no children or spouse to distract you. After about a month, you’ll be used to it and actually look forward to that productive time alone. And let’s not forget the benefits of the peace and quiet toward your sanity.
Second, incorporate housework into schooling whenever possible. Lessons on measurements are easily taught by baking or cooking. Household chores like laundry can even teach smaller children colors, numbers, patterns, and matching. Science experiments can be done with vinegar and baking soda, two powerful and nontoxic cleaning products. Raking the yard is a lesson about leaves and changing seasons. Everything is a learning experience.
Multitasking whenever possible is key. Try sweeping the floor while you explain something, or sorting socks while watching an educational video. The little things make a difference. When you use the bathroom, give the mirrors a quick swipe. Use a slow cooker whenever possible. If you make a big meal, make enough for 2 meals and freeze the second portion for another night to save time and cleanup. You’d be surprised by how much you can get done if you’re conscious about adding small chores to your regular activities.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Older kids can do household chores, and they can be made a regular responsibility. It teaches them the value of hard work and takes some of the load off of your end as well. Friends and other neighborhood parents are all great resources for help too. They may be willing to help you with housework in exchange for helping their kids with homework or watching their public schooled kids on bad weather days so they don’t have to miss work.
Consider hiring someone to help you out during the school months. It doesn’t have to be a professional maid service. Lots of high school kids are willing to help out for a little extra fun money in their pockets.
As with everything else, remember that you can’t possibly do everything. What matters the most is that you and your kids are happy and well educated. In 30 years, they won’t remember if you didn’t dust today.
Kristen at Smithspirations:
My biggest tip and biggest challenge is to stay completely away from my smart phone and the computer during school hours. I get caught up in multi-tasking and it rarely goes well. My children get distracted and so do I, plus I set a not-so-great example by giving my personal responsibilities half of my attention. When I keep my phone away and wait to work on the computer until they are finished, everything goes better. My house is cleaner, dinner is done on time (or closer to it), and I’m not so frustrated with dawdling students.
Tips we have found that help us keep our laundry all done in about 35 min a day for our family of 6:
- Place one hamper centrally located to kids rooms for all dirty laundry
- Have one child assigned to wash, dry and sort/fold the clothing. We have 4 children, and we do about 3 loads a day. This takes the child assigned to laundry only about 30 min a day of hand-on time. (We have a pool and use a lot of towels, and we also do not use paper towels, so we have a lot of kitchen cloths that need washing each day..all this is complete in about a half hour!)
- After it is sorted, each child can pick up their clothing from the living room and put it away.
Since doing laundry like this we almost never get loads of dirty laundry piled up, and we don’t typically have clean loads sitting around either because it is announced to get it as soon as it is ready.
Also, we have found hanging up all of our clothing helps keep it looking neater than craming it into drawers. Plus they tend to wear a broader spectrum of clothing when it is hung up, not just what is on top of the drawer pile.
Linking up at Living & Learning at Home.
Loving your blog so far. Do you have any tips for the mother of a 3.5 and 1.5 yr old who is trying to convince her husband to allow homeschooling while desperately trying to figure out how to start?
Would love some insight!
Thanks so much for your time and encouragement.
I think that is a GREAT post idea. I don’t have anything right now, but I think you can plan to see something in the next month or two…maybe even a series of posts? I think for right now you should be praying that God would give both you and your husband a united vision for what the education of your children should look like. But yes, keep your eyes peeled, I think this is a great topic to address.
Great tips! Getting up early is DEFINITELY key, I’m finding, to a smooth running day. I need that time to center myself and devote myself to Christ and to the new day.
Thanks for sharing your tips, as well as your reader’s tips. Laundry is my main issue, and it’s bad. Agree that getting up early is part of the key–such a GIFT we can give to our selves!
I have a problem with that too =) I find that I either have a clean house OR a good homeschool day. I agree with having some alone time. My husband has started taking the kids to Wednesday night church by himself so that I can have some time to do housework by myself. Right now it’s working well for us!