One of the hardest adjustments I’ve had to make as a homeschool mom is the fact that our house is a lot messier than it once was. B.H.- Before Homeschooling– I was a cleaning fanatic. The house was always spotless. I dusted, vacuumed, mopped, scrubbed the bathtub, and washed windows daily. My living room carpet had to be vacuumed in such a way that I could see perfect little lines running through it. In fact, one of my kids once brought home a paper from school that said:
What does your mom like to do?
My mom likes to clean.
I look back on that paper now and laugh, but at the time, I was so proud of it. I stuck it right up on the refrigerator as if it were a trophy. I had a super-spotless house, and I was proud of it.
Since we began our homeschool journey, I had to completely change my mindset on not only education, but what the definition of “clean” is. It’s definitely more fluid that I ever imagined it to be.
Let’s face it, spotless clean and homeschool clean are diametrically opposed to one another. I’m even going to go so far to say that if you homeschool and your house is always spotless, you must be doing something wrong because learning is messy business.
Relaxing your expectations of what your house should look like doesn’t mean that you have to throw in the towel altogether. As hard as it is to embrace a creative learning environment in an eternally immaculate house, it’s just as hard to reach that outcome when the house is so disorganized that you can’t find the desk under all those papers!
I don’t know about you, but I cannot concentrate when I’m in the midst of clutter. I just can’t do it. But…I can’t keep an adequately organized house and homeschool everyday, either, which is how I came up with the brilliant idea of a:
Life Skills Day
Society-at-large seems to have forgotten the importance of teaching children to do mundane, but necessary, tasks. As important as academics may be, knowing how to operate a household is just as important- if not more so- because, at some point, every single human being will face the prospect (at least I hope) of having to do things for themselves.
Although we have twice daily chore times and a quick before “school” pickup, I found that this just wasn’t enough to keep our house as tidy as it needs to be for sanity’s sake.
About three years ago I decided that we would deep clean the house every six weeks. This works perfectly with the year round homeschool schedule my non-teenage kids use because we schedule a deep clean on every Tuesday of their one week break. As for my teenagers? They’re not off the hook. On that day for them, we ditch their schoolwork and call it Life Skills Day.
We use this day for:
- Organizing desks, bookshelves, kitchen cabinets, the refrigerator, and anything else that has gotten way too cluttered
- Wiping down and/or polishing every single flat surface
- Thoroughly cleaning the refrigerator, the stove, and the microwave
- Scrubbing down the bathrooms- I mean scrubbing. down.
- Cleaning the living room carpet
- Thoroughly cleaning our tile and hardwood floors- even using a scraper if we have to (gum and playdough- the banes of my existence)
- Going through our art and supply bins to see what we need and to put everything back in its proper place
- Making sure that every single piece of laundry is taken to the laundry room (Yes, my kids bring it down weekly, too, but we find dirty clothes in the darndest places on deep clean day!)
- Cleaning the walls and dusting the ceiling (we get lots of spiders here)
Since there are so many of us, this usually doesn’t take more than a few hours, and it is so worth it to see the house sparkling clean again- for a day or two. 🙂
Not only does it make for a more pleasant home atmosphere, but it makes our homeschool time so much more enjoyable. No more searching for pencils, paper, paint, and crayons. No more shuffling papers to find a clean spot to set down workbooks. I’ve found that in the days immediately following our deep clean, we all are more motivated to go about our day, and we’re much happier for it.
Just remember this one thing:
When your children are grown, they’re not going to care about how clean your house was. They’re going to look back fondly on the time you spent together.
And that’s the most important thing of all.
Do you have any tips for keeping a clean house when you homeschool? I’d love to hear them in the comments! For a free weekly cleaning printable, visit my Free Resources page!