Are You Tired of Homeschooling in a Messy House?

Ditch the Schoolwork and Have a Life Skills Day!

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.


homeschooling and housework

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 than 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 as 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.

Spend time with your children

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!


Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

32 thoughts on “Are You Tired of Homeschooling in a Messy House?”

  1. We add 20-30 minutes into each school day and take turns cleaning various rooms of the house or pick various chores each day so that the house is mostly cleaned by the end of the week. At this point I think all of my boys know how to dust, vacuum, wash floors, scrub down the bathrooms, etc. It is important for them to know!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes! Homeschool clean is totally different! We have morning chores where put the house to rights and then take care of the farm animals. But it is different when you homeschool.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t homeschool, but I’m still tired of my messy house. I love the idea of the 6 week deep clean! Even if it gets messy in the meantime, under that clutter will be a fairly clean surface. I’m going to have to incorporate that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great ideas! My kids are 6,5& not yet 2 … Just this year I decided I needed to involve them in house cleaning. So I planned out five things they could learn through the week like cleaning the bathroom, folding laundry, mopping and vacuuming. Since they are still young I’m just trying to get them to learn the basics of cleaning and hope to build on it in future years.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This post is so interesting and hands-on. Yeah, we need to keep the house clean but we need to be making fond memories together as a family. Before you know it, the kids are grown and gone. We will have those memories to cheer us up. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Room cleaning is our trade for watching any television. Other than that, it’s catch as catch can. We’re all having a blast, but we’re also all pretty spent a lot of the time when there is time to clean. We’re staying above water though.

    On the up side of life-skills, our almost six year old daughter announced she was cooking dinner a few nights ago!!! She warmed everything up in the microwave, set the table, and got all five of sat down to a delicious meal! Woohoo!!!


  7. We’re still in the every-day-is-life-skills-day phase of life around here, but I’ll definitely have to remember this great idea when Gv gets a bit older and we stop having to show her how to do everything around the house on a day-to-day basis! #FridayFrivolity

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes, homeschool clean is totally different. Add ADHD to the mix and well, that is also totally different. If we were to tackle the house like you do every 6 weeks I would melt down. It would just be too much for me to get a grip on and I would feel totally overwhelmed. That being said, we do tackle chores everyday. On the weekends we all spend time picking up and covering more in depth chores together, however only choosing a few to do each weekend. Having a short list that is easily able to be checked off has made cleaning actually happen. Glad you found something that works for your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have tried so many methods to keep ahead of the madness! This year we implemented a family blessing hour each Sat morning. We all (hubby included) clean bathrooms, sweep, mop,dust, etc. we each know our areas and get busy. For some reason this has worked for us. I don’t include bedrooms, office or homeschool area (mainly BC it’s been too disorganized). BUT I now have all 4 bedrooms organized and decluttered. I have to get the office and homeschool area declutteted next. Once I have everything decluttered I would love to have incorporate a day like you do to stay ahead of it (maybe ha). If we did a day like that maybe we could stay a little more organized all the time. We daily do chores to attempt keeping things put away so by Sat we can clean without having to pick up as well. So far this has worked great. It motivates me to be sure everyone does their daily chores of picking up so we are ready to clean on Sat. The kids are really loving it as well. The cleaning is pretty quick BC it doesn’t have time to get extremely dirty like before. My kids are 10,7 and 15 months.


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