You don’t have to sacrifice housework for the sake of your home school!
Summer break is coming to an end, and school is about to begin. Although there comes with it a familiar routine and structure to our day, it can also be overwhelming trying to add the school work back in while staying on top of the cleanliness of our home. …but it doesn’t have to be.
Tip #1: Know Yourself and Your Day
What time of day do you function best?
When do you have the least energy?
How long should schooling take you each day?
When will that happen?
Will you take a nap?
When will that need to happen?
When does the baby or toddler sleep? How long?
How does clutter affect you?
Could you handle a messy house if you knew that it would be taken care of at a certain time?
What would your ideal day look like?
Historically, what tends to happen instead? Why – where is the break down?
Take 30 minutes to an hour and answer these for yourself. Really hone in on what is currently going on in your home and how you operate, and not how you wish it was.
Tip #2: Plan Your Routine Using Your Current Habits and Needs as a Guide
Start with the things that MUST happen every day. Meals are a great place to start! Then add in those other tasks that must get done – like your homeschool and scheduled activities. Then figure out how you want other tasks and activities to fit into your day. Just remember to keep it realistic…
Determine when school will realistically start/end. If you wanted a 7AM start time, but no one is usually awake before 7:30AM you have a problem. Maybe you want them to start getting up earlier anyways… You can, but start slowly. It’s okay to make some compromises as you continue to tweak throughout the school year.
Do you find yourself crashing right after lunch? Then make sure you schedule in a nap time for yourself. I’ve found that by setting a timer and laying down for 30 minutes, I am much more productive than when I try to push through.
Tip #3: Delegate Cleaning Zones
Once kids are elementary age, they are more than capable taking responsibility for certain chores and areas of the house. In our home, the three older ones are responsible for the three main areas of the house: the kitchen, the family room, and the upstairs steps and hallway. This means this is where they do their daily pick-up and is their focus when we do any heavier cleaning. They also have specific bathroom tasks. Although many people love to have a chore chart for meal chores, I’ve found that doesn’t work as well for my family. We have a loose chore system for our family at meal time instead where I delegate the specific chores. However, it does tend to follow a familiar pattern each day.
Tip #4: Make Room for 10 Minute Tidies Around Stable Anchors
By a stable anchor, I mean use something that happens every day to determine when the tidy will happen. For most people this is your meals. While I make breakfast, I tell everyone to go get dressed and tidy their rooms. Depending on what’s for breakfast, I’ll go up while it’s finishing cooking or even as the kids start eating. If it’s just cereal, I’ll do my chores as the kids do theirs and then we’ll all just eat at the slotted breakfast time.
Lunch time is similar. After lunch, everyone pitches in to help with lunch clean up, and then they do a quick pick-up in their zones. Dinner time is a little different. John and I are the ones responsible for dinner clean up, along with whichever child had a privilege day that day. The rest of the kids have to go downstairs to pick up the basement.
However, before dinner, we have our EHAP (everything has a place) time. This is when another pick up is completed, along with their bigger chores for the day – such as the bathroom chores and the rotating weekly chores.
Tip #5: Delegate Certain Chores to Specific Days of the Week (the rotating weekly chores).
Monday here is Laundry Day. All of the clothes are kept in a common hamper in the upstairs bathroom during the week. On laundry day, it is brought down to the basement where I sort it into darks, lights/whites, and towels. Then I keep the loads moving during the day. You may find that it’s necessary to set a timer for yourself to remember to switch the loads when you’re first starting out. During the 5PM hour, I fold the laundry, and then the kids put their piles away once their other chores are completed.
Tuesday – Kitchen and Family Room. These room are constantly picked up through the week. However, on Tuesdays, we try to give them some extra love. This may include washing window or dusting, sweeping or swiffering, or whatever else looks like needs to happen.
Wednesdays are more on me – it’s when I meal plan and order groceries. However, the kids are still responsible for their other chores.
Thursday are for the bathrooms. Although the kids have daily bathroom chores that they need to do, there are still things that don’t get done on a daily basis. On Thursdays, we make sure that anything else that needs to get done is completed. This includes things like swishing out the toilet, cleaning the tub, washing the window, and swiffering the floor.
Our Friday chores round out the weekend. We pick up groceries before beginning a lighter school day. Then, later in the day, we make sure the bedroom and upstairs hallway are at least vacuumed. If the windows need to be washed, we’ll do that as well along with anything else that needs our attention. I’m also in the process of deciding if this is when we’ll wash our sheets. Although weekly sheet washing would be great – we’ll probably start with making sure it happens at least once a month. Yes, our laundry day is Monday, but there just isn’t realistically enough time to do the sheets on that day without feeling rushed.
Have you found a tip that works well for your family? I’d love to hear more about it in the comments!
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