One thing that “regular” school mamas have on us homeschool mamas is about seven hours a day to turn their house to rights while the kids are away. Homeschool mamas ask me almost every week: how on EARTH do I homeschool AND keep up with housekeeping?!!
Aside from just letting it all go and hoping the neighbors don’t nominate you for the next season of Hoarders, I might have a few tips for you.
But before that, lest you think my house can pass the white glove test, let me set the scene: It’s 11am, we’re knee-deep in our school day and the kitchen is displaying a weird array of egg-crusted plates and half drunk juice glasses. The school room is littered with books, supplies, maps, and electronics. There might be glitter. The bowls from snack time are still there, the bag of crackers and cheese wrappers are on the counter. We’re not finished with school and it’s time to start thinking about lunch and homeschool mama is starting to feel torn between being present with the kids and picking up the mess.
Sound anything like your house?
Housekeeping tips for the busy homeschool mama
- Start the day with a clean slate. Before you go to bed, make it your goal to have the coffee made and ready to hit the button and all the dishes done and put away. I also like to set out my vitamins and wipe down the counters. I love starting my day with a clean kitchen.
- Don’t try to do all the things every day. Keep up on the main things that pile up: dishes, mail, toys, dirty bathroom. But don’t try to do a huge chunk of cleaning time every day–it’s just not gonna happen, friend. Teach your kids to put their own dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Sort the mail as soon as you get it. Try to keep toys contained. And wipe your bathroom sink each day as you brush your teeth. Just a little bit. Bite sized.
- Unless a full-on cleaning day works for you! I have friends that do a top to bottom clean every Saturday and that works great for them. You might be the same! We’ve had seasons where a cleaning day works great. I would grab index cards for each family member and write their tasks on them. We’d each have jobs and get to it. Blaring some Ace of Base helps a lot. Oh, and a few M&M’s for completed tasks keeps kids motivated too.
- Hire. It. Out! I know this tip seems like a luxury, but when you think about it–having help come over once a month is just about the same price as a dinner out as a family. That’s something I would gladly give up for the feeling of some backup coming to help me out once a month! You are SO busy, mama. I think of it like hiring a tutor for one of my kids when they need help.
Hit the pause button and reset
I’m a firm believer that doing a little bit is better than doing nothing. Waiting until 10pm to start picking up your house just means you’re going to be exhausted every single morning–ask me how I know this.
A good way to make sure things don’t pile up is to stop. pause. and reset.
We hit the pause button and reset…
- after school. When everyone is done with school, I ask them to put all the stuff away in their cabinets and tidy up before they come upstairs to get on with the rest of their day. This helps me SO much from having to spend 30 minutes after school picking up. PLUS we have a neat and tidy school room ready for the next day.
- after lunch. This is the time we are usually wrapping up school and the kitchen is a mess from breakfast and lunch. I ask everyone to help put things away in the kitchen, unload the dishwasher from the night before and load it again and just get everything happy again. 🙂
- before bed. Maybe I’m just overly amped, but I have a really hard time going to sleep in a bedroom that is a wreck. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but I do like things tidy. I think I’ve passed this trait on to my kids. Each night before bed, we do a five minute pick up in the kids’ bedrooms. Clothes get put into drawers, toys put away, books put onto shelves. Everyone goes to bed with a tidy room and it really only takes five minutes because it never gets too out of control.
My number one housekeeping tip for homeschool mamas
Here’s my biggest, best, number ONE tip for you, mama…get your kids to help out.
I know, I know. They can’t do it as well as you, they whine, they complain.
But the fact of the matter is, you’re doing a LOT. And you don’t have to do everything alone. You might be the home manager, but you don’t have to be its only keeper. Your kids are super capable of doing tasks and helping everyday.
Tell them the situation of the home and explain that you need them to pitch in to make it all work.
This work is good for them.
For us, it works to have each of my kids do the same chores each day. Whatever your system is, make sure it works and stick to it!
Many hands make light work.
If you have kids at home, especially if you’re homeschooling, you’re in a SUPER busy time of your life. Messes are going to come with the territory–they’re always at home!! But we can strike a balance of keeping up and embracing it too. You can do this, mama.
How about you? What your best housekeeping tip for homeschool mamas?
For lots more on how to keep your home + homeschool simplified, check out my ebook below.