When I started school several weeks ago I received comments and emails asking if I would share my schedule with y'all.
As a general rule, I have learned that sharing my schedule with others can be dangerous. Often the minute I say I do something on schedule, it will change.
However, I also know that last year (my first to homeschool) I was always curious of how others ran their home and school.
Today I am going to talk about housekeeping.
Before homeschooling I did it all. I enjoy a neat and tidy home. I like things clean, clutter-free, and comfortable. I have a hard time relaxing when I have a lot of clutter.
So you can imagine my dilemma when all the homeschooling books I read said the number-one complaint of homeschooling (after math) was the keeping of the house.
Most homeschooling moms (in these books, and honestly, in real life) had learned to live with a less-than -tidy house.
I, being but a young grasshopper, set my heels in the ground and resolutely announced that "that wouldn't be me!"
Famous last words.
By December of last year I was hit over the head with the realization that I couldn't do it all. I couldn't clean, cook, shop, keep up with an acre of yard, and do school, all by myself. I also realized that there was no shame in that admission.
Something had to give.
First, I needed to own up to the fact that my need for order isn't just about being able to feel relaxed. It's also because I care too much about what others think.
We often have unannounced drop-by visitors (at least twice a week), so my vigilance about keeping things in order was not always about liking things neat, as much as it was about wanting those who come in to my home to think I have it all together...which isn't the truth.
I realized that I had done my children (and quite frankly our family) a great disservice.
Although I was always taking opportunities to teach them value of hard work, I had never taught my kids the value of house work.
Like many things, talking about hard work is never quite as valuable as doing hard work!
In the past my philosophy had been that everyone had a job here in the La Vida Casa. The Mister worked. The kids went to school. I took care of the house.
I liked it this way because I'm very efficient at house cleaning. I had a schedule. A routine. Instead of taking the time to teach my children how to fold clothes, or load a dishwasher, or sweep the front hall, it was easier to just do it correctly, it my way, my job.
Thus began lessons in Home Economics.
I started with teaching them how to use the washer and dryer. They now do all their laundry, from hamper to drawer, completely on their own.
Then we moved to training in the kitchen.
The Mister taught them how to scrub a bathroom.
I taught them how to sweep the floors.
Of course, training is different than telling.
In a perfect world I would like to just tell my kids to do something and have them go do it...and do it well.
Reality demands that I go with them. Show them. And two days later? Show them again.
That is the hard part for me.
Wether you homeschool or not, the value of teaching our kids how to keep a home cannot be measured. It not only teaches them the satisfaction of setting to a task and accomplishing it, which feels good, but it can also help build up our home and family, as well as teach skills they will certainly need in the future.
Oh, and before I forget...I have to tell you that I have learned to live (and work) with this truth: my whole house isn't going to be spotless all at the same time. Nor will things be done the way I would do them. Which means if our plans change (and they often do) and the hallway doesn't get swept on Tuesday, then it doesn't get swept. This also means that the silverware won't be put away the way I like and the pots and pans may have new places in the kitchen (within reason!) each week.
This also means that when a friend drops by, my house may be a disaster, but in the wise words of Gretchen: we do actually live here.
So here it is: The Daily Chore Chart. These jobs are the ones they get paid to finish. They get paid four Monopoly dollars a week. (you can click on it to see the full size)
If you have tips on how to get your kids more actively engaged in housework, or tips on how to teach kids (from preschooler to high schooler) about helping out in the house, or you just want to share your ideas, let me know in the comments!