House cleaning and homeschooling is truly an art! It takes organization and stamina. It takes alertness and flexibility. With all that said, despite my lacking in each of these departments...it is possible. :D In addition to all this, it also takes a desire and the right attitude to do it. It's all in the mindset of taking pleasure in tidyness. It takes an eye for getting rid of clutter.
Flylady is a wonderful tool to teach good habits! On and off in my 21 year marriage, I have been a side-tracked home executive. Once a routine was set and the ball was rolling something would come in and shuffle things up. Sometimes it was the wonderous event of another child entering the family. Sometimes it would be illness. Either way, it happens! Then it takes some determination to get the ball rolling again.
I do have a few tips that helps me keep the house going and I think could be helpful to share here.
1. delegate: You cannot do it all on your own, nor should you have to. It's not doing you or your children any favors for you to try and do it all. Write out a plan for each child to have their own chores. Teach everyone to be giving at times and pitch in to help others- even if it isn't their job.
2. Routines: Have routines in your life! Having a plan is key. Having routines that you do every day will become habit and later you'll find you've done things without even knowing it! Now isn't that nice? Flylady teaches to have that morning routine of getting up, getting dressed, make bed, swish toilet, swipe counter and sweep floors. Your bathroom will smile right back at you! Your bedroom will as well. Begin your laundry first thing. This is the one that I often forget. :D The key though is to have laundry as part of your routine. Do it each day!
3. Have designated days or weeks to work in certain areas of your home. Flylady teaches to do this in weeks. I do this by the day. Monday is livingroom day. Why did I chose Monday? Well, I don't know what your livingroom looks like on Mondays but if it looked like mine, you'd want to do it too! There's something about detailing the livingroom first thing on Monday mornings that makes concentrating on school so much easier.
Tuesdays are dedicated to the kitchen. Tuesdays works great for me as it gives me a full two days before we head for our monthly shopping trip. I use the Tuesday before that big shopping day to clean out the fridge and examine the pantry in order to write lists of what to buy and menus.
Wednesday is our laundry day. This is where I catch up on folding wash and working in the laundry room/ family closet. Wednesdays are good for me because we have church that night and I need to pick out clothes anyway. So on Wednesdays I also pick out clothes for church that night, Sunday clothes and also any outside activities we may have the following six days.
Thursday is bedroom cleanup day. Why Thursday? Well,long ago I used to listen to a radio show that came on a few hours on Thursday (the Flylady show!) and the radio, at that time, was in our bedroom. So while in there I had plenty of time to clean in there. So it became habit to do this on that day for me. The children also cleans their rooms on this day. The girls, especially, are excited to show me their tidy rooms when they're done! The little ones always want me to come and see right away what they did. :D
Friday is bathroom day. This is the day I like to really detail the bathrooms. Isn't it most common to have guests on the weekend that needs to use your bathroom? It is here! So I like doing this in the morning and having it all fresh just in case.
In our house this leaves the playroom and the school room. If we get to it, this then gets done on Saturday. I must admit, these rooms don't get done as they should. As a matter of fact, our schoolroom and the laundry room are the two worst rooms in my house. I'm still establishing habits in these rooms for myself and the children.
On Saturday we work on outside chores as well.
Make sure that you have a time limit for the detail cleaning.
4. Make it a habit to put things away. Teach this to your children. THIS INCLUDES THE MESS MY CHILDREN ARE MAKING AS I TYPE THIS- THIS VERY MOMENT. Teach yourself and your children to wipe up and pick up behind yourself. You will thank you. Your children will thank you. Your children's spouse will thank you. Your grandchildren...do you get the picture? Okay. Before you leave each room think to yourself, "how can I make this room better before I leave?". It will become such a habit that you'll do it no matter where you are. I catch myself wiping the counters in public restrooms.
5. Keep a notebook or binder with lists, lists, lists and more lists. Make this your brain. When you have to teach on owl pellets, integers, phonics, conjunctions, human anatomy, spelling words and so much more, you have no more brain cells to work and remember all the cleaning chores you have! WRITE A LIST. Example:
Monday (livingroom): vacuum between cracks on floor, clean under couch and loveseat, mop, sweep cobwebs from ceiling.
Tuesday (kitchen): clean ceiling fan, clean out 'fridge, clean bottom drawer of stove
Thursday (bedroom) clean off dresser, vacuum closet floor
Friday (bathroom) clean tub and shower, clean fan over toilet, detail toilet
Get the picture? Access what is going on in each room and what needs to be done first. When I first began this my house was a WRECK and I didn't know where to start. So I just began with what bothered me most or what was husband's first choice or what NEEDED done first. Believe it or not, after weeks of keeping this plan there will be days when you will be done before your time is up! Then you can sit down and type posts like this. ;D Keep a running list of what you want to do next, but allow for time for when disasters slip up might take top priority.
6. Do quick tidies throughout the day. Make everyone stop and pick up. Make. this. a. habit. Teach the children that you are not looking for perfection but that there has to be a cap put on how far you'll allow disorder go. Make it a game. Tell each child that they need to pick up 7 things each and put the things in their homes. What? You say with seven children plus a mama that this would be 56 things to pick up. That isn't possible to have that much to pick up if you picked up earlier. Do you wanna bet? Besides, if they do run out of things to pick up, tell them to go down the hall or into another room and pick something up.....or make it just 5 things.
6. Have an afternoon routine, after you're done with school. Mine is checking the kitchen and diningroom floors to see if they need attention. Do any other floors need a quick mopping as well. Is there something I should do to head toward our goal of making supper? What rooms needs a room rescue the most? Make that room make you have a nice "aaaaaahhhhh" feeling when you walk in. No matter though-- do it quick!
7. Clean up after every meal and while you're cooking! Assign a person to a day for dish duty so the same person isn't stuck in the kitchen each day. Here I have them load/unload the dishwasher after lunch and after supper. Whoever does the cooking washes the cookware and also wipes all down in the kitchen.
8. Don't sit and watch t.v. unless you have something to do. My main things are menu planning, folding clothes or floor exercises. Just don't sit being unproductive. It causes......ummmm....unproduction. Yeah.
9. Don't strive for perfection. Not that you could ever achieve this. I mean, perfection is a good goal but be fine with leaving something for later. It will be okay. After all, aren't things looking up anyway? So you're moving in the right direction.
Before you know it, you will feel peace and not frantic if someone pulls in the yard to have a surprise visit. Ask me how I know. You will also have time in the morning and then also in the afternoon for school goals as well.