Thursday, August 19, 2010

Just like clockwork

Now I remember. It always hits me about this time every year and somehow I'm always surprised by it.

The reality of a homeschooling life.

The kids are diligent and eager. I hit the ground running. The days are flying by. We sit down in the morning to do school and before we know it lunch time is here. Then it's reading time, dinner preparations, errands, evening activities.... It's like putting on an old comfortable glove.

It's just.... the house and all the stuff it holds. When I'm attending to more important matters, I think little elf people come out to play. They drop a pieces of paper here and there, open a toy bin or two, get crafty, decide to look through ALL of the books on the shelf, decide to sort the legos but never finish.... I'm having a hard enough time keeping up with the dishes and laundry let alone putting out these kinds of fires.


I need a maid.

I need a better system.

I need some motivation and inspiration.

Anyone care to share?

Did I ever tell you about the time last year we ran out of the house one morning to go to homeschool group? Our house looked like it got hit by a bomb. Seriously. There was stuff EVERYWHERE. The breakfast dishes were still on the table. The kid's rooms were less than stellar.

When we pulled in, there was a sheriff's car outside. Terrifying moment. Inside was the sheriff himself. One of the kids had failed to shut the door and he was checking for "suspicious" activity. Well, he found it all right. I kindly declined when he offered to survey the upstairs. I'm just glad he didn't call CPS.


Heather L. said...

Maybe I could just copy your post and paste it onto my would save me some work.

No great ideas here....just waiting to see if some others share. :(

Tisha said...

I am really struggling in this area too. My kids do a lot around the house, but I feel like I have to always keep reminding them of what needs to be done. Once school does start I know the house will get crazy, there is just no way I can do it all. Can't wait to see what other write!

Tara said...

No idea, but I'm here with you! This is more of a summertime problem for us since we aren't homeschoolers. Maybe take a "5 Minute Room Rescue"? Have everyone work together one one room for five minutes on the timer (or have them each scatter and just hit one room each?) Really, you can do a lot in 5 minutes! (Yes, this idea courtesy of

Brooke said...

Man, this is a timely post! I am driving myself crazy trying to keep up with household duties while homeschooling. If you find a good system, let me know!

Saralyn said...

Knowing how negatively the mess affects me, I've been thinking about this a lot as our first day of homeschool approaches. I've come to the conclusion that sometimes good enough is, well, good enough. We still need to clean up little by little but we will never have "house beautiful" like folks who don't live to the fullest in their houses 24/7. As Proverbs 14:4 says, "Where there are no oxen [or children], the manger [or house] is clean, but abundant crops [many good things] come by the strength of the ox [or family]."

Angie said...

HAHA! That is hysterical! You need a self closing door! Hope you come up with some great organizing/cleaning up ideas...I could use some for sure!

Andrea said... crack me up! I don't think our house EVER looks like anything but an exploded bomb! I do work diligently and I try to train the kids to do their parts (BIG help there), but I just cannot keep up with the stuff either. Thankfully, I am learning that the homeschooling is more important and the other will just have to come later.

I love how you described your routine as 'puttin on an old glove"! I was just thinking that it's feeling that way for us. I was growing weary of our break and I could tell the kids needed their routine back. I love feeling like they are happy to be back in the 'normal' part of life - learning!

Michelle said...

I've been a busy borrower this school year. I borrowed your first day of school ideas, and I've fused some of Cheri A's system with my own for keeping chores going. It's worked amazingly well. No, everything isn't always done perfectly and the house is never spick and span, but it seems to be better than it was....which is always a good thing! It's hard to explain the system, but I'll describe the chores for the three areas that drive me crazy: kitchen table, laundry and dishes.

Kitchen Table: Everyday, someone has the chore of making sure the kitchen table is wiped down after every meal. (Each boy has the chore once each week...someone repeats it on the fifth day...since I have four kids to work with :)). Each person who eats has to take his own dishes, rinse them off and place them in the dish washer. The kitchen table guy has to make sure all the condiments, remaining dishes (if any), trash are put away.

Laundry: Each room has a laundry basket. The older two share a room and the younger two share a room. Each day, one of the boys has to do the laundry in his basket (which includes his clothes and his roommates clothes). That means wash, dry and fold and take back up to the room by the end of the day. I let them wash lights and darks together, and have them put their whites in a separate pile that I do during the week when it gets full enough. I help where needed, like adding the detergent for the younger guys.

Dishes: I have one boy who unloads dishes in a.m. and a different boy who loads dishes throughout the day. But since each boy is responsible to put his dishes in the dishwasher after each meal, the dish loader doesn't have too much to do (usually the pots, pans, serving dishes, etc.)

We have two major chores/boy each day. Usually one chore is done before school starts, and the other chore is done before/after lunch. Some of the chores are required periodically throughout the day but only take a few minutes at a time (like the kitchen table one).

We just started this last week and I am amazed at how well it is going. The kitchen isn't a constant mess and the laundry isn't growing by leaps and bounds. We've never given an allowance, but we've started giving a small amount each day for doing chores; however, they lose some of it for bad behavior. So, doing chores without grumbling or complaining now gets rewarded!

I guess I'm finally putting my organizational skills to work at home. It's about time!!!!

I'm just praying this continues to work, because it has relieved a lot of stress. Of course, last week we didn't have any extra activities going on during the school day to interfere with the new system.

Whew! Sorry for the book! Hope it inspires some more ideas for you.

And no, you never mentioned the open door and the cop in your house! Oh my! That is hysterical!

Mary@notbefore7 said...

*Love the ideas in the comment above.

HAD to comment here. I read this out loud to my husband. Maybe it'll inspire my own post. This week, I was talking to a friend and listing for her the things I was picking up as I went around the hallway - spatula, pancake flipper, random cup, mixing spoon...yes, all items within my one year old's reach. And boy he is cute walking around "talking" to everyone as he carries these things...then he drops them when he finds something else to carry to the wrong place. *sigh

All I can say is that when I walk into to bits of paper, scissors, and a crafty mess from the girls, I remind myself that their creativity overflowth because it is allowed to. (then I call them back to clean it)

My neighbor was walking by my house the other day...all 4 of my kids were out front...joined by neighbor's kids. They were having a ball, but my driveway was covered in chalk, plastic cups, spoons, paper towels, etc as they made their own "paint" from chalk dust. She said, "I guess you are the house with the kool-aid, huh?" I laughed. And honestly, admist the mess, I guess most days I'd rather be the house with the Kool-Aid.

But, I admit, my hubby has some furlough days coming this is 9/3 and I get the whole AM to organize and purge. HEAVEN :)

No words of wisdom, just one enjoying and benifitting from your honesty.