I have found that I firmly lay in one of two camps. Either I'm in the "clean house" camp OR I'm in the "we got all of our homeschool work done" camp. I find that it's hard to do both. For one thing I haven't trained all my little helpers as well as they should be trained; so messes are made at a rapid rate around here. For another thing, I tend to be a pack rat. I find myself holding onto various items with the thought that I might *need* it some day. The problem with this attitude is that I've now used up every square inch of space in my home storing all of this clutter. And guess what, I bring more things into the house daily. Every couple of months I add more books to my library. What homeschool mom doesn't? We have a new baby on the way and now I'm adding things that the baby will need. Those two things alone present a challenge to keeping a tidy and organized home. Now add in the home school day.
As far as school goes, I now have kids going into 7th grade, 3rd grade and 1st grade. The days of having my oldest two finished with school by noon or even earlier are long gone. So in a sense I have a full time job of teaching school, just like I did when I taught public school. One difference is that I'm teaching at home and I have no janitor to come and dust and vacuum my classroom everyday. In other words I get to clean up glue and glitter and scraps of paper. On top of that my "classroom" often has at least a load or two of laundry being folded. It isn't unheard of for me to find a missing sock in the crayon and marker bucket. So currently I'm to the point of just trying to do one thing at a time. I'm doing house keeping tasks before school, at lunch and after school and when it's school time I'm no longer attempting to multitask. Somehow a trip to reboot the laundry leads to a sweeping of the kitchen, thawing of dinner, and possibly even a straightening of cushions on the couch...all the while the students are now playing with legos and tea party sets instead of handwriting and math. So then I have to get them back on task and I find we've wasted lots of school time. And I also found that after 3:00 little children seem to zone out on you and so I really need to keep their school between the hours of 8 and 3. I have a couple of ideas on how I'm winning the war on clutter, even if it's one tiny baby step at a time.
I have loved the Flylady System, but never really fully implemented it where my house "cleans itself." However, even following it a little bit will improve your home management. I'm continually amazed at how much better my house looks after a 27 Fling Boogie or a Hot Spot Fire Drill. If you aren't familiar with it and you also collect clutter you should go visit her website. It does work and if you follow through the babysteps and establish good housekeeping habits while getting the clutter out you can find yourself in a really clean and peaceful house in about a month's time. Now if you are like me and somehow have to get the clutter under control as well as keep the home school running, then you might be interested to know about a yahoo group that I am a member of. It's called Large Family Logistics. It is sort of a Flylady meets the homeschool mom type of group. It is run by a real life home school mom with a whole house of kids. She also has a blog if you like the yahoo group. She does send out reminders like Flylady and also the group doesn't have discussion, like the Flylady. So when you sign up you will get her reminders and that's it. She also includes reminders about various homeschool tasks, daily Bible study, exercise and her weekly plan is set up for a mom at home with lots of kids. I also love that she sends an occasional reminder for things like "Friendship Friday." The notes on this reminder are: Schedule a lunch date with a friend for the first Friday of every month.
Friendship FridayWhile I haven't yet followed through with this particular reminder, I do need to be reminded of it so that I don't forget to get out of the house or invite a friend over. I also love that she sends a reminder on Saturday night to lay out and iron church clothes, to send a child to gather everyone's Bible and start breakfast and load the crockpot for Sunday lunch.
If the first Friday doesn't suit your life, pick a different date. Ideas: one on one at a restaurant, picnic lunch with the children, an afternoon of crafting
One thing I've found is that by signing up for both groups and putting my settings to read on web only, I can customize the two systems into one. I use my yahoo mail for my email address on the yahoo groups. Once you get to your yahoo mail, choose to look at your calendar. All of the reminders will be on there even though you are set to read on the web only. You can then pick and choose the reminders that you want to come to your email box thus eliminating lots of email reminders that don't apply to you. For example, I chose to only get the Flylady morning routine reminder. There are even times that I have NO reminders sent to my email due to vacations or just really busy seasons of life. It's worked well for me and I hope this post helps other moms who like their clutter but also like a tidy house.