Housework is neither my forte nor my focus at the moment. That's my short response.
When we decided to homeschool Tiger, my husband and I made a conscious decision to let our home be part of the living, learning environment for him. That means that we welcome and encourage natural exploration and "messy work" that include hands-on projects and visual arts, especially in the early years. To anyone who visits our home, it is clear that a child lives and learns here.
Having said that, it doesn't mean that my house is a tip. There are reasons for this:
1) My husband grew up in an impeccably tidy house so he is very conscious and intolerant of mess. Turning our home over into a living, learning environment has been a stretch for him, so I am respectful of his very reasonable wish to live in a tidy environment.
2) The Montessori method that I was heavily influenced by at the beginning of the journey made specific references to the importance and impact of the environment to the growing child. A beautiful, carefully set-up environment (including cleaniness and tidiness) will affect the child's habits, neurological developments, and aesthetic taste. It's all common sense, really. A child naturally absorbs what's available in his environment. If you feed the young mind with a sense of order and beauty, that is what forms in his neurological pathways.
3) I have a higher tolerance for mess than my husband does, but I can't stand looking at them for more than a few days, so in that sense I can let piles of "stuff" build up around the house, but they start to bug me soon enough and must be tidied away so that I may find my sense of peace once more.
It probably helps that there are only three of us in this household, and we live in a small house so in terms of floor space I don't have much to cover.
We also strive to live a simple life, which means:
- I don't have animals to look after
- I don't have unnecessary ornaments to wipe and polish
- I don't have fussy clothes that need special care
- I don't have parties in our house very often
If you find the above too wishy-washy, let me give some examples in more concrete terms: I manage on a day-to-day basis by focusing on one small area each time. For example,
- I might have a quick run around the house during break time to dust the surfaces. This usually takes about 15 minutes.
- I also do one small task each time I go into the bathroom. It can be washing the sink one time, wiping the floor another time, rinsing the bathtub the third time.
- Hoovering the floor usually happens in the 15-20 minutes after lunch or while dinner is cooking on the stove or in the oven. Since our house is small, all the rooms can be hoovered in that time.
- The kitchen sink is always clear in the evenings. I make sure that all dishes are washed up after dinner and kitchen worktops are cleared of mugs and cutlery. A sink full of dirty dishes is one of my pet peeves.
- My husband takes care of laundry and does it all on the weekends. I iron all his work shirts for the following week on Saturday nights while watching DVDs on my computer.
- I am also training my son up to help with the housework. Tidiness does not come naturally to him so our progress in this area has been excruciatingly slow, but we keep at it (upon my insistence). His jobs are:
- to set the table for each meal
- to load and unload the dishwasher at lunch time everyday
- to put things back in their places away after using them
- to tidy his room everyday
I'm clearly not a domestic goddess, so do hop over to see what other useful suggestions the other four ladies have for us:
- Julie shares in House Cleaning and Homeschooling how she has to keep her house clean all the time as she has a child with no immune system.
- Chareen wonders about the possibility of keeping the house clean and homeschooling at the same time in House Cleaning and Homeschool?
- Bernadette lets us in on her strategies of how to juggle homeschooling, cleaning and life without dropping a ball in 3 Strategies to Not Drop the (House Cleaning) Ball.
- Savannah shares her wisdom of embracing the concept of good enough when it comes to house cleaning in Practical Tips to Maintain Your House and Your Sanity while Homeschooling.
This post is linked up to:
1) Hip Homeschool Hop - 4/2/13
2) Hearts for Home Blog Hop #11
3) Homeschool Mother's Journal: April 5, 2013
4) Collage Friday - Surprises on Spring Break
5) TGIF Linky Party #70
6) Creative Learning #9
7) Weekly Wrap-Up: The Really Busy One Before Spring Break
8) Share it Saturday
9) Sunday Showcase