Blending Homeschool with Housework

One of the issues that homeschool mums are constantly sharing with me, and one that I constantly share with others, is the tension between housework and homeschooling. We tend to do well in one area and feel as if we are not doing well in the other, or vice versa. How do we get the balance?

Here are some things that have helped me overcome this seeming imbalance!

  1. Change my mindset from school to discipleship – Most things that happen in our day have some educational value – we just need to put on different glasses and see these opportunities from a discipleship/family training perspective rather than a school perspective. I know that there are different requirements across the world for homeschoolers but as we put education speak into our everyday we will find the freedom to do the chores that are necessary and the activities that are on our heart for our family.
  2. Know my priorities My priorities are Relationships (God and each other), Responsibilities (which includes looking after the house), Talents (each individual child’s talents) and then Academics. This guides our day. I know that if all I achieve is Family Devotions and our personal responsibilities I have covered not only my goals but also covered educational things as well.
  3. Be comfortable with seasons We have busy seasons, seasons where certain things just have to be done and the regular stuff just doesn’t seem to come anywhere close! Different opportunities that face our children often create these seasons; it maybe mangoes to pick (Enterprise), it maybe trees to plant (Science, Enterprise, Technology), it maybe a book writing competition, or the Agricultural Show (Art and Technology). None of these things look like school but my children are learning something through these life situations (and you can see Education Speak in brackets). When I step back and view our whole year, rather than day by day, or week by week, I can be a lot more comfortable that we are achieving a well-rounded education. You may well need a season of decluttering and bringing order into your home.
  4. Make your routine work for you Schools happen 5 days a week, from 8.00am till 2.00pm but this doesn’t have to be the way for homeschoolers. Taking into account the lifestyle of learning that we are aiming for, we can tweak our routine to work for us, as long as our children are being productive and learning. We need to look creatively at our routine, to look at all the spheres in our life, and to allocate time for each of our goals. To keep a tidy house is one of our goals. Routine tweaks that have worked for me as I try and balance housework and homeschool:
    • Have lessons 3-4 mornings, leaving 1 morning for housework
    • Start our lesson time later in the morning, giving me time to do the necessary chores
    • Create instruction free times where I can focus on housework – children play outside, play board games together, or the older instruct the younger for an hour or two. Or when my children were younger they had Outside time and Room time, both blocks of time I snatched as focused cleaning time.

  5. Train your children to do housework. My children started by doing basic chores, picking up after themselves, then they learnt to do the dishes, wipe down the bathroom bench and deal with the rubbish bins and so forth. It is easy to let the children stay comfortably doing these simple daily chores. But they are capable of doing so much more and it is imperative that they are trained to fully care for a home and its family. I have just upped the expectations of what my children do at chore time. I have 4 kids, 2 of which do a job to the standard I would do it and the other 2 are still in training at different levels. They do about 1.5 hours of chores a day, each – that is a lot of cleaning being accomplished! If we just get the daily chores done together then the house will survive. During a busy season this is truly all that happens, anything deeper needs to wait (I try and do a big quarterly deep clean when this happens).

We see our family as a team, taking care of the property and responsibilities that God has given to us. Housework is a necessary part (not an unwelcome addition) to training our children. It is not a separate issue but rather a part of homeschooling.

Live life with your kids!

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Linda, Australia
Well said Belinda! That's great advice which I am gradually coming to grips with. This is seeing our children's education from a holistic point of view.

My top tip for blending homeschool and housework would be to keep to set times for both categories as best as possible and to leave close to equal space for both.

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