The Balancing Act: Homeschooling and Housekeeping
Every homeschooling mom I know has second guessed herself at one time. It seems we are all
plagued by the same questions sometime during her homeschooling lives. "How do I know
they're learning?" and "Am I teaching them everything they need to know?" are two popular
nagging questions that moms have commiserated over as they watch their children during events
or get togethers.
Then just when it seems like the nagging doubts are gone, we find ourselves prey to another
common stress. Balancing homeschooling with household responsibilities is one of the leading
causes of burn out. I know. I've been there too. The solution is to find a way to simplify
housework. Though you can find lots of books and magazine articles that will offer timesaving
tips, I have a few to share that have worked for my family.
If you are like most moms, you wonder if the neighbors aren't dropping off their laundry at your
home during the night. No matter how many loads we faithfully do, like the balance on a credit
card bill, it never seems to go down. I felt as if my life was tied to the washer and dryer. I've
gotten wise though. I've taught both my children, then 10 and 12, to run the machines. It's their
job to keep an eye on their hampers. When it's full, it's their job to get it to the basement. It's
their job to wash and dry their own clothes. On top of that, they fold and put away each and every
piece of clothing. That leaves me with only mine and my husband's laundry. A big difference
Preparing and cooking several days worth of meals on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon is great
too. Then you can simply mark the containers, freeze them and voila! - on a Tuesday morning
you can take out the meal of your choice and thaw it in the refrigerator. Later that evening it takes
only seconds to heat it all up and serve. Even better, consider letting each child have a cook-of-
the-day day. So if Tuesday is Mary Sue's day, she gets to choose the menu, prepare the meal
(with supervision of course) and clean up. For a mom of two, that gives me two days off from the
When it comes to cleaning, I've taught each child to be responsible for their own room. After all,
I don't make a mess in there now do I? It's been several years since I've made a child's bed. Not
only are they responsible for bed making but furniture polishing and vacuuming as well.
Bathrooms can easily become an eyesore in the midst of a busy homeschool. A simple cleaning
routine done on a daily basis can keep your bathrooms presentable enough for unexpected
company. Teach your children to clean it as they use it. If you have shower doors, use a suction
cup to mount a squeegee to a wall for quick access. Have each child squeegee the doors after they
shower to beat soap scum before it happens. Leave a bottle of all in one cleaner under the sink
and have everyone spray and wipe mirrors, counters and toilet areas after their daily shower.
These little steps will keep your bathroom fresh and clean in between those big cleaning jags.
As for keeping floors clean, invest in these new carpet sweeps that use a disposal dust wipe (for
wood floors) or disposal cleaning wipe (for carpets). Let the kids take turns at the end of the day
sweeping the carpets and floors. It's especially great if you have pets as you can keep up on
shedding. As for the old mop and bucket, forget about them. Thanks to some sympathetic idea
man at a well known cleaning company, you can now buy a mop that weighs barely a feather and
doesn't even look like one. Similar in looks to the carpet sweep, this long handled tool has a hard
rubber bottom and to that bottom you simply attach a pre-moistened disposal wipe. Gone are the
backbreaking days of pushing and scrubbing with the sponge mop, all the while leaving little bits
of tell tale sponge on your somewhat clean floor. Just attach a wipe, swipe all around the floor
and throw out the wipe when done (so satisfying to see that dried up dirty wipe - job well done!).
It takes only minutes to go from a sticky floor to the sweet smell of clean.
These are tips that have worked for me but they barely touch the surface. Check out your local
library for books on time management for "domestic engineers" (I like that so much better than
homemakers because we truly are building more than a home, aren't we?) And you're bound to
find more. And when you do, don't forget to email me - I'm always looking for more ideas on
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Families Online Radio
Listen to an Interview with columnist Christina Lorenzen about Homeschooling
Homeschool Legal Defense Association
Worldbook Offers a page with the typical course of study for children grades K-12
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Home School Transcripts
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Christina Lorenzen is a full-time freelance writer specializing in parenting and health issues. With more than 125 articles published, she also offers her wisdom and experience to other writers by teaching writing workshops through local libraries, bookstores and online. In addition to this column, she is also a columnist for Connecting @ Home magazine. She can reached at email@example.com
Listen to an Interview About Homeschooling with Christine Lorensen