Not Your Mother’s “Clean”

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Before I get to the question, I wanted to give y’all a little background. When I was asked to post the Questions and Answers on the HSS Blog, I first resisted. I don’t feel qualified to give advice unless I can walk the talk, and, well… I’m barely limping along. After prayerful consideration I accepted the privilege and opportunity of being able to help other homeschool moms in whatever limited way I could. And I quietly said to myself, “Please, nobody ask me about cleaning…” No one can ever say the Lord doesn’t have a sense of humor…

The Question:

“I can’t seem to have a clean house and a good school day, it’s one or the other…is that normal?”

Short Answer:
The general consensus of the Homeschool Share Team is, “Yes, it’s normal!” 🙂

Long Answer:
It depends on your definition of “clean.” My definition has changed over the years to a more realistic meaning. My “clean” is not my mother’s “clean” because unlike a house where both parents work and children are off at school, my house is occupied and busy every single day. It doesn’t get a break from activity. Proverbs 14:4 says:

“Where no oxen are, the crib is clean; but much increase is by the strength of the ox.”

An empty house is a clean house, but having my children home brings many rewards. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but I need to stay realistic to stay sane. Your definition may be very different than mine, but here is my definition of “Weekday Clean”:

  • Dishes don’t pile past sink rim (it helps to have a double sink!)
  • Counters are wiped down
  • Table is goo-free
  • Everyone has clean clothes to wear
  • Floors are swept
  • Bathroom is wiped down
  • Stuff is reasonably picked up and organized (hopefully as we go…)

We tackle our weekday cleaning in short bursts throughout the day, taking 15 minutes or so between subjects. It probably totals about 1 hour a day, and with all the other cooking, animal chores, and schoolwork we need to do, this is usually reasonable for us.

On Saturday we try to catch up on anything we miss during the week so we can have a restful Sunday. So “Weekend Clean” involves:

  • Floors are mopped and/or vacuumed
  • General dusting, purging, and straightening
  • Bedrooms are focused on – all horizontal surfaces straightened
  • School/desk/computer areas straightened
  • Linens washed
  • Problem areas attacked

Not a really creative plan, I know. I’ve tried FlyLady. I’ve tried Emily Barnes. I’ve learned some from both. But for now, this method works for us.

Do you have a tried and true method of keeping the balance between homemaking and homeschooling? A great tip to share? Any words of encouragement for those of us who are housekeeping-challenged? If so, please post a comment! I especially will appreciate it. 🙂