January/February is a rough time for homeschoolers. The "our new curriculum is so cool" feeling of the fall is gone, holidays are over, and if you are like me you are bemoaning how far behind you are from where you intended to be in your lesson plans by now. The days are short, the weather is often lousy, and the kids are often sick and therefore homebound (we have been lucky so far this year, but I'm listening to Jack cough from his bed as I type and wonder if our luck has run out). This is the time of year I always question this crazy homeschooling lifestyle that seems like such a *good* idea the rest of the year, and this is the time of year that I question the curriculum decisions that made so much sense back when I made them. And, this is the time of year when new housekeeping plans are made by so many homeschooling moms. It's all over the other blogs, new plans, new systems, new attempts at really getting organized (for good, this time!)...all of these being helped along, no doubt, by the Catholic equivalent of New Year's Day, at least as far as making resolutions go....Ash Wednesday, and the start of Lent.
Well, I am no exception. I'm actually pretty content with our curriculum this time around, probably because I changed it all up just before Christmas, haha! I am changing up the housekeeping routine though...if you can call it that. I mean, I have one, on paper, it's all very nice really in theory, but it fails somewhere before the perfect execution...my house is often messy,,,in fact, there is pretty much always at least one room that looks like a tornado blew through it. Right now there's two, the play room and the laundry room. Oh, and Maria's room, of course, that's a given. Certain cleaning chores never happen enough. My refrigerator needs to be cleaned, the main bathroom needs a really thorough cleaning and not the 10 minute swipe I usually take at it, and I can't really remember the last time anyone dusted. Housekeeping when you homeschool is *hard*. Our house doesn't stand empty during the day, we are all here, dragging out toys, making food, dragging out toys, tracking the floors, dropping crumbs, dirtying dishes, and dragging out toys all day long. Every day I do a couple of loads of laundry, fix three meals, load the dishwasher twice, and pick up legos and crayons from under my feet 27 times. The feeling of never being done is overwhelming sometimes.
But, the house needs to be dusted, and bathrooms need to be cleaned. So, now that the first trimester fatigue is long gone, I'm going to try using the hour after lunch that the kids take for "reading and rest time" (used to be my nap time) and just work on a list of cleaning chores. I made a list of all the chores and divided them up into smaller lists that should take 30-45 minutes each, and I'm going to try to work on one a day. Any extra time in that hour can be used to continue my Housewide Pre-baby Purge of Junk. I also set aside half an hour before lunch to work on different things that I struggle to find time to accomplish, like planning meals, making grocery lists, making library lists, paying bills, etc. One more thing I have changed is my laundry system. Yes, we have a system. There are five people in this house, soon to be six,,,we need a system. *I* need a system for everything, because my brain cannot keep up with details such as how many clean pairs of underwear does Kain have left in his drawer, or where two tiny clean socks for Jack could be because I *know* there are clean ones in this pile somewhere, or whether John still has clean uniforms in the closet, or if he has clean uniforms but they are stuffed in the bottom of a hamper, or wait, oops, that hamper doesn't have *clean* laundry after all, sorry honey! I've been doing my laundry pretty much daily, as in a load or two a day, but the constant flow is hard to keep up with and it never seems to be folded and where it needs to be. So, now I am going to try to do it all over two days. This will be my first week. Tomorrow, I will have the big kids help me gather all the dirty laundry to the laundry room, and I will trot through there all day long rebooting all the loads and getting it all done. Then Wednesday, I will get the giant heap o' laundry folded, hung up, and put away where it needs to be. This first week will be especially hard. There's not a whole lot of dirty laundry right now, but there is a *massive* pile of clean laundry to be put away....yikes. But just imagine my husband's surprise and joy when he finds *clean uniforms hung up in his closet*! Oh, bliss!