This afternoon I took a moment to look around the house.
I came to the firm conclusion that homeschooling is a mess.
There are hundreds of thin strips of colored paper in various locations around the living room; remains of an art project that the girls have been picking up and discarding for the last two hours.
Someone decided to repaint the bathroom drawer, likely while I was doing a history lesson.
Legos and half-completed Lego structures take up residence on nearly every flat surface (and some not so flat surfaces, like the sofa).
There are library books, books we own, picture books, novels, homeschool workbooks, nonfiction books, a dictionary, notebook paper, pens, pencils, a glue stick, Sharpies, markers and water glasses littering the coffee table and floor.
There is egg and rice all over the floor, curiously around the high chair, courtesy of a certain baby who shall remain nameless.
Did I mention it’s 10 AM?
Yes folks, homeschooling is a mess.
I hear homeschooling moms say, “You can either do school, or you can do housework.”
It’s true isn’t it!
Why is homeschooling so messy?
Several reasons. One, your kids are home all day! I have fantasies sometimes about my kids being gone for several hours a day. When I put something somewhere, it stays put.
When kids are home all day, they’re eating three meals and
eleventy thousand at least two snacks a day. They’re creating art. They’re shedding dead skin cells (making dust) everywhere. They’re banging up and rearranging your furniture. They’re using your toilets! They’re strewing books everywhere instead of bringing them home in a self-contained backpack.
How do you deal with your need for order and the need to create a rich learning environment for your kids?
I’ll tell you what we do to deal with homeschool mess.
At 4:30 every day it’s officially Quick Tidy Time. My phone alarm goes off, even.
I used to be one of those “clean as you go” type of people, but I found this was too distracting for the kids.
It’s easier for them when school time can have a clear “done” time. If there are numerous periods during the day when I or they have to stop schoolwork in order to tidy up, they get off course, and then I’m corralling them back into the living room.
Which is rather like herding cats. Or using spaghetti for bookends.
We also do chores after mealtimes, since most mess is created around food.
Some days it’s just fine with me, but other days the Beautiful Disaster really gets on my nerves.
Today was one of those days where I was having to talk myself out of a panic attack because of all the visual clutter. I did my best to ignore it while doing read alouds, math, history, geography, etc. I did ok. I wish I could be more relaxed about the mounting piles, but visual clutter is a trigger for me.
Take it outside and set limits
Another thing that helps contain the mess is to do as much as you can outside. Eating al fresco especially keeps the mess down, and it’s fun. Art can be taken outside to save your dining room table, and read-aloud is lovely out of doors, especially since the toddlers and little ones can wander around while you read to older children.
If arts and crafts projects are creating too much mess, consider limiting those to one day a week. Put toys with multiple parts away during the school day, or create a toy library. (Lincoln Logs and wooden blocks, I’m talking to you.)
Mom’s feelings about the mess should be considered too, you know.
Clearly, putting the shoes IN and ON the provided racks/baskets is far too much work. Kids running in and out of the house all day: more mess. We have since moved all the shoes into a nearby closet. I couldn’t take this visual!
How do you handle the mess of homeschooling?