Here’s a small hint:
Yep, the boys are expected to help. We don’t have any elaborate chore system. I just ask for their help and then issue the instructions. Works for us.
We have a few simple daily things that help us stay relatively up to date. We get dressed as soon as we get out of bed (well I’m working on this with the boys) and we make our beds before we leave the room. As I walk out of my room I grab the laundry basket and start a load of washing if the weather is playing fair. The boys are also capable of doing this and it’s not uncommon for me to send the boys to start the load while I make breakfast. As the dishwasher has died (we’re in mourning) I always fill the sink with really hot water before breakfast and require everyone to drop their dishes in to soak until I get to them later. After breakfast we brush our teeth and someone has to grab a wet wipe and wipe down the sink and then the toilet, squirting some loo cleaner in the bowl if it needs it. After these few things are done we’re ready to start school.
By the time we’ve done our memory work and read alouds the washing machine is beeping at me, so I set the boys some independent work and I head outside to hang the washing. If I have some time to spare I’ll take out the garbage and collect the mail too.
There’s really nothing much else that needs doing until later in the day. We don’t make whiz bang lunches – sandwiches, pasta, salad, mini pizzas, roll ups or leftovers – so it never takes more than 30 minutes to get something on the plate.
Then in the afternoon, usually after school, I take the washing off the line, folding it as I take it off, and sending little men on trips around the house to put it away. At this point I SHOULD iron the handful of things that come off the line but well…I haven’t managed that habit yet and usually the pile builds.
There’s not much else to do in the day beside cook tea (and train little men in the way they should go…over and over again). Provided we put away what we pull out (which we usually don’t) it should look pretty good at the end of the day. If the mess isn’t too bad I tend to leave it. I shouldn’t but do. When the mess goes beyond my comfort level, or guests are expected, the boys and I work to restore order. I walk the boys from room to room pointing out what needs to be attended to, I set a reward (or punishment if I’m cranky) for completion (or non-completion) and then set the timer. While the boys clean up their belongings, I attack the messes I’ve created (oh and Hubby’s messes – all part of being a helpmeet) which are usually piles of books and papers.
We’ve been doing a tidying blitz every Friday afternoon as it’s so nice to start the weekend with the house in order. Once everything’s away and all the surfaces are cleaned I vacuum and mop and take care of whatever other cleaning tasks that need doing. It takes no more than an hour and a half (on a bad day) with my two little apprentices by my side.
The house is rarely immaculate (unless the MIL is coming or I’m taking photos for the blog…hehehe) but it’s mostly okay or at least 15 minutes from guest-worthy. With a little work each day and an extended session once a week housework isn’t too awful. I know some homeschoolers hire cleaners to help out, but I honestly haven’t found that necessary at all. The key is to ensure the more pleasurable and interesting activities, like surfing the net and reading, don’t take priority over housework. This is a daily battle for me – hence the ironing pile and piles of books that don’t get reshelved and are left to multiply around the house. There really are enough hours in the day if I use them wisely. And when I stay on top of things, I find it increases my leisure time! That’s a huge incentive! Of course I only have two mess-makers (otherwise known as munchkins) and not ten and no babies or toddlers that eat up the hours of the day with their sweetness. But then again with ten you’d have more apprentices to train up and plenty more sweetness.