Monday, August 13, 2012
I used to do school five days a week and spent Saturday frantically cleaning the house, running errands and foodshopping (which for several years was a 45 mile drive, one way!). Abe began working away from home during the week and would return home for the weekend. I quickly realized that this hectic Saturday schedule could not last, and was hardly conducive to a happy family reunion. If I left the housework undone, I would quickly become irritated. I grew up with a mother who could be Martha Stewart's twin- she is very clean and very organized, so being messy wasn't in my psyche!
Thus, our Cleaning Day was born. We picked Friday as our day of choice. We could finish all of our school work between Monday and Thursday, and spend Friday cleaning the house before daddy came home. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace knowing that the house was getting cleaned well each week and I could enjoy my weekends so much more. Now that Abe no longer works away from home, I still prefer Fridays to be cleaning day as we tend to entertain most on the weekends...
The kids didn't mind condensing their schooling into 4 days. This often meant having to do extra work to stay on schedule, but it was very doable. When our cleaning was complete on Friday, they could have some "down-time" to play a computer game or watch a movie. (And for the record, we count Fridays as Home Economics- what they are learning is invaluable!)
After having a Cleaning Day in place for over 9 years now, I couldn't imagine doing it any other way. In fact, our little children pray on Thursdays for the Lord to help us as tomorrow is cleaning day; it is ingrained in them as if it were the Sabbath!
On Cleaning Day we try to get an early start. I write everyone's jobs on the black board in the kitchen. Jobs get crossed off as they are completed. I have found it best to give the same children the same jobs weekly, although I do alternate them occasionally. Everyone is responsible for their own room (or in our case, section of the room) as well as closet space (again, everyone shares a closet).Then each child cleans their designated room or area. Older ones help with vacuuming and mopping. One child is assigned cleaning appliances which involves cleaning the toaster oven, wiping the outside of the fridge, oven, microwave and dishwasher. Another child has to touch up windows, as little children make lots of smudges! When needed, I also assign younger children to wiping trim and magic sponging away marks on the walls. These are jobs that young children are perfectly capable of doing and keep them involved in the cleaning process. My main job is to tackle the bathrooms, as I really like these to be done well. We also take this day to wash all of the towels and sheets.
Why clean the whole house in one day? I know moms who do a little each day- say dusting one day, vacuuming on another day, cleaning the bathrooms on yet another day... I just really like the feeling of a whole clean house all at one time. It also makes it easier to ignore the little messes that bother me throughout the week, because I know that it will get done on Friday. I can also jot down things that I notice throughout the week that need to get added to our Friday schedule- for example, toys that have collected under the sofa that need to be retrieved, or a cabinet that needs organizing.
I have heard so many moms complain that they just don't have time to clean their homes and homeschool at the same time. There just isn't enough time to get it all done. And having a clean, orderly home is important. It helps bring a sense of peace to our homes, and it helps others feel welcome...