Tuesday 18 December 2012

Is it possible to have a tidy house when home educating?

Today I rolled out of bed at 11am!  The girls obviously didn't want mummy to interfere with their play this morning as they were as quiet as mice!  I think I needed the catch up as I have been shattered over the last couple of days.  I woke with an achy back, I'm not sure why but I'm going to be doing lots of back exercises over the next few days.
This morning, as our Christmas activity Honi made Victorian style marzipan fruit.  I had some leftover from icing the Christmas cake last night.  She loved it.  She's not keen on Marzipan (I wasn't as a child) but enjoyed modeling these and painting them with food colouring.   I remember my mum doing these but never allowing me to join in - silly really as it is a really fun thing for children to do.  Honi loved it and all I had to do was watch and enjoy the moment.  She was kind and let me make one apple and one banana.  She modelled a little dog as well.  Art is cool!

Most of the day has been imaginary play.  In the playroom, toys everywhere as it should be.  This leads me to the title of this post:  Is it possible to have a tidy house when home educating?

Every Christmas I begin to think about all the extra things we will have to fit in the house, mainly toys.  Clutter = mess so often.  Someone on a home ed forum asked the other day how people manage to keep their houses tidy while home educating.  I think the short answer there is:  your house is never going to look exactly as you like it every again, well, not until the kids move out.  How I try to cope, as I hate mess, is I give them their own playroom where I can close the door at night and pretend that it doesn't exist.  I also have an adult zone, the living room - the kids sometimes enter but no toys are allowed to stay there longer than a child.  This is all well and good but in our old house it was impossible as there was no playroom and my house was a constant mess.  Every night was spent gathering toys and sticking them into a box to give that feeling of no mess.  I do pay my eldest two to help around the house with chores and they have trained baby to help them pack away.  Nonetheless there are days when I feel like screaming.  On these days I use my usual coping technique: escaping out of the house.  I always find when we get back the 'mess' doesn't seem to be half as bad and is tidied away quicker, with less stress.  
I suppose another way I cope with children's clutter is to be very organised about it.  I have boxes for everything and every box is labelled.  I think if everything has a home it makes the job of keeping things tidy easier -  from my experience kids enjoying putting toys in boxes and sorting them into the right ones, most of the time that is.
I also hate to hoard.  I don't like that saying 'it may come in useful someday' as I think that just leaves you with a house full of things that may never ever get used.  Space that can be freed and clutter that will be left to look like mess or over filled drawers.

I find things like cleaning cookers can be stressful when you have children in the house all the time - the last thing you want is for them to be breathing in poisonous fumes after all.  I get round this with bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice.  It's better for the respirtory organs and the skin and works more efficiently I would say. 

I'm off out now.  I just have to make some shopping lists first.

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