Lynn Wilson's great article on how she keeps order in the home while homeschooling.
(Are We Crazy?)
No, we are not crazy, though sometimes we may feel that way! Somehow, over the last 7 years, I have learned how to keep my house clean and homeschool at the same time. Perhaps that is in large part because my children are getting older–the youngest is now 6, but I think some credit has to be given to the fact that I made this a goal, and to my constant efforts to work out a plan to reach this goal.
Write chores on a calendar
How could it be that my two oldest sons were still arguing over whose day it was to do the dishes! How could they forget from one day to the next? Well, mom and dad got sick of listening to it, and we settled it!! On my “pretty” kitchen calendar (the one I wanted just for the lovely pictures!!), I broke down and wrote on each day with a large marker either “DW” or “JW.” A rule was made. No arguing! It is your responsibility on these days, just get it done!! It has been running smoothly ever since! (There is still plenty of complaining at times, but at least no arguing over whose day it is!) Why did I not do this long ago?
Loving Your Clutter
“Clutter” is a buzzword that seems to be everywhere these days! You can hardly look at a magazine cover without seeing something about it! It seems the entire nation is decluttering! I am sort of happy about this because I find a lot of items at the antique stores and thrift stores these days that I think were victims of a decluttering frenzy! Okay, if you are laughing, you should be!
Honestly, though, I, too, have been trying to declutter. There is something about clean countertops, a clean expanse of floor, and a neat-looking home that brings a sense of peace. However, I seem to thrive on a certain level of chaos and I must have some clutter in order to survive! I like my collections of “stuff” and I intend to keep blowing the dust of off them as I walk by them from time to time!
By the way, if you are going to declutter, don't think you can do it in a day! I made the mistake of going on a decluttering rampage a couple of years ago when the buzzword first hit the scene! My goal was to declutter about 7 years' worth of clutter and do it that day. My husband came home to a house that looked like a UPS loading dock! Our marriage survived the day, but I will NEVER do that again!
Let me share my big basket idea! It is what I do with daily clutter!
Lynn's Big Basket Idea! I know the goal is to declutter, but with 4 children, there are constantly “things” coming into the house that just cannot be thrown away. I keep a big, pretty basket in each room of the house that receives heavy traffic. The “things” that are left lying around taking up space get put into the big basket! This keeps the room neat and makes it very handy to find things, such as lost sunglasses from the kindergarten “prize box,” erasers that accidentally fall off pencils, CD ROMs, or whatever! The baskets can be cleaned out on a weekly or monthly basis to get rid of things that are no longer needed!
- Common mint (Mentha)–Mint is said to repel pests, especially fleas and beetles. Dried mint sachets will freshen closets and help keep moths at bay. Fresh mint will help deter ants in the pantry. Fresh mint rubbed on the skin is said to help deter mosquitoes.
- Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia)–dried leaves in sachet are said to repel moths.
- Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris)–boiled leaves will make green dye.
- Sage (Salvia officinalis)–dried leaves repel insects.
- Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis)–boiled sprigs make a good disinfectant.
- Marigold (Calendula officinalis)–boiled flowers will make yellow dye.
Garden Sachet Idea
Last year in the garden I began to grow lavender. It smelled so wonderful every time I brushed past it, I did not want to see the gardening season end! I decided to use some for making sachets. While shopping at Michael's (a large craft/hobby supply store) I noticed these beautiful little bags made with a satiny, transparent fabric. They were like pull-string purses that closed at the top with a little ribbon. I bought three of them. When I got them home, I filled them with freshly cut stems of lavender from my herb garden. I closed the bags up and hung them from hooks in my antique wardrobe. Every time I open the wardrobe now I am greeted with the scent of lavender. I am looking forward to refreshing them this summer!
You can also make sachet bags to hang on doors (provided your young children won't get into them). Fill a small fabric bag with potpourri. Use a ribbon to hang this from the door to give the room a nice scent whenever the door is opened or closed.
Some Homemade Cleaners**
Homemade scouring powder
1 cup borax
1 cup baking soda
1 cup washing soda
Mix together and add 10 to 15 drops of essential oil for scent (optional). Keep in closed container and sprinkle as needed to clean tubs and sinks.
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 quart water
Combine ingredients, put in a spray bottle, and use for cleaning windows. Newspaper really is great to use to dry your windows!
As with all cleaners, keep away from children and use at your own discretion!
Here are a couple of website for homemade cleaners:
A thought came to me recently, and carrying it out has really helped my kitchen look much cleaner. It occurred to me that I would never consider myself done with cleaning the kitchen without wiping down our kitchen table. So why not do the same for the floor? We keep old towels and cloths handy for things like this. I just take one, dampen it, and wipe the floor up. The cloth goes in the dirty clothes basket and my kitchen looks much better!
**You, the reader, are responsible for your use of plants and household chemicals/cleaners. The Healthy Homeschool assumes no responsibility for the results of readers' use of same.
Lynn Wilson, mom to four delightful (and perhaps challenging) children, is the eclectic and nature-loving owner of The Healthy Homeschool. She welcomes you to visit her any time at her website!