It’s tricky to find a healthy balance between schoolwork and housekeeping. Consequently, it’s not uncommon for a family to favor one at the expense of the other. There will inevitably be times when not a single chapter of any book gets read and no math equations get solved, but your home gets organized from top to bottom. Or maybe your home will look like a tornado blew through, but your kids are mastering their math lessons, you're getting your scheduled science activities done, and you're ahead with your Read-Alouds.
Those days and weeks are part of life, but what if you could combine school assignments with household chores more often? Here are some ideas that work for me to integrate learning into our day-to-day routine so I can get more done in less time.
1. Math Multi-tasking
We’ll sometimes quiz each other on basic math facts while doing yard work or driving down the road. Usually I’ll throw out two numbers for young kids to add and older kids to multiply. I occasionally change things up by having everyone take turns giving an equation to solve. In that case, the first to answer gets to offer the next equation.
Sometimes I check workbook answers—read aloud by a child—by glancing at a teacher’s guide on the kitchen counter as I stir what's on the stove. At other times a sibling goes through a stack of flashcards with another kid who’s busy washing dishes.
2. Reading Time Savers
Here's a go-to time saver! Read aloud while someone works on a household task:
- I read aloud while a child folds laundry.
- An emerging reader reads aloud while I prepare a meal.
We often rely on free audio books from our library or through a paid service. Your kids can listen to school books while pulling weeds, eating lunch, or vacuuming (with ear buds). Or an audio book can give you uninterrupted time to take care of your own housekeeping tasks or lie down for an hour while they listen and play quietly.
3. Songs for Chores
I’m not talking about music as a subject here, but as a method of learning. Sonlight has tunes to help your kids learn science, history, geography, and Bible. We just crank up the music when it’s time to mop floors or scrub bathrooms.
4. Spelling On the Go
I almost always give spelling tests during meal prep because it’s a school task that doesn’t require all of my attention like reading does. I can check for the next word while slicing vegetables and tell a kid if their spelling is correct while flipping pancakes.
Practicing spelling words is also an easy thing to do in the car. Since I have multiple kids who are capable of reading, I have my kids quiz each other while I focus on driving.
There will always be times you need to focus on either household tasks or school ones, but seizing opportunities to combine the two is an efficient use of the limited hours you have each day. I'd love to hear how you overlap your school day with housekeeping! Leave a comment below.
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