Over the years, this is one of the main questions that comes up for all homeschoolers: how do you manage to keep up with the housework?
There are some capital-intensive answers, like get a Roomba or hire outside help.
There are time-intensive answers, like shine your sink every night, or have everyone in the family spend 30 minutes cleaning, every day.
And there are education-intensive answers, like read books X, Y, and Z, and put the instruction into practice.
This week I'll be sending five messages on what I have found to be the most helpful regarding housework, with the first message below. (And, for the record, I don't have a Roomba.)
#1: Keep history in mind.
I am not a history scholar, so don't take this as an exhaustive study of housekeeping through the ages.
But if you think about the reading you may have done, from "Little House on the Prairie" or "In Grandma's Attic": in the 1800s, it was not uncommon for people to have one set of clothes for the week, and one for Sunday.
So, yes, we have the modern convenience of a washer and dryer. But we have, literally, many times the number of clothes as our ancestors.
And do you remember what children used to get for Christmas? An orange. A small sack of candy. A rag doll.
So, yes, we have the convenience of a vacuum so we don't have to beat out a rug each spring. But before we can access the rug, we have, literally, many times the number of toys to pick up.
If you have one flush toilet, your home is more fancy than most in 1900. And that means you have more surfaces to clean.
I could go on. The home my husband's grandma lived in was less than 1000 square feet. And there were seven children.
One friend pointed out that other cultures view hired help as almost a civic duty. "I have the money to help out this family, and they help me out in taking care of my home." Hired help was not uncommon, whether through indentured servants, hired girls, nurses, and so on.
Which is to say: yes, most homes have modern servants called "dishwasher," "washing machine," and "vacuum."
But most homes also have distinctly modern challenges:
- Larger number of square feet
- Larger number of possessions
- Larger number of clothes
And, especially, the Martha Stewart effect: large numbers of photos of beautiful homes on blogs and social media, so that you can always be reminded of how good "everyone else" is at housekeeping and decorating.
This is not an answer to the housekeeping problem. This is just stating why the problem may seem overwhelming.
John and Sarita's oldest daughter
Homeschooling mom to five