Tuesday, September 4, 2012

homeschoolin' ain't easy

Me and my 'first-world' problems. I live in a country and time where there are many legal options for educating my children. I am personally blessed enough to live in a place where the public schools are pretty good and some of the alternative and private options are excellent. I stay-at-home most of the time, so I am able to volunteer and be involved in the schooling process. In spite of this, we are choosing to homeschool the children through a public charter school. 

We six people (plus a standard poodle, an outside cat and an inside beta fish) would find this townhouse with a postage stamp backyard just fine if we were gone all day at work, school, and activities. I do hear-tell of mothers who finally have all their children in school and they are thrilled that the house stays as clean as it was for the hours between eight and three every day. 

But I don't think that the primary problem is being at home all day or having too much (of course, that contributes to the messiness problem). The house is pretty small. Yes, I know: 'A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place." Then should my second pot or the children's bicycles or the stroller or the coffee machine be considered clutter because I don't have the space? Thank goodness I was able to be at a talk by author Laura Berquist who reminded us that if we are stopping homeschooling simply to free up time to clean the house, we should hire a housekeeper and choose to educate our children. There are valid and important reasons to have children in mainstream schools, but housekeeping is at the bottom of the list.

Here is as bad as it gets in the single-car-garage/family-room/dog-dorm/learning-room/storage/pantry. I am trying (with the help of the kids) to keep the rest of the house clean and organized and I am having much more success than here. Mom- it is not this bad right now (oldish photos), and there are no rotten potatoes lurking underneath the piles. I've got my Goodwill bags and trash bags ready. It is a never-ending project because we are doing a lot of living here. I do hate that my children don't have more space. If they were in school, the school rooms would always be clean! And when I want to really get down on myself (just kidding! sort of...), I click over to Charming the Birds from the Trees- an Orthodox priest's wife who homeschools and has a lovely home. But I comfort myself a little when I realize that the living here is much more expensive than her area. But still...take a look at this...
yes, the third photo is a side view of the two big girls' desks, covered in stuff that should be in the pantry and other places. It doesn't look very peaceful or conducive to great academic achievement. Notice the USCCB envelopes in the foreground. They send a lot of mail. The 'learning room' is already half-better, but I'm not ready to take photos- it will be next week sometimes. And it will never look like the 'Charming' room. 

10 comments:

  1. You are officially my hero because you are real! I got depressed just looking at a few photos from "Charming with Birds...". I will never be a "proper Southern Baptist minister's wife" (meaning everything perfectly organized and clean, always ready with refreshments should the president drop by). I am a messy Catholic wife. My Orthodox husband would love the house to look like from a Southern Living magazine. So I let him clean. I organize, I drop off the bags in Goodwill. But cleaning is not going to be anywhere close to the top of my priorities. Plus I get crabby when everything is clean and picked up because somebody will make it messy soon again. I am so glad that you keep life real!

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    1. Thanks Benedikta...but I want to be cleaner! What really drives me crazy is when we clean out the car from Sunday (sometimes we are gone until 7 pm) and dump everything on that black coach in the garage/school room. It is like the broken window syndrome and things go from bad to worse.

      One thing- homeschooling moms need to stop thinking of themselves at stay at home moms- we really are work at home moms-the big girls help and the 5 year old is sloooowly starting to contribute, but we are living hard in this little house

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  2. I will send up some prayers that you can get this organized. At least it doesn't look like you need to move heavy stuff. Why does the USCCB send you a lot of mail? Do you work with them?

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    1. We get all the mailings for the special collections at home- there are a LOT of papaers that go with those envelopes 10 times a year.

      yes- it is mostly papers and books- grrrrr- papers can't just be thrown away, can they?

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  3. I feel with you! This is our great daily struggle! It is nice when the kids big enough to realy contribute! And even nicer when the girls hate to see the mess! Then I don't even have to ask :)

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    1. and you have a little house too (even though it is AWESOME)- is the new house in the village helping or making things really complicated?

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  4. your home is so warm and welcoming-- these pictures of your garage do not tell people what an amazing meal you make off the cuff, show your beautiful icon corner, or what fun times are had within these walls. Don't be so hard on yourself; if this is all you have to work on then it's a piece of cake! It won't take as long as you think; 20 minutes a day working on one section at a time, my friend! Consistency is key. Now off to follow my own advice... -F

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  5. Thanks F- 20 minutes every day of decluttering is all it takes...but you know that usually all a homeschooling mom has time for is cooking and making sure that bathrooms and kitchen are acceptable. Don't you feel that all you have tome for is the cleaning? That's me...but thanks for your kind words about the rest of the house :)

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  6. It is a struggle to keep a clean and organized home! The pictures that I take on my blog don't always reflect the mess that is behind me and the camera!

    Also, I did want to mention that while we live in a very nice home now, it is a rectory. We don't own it and can be moved any time the bishop chooses to move us. Our next house will probably be one that is very different from this house. I just wanted to clarify that in case you thought that we were living large:)

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    1. I wouldn't say you are 'living large' but your home is so lovely- forgive us for being a little jealous ;)

      I have a feeling you are the type of mom to make a lovely home anywhere- you seem so organized- like with your 'learning baskets' I love those and sometimes use your ideas

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