I'm not the best housekeeper normally, so when you add in the extra duties of homeschooling and consider that my kids are here to help mess up the place all day long, you can probably imagine the task I have ahead of me feels pretty daunting. This really is my biggest weakness as a mom and wife.
So, how do I combat that? Every so often, we take a break from the books and have a "life skills day". The great thing is that it still counts as a school day because it is not just the kids doing their daily chores. I'm spending the day teaching them the skills needed to manage a household. Yes, they are doing chores as part of it, and yes, the advantage for me is that I can get caught up on housework.
For a life skills day, we'd be working on your typical housework, like laundry. Here is what it looks like after Big Girl has emptied the chute. (Yes, we have a laundry chute! Coolest thing ever!)
This is one of her weekly chores, so I don't get to count this as school since she already has the skills to independently complete the task. The plan today is to teach her how to pre-treat stains, so that when I ask her to load the washing machine, she knows to look for stains and how to take care of them when they're found.
Big Boy's task for the day is running the dishwasher. He already handles the silverware tray, while I load everything else. I'm a little OCD when it comes to loading the dishwasher. Today, I'll take a few minutes to show him how to add soap (We use the packets, so no pouring.) and show him all the settings discussing how/why we use each one.
These two tasks won't take up our whole day. We will be doing and learning other tasks under supervision along with the two continuing to work on independent tasks. Baby Boy will practice picking up after himself (something that is a constant battle with my very strong willed little guy).
Here's a quick list of things that are being taught/mastered at the moment:
- Using the ShopVac to clean the kitchen/laundry room floor
- Putting away laundry appropriately
- Cleaning the lint trap on the dryer
- Bulk cooking (homemade oatmeal packets & breakfast burritos)
I'll be completely honest in saying that while these days are a break from our normal routine, they are in no way easy days. Training my kids in home management is hard, especially since I don't enjoy the work, but it is absolutely necessary.
What life skills are you teaching your children? How do you manage to stay caught up on all those tasks it takes to run a successful home? I'd love to know!