This is not ‘homeschooling’

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With the Coronavirus closing down schools all over the nation, thousands of children are coming home to be educated.  Kids will be appearing every morning, ready (or not so ready) to crack the books, open the laptop,  flip the page of the packet…you get the picture.

And the teachers are…guess who? Mom and Dad.

In this unprecedented move to close all the public schools (and colleges, and libraries, and bars, and restaurants) our leaders are attempting to slow down the rate at which  Covid-19 spreads. “Social distancing,” as it is called, is being touted as the only way in which thousands of people will be spared getting the sickness at exactly the time overwhelming hospitals.

As a homeschooler for 9 years, I have been educating my children every day in the same way a lot of moms and dads are doing it now for the very first time…and also not.

Here’s what I mean. This is actually not “homeschooling,” at least, as we know it. Some elements are the same (the schoolwork, the complaining, the endless snack eating), but that’s about it. I guess what I am here to tell everyone is: this is not typical homeschooling.

Out and About

Most homeschoolers will tell you that they are so busy being out and about in the community that they actually have to schedule time to be in their home to complete curriculum work. It’s kind of an unspoken joke. One homeschool mom might say to another, “No, we really can’t make it this week. We have to finish chapter 5 in math.” Other homeschool mom nods head knowingly.

My boys and I have done a lot of different things over the years including weekly co-ops where parents teach a variety of developmentally appropriate classes, play-dates at the park, classes in the community, art class, sports, library events, church events. Currently we belong to a bi-weekly co-op, a weekly high school level course, weekly library meet-ups and a few other things.

And right now, they are all cancelled.

Don’t get me wrong. They should be cancelled. But, even for homeschoolers, we are not used to this amount of family “togetherness.”


Many homeschoolers, unless you are a total beginner, have had some time under their belts to discern how each child learns best, what is the parents preferred way of teaching, what curriculum is a good fit and other important actors.

Public school parents were literally thrust into this role overnight!

I do not envy you and I want to support you.

Working too?

A lot of homeschool moms work as well, but, we have had the time to arrange our schedules so that it’s somewhat conducive to homeschooling. I write part-time and teach nature classes, but I homeschool around that.

Public school parents whose kids are home are probably expected to be just as productive in their home offices, while schooling at home, a Herculean undertaking.

A little free advice

I was recently asked to offer up a sample schedule for a nationally published article I wrote online. I felt really bad doing it, because, I didn’t want some mom, who is home for the first time during this pandemic to read it, try it, and feel like a failure.

Here’s what I can offer to moms teaching at home right now: Take some time to observe your children’s learning habits. Just a day or two. Look and see where they like to work, do they like to sit at a table, on the couch, do they use the computer, do they have to shut out noise with headphones…anything that can clue you into their learning style.

Get to know them as students.

Evaluate how your day might flow. And you need to know that the schedule that might work for your colleague and her children, may not work at all for you.

Take notes, jot down ideas, and even think outside the box.

One of the things I have been hearing is that the amount of work sent home is way too much to handle. If you are in the situation, I want to give you permission to not do it all, or do it at a slower pace.

Lastly, this: spend time with your kids.

Kids need relationships with their parents right now. They need us to be together and they need us to not be totally stressed out. They are feeling their own fears right now. So, it’s ok to take time out during the day to watch a movie with them, bake, plants seeds, or just chat.

Ask yourself: when this is finally all over, how do you want your children to remember this time? And act on it.







I am 46 years old.

I have had 46 years of life.

Cooking/eating meals, dressing myself, driving to and fro, getting educated, relationships, friendships, marriage, having babies, and parenting.

But it’s only recently that I felt comfortable with myself.

I became a Christian at 22 but I never felt comfortable in my skin. Settled with who I am.  Happy with the person I am inside as well as with the person I portray out to the world. Okay with presenting myself “Just as I am” (as the old song goes).

I really struggled with the concept of self-care. I honestly didn’t know for sure whether self-care was biblical, whether it was pleasing to God, or it was just another humanistic concept designed by self-focused humans. I also didn’t even really know what I truly needed.

I think it got worse after raising three babies. I had really lost myself along the way. I think it actually happens to a lot of moms.

My last baby was born five years ago (when I was 41, oh yeah!). As he has grown, and I have accepted that he is indeed my last, I quietly decided to reclaim myself. Being that he was my last, I knew I had to be content with myself from here on out, as baby-snuggling, toddler-training was now a thing of the past (although, admittedly parenting is not over).

So…it was time to decide. Who was I exactly?

And, while we are talking about this, why didn’t I fit into ONE clean and neat category? (annoying!)


At one time or another, and maybe your specific timing was different, did you ask yourself that same question? Who ARE you? Where do YOU fit in? What do you value and even like?

As mamas, this is bound to come up. Mothering can be somewhat lonely and our efforts to reach out and make friends along the way do not always go well for a variety of reasons.

Mothering in and of itself is can be a very outward facing act with not too many tangible rewards. Do you get a pat on the back for staying up all night with your sick kiddo? All those tears shed during Algebra II…does your teen come back and say “Thank you mom so much!” All the laundry and dishes…it gets really wearying!

One of the most distracting things that prevents us from doing this sort of self-work is the temptation to look at other moms and compare ourselves. Sometimes it’s hard for me to even admit I do this…but I do.

Was I the tough, outdoorsy lady? The feminine wife? The modest-Christian mother?  Stay-at-home-mom? Working mom? The long-haired, long-skirted homeschooling mama? I looked around me and saw all of these women, and thought “They look happy and content with themselves,” or “She seems pleased enough with who she is. She probably doesn’t even think about this.”

From talking with other moms, we also are not so great at taking care of ourselves. Can I get an “amen”? How many times have you seen yours kids sick, driven them to the doctor, gotten the diagnosis, ordered the medicine…all while being sick yourself? We put ourselves last. Which is okay for a time…but only for a time. It will catch up with you.


Thankfully the Bible is replete with scriptures that give me confidence and clarity to go forward in this process of deciding who I am truly.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, the new has come.

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Galatians 3:26
For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith.

New creation. Chosen. Daughter of God.

These scriptures and many like them remind us that, in fact, our person-hood is not tied up in all the things that we look at with our physical eyes, but rather in the spiritual renewal of being a Jesus-follower.

That levels the playing field immediately, casting open wide the door to be whoever God chose you to be.

You don’t have to be one type of category of person, neatly packaged and tied with a bow. You can allow yourself the space to wear the hiking boots one day and the high heels the next! As long as you are Christ-centered, it doesn’t matter!

Next, even Jesus took some time to get centered (if we can call it that). Luke 5:16 says that Jesus “went away to solitary places and prayed.” In another translation, the Bible says he, “frequently withdrew to the wilderness to pray.”

Maybe you need to withdraw a little bit every week to pray, to jot down thoughts, to plan your week, or to think through the things that make you happy.

At 46, my own personal realization is that I love myself and the way God made me, and that I wasn’t happy when I judged myself harshly, comparing myself to others.

And I do (literally) wear hiking boots one day and heels the next. 😉





How My Garden Has Changed in 17 Years

What’s in a hobby?  Why do we choose to spend our time doing the things we do? Maybe you crochet or knit.  Perhaps you love to spend a rainy afternoon baking or writing long letters. Maybe your thing is athletics?  A nice long run or bike ride.

Whatever hobby you choose, you have to love it to spend the amount of time on it that you do.


That’s what gardening is like for me.

Now, I grew up in a gardening family.  My grandfather was a gardener and so was his daughter, my mother.  But, I had no interest..that is, until I got my first apartment with my husband.  I immediately starting gardening in pots on our second floor balcony.

I have driven by the 3-family house since then, and the balcony is gone.  (Maybe I watered too much?)

When we bought our house in 2001, one of the selling points was a huge yard.  No more pots.

Fast forward, I have been gardening in that same space for seventeen years and the garden I have today is NOTHING like the garden I started out with.


1. The soil has changed

First of all, new soil is untouched soil.  When we began, we found rocks, but as time has gone on and the dirt has been added to, manipulated and re-arranged, I no longer find rocks.  I have reached depths in the soil where I see different colors of decomposition, I have added bags and bags of cow manure, and I have dug and then re-dug. Now, when I prep the garden for the yearly plant, it’s pretty easy to move the soil and pretty easy to pull weeds as well.

2. The garden space is PACKED.

I have over-done it.  I always pack too much stuff into my little space.  I forget how much room a cabbage takes up! When I first began, I tilled 3 neat rows.  I also have mature perennials like Egyptian onions, mint, Jerusalem Artichokes, raspberries, and milkweed now that come back every year and if I am not careful, choke out my productive space for food plants.


3. The bugs have changed. 

When we first started I had very few bugs and more critters (rabbits, moles, voles, even deer!).  We put up a fence and buried it 6 inches into the ground and that seems to have prevented little nibblers from approaching for about 12 years now. Now, I get your typical insects like cabbage worm, aphids, white flies, snails (a wet year) and Japanese Beetles.

Therefore, I have needed to educate myself on how to manage these pests and get rid of them when necessary.

I also have many beneficial bugs in my garden like long-legged flies, multiple pollinators, and Ladybird beetles.


4. The tree line has changed.

There is a tree I depend on to give my garden some shade.  My garden in right in the middle of the yard.  But it is in decline.  Many of its branches are breaking off and it will not be long before I have to cut it down.

I have also added trees that will eventually bring some shade to the garden such as a peach tree, fringe tree, and a Rose of Sharon.

And most importantly…

5. I have changed.

In the last 17 years I have learned through mistakes. And that is THE main advice I give friends when they are asking me for gardening advice.  Learn from your mistakes and don’t give up!

I have used products I wished I hadn’t, I have seen plants look like they are flourishing only to die overnight, I have had summers (while pregnant or with a new-born) where I let the weeds win, and I have allowed plants to succumb to pests through neglect.

I just keep learning.

Here’s to another 17!


So You Withdrew Your Kids From Public School, Now What? Part One: De-Schooling

Moms know best.

They know when things are just not working out with the school their kids go to.

They know when the bullying has gotten out of hand, when their son/daughter is just not learning anymore, when their child cries and has belly aches every morning before school.

So, mom makes and choice and says,”I am bringing her home,” and files the needed withdrawal papers (different depending on where you live).


Now what?

Let’s talk through some of the steps you should take from that point.

First of all, and I cannot stress this enough, you really need to take some time to DE-SCHOOL. This is not the same as Un-school (which is a form of homeschooling), this is to take some time to do NO SCHOOL at all.


This may go against all your mommy feelings and you may feel like you are being an irresponsible homeschooler, but, trust me, you need to take this period of time.

Here’s why – if you child has attended school for any period of time, he/she has a certain, pretty rigid idea of what school is, what “learning” is.  This may include but not be limited to: schedules, bells, big hard books, desks, shuffling through the hallways, bumping into tons of kids, noise, grades (failing or passing), emotional stress, etc.

Whether the public school experience has been a positive one or a negative one, you and your child will need to take some time to just be in the same space and get used to the idea of learning at home and to having you as the teacher.

Now, this time  is not wide open free time. No, no, no. (We’re not talking hours of tv watching and videos games).

This time is you laying a foundation of how you want education to go from here on.

During this time you should:

Attend art shows and museums
Plug into local homeschool groups
Go hiking, swimming, walking etc
Read books together
Listen to audio books
Cook together
Read the Bible together

and most of all….talk….and LISTEN.

Your job is to gather information during this time. You are on an information seeking mission. You are going to use this time to hear what your student loved and hated about public school and to see if you can ascertain what sort of student he or she is.

Attempt to answer these questions:

Does your child like to do hands-on things?
Is your child a natural artist?
What are the areas that the student hates/struggles in?
What are his favorite subjects?
What are things that she would like to learn more about?
What subjects is he behind in?

The point of de-schooling is to allow you and your new students to get to know one another…in a NEW way. No longer are you just mom and child, you are also now mom and student.

Caution: one of the things new homeschoolers need to embrace quickly is that homeschooling’s goals is NOT to re-create public school at home. In fact, it is the opportunity you and your child have been waiting for to personalize  your child’s education, so all boundaries which once existed are now GONE!

Does your child want to learn about WWII? (Great!)
Does your child have an interest in mushrooms? (Awesome!)
Does you child doodle and draw (Utilize it!)
Does your child prefer you read to them vs reading themselves? (Do it!)

Do you get what I am saying, momma?

There are 2 subjects which are non-negotiable in our house (Math and Language Arts) – but I do personalize their curriculum to their strengths and interests. I do not expect everything to get done perfectly and sometimes, some subjects which cause more frustration than others, I say: I will come back to this another day…month…even year.

It bears repeating…you are not re-creating public school in your home. Grasp this opportunity to do the things your child would never do in public school (for lack of time).  

And this,my friends, is how you begin. Gather a supportive community around you!

How long your de-schooling period is, is up to you.  I usually advise 2-3 weeks, but others would advise you to take longer. It’s up to you.






goals · Mommas · organizing

Scriptures on Planning and Priorities *free printable*

I have been reading scriptures about planning and priorities.  I have been somewhat amazed to see how important it is, actually!

But, as I suspected, God is a God of order and planning!

This realization reappeared time and time again as I went through the Word.  His plan for the Israelites, for the arrival of Jesus, and even for the way we live our daily lives.

Check out this free PDF of Scriptures about Planning and Priorities. I hope you allow it to shape how YOU plan and prioritize your own life.  🙂


curriculum · future · goals · homeschool solutions · homeschooling

What is a Student’s ‘Best Effort’ in Homeschooling Look Like?

Do you ever feel like your kids give video games, television, playing, sorts, their hobbies (add your own thing) their best effort, but when it comes to school they try to quickly hurry through, doing as little as possible, with as little effort as possible?

First, in order to avoid the trap of perfectionism, let’s define what best effort isn’t.

It is not:

  • Never making a mistake
  • Always doing things correctly
  • Never taking chances
  • Never trying new things
  • Berating yourself for not doing it all, all the time
  • “topping” your highest score

So, for our purposes, what is homeschooling’s “best effort”?

A student’s best effort can be more adequately defined as:

  • Effort not limited by prior knowledge.
  • Being a willing learner.
  • An attitude of “I am willing to try.”
  • A persevering spirit to follow it through to completion.

*Important*: best effort should be defined within the students’ appropriate developmental age and personality style.  Learning disabilities also need to be considered.

For example, I have a perfectionist. When he is approaching a new math subject, he puts in the effort, he is willing to learn and try, BUT he often quits at the first sign of confusion.  

His issue is that he does not have a persevering spirit. He is used to “getting” things quickly and when he has to push harder to understand, he gets frustrated and quits.

My other student, who by the way has dysgraphia, will see a new subject and say “I don’t know what this is about. It looks confusing. I don’t want to try.”  He has an issue with being a willing learner and being willing to at least try.


What about your child?  In which are do they need to grow so that they can achieve their best effort?

Effort not Limited by Prior Knowledge
This student sees a new topic and is willing to learn about it. They are not frightened and say “I have no idea about this topic,” or may have limited knowledge but be open to adjusting their current understanding.

Being a Willing Learner
This student has a desire to understand his world better. He is humble in his approach and not frightened of learning new information which may be challenging.

“I am Willing to Try” Attitude
This student acknowledges a lack of understand or exposure to a new topic, but doesn’t allow that to prevent him/her from absorbing it into his/her mindset.

A Persevering Spirit to Follow it Through to Completion
This student, when faced with new information or learning something for the first time, doesn’t give up.  He/she sticks with the new information until a natural end.

It is my belief that in order for your student to achieve his/her personal best, the weakest area needs to be identified.

It is said, that you can only know where you’re going, if you know where you have been. Likewise, a student cannot perform at his/her personal best until you take and evaluate your current status and where you need to grow.


If your child struggles with one of these areas, don’t panic. Every child does.  It would be a rare child indeed that could do them all perfectly. 

These issues may, in fact, appear even when they are doing their favorite activities (like video games or drawing), but they are more willing to persevere through them because there is a higher reward of joy, satisfaction or fun.  With schoolwork, though, the reward isn’t very obvious..and let’s be honest, it just isn’t as fun!

So, the next time your child is giving you less than his/her best, evaluate which concept they are wrestling with and make a plan.


Some ideas for turning around one of these areas of work struggles include:

One-on-one learning with a parent (even sitting next to them if needed)
Taking a break from said topic and approaching it with a new, fresh mind/attitude
Trying a new curriculum that teaches it differently
Adding more hands-on work to the topic
Asking another homeschool parent to help teach the topic
Utilizing a group learning environment (through a co-op or group) to teach the topic
Utilizing a tutor

Hope this helps and I am right there with you!







Bible · Bible journaling · Mommas · This blog participates in the Amazon Affiliate Program

Wise Women: My Favorite Christian Youtube Vlogs

Imagine this: you, in a cozy chair, with a cup of coffee and a notebook and your favorite pen.

Just by itself that sounds great, huh?

But, now add an amazing Youtube channel from someone you can learn from…And now I am in my happy-zone!

As a Christian woman, I crave the instruction and wise experience of Titus 2 women around me.  I am referring of course to the following scripture:

Titus 2:3
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands,so that no one will malign the word of God.

Once there was a time in my life, when I was the “younger woman,” but now, I am entering into the age when I would be considered an “older woman!”  Regardless, I STILL need to be instructed by moms, especially moms who have already passed this way.

So, with that in mind, I have collected __ of my favorite Youtube personalities that fall into the category of Titus 2. Some are older, some are young and what you would consider to be “millennial.” 

They are all great teachers!

May watching these ladies bring wisdom and joy into your daily life as your walk your own personal paths.

The Homespun Wife
My #1 and favorite mama to listen to.  Sherry is full of compassion and grace, great advice and she is firmly planted in the word of God. I love to hear her talk about her trips to Dollar General.  She also runs a growing scripture writing facebook group.

Jamerrill’s Large Family Table
Jamerrill is truly a presence online and her videos tell you why.  She is warm, pleasant and smiling in every video no matter what is going on around her. She has 8 children and talks about how to feed everyone, clothe everyone and keep her family organized.

Marcie Ferrell @ Thankful Homemaker
I wish Marci Ferrell lived near me so I could ask her advice whenever I needed to. She talks about homemaking and your Christian walk. I especially love the video entitled: Delight in Being Workers at Home.

Lauren @ The Joyful Homemaker
First of all, I love her accent.  But, she is a very gentle-spirited young mama who you can relate to.  She talks about homemaking, marriage, parenting and her Christian faith.

Beth Moore Sermons
You have heard Beth’s name She is a prolific author and speaker.

Priscilla Shirer @ Going Beyond Ministries
You will recognize Priscilla from movies such as War Room and ____. She is an amazing speaker.  She is very passionate and inspiring to listen to.

Parsnips and Parsimony
Follow Art and Jannelle as they travel through their daily family life.  Mostly she does shopping hauls (her budget is SO amazingly low), but it’s fun to watch her family start new projects and just be together.  

The Fundamental Home
Amanda’s focus is her tight shopping budget and amazing shopping hauls.  She brings her teenage daughter on a lot and she is a sweetheart.  She has also begun sharing her morning Bible studies with her viewers. 

Jady A.
This past summer, as I was getting ready to homeschool my preschooler, I got hooked on Jady’s videos. She gives SO MANY creative and smart ways to homeschool littles. Beyond that, she is a minimalist and you get to see how she does it. She discusses debt, cooking, minimalism, and her faith.

Anna Willemstein
This wonderful young woman gives a great testimony of why she began vlogging on Youtube.  She wanted to reach women for Christ.  She shared Bible studies, scripture journaling, and tons of beautiful things that will lift your heart!




chores · clutter · declutter · goals · homemaking · Mommas · organizing · Uncategorized

What Does Decluttering Mean Exactly? (And Why You Should Do it)

It’s January, so naturally, the whole world is talking about decluttering their homes.  The stores have gone from being stocked with Christmas decorations to being filled to the brim with plastic totes, drawers, and bins.

Everyone is decluttering.

What does this mean exactly?

Decluttering if the act of going through one’s home to remove items which are unused and unneeded. It may be sorting out your tightly packed bedroom closet, cleaning out your garage or donating things that you think you will probably never use again.

So why do folks do this? 

There are many different reasons. 

Enter a caption

Many people say their motivation is to bring more peace into their home. 
While others say they feel that they are owned by their belongings – and that they have so many, they cannot manage them all.
Some feel that they are anxious and depressed in their own living spaces.


An ever growing population of declutterers are moms of young children who have been overwhelmed by piles and piles of plastic toys and tiny bits and pieces that cannot be easily maintained.

Whatever the motivation, people are looking for change, and they are starting with their living environments.

It is a proven fact that living in a cluttered home actually causes mental health issues. There are endless articles online that will tell you why being surrounded by clutter increases anxiety and depression, and causes the person involved to lose focus and become unable to make choices.

I have felt all those feelings.

“Things themselves don’t make us happy, it’s the emotions and memories we attach to them that make them hard to part with.”

In my own home, we have too many toys, too many unfinished projects, piles of things older family members have either gifted to us and/or passed down to us, and then the other stuff that we actually really like.

It’s a big mess a lot of the time.

I had an a-ha moment recently when I said to myself, “Why can’t I keep the house clean?” Now, I am not an inspired cleaner, but I clean everyday. And I often find myself stuck putting things away… more than actually cleaning. 

I realized that we have too much stuff

There is just too much to manage.

So we have begun to declutter.

Today we put 12 boxes in the garage to be donated.

It feels great. And it’s just the beginning.

I am learning that:

  • Things themselves don’t make us happy, it’s the emotions and memories we attach to them that make them hard to part with.
  • Being surrounded by things actually decreases my ability to think clearly and causes anxiety and sadness.
  • Being surrounded by things doesn’t make me feel satisfied or filled up.
  • The quantity of things I have in my home actually decrease my general sense of happiness and control over my space.
  • Things don’t have feelings.  They don’t care if they stay or go.  It’s us that have to deal with our feelings of attachment and perceived loss.

Is decluttering one of your goals for 2018?  How is it going?

  • Jenny


Photo credit: Eric Didier and Markus Spiske




baby · homeschool solutions · Mommas · technology

Limiting Technology: Again

There was one day a couple of weeks ago, when my kids got a wake up call.
I am not proud to say this, but I had been allowing them to watch WAY too much television.

They would wake up, watch TV, do school, watch TV, play video games then watch TV.

I had gotten into a rut.  With a new baby, I had been super tired and had not been keeping a careful eye on their technology consumption.

It happens.

But this one day, my older son got off the Wii and came in crying.  Like, really crying. He was upset about some level in some game against some “boss” he was battling. He yelled at me, yelled at his brother and was generally DISAGREEABLE.

I realized – it’s the technology.


I have known for a long time that video games and TV watching triggers certain parts of your brain that are associated with depression, but you know, life happened and we fell down the tunnel of technology-keeps-them-from-bickering into a comfortable place where I was allowing technology to give me some much needed peace and quiet.

Maybe you can relate.

I have some friends who have completely eliminated technology from their homes – I really admire them. But I feel perhaps we are too far down the road to take that route.  

So what are we to do?

Here’s the thing. What I have learned is that we will start off with strict parameters around technology, they eventually wane and weaken.  It’s the times when the rules falter that I often need to re-evaluate and recommit to what I feel are healthy levels of technology time.

When I notice the behavior is off, and the transition time from technology to “real life” is bumpy, it’s time to employ one of my de-tox techniques.

They are:

A tightening of the belt so-to-speak. I ask them to recommit (as mommy will too) to the one hour of video games a day we allow.

I engage them more. I step up my requests to ask them to draw, write, read or do some other activity or I offer to do an activity with them.

I ask for a 2 to 3-day fast from technology. I ask the boys to choose two days that they will not be on technology all day.  Yeah, they can be long days…but it’s worth it!

Or do all three!

I often see an immediate change upon doing these things.

Can you think of any other ideas that you can share with me in the comments? 
I would love to hear your perspective.


chores · cleaning · clutter · homemaking

What if You and Your Spouse Have Different Cleaning Styles?

What if you and your spouse have different cleaning styles?

If you are smirking, then you already know exactly what I mean.  But, just in case you are not sure, let’s talk about cleaning styles.

The wife, let’s call her “Susan” likes quantity over quality.  She wants every room picked up by the time she is done, but, isn’t looking for every single thing to be 100 percent perfect.

Her husband, let’s call him “Bill,” is the opposite. He prefers to hunker down in one room and spend three hours there, getting it clean from top to bottom.

Alright, you guessed it.  My husband and I are Susan and Bill. 


I tend to treat the house like a three layer cake.

First I go all over the house on the top layer, picking up clutter, putting things away, wiping off counters, etc. Then, and only then, do I go on to the next layer and so forth.

Pros: This type of cleaning gives the cleaner immediate satisfaction.  It’s more bang for the buck.

Cons: Susan NEVER gets to the bottom of the pile.  She will be lucky if she can ever get to the nitty-gritty of a room.

Bill’s style (my husband) is good too, although different.  Instead of starting on the top layer of the cake, he chooses a place to start and dives into all three layers at once, slowly making his way through.

Pros: It is extremely thorough! (And looks so good in the end!)

Cons: It takes a LONG TIME and if he is pressed for time, he cannot finish and it causes frustration.

There are other styles of cleaning too:

The follow-the-list cleaner. This person has a list. She follows her list and then she is done.  No more, no less.  She can wait to do the other things tomorrow.

The anxiety cleaner. This person sees something that needs to be cleaned and starts to clean it, but then sees something else that needs to be cleaned and gets distracted by it.

The let-it-pile-up cleaner.  This person has things organized, sort of.  Piles are everywhere and when, and only when, the pile becomes a problem, they address it.

The cleaning as therapy/exercise person.  This person cleans to keep themselves sane (or fit). They throw the vacuum around like it’s a rag, they haul the soapy water through the house with ease, they move boxes with all their strength…just don’t get in their way, because you will be trampled or conscripted into working.

Which one are you? Which one is your spouse? 


So, what is the result of different cleaning styles coming together?  After being married for more than twenty years, I can tell you: arguments.

I confess to looking at my husband 45 minutes after we started cleaning one Saturday (or several) and allowing my impatience to come flying out of my mouth.  Quantity-wise, I had accomplished MORE in that 45 minutes. But quality-wise he had accomplished more.

When we plan a cleaning time (or home repair, because it come up then as well), I have to consciously choose to not critique him and not compare.

I didn’t know this when we first got married.  We got into some serious bumps on cleaning  days during the first years (ten?) of our marriage because I would say: “What have you been DOING??” The unhappy result of that was that he felt bossed around and criticized.

And even worse, the cleaning stopped! (kidding..sorta)

As the years have gone, I have learned to seen the value in his style of cleaning.  And most likely if you and your spouse do it differently too, there is some good to his way of doing things. 

But, I have had to CHOOSE to not push my style of cleaning on him. 
I have had to learn to see the value in his style. 
I have had to accept that maybe not all the things will get done in the time I thought they would.

And that’s o.k.

I see now that when he leaves a room, it looks stunning. Shiny, organized and peaceful, just the way I want it to.  So, really, why am I complaining?

I’ll be honest, probably because I am impatient!
I am quick, he is methodical. It comes down to that.

If you and your partner have different cleaning styles, I would encourage you NOT to allow it to come between you and for you to attempt to see the value in the other persons’ style.

Rather, choose to focus on the fact that you are lucky he is willing to help, as not all husbands are.

And always, remember:

“Cleaning with kids in the house,
is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.”