homeschool, housework, and sanity

Let me clear things up for you before they get murky from the beginning.  This post is more of a question and guide then an answer book.  I in no way, shape or form have “it” all together.  I have picked up a few tips and frames of mind along the path of schooling the kids over the years.  I’m simply passing along personal experience.  I also ask myself if I’m on task daily.  Is there a more efficient or effective way to do things, ect.  In a nut shell, it’s an ever-evolving balance.

Every morning I get up and have personal time with Jesus.  Sometimes this happens when everyone is still sleep.  Sometimes, I sleep through my alarm (a lot) and this happens while the kids are doing morning chores. This is my best advice to anyone.  That’s how I prepare for my day.  After this time happens, my day begins.  The following is how I function through the rest of the day.

First, you can’t do it all and stay calm.  Choose the order of your priorities.  This has changed and been a huge struggle for me every year.  My biggest quandary is sticking to my own standards.  Your list may look different, that’s okay.  The concept remains. This is the order I pour my daily energy into.  This isn’t necessarily a priority of life.  It’s more import that my kids eat that learn.  It would be hard to learn if you’ve staved to death right?  This is the order I pour out my time and energy to.  If I have left over energy after #1, I carry out something in #2.  If I did something in #2, I may take longer or do something special for #3.  You get where I’m going with this.  I do each category everyday on some level.

1. School the kids (This is my number one priority!)

2. Cleaning (I’m putting this as the second because I lose my mind when things get too messy or backed-up)

3. Meals (We all have to eat.  I’m talking about whether we’re eating frozen meals or home-cooked)

4. Extracurricular (For me this is knitting, hanging out with friends ect.)

I’ve given up the ghost of being perfect and doing it all.  I was losing my mind people. I was also not perfect.  I was grumpy.  What’s important to me is being a good mom.  I want to feel they learned all they could.  Was I patient?  Do they feel loved and important? If the house is a wreck and we eat frozen pizza at the end of the day, I’m good with that.

I’m not sure how it happened, but I have slowly cared less and less about whole organic food.  I haven’t made a pie crust in over a year.  I simply don’t have the time or energy to accomplish everything to perfection.  To be honest, I was burdening myself with DIY everything.  Food, cleaners, projects.  I was using every spare moment of my day to do something.

I found a more realistic approach to life freeing.

When the kids are done with school I sneak in a load of laundry.  Sometimes I can start dish while they’re reading or busy with an assignment.  I am mostly on my feet the entire school time.  We do school from about 930-12 noon.  The afternoons are when older kids read or finish independent work, and younger ones rest.

I try to relax on some level here.  I read or watch a show while folding laundry.  I need a bit or a recharge.  If I don’t get one, it’s a frozen meal for dinner.  If I feel more energetic, I make a more time-consuming meal.  I do meal plan, but often re-arrange the planned meals for the week, depending on my energy.

After I have my quiet(er) time, we do afternoon chores.  Here’s the link to our schedule.  We are doing great with this.  I find it to be the least burdening chore chart we’ve tried.  Our house always looks generally clean now.  If I’m really in the mood to clean that day, I pick an organizing task or other project not on the list.  I also will take extra care washing linens and putting clothes away.  That’s if I really feel like cleaning that day.

When the day is done, or nearly so, I have extracurricular time.  They have free time until 5 pm.  While they play outside or entertain themselves I usually read or knit.  After they’re in bed, I read or watch TV with Nick.  I paint my nails, shower, ect. during this time.  The general point of this category is to take care of myself in some way, and RELAX after a long busy and often stress-filled day.  I go to bible study in the evening, and try to schedule hangout with friends (the no kids sort) at or around dinner time.  Nick can watch the kids, and I don’t feel behind the next day.

How do you organize your time and priorities?  Link your blog below, or comment.  Have a beautiful productive day!

 

 

 

how small children do chores

IMG_1304 IMG_1307The blurriness of these pictures drives me crazy.  That said, it couldn’t be helped.  Josie would not, for any reason, sit still.

The point is, children doing chores is messier and takes longer than you doing the same thing.  It must be done though.  We want them to clean up after themselves when they grow up right?  The only way to learn is to make a mess first.  I guess.  I do wish it weren’t this way, but alas, it is.  

This is Josie putting her bedroom trash into a bag.  Yeah.  Someone didn’t put a bag in before they filled it with trash.  That someone will go unnamed.  

It wasn’t an adult.

Raising young ones is tough on this recovering OCD mom.  I’m self diagnosed by the way.  Wed MD has saved me many trips to the doctor.    

Let go mamas.  By mamas, I mean one mama.  Me.

After all, Isn’t parenting about teaching?  If I do it, she learns nothing.  

If she does it, she learns that making a mess is fun not fun.  She will learn to be a productive member of the family.  Helpful, responsible, orderly are words she will live by.  At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

What are you letting go of?  

humble homesteading: catching up

IMG_1244 IMG_1249 IMG_1238 IMG_1234 IMG_1232 IMG_1226 IMG_1225 IMG_1219We’ve all been scurrying around lately.  Though we’ve enjoyed winter weather in the 70s, the last load of firewood needed cutting and stacking.  Certainly, the sound of a chainsaw will forever remind me of my cousin.  That builds up emotions.  I found myself in the perfect place for emotional outlet.  Pulling weeds.  Still.

The toddlers “helped” with this.  Half of the onions are planted, along with a bit of garlic.  Most of a second garden bed has been freed of the entangled, cursed grasses.  My hands are blistered, but by golly, we shall have onions and garlic.

We enjoyed some gluten-free pumpkin spice muffins.  Pumpkin from the garden taste better, do they not?  I have four more gallons to use before the next planting begins.  Perhaps we don’t need ten plants this year.

Our ladies (goats) are swelling.  There is just nothing more pleasing to me than assisting in the births.  It’s so precious.  It’s also a gooey mess, but in a wonderful way.  We are all excited to have milk again.  Last year’s season was cut short.  This year we plan on expanding to cheeses and such.

The farm is rearing and ready.  I can’t believe it’s still Winter though.  Will it ever get cold here?  This knitting mama gets robbed of wearing woolins far too much.

How’s your Winter?

family chores

Since the kids were able to pick something up and drop it, we’ve tried to instill a habit and responsibility of chores.  I firmly believe that children are able and should be hard-workers, and diligent in their responsibilities.  I believe it’s biblical.  I feel that they see this example in my husband and I along with all their grandparents.  Because we exemplify this trait, and teach them the biblical importance and applications  I have often wondered why it is met with such resistance.  We have made numerous chore charts, rewards systems, and rotating “jurisdictions” over the years.  It seems that these systems would work for a time, and then the excitement and momentum would dwindle and soon we’d be back to chores being a long drawn-out battle of the wills.  Just in the nick-of-time God came though.  Nick and I had an epiphany.  Correction.  Jesus came to the rescue.

Nick and Andre spent some time cleaning up Andre’s room.  Andre cleaned and scrubbed with a joyful heart.  He did and excellent job.  He was proud of his work, and glad to have such a sparkling room.  This is where the seed for our new choring method came from.  It’s not rocket science, but for us it’s life-changing.  Are you ready?  Okay, here’s the secret to training your kids to not only work hard, but also to work efficiently and correctly. Get this…clean with your kiddos.  Yeah, actually work side-by-side as a family.  What a mind-boggling concept huh?  Instead of naming off the chores and going your separate ways (here this leads to kids goofing off, taking five or more times longer, and parents becoming frustrated, which leads to kids becoming resentful and sad) WORK TOGETHER!  Here’s what we do:  I have my “team” helping put away and wash dishes, wipe counters, collect dirties, Nick has his team wiping the table and chairs, sweeping and spot mopping.  It takes us about 15 minutes or so and we’re done.  How great is that?  It used to be an hour of back and forth to get Isabel and Andre to put away dishes and clean up the table area.  Not to mention the attitude and arguments that went along with it.  Now it’s completely different.

It has been actually fun to clean with them.  They are all so proud and confident in the work they do, and so are we.  When we work together we get the job done lickety-split and done much better than if tired mama does it on her own when the kids are in bed.  When we work together the kids see that team work is the best work.  When we work together we are training them to do a great job, not a kid  job.  I like it.  They like it.  Our house is feeling more manageable.  I’m feeling less overwhelmed.  I love that.  Who knew such a simple concept could change the entire mood of the house.  We feel so much more like a family when we’re together.  If you don’t believe me check out Maple Valley Farm.  It just so happens that on the same week we change I read all about another family who does and loves the same thing.