Friday, July 15, 2011

Let the chores begin!

Chore n. any odd job, or occasional housework; (pl) routine work

I laughed when I read this definition of chore. “Occasional Housework”??? Housework done occasionally leaves you with a crazy house! Well at least if you have a husband and 4 little ones running around. Chores are a part of everyday life, they need to be done.

Chores are a hot topic in my house right now because I am in the midst of training my little ones. If I want them to grow up and know how to run a house or help their wives they need to be trained now. If I wait until they are “old enough” the interest and excitement might not be there, and if we do it now it becomes a part of their lives. Bella (6yrs old) wants to learn everything; cooking, cleaning, taking care of babies, all of it, Anna (5yrs old) wants to do some things Bella does but nothing that requires too much effort, Moses (3yrs old) wants to be strong so whatever the chore is he’ll do it to show his strength, and Judah (2yrs old) insists on being the only one to empty the dishwasher!!!
This season in their lives is precious in forming their attitudes, their work ethics, their follow-through, and their individual responsibilities (among all the other things). So this summer I have been working on what their chores should be according to their ages and stages in life.

Daily Chores we all do would include: laundry, setting table for meals, cleaning up after meals, picking up toys left in other places besides bedrooms, and emptying the dishwasher.

Morning Room Chores for the girls: make your bed, get dressed, brush teeth
Morning Room Chores for the boys: make your bed, get dressed (with mama’s help), brush teeth

Every day we have a different house hold chore to do as a group.

Monday-Dust (everyone gets a rag and goes to town!)
Tuesday-Vacuum & Empty trash (Bella&Anna learning to vacuum/boys TRASH!)
Wednesday-Organize toys (Do you love it, still play w/ it, ready to give it away?)
Thursday-Clean Bathrooms (mostly still all me-girls starting to learn)
Friday-Strip Sheets (FUN rip your bed a part)
Saturday-Clean out Van (everyone grab something!)
Sunday-REST (YES!!!)

Evening Room Chores for the girls: Clean up toys, lay out clothes, brush teeth
Evening Room Chores for the boys: Clean up toys, lay out clothes, brush teeth

This is my thinking if I spend the next 6 months-1 year training my kids in these areas and they become good at them they grow as people, learning about life. I also get help around the house! Now perfectionism can come in like a flood when I’m in the midst of training my kids…most jobs I give them I could do way faster and better. But if I want them to learn I have to let go of it being done perfectly and let it just be done. It’s so good for me and so good for them!
I’m still trying to figure out the best way to give them the chores. I like lists but they can’t all read. I have thought about posting pictures of what I want them to do or have the chores on necklaces that they give back when done with the chore, I’ve heard of people giving their kids tickets when they get all their work done-lots of good ideas just need to find what works for my little troop! Let the chores begin!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Because you journey of homeschooling.

Disclaimer-I am a work in progress, I have failed multiple times, I am not perfect, my house is not perfect, my kids are not perfect…but I am trying and pushing through with the Lord’s help and grace to be a godly wife and mother! I also think its way more about being on a schedule and setting up routines that then gives you the time and opportunity to homeschool. This is all a work in progress and depends on the ages of your children – take it and tweak it!!

Brief History of my homeschool Journey (if I can be brief )
Isabella started asking us to read & write at age four. She was very interested in learning. We got Hooked on Phonics for preschool and Danny went through it with her. I talked to a friend who was a 4th grade teacher asking what curriculum she was going to use and she said My Father’s World and Math U See. I totally trust her so I went with that. Bella started Kindergarten Fall of 2009 at 5yrs (b-day in Oct). All I did that year was My Father’s World no extra Math. We spent 20mins per day doing calendar time, weather watching, singing songs, Bible memory, and potty / snack break. We then spent 30-40 mins. on our lesson. During that time Anna was at preschool for her speech issues, Moses and Judah would play or watch movies. There was not a lot of good structure at that time.
Next year Isabella started 1st grade My Father’s World and Math U See. We would drop Anna off at her school, boys would go to my parent’s house to play, and Bella and I would go home to do school. We would do Math first (cause it takes a lot of brain work) then our My Father’s World Lesson which all together would take anywhere from an hour to hour and a half. If the boys or Anna were home I found it difficult for Bella to concentrate and found activities for the others to do – lived and learned and that is why we are now on way different schedules, which I will explain further. 
My Father’s World – super easy to follow, not a lot of prep, and Biblically based. Example: the 1st grade reader is amazing. They’re learning grammar in one book and the grammar rules are reinforced in the Bible reader.
Math U See –hands on math learning with blocks. You as the teacher watch a DVD, so it’s easy to teach. Multiple worksheets and on line help if needed. This curriculum is also biblically based which is really cool for math!
I made each child their own bin that has activities they can do either on their own or with mama. These bins have special games, coloring pages, puzzles, and flash cards – things that will occupy them and that are only taken out for special learning times.

This coming year
Isabella will be starting 2nd grade My Father’s World and Math U See.
Anna will be starting Kindergarten My Father’s World and Math U See. She has tested out of all her speech classes PRAISE GOD!
Moses will be going to the same school as Anna did for his speech issues.
Judah will be doing some preschool activities in the morning with me and his schedule.
Baby due in 7 days 

How this coming year will look
I spent a lot of time going over schedules, making plans, changing everything 100 times! I think we have a schedule that will work (although having a newborn could change many things-we’ll see)
I worked through a book called Managers of Their Homes by Steven and Teri Maxwell. The whole book is about setting a schedule. I made a list of everything I need to get done in a day (examples-cleaning, cooking, homeschool, devo time) and a list for each person in the family. Then I blocked their times and mine. I made everything in 30 min increments long enough to get something done short enough to keep everyone’s attention. I think morning routines and before bed routines are essential to a schedule. I use a ton of info from
Here is the Master Schedule – our starting point for the year.

On the master schedule, when it says preschool time for Anna and Judah, I will be singing songs, going over Bible verses, teaching the calendar, then quiet play time while Bella is sitting at the table doing her Bible and Spelling. Then you can see where I have individual play time, play time with only one sibling, alone time with mama, chores, and night routines.
Struggles for me:
Being missionaries and taking week long (or longer) breaks to support raise or travel in general
Trying to stick to a set schedule
Having little ones trying to keep them occupied
We are moms of young kids the schedule will change, shift, or be thrown out the window at any point BUT (as you already know) it is so important to have a schedule for yourself and your kids. True confession I LOVE SCHEDULES I don't always follow them or follow through, but the more kids we have the more we need structure to our days. They do better and we do better :)
This is a starting point. Hope it helps and please feel free to ask questions.