All In A Day-The Sunday Morning Rush

Sunday mornings are like many mornings in my home. Any time we have somewhere to go early in the morning; whether it is history co-op, church or a field trip we work as a team to get out of the house in a timely manner. 

My older children are great with getting their chores done and my lovely oldest daughter will often get up extra early to make muffins for a snack or pack sandwiches for our outings. I often purchase cold cereal for Sunday Mornings, the only day we eat cold cereal, or we will eat something simple like yogurt and toast.

My handsome oldest son is usually pretty quick to get ready so he will often help by dressing and changing our baby, who is 2. I always pick out the clothing for the 2 and 4 year olds, but I often get help from one of my 3 oldest to get them dressed. I question them on tooth care and check faces and hair and then make sure the house is reasonably tidy before we leave. Our living room stays pretty clean and my sweet second daughter is great about getting the kitchen cleaned up, but I do really struggle to get my room and bathroom clean before we leave, I would rather make myself look pretty than my bathroom as I leave the house!

 We have never lived very close to the church we attend and usually use the 30 minutes on our way to church to wind down and maybe listen to some worship music as we drive. With seven children our family is small compared to many, but we like going places together and I love that it is so easy to get out of the house.

Check out the other All in a Day Bloggers...
Carrie @ Our Full House
Christi @ Where the Creek Meets the Lake
Elizabeth @ Yes They’re All Ours
Kathy @ Kathy Mom of Many 
Kristy @ Homemaker's Cottage 
Lori @ Happy Busy Mama
Monica @ Natural Mama
Renee @ Bakers Dozen


All In A Day-Clutter

As I said in my previous post, having an orderly home with clear categories lays the foundation for our children to categorize the learning that they are doing. Because of this we are very careful to only have a certain few categories of toys. It is also very important to us that the children put those toys where they belong when they are done playing with them.

The other major sources of clutter in our home are books and papers. We do have plenty of bookshelves which are categorized by type and the fiction books are in alphabetical order, but when it comes to my personal books and papers my clutter fighting seems to go down the drain. I have a big basket of homeschool catalogs and magazines which frustrates me everytime I look at it, and the bill paying desk is currently buried under papers that I have yet to sort and file. I typically spend some time on the weekend getting all the clothes and books put away, those clothes and books that I have hurriedly stacked on my dresser in between grading grammar assignments and helping a math student and never seem to get back to during the week.
Our five clutter successes are as follows-
1. Rarely shopping which means I have less stuff to sort.
2. Checking rooms daily to keep them from becoming unmanageable.
3. Keeping our main living area clean with clear surfaces, at least one room nearly always looks good.
4. Using my Dymo label maker to label clear bins for art supplies, shelves for puzzles and games and the linen closet for proper placement of sheets and towels.
5. Having small, well sorted bins for a few categories of toys. (Playmobile, Lego, Tinker Toy, Wooden Trains, Loving Family, Calico Critters and Dress Up) I guess I have about as many categories as I have children!

I have a long way to go, we moved to a house with more closets and I have tended to shove things in temporarily until I could sort them, which slowly but surely is adding up to a big time commitment. Right now however, I would rather play with my little ones, read aloud and spend time discussing issues. Orderliness is important, but like everything, is best when in balance with the rest of the many aspects of our lives.

Check out the other All in a Day Bloggers...

Carrie @  <http://www.ourfullhouse.com/> Our Full House

Christi @  <http://antsonafarm.blogspot.com/> Where the Creek Meets the Lake

Elizabeth @  <http://yes-theyre-all-ours.blogspot.com/> Yes They're All Ours

Kathy @  <http://www.kathymomofmany.blogspot.com/> Kathy Mom of Many

Kristy @  <http://www.homemakerscottage.org/> Homemaker's Cottage

Lori @  <http://1happybusymama.blogspot.com/> Happy Busy Mama

Monica @  <http://www.naturalmamax4.blogspot.com/> Natural Mama


Orderly Homes Equal Orderly Brains

How can we train our children to love what is pure, lovely and of good report and to equip them for life and godliness?
A first step is to prepare our home to be a place to learn. When we set the stage to make our homes orderly it helps our children's brains run in orderly patterns. Dr. Martha Bridge Denckla, a pediatric neurologist and director of the Kennedy Institute Neurobehavioral Clinic sees hundreds of children with attention problems each year and she wonders how much of this growing phenomenon of inattention may be attributable to a lack of basic organization in our children's lives. She says, "I see an awful lot of parents...who don't have the ability to provide the basic structure children need, simple things; mealtimes, bedtimes. It would be like language deprivation. If you don't have organized tutoring at home, you don't know what it feels like to have a rhythm to your day."
In plain English, children need to have regular mealtimes and bedtimes., an orderly place to grow and learn and a mom who isn't always rushing them out the door to some new activity.


All In A Day-A Typical Day

Right now it seems like there are no typical days. We have only lived in our new community for about 3 months and with a daughter graduating this year, a house needing a lot of work and a variety of ages to school, we haven't exactly gotten on track. I have a Managers Of Their Homes schedule I made when my 2 year old was an infant, and although I have updated chore charts, I am still fine tuning them. Today was not a day I would choose as an example of our life, but it is real life, so here you go. 

4:30 My 4 year crawls in bed with us, she is not feeling good so we try giving her a bath to help her get back to sleep. I finally get her settled down about 5:30 at which time my 2 year old wakes up.

6:00 Hubby gives the two year old some almonds to snack on and I drowsily keep watch over him until my 8 year old comes and gets him. I fall back asleep and they watch Blues Clues in spanish.

7:45 I wake up to coffee brought to me by my 13 year old son. I sit and chat for a bit with him and my 17 year old. My 17 year old reads me portions of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. She finds lots of parts of the book meaningful.

8:30 Get quickly dressed, brush teeth, make bed. Remind the kids to get their chores done and get a dish of yogurt with oatmeal for my 4 and 2 year olds. Eat some yogurt and drink some more coffee.17 year old starts laundry, 15 year old does the dishes, 13 year old feeds the ducks and chickens, 2 younger boys tidy up and empty garbages.

9:00 My boys help their grandma, who arrived yesterday, unload her car. I tidy my room, get the baby dressed and give them a five minute warning for Bible time.

9:30 We sing several hymns accompanied by my oldest daughter on guitar. I have to remind the children that I don't want to sing a solo, (the boys are distracted by a chess game they were finishing) Grandma organizes her stuff in the room, littles play quietly nearby while we read our devotion from Long Story Short. It was good today and dealt with Jesus being the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We read verses out of Psalm 2, Revelations and Timothy.

10:15 I read a chapter out of Pocketful of Pinecones, by Karen Andreola. It is a nice book about nature study. We then go to the kitchen and eat an oatmeal cookie made yesterday by my 13 year old son.

10:30 I read Evolution Crunchers (author?) to my 3 middle students (15, 13, 10) ,they take notes on the reading and copy out the geologic column. We also read a few flood stories and were amazed at the significance of many Chinese symbols to our faith. The 15 year old has learning delays and the 10 year old is a bit advanced, so they work well as a threesome in many school subjects.

11:45 The 13 year old starts his TT Pre Algebra, 10 year old on the computer with TT5, I help the 8 year old do three pages in Math U See Gamma. The 2 and 4 year olds are "helping" Grandma get ready, I caught the 2 year old trying to put toothpaste on his toothbrush. 17 year old doing reading for school and 15 year old finishing a workbook on analogies (test prep).

12:30 Grandma leaves with 15 and 8 year old for a special outing. Emelie makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the rest of us while I help the 10 year old finish his math. We eat lunch very randomly today, I heat up some leftover strata from last night and eat it on the couch. The four year old has been asking me to play Movie Theatre with her (her whole day tends to go from one make believe to another right now). I put on King Corn (a government and agriculture documentary from Netflix) match socks and try to pretend we are doing all this at a movie theatre. The two year old makes a tall block tower from duplos.

2:00 This terribly unproductive day is flying by. I change the baby's stinky cloth diaper and wash it out, read him a story and put him to bed for naptime. Next, I head outside with the 4 year old and the 13 year old to work in my front yard. I am trying to landscape it which involves digging up all the weeds, hauling excess dirt away and raking it smooth before I put in some plants and flowers. My 4 year old gets in the van, parked very close and emerges with a hat from the Jelly Belly factory, a cup from In N Out and a baby doll. She informs me that she took her baby to the forementioned locations for a field trip. Amazing imagination and props to help her. The 13 year old helps me dig and rake for a while and then decides to clean the car. The 10 year old emerges from the house to work on his garden box that he is building from salvaged wood. My oldest daughter is in the house planning dinner and working on administrative work for her part time job.

3:45 Husband arrives home, we greet him and I continue digging for a while longer. When I realize my neighbor is spraying his walnut trees we all head inside. I was glad for the excuse to quit digging.
My husband is researching cars for my 17 year old. I work on tidying the front room and then get involved in a chess game with my 10 year old. Meanwhile the 2 year old wakes up, not at all happy, he is tending to wake up hungry and grumpy after his naps lately. Emelie is making Burundian Soup which she will post on her blog.

5:30 Grandma and the two children arrive back home. We sit down to eat, a lovely split pea soup, the recipe comes from a country in Africa (Burundi). Grandma contributed a loaf of sourdough bread, we drink water. The soup tastes great and was very economical.

6:30 Scott and Emelie leave for the Alpha class which they are taking at a nearby church. We have still not found a home church here, but are trying to continue fellowshipping with believers as opportunities present themselves. I help the boys with the dishes, dance a waltz with the 8 year old and read a book to the 2 year old at his request ("Read Book"). I love hearing him begin to talk and I love being with my kiddos. We finish tidying the kitchen and dining room, there was some yelling from the boys over who should do the dishes, but it all got ironed out quickly. We ate some grapes together and talked some and then went in the living room to read some books and try to watch The Grapes Of Wrath. We are studying migrant workers and The Great Depression in our history co-op this month and information seems scarce. The movie is pretty boring for the younger ones (good because it is also a bit depressing) the little set up a house and the 8 and 10 year old boys set up a running track. The two groups fight over the chairs (one group wants to jump them, the other group wants to sit on them) I send them to get jammies on and brush teeth. We resolve the conflict quickly, the older one has an issue with an angry response and the 4 year old is being selfish.  I then read another book to the two littles and put all the younger children to bed. The 13 and 15 year olds and I share a chocolate, watch a few more minutes of the film and then I send them off in time to greet hubby and oldest as they return from their class.

Not a day I am proud of, it was a little scattered and light on schoolwork, but any day that includes singing to the Lord, reading His word together and spending time with my children is pretty special.
"This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it" Psalm 118:24

Check out other All In A Day bloggers here,

Carrie @ Our Full House
Christi @ Where the Creek Meets the Lake
Elizabeth @ Yes They're All Ours
Kathy @ Kathy Mom of Many
Kristy @ Homemaker's Cottage
Lori @ Happy Busy Mama
Monica @ Natural Mama


Turn off the Television

Okay, here we are at another major way children are left to themselves. Letting the T.V. babysit young children is a huge temptation, and with sick children at the present one I am guilty of. I admit it, I have let Ella and Ezra veg out in front of Mr Rogers Neighborhood and the Scholastic Robert McCloskey collection. Not quite as bad as Nick Jr, but still, studies show that letting young children sit in front of the T.V. causes their brains to become less active than when they are sleeping. Letting them run around without guidance, is actually slightly better because at least they can seek out the developmental input they need. Jane Healy in her book, "Endangered Minds" says, "Preschoolers in America watch an average of 28 hours of T.V. each week." that is a huge amount of time that they are not playing outside or cutting and pasting, or talking to parents. It is time lost.
When I was teaching Sunday School to preschoolers from a poor neighborhood in Mexico, I was astounded by their inability to sit and listen to a story. Without using food as a tool to keep them seated and quiet I could not even read a simple story out of a toddler Bible. I have had the same difficulty when dealing with American children who watch a lot of T.V. Their ability to sit and listen to a story has never been developed. They are so used to watching fast paced cartoons that the attention it takes to sit and absorb the rich vocabulary and word pictures from a great children's story such as The Maggie B. by Irene Haas, or Winnie The Pooh, by A.A. Milne is just not there.
I have a photo of a group we had while we were in Mexico. There were 9 children gathered around a sofa listening to a big sister read. Even the little ones sat with complete attention on the story. Ezra, my two year old comes to me daily with a request to "Read book," using his simple language to communicate a desire to be together, discovering the world of words.
There are a few shows we watch. My goal is to never turn on the T.V. for my toddlers, but lately having gone through a move, a sickness and dealing with all the projects in this house, it has been a convenient activity to use. We use Phillipians 4:8 Whatsoever things are true,pure, lovely, and of good report (paraphrased) as a guide to choosing shows and we are very careful about content and quantity. We like videos such as Signing Time, Blues Clues and the Scholastic Videos which are basically good storybooks made into a movie. As a family we rent from Netflix shows such as Man Vs. Wild (nature study and geography, with a bit of anatomy thrown in) documentaries and the occasional childrens feature such as Meet The Robinsons's. I have even snuck in a few videos completely in Spanish, if they are going to veg out, at least learn a foreign language while doing it, right?
Turning off the T.V is a huge first step in nurturing the spiritual and intellectual growth of your children.