Cleaning The Boys Room

We try to establish good routines for home care around here. Things like making beds, putting away clothes and generally keeping rooms clean. However for a couple of my younger kids, keeping your room clean can involve stuffing everything in the closet until the day that I come in there, say something like, "What a pigpen, this is disgusting," and start yanking everything out of the closet (I will talk about kind words in a future post.)
This week we had one of those days. The floor had been kept tidy, but the boy's special bins kept getting fuller and fuller until the lid could not be kept on. Add to that the clothes stuffed into the corners of the closet and the shelf which was now containing an assortment of things which needed to be put away.

We decided to get rid of some of the Pla-mobile. The boys helped me sort it so that we didn't have so many peices from broken or lost sets. We also made up a box for the two youngest who had wanted to play with some but were seldom allowed in the boys room. Sorting the Pla mobile allowed for some room in the drawers for the boys special stuff which helped us get rid of the special boxes which were supposed to go under the bed, but usually were halfway out with the lids off, an especial eyesore.
Halfway through the cleaning process, we noticed an awful smell. Boys being boys, I thought one of them had created the smell. Well, one had, jut not in the way I had imagined. My budding scientist had found an intriguing looking birds egg which he had brought in and put in one of the drawers. Of course with everything smashed into the drawer, it had gotten smashed as well. Rotten egg smell added to unwashed sock smell, is a real eye burner, but we got the window open and a candle lit which cleared out the smell quickly.

During the whole process the boys were so excited. "This is awesome" and "You are the best mom" were a couple comments I heard. I made them work on it with me, as well as bringing in the two youngest to help sort toys and be close to me. Even in the midst of stinky chaos, I love being with my kids.
For more ideas on organizing kids rooms, click here


Historical History Studies

I finally found my old Homeschool Blogger blog which I started while we were missionaries in Mexico. As I prepare to speak at the Valley Home Educator Conference on teaching history it was fun to read about one of our history studies.
October 6, 2007 in Uncategorized by By The Sea | 2 comments (edit)

We are studying Early American History this year, and in my quest to save money on curriculum, I did not buy one for history.  I have to admit, I had quite a collection of materials from my 10 years of homeschooling, and I was helped by my sweet friend, Jennifer Steward .

I have so far been reading The Light And The Glory For Children,  A Child's Story of America, (borrowed from Kate ) and Calico Bush, a story of Colonial Maine.  It has been great to read aloud more, do oral and written narration and use my collection of coloring books for coloring pages.  I had been using Story of The World, which I liked, except felt we missed a view of God’s providence in history.  It is important to be discerning, one view of God’s will and work, might not match with another one, (could Jamestown really be called a Christian settlement?) but I don’t want to leave God out of history.

We are having fun, the children drew pictures of Indian homes, built a log cabin out of sticks, and we had a Mayflower day where we ate pea soup and crackers for lunch aboard our boat(the living room rug).

Teaching my children history is one of my favorite reasons to homeschool.


Video Games and Boys

I read this article recently from CNN News and was thankful that we have been able to minimize the role of video games in our family. I understand that for many young men, video games are just a fun outlet for energy, but with so much evidence pointing toward video games as a culprit in undermotivated boys, why even start allowing your boys to play them? In the home we are training the tastes of our children, and in doing so practicing the Dominion Mandate. There are so many interesting and creative things your young men can be doing, things that will develop further skills instead of eroding their energy and self esteem.
Here are a few examples of what my boys do to stay busy.
foosball at the orphanage

Work in the yard.
Draw cartoons
Play Legos
Play Plamobiles
Work with their Dad
Practice Karate
Build forts

Lego creation

oldest son

Pick and eat berries
Make wooden swords and fight with them
Ride bikes
Work for money
Plant a garden
Play on You Cam
Feed the goat
dissecting an owl pellet
Play soccer with orphans in Mexico
Go to the beach
Go to the river
Help a grandparent

Obviously the list can go on and on, but realize that for thousands of years boys grew up just fine without video games, it can still be done.


Summer Goals and Schedules

This summer has been pretty productive so far, we made a doll, hosted a baby shower and planted a big garden. I hoped that we could take it a little slower this summer, we are on a break from 4H and our Apologia science co-op, but there is still so much to do. I sat down this morning after our Bible time and made a list.

Finish preparing for Valley Home Educator conference (I am speaking on teaching history and homeschooling a large family)

Organize next year's school work

                                                                                    Organize school room (this has to be done often)
                                                                                    Finish How Great Thou Art  with the children

                                                                                    Paint the pantry
                                                                                   Go to the beach (again)

All this is in addition to the regular laundry, gardening and finishing up math from last year, but it is amazing how much you can accomplish when you take it day by day. Today so far we did Bible and art, I transplanted a butterfly bush, started home made spaghetti sauce (with onions from the garden) and hung a load of laundry.

However, since the three cups of coffee haven't yet kicked in, I think next on the to do list is take a nap with the three year old.

What are your summer plans?

Cute Ikea Room


Parenting Bucket List

first daughter with her cousins
My sister in law and I had our first babies about a month apart. Eighteen years later, she is the mother of 11, while I am blessed with a scant seven. The major reason for this is that she has more faith than me. You see, I have a bucket list of things that I imagine good moms do. Read the entire Little House on The Prairie series to each child. Sew each daughter a dress. Bake sugar cookies from scratch every holiday and decorate. Commemorate every history time period with a project. The list is really quite long, and now as I get older and the possibilities of having more children diminishes, these must do projects don't seem quite so important, and I wish I had packed in a few more babies and a few less projects.

However, the projects, and what they mean to the children, are still important enough that I was delighted last week when I made steps towards accomplishing another of my "small child" parenting goals. You see, I had always wanted to sew a cloth doll like the one Laura had in Little House on the Prairie. A cloth doll with button eyes which Laura treasured as her one toy.

Then, I became even more inspired when another of my creative sister in laws made matching muslin dolls for her daughters for Christmas. After finding a book on projects for children at the library, my second daughter and I cut out fabric and stitched together the body, legs and arms. The doll then got stuck in a drawer for months as we went through a home remodel. Finally we had a sewing day to help a friend sew a blanket for her expectant child and I took the opportunity to finish the doll. I had a picture from a recent Martha Stewart Living Magazine of folk artist, Jess Brown and her lovely dolls. Mine did not turn out quite like hers but nevertheless, Ella and I are delighted!


Summer Fun

Although I have my 180 days for the school year (about 5 more than the schools in my district do) we kind of just fell into summer break, rather than a big end of the year hurrah. My oldest daughter came home for a few weeks from the camp she works at and we took a break from school to clean up the yard for a baby shower.
 We found pretty pink Chinese lanterns at Michaels, strung pink beads on bracelets to play the, "Don't Say Baby" game, and served pink lemonade and a pink strawberries and cream cake. Yes, the guest of honor is having a girl.

After the baby shower excitement, and in part because a link from Ann Voskamp led me to a series of very organized homes (Beware, after viewing these tidy houses you will not feel comfy until you have organized something), I spent the next free day organizing a few kitchen cupboards. I think the real key is that I also instructed my children that here is where the salt goes and over there is where the vitamins belong. Instructing is so important. We cannot expect what we have not explained.

How did you start your summer holidays?