Our 2018-2019 Family Time Plans

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m going to do a “family time” where we combine everyone for a variety of subjects. I wanted to write out what tools we will be using for FT and a basic schedule outline.

First, the subjects and resources:

  • German – Deutsch Mit Felix Und Franzi, found free at the Goethe Institut.  My father-in-law also has a massive German library, including a plethora of easy readers and kid-books, movies, tapes, and more. Both he and my German mother were excited that the kids are going to learn German and thought the lesson plans were quite good.
  • PE – I don’t really feel the need to have an actual PE “curriculum” as the kids are already outside running around, riding bikes, climbing things, going to the park, etc.
  • Artist study – AmblesideOnline has a very phenomenal artist study rotation, with artists and pieces already selected. I wanted to weave in as much Montana history as possible; so we will be studying Montana artists this year. I’ll list them when I post about Montana history resources. 🙂
  • Composer study – same as Artist Study
  • Real Science 4 Kids: Geology – I wanted to add some more science onto AmblesideOnline, specifically experiments and a deeper focus on some topics. Due to my involvement with the local mineral club; the older kids have been on geology field trips and therefore have wanted to learn about geology in-depth. I found that RS4K has the most of what we’re looking for – focus on a specific topic, experiments, and isn’t overwhelmingly expensive. There are five ‘focus on’ subjects of RS4K, I plan on doing one per term until we’ve done all five.
  • Nature Study – honestly, this is my weakest thing to do because sometimes it feels like I have 500 kids versus 5, and I am at a loss of where to go that is interesting but also safe for littles. A friend of mine who does nature study with me suggested we focus on learning about local flora and fauna, which is fine with me.
  • Typing and Programming – We have used typing.com in the past for typing with Peanut and have been successful, so we will use that site again. I may put Moose on it but his frustration tolerance is rather low so we may just focus more on programming. Speaking of Programming, we plan on using Scratch Jr to play with, as well as other resources like the Hour of Code and some great coding games I found at Target to supplement. We don’t want the kids to program for the sake of programming but want them to learn how think like a programmer. If you know how programming works in general, then learning programming languages should be considerably easier.
  • Shakespeare – nothing fancy here – read from Tales from Shakespeare, then watch the play. I’m skipping the “read the actual play” because it’s just too confusing for the kids since I’m the only one who can read the plays. I could have Peanut read with me but I still think it will be too confusing.
  • Montana History – post coming soon!
  • Folk songs – We plan on using AO’s folk songs that are already selected as well as some Montana-centric songs. And a couple of cowboy songs for good measure.
  • Hymns – We will be using Erin McFarland’s Sacred Music Studies (starting with Year 1).
  • Read-aloud – I selected a book from the free-reads list from AO for each year I’m teaching to read-aloud. I selected Pinocchio, Men of Iron, and Anne of Green Gables. We should be able to read one book a term.

The plan for getting all of this accomplished is as follows:

  • German is done 4-5 days a week, including review days
  • Real Science 4 Kids is done five days a week
  • We will loop read through our Montana History books – the spine on Thursday, and biographies and other books on Monday and Tuesday
  • Artist study done on Wednesdays
  • Composer study throughout the week
  • Nature study TBD but probably on Thursday, this worked well for my friend and I; hopefully we can get some other homeschooling families involved as well
  • Shakespeare on Friday
  • Folk songs and hymns each day
  • Read-aloud daily
  • Typing and programming at least 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday)

And there you have it! Subjects that often were neglected in years past or just wishful thinking can now be done without me having to replicate it three times.

Our 2018-2019 Homeschool Plans

We are less than three weeks away from our first day of school! I finished planning the first six weeks of the term so it’s time for me to post what books we will be using this year.

This year, I will have three kids in school: Wok in Year 1, Moose in Year 3, and Peanut in Year 5. Little Miss Sunshine and Nugget will be along for the ride.

Peanut is essentially independent as she should be able to read almost all of her schoolbooks, although I expect she will need me to read a couple like Age of Fable. Moose is getting there, but will most likely have me read his schoolbooks; and Wok will need my help 100% of the time.

I’m doing a “family subjects” time, that combine some subjects and add others that I want to do:

  • German
  • PE
  • Artist study
  • Composer study
  • Real Science 4 Kids: Geology
  • Nature Study
  • Typing and Programming
  • Shakespeare
  • Montana History
  • Folk songs
  • Hymns
  • Read-aloud

As we are studying Montana History this year, all of our artists and composers are Montanans as opposed to using Ambleside Online’s artist and composer selections. Folk songs we are going to learn some Montana themed songs such as the state song; as well as using some of AO’s folk song selections. Our hymn selections will come from the Traditional Catholic Living’s Sacred Music Study selections.

For the kids, we are following Ambleside Online’s curriculum somewhat closely. I did substitute some books and add in others. I’m linking each AO Year we’re using below so you can see the entire year that AO has designed.

AO Year 1 | AO Year 3 | AO Year 5

Here is my list of substitutions and additions. My list is based on the kids’ abilities, our family dynamics, our faith, the books I already had on hand, and if I could find the book for an appropriate price (unless they’re public domain books).

Wok – AO Year 1
Remove Trial and Triumph, replace with Saint stories
Remove Parables from Nature
Add in Catechism – Our Holy Faith Book 1: My Father and Mother on Earth and In Heaven

Moose – AO Year 3
Remove Trial and Triumph
Remove Parables from Nature
Remove Pilgrim’s Progress
Add history supports – The Old World and AmericaA History of England for Catholic ChildrenOur Lady’s DowryChrist the King Lord of HistoryLight to the Nations, Our American Catholic Heritage (note: most of these books I am simply reading sections out of in order to give a rounded view of the Protestant reformation as well as Columbus.)
Add Saint biography – St. Edmund Campion
Add additional reading – Crossbows and Crucifixes
Add Catechism – Our Holy Faith Book 3: God’s Truths Help Us Live

Peanut – AO Year 5
Remove Trial and Triumph
Remove Madam How and Lady Why
Substitute Bold Journey by Charles Bohner for Of Courage Undaunted
Substitute Blood and Guts by Linda Allison for Christian Liberty Nature Reader
Add Catechism – Our Holy Faith Book 4: The Vine and the Branches
Add Saint biographies – one about Fr. DeSmet and one about Fr. Palladino, two priests who were instrumental in both Montana and Catholic history
Add Native American biographies
Add a three-term course on health – The Care and Keeping Of YouThe Care and Keeping of Your EmotionsThe Care and Keeping of Your Mind and Spirit
Add history supports – Our American Catholic Heritage, others as needed

Finally, all three kids will be using a combination of Math Mammoth as well as Simply Charlotte Mason’s living math. Wok will use Handwriting Without Tears for her handwriting refinement (she already can write quite well). Wok and Moose will use MCP’s Plaid Phonics Program – Moose will continue with Book C and Wok will begin with Book A. Wok will be the third child to use BOB books to gain fluency and hopefully she will be into easy readers by the end of the year!

I think that covers all of what we are using! I will post what we’re using for Montana History as well as go deeper with our “family subjects” in later posts.

AO Year 4, Term 2, Week 11 | AO Year 2, Term 3, Week 1

What a wild week! Nugget, my 19 month old; has been transitioning out of the coveted double nap times into seemingly no nap times and has decided to become a force to be reckoned with. Climbing up chairs into cabinets, going up and down the stairs, climbing on the table – things have been very hectic around here lately. We’ve learned to take whatever time we can get – so some days he takes one nap – lots of school happens in that one nap time! When he simply has decided that napping is not happening; we do our best to keep him contained in the room we’re in so that we can keep an eye on his shenanigans.

We also purchased a new oven so there was some Serious Excitement when it was put in. Okay, the Serious Excitement was from me – the oven we replaced we had for almost a decade and just couldn’t keep on going. Good job, oven!


Peanut is coasting into the end of Term 2 and has been highly motivated towards finishing up strong. Dropping out the high frequency words for spelling practice was a great idea, as was giving her control of the Latin schedule. We have been more diligent about keeping timelines, which is helping to cement in some knowledge.

Some highlights from Peanut’s week:

  • Multi-part multiplication is not nearly as intimidating as Peanut thought it was going to be.
  • Olympic bobsledding is her favorite sport.
  • She took part in the live Mary Pope Osborne event that Read-Aloud Revival held (and was completely spellbound)
  • Age of Fable is still really not impressive to her

I’ve tried to scaffold the lessons better also, which has helped her in terms of being interested. It’s very easy to slip into a checklist mentality, especially with a mostly independent kid like Peanut.  As Charlotte Mason writes, the goal isn’t JUST to produce educated people. If that’s the answer to the question, we’re asking the wrong question:

“The question is not,—how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education—but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?” (Vol. 3, pp. 170-171).


Moose has been waiting for this term since the beginning of the school year, when he saw Robin Hood in his bookstack. We finally broke into it, and Moose has spent the whole week pretending to be Robin Hood. I’ve split up Robin Hood into a five-day reading – we need to stop a lot for narrations and the like. But that’s okay. I found this great map of the locations of Robin Hood that we reference as we come to places in the book. And all the other times we look at maps of Europe, Robin Hood is used as the reference point!

Moose had another big leap up, in that he can now be content with sitting down and working on Math Mammoth without major drama. Using IXL to supplement really helped boost his confidence (although he seems to be over IXL now, haha). We use Simply Charlotte Mason’s math for explaining concepts, Math Mammoth to drill them, and IXL to supplement. It’s working out well until the next big thing happens that would make us change things up.


I’m hoping that my little toddler tornado will give me some time to write up my “what I’m reading” post – it’s been far too long since I’ve been able to do one of those! Thankfully I’ve been able to post bits and pieces of that on Instagram – you can find me here if you’re so inclined!

Thanksgiving week, school, and more

This week, the best intentions were to continue on as usual; but we decided to shelve all the readings and just focus on reading, writing, math, and religion. This worked out well for us, as it allowed us to get ready for Thanksgiving, give the kids a little more breathing room and lessened my stress level a little bit.

For Thanksgiving, we celebrated at home with Greg and the kids. We visited Grandma and Grandpa later in the day; but it was nice to have just us. We pulled off a gluten-free Thanksgiving, even with gluten-free stuffing! I could have purchased GF stuffing for $7.99/6oz (!!!!) locally, but instead I used this recipe with one loaf of GF bread (that was less than $4/loaf at a local grocery store, hooray!). It was absolutely tasty and better than gluten-full stuffing.

I used a recipe for cheddar drop biscuits made from coconut flour, which smelled AMAZING while cooking but came out quite bland. We were all a little disappointed, but oh well.

***
It’s been about 6 weeks since I started getting my iron deficiency treated, as well as trying to go gluten-free. The effects of iron supplementation has been incredible. Almost all of my presenting symptoms have been reversed. My hair still sheds, but what I am more accustomed to as someone with long(er) hair. My nails now need to be clipped as opposed to them breaking off constantly. I am not breathless going up the stairs or chasing after the kids.

I don’t know if the following is because of the iron supplementing or if it’s due to going gluten-free, or even both. But my thoughts are so much clearer, my memory is much more responsive (my Japanese learning is going on quite well now), I’ve lost weight (I am almost weigh as much as I did right before I was pregnant with Moose). My joints don’t ache and hurt. I used to need a sleeping aid each night to fall asleep, but now I don’t need anything and can fall asleep on my own. Furthermore I don’t wake up multiple times a night. I find myself getting almost 8 hours of sleep a night, which probably plays into how much better I’m feeling. My anxiety is dropping and OCD symptoms that I had flaring up are now subsiding.

We haven’t fully “gone keto” since we wanted to get the gluten under control first, as well as letting the iron take effect before doing a massive overhaul. I tend to gravitate towards more keto-y foods over all, but do have some carbs (like corn taco shells). But it’s not everyday for every meal, and I think it’s a good transition into a more keto lifestyle.

***
Finally, I wanted to mention that if you wanted to get a good introduction to Charlotte Mason’s philosophy, Charlotte Mason Soiree has “A Proper Introduction“, which is kind of like a CM 101 type online course. I’m working my way through it and have found it fascinating. It’s self-paced and free, so it’s a good way to get some exposure. I’m not affiliated with it in any way, other than I’ve really enjoyed it and I think you may, as well.

AO Year 4, Term 1, Week 11

We’re winding down Peanut’s term one now, next week will be the last week of the term; then break week and exams! It was a lot of fun working with just Peanut this week and seeing where she is at. She is now highly motivated to get her stuff done – “when can I move on to term 2?” When you have 12 weeks of work done, even if that takes 12 or more weeks. “When can I move on to 5th grade?” When you have 36 weeks of work done, however many weeks that may take. She can’t accelerate, in that there’s no speed-reading these books; but she can definitely drag it out.

By disengaging myself that way and letting her determine how well she will work within her lessons; she has been able to maintain focus and stay on task. “Elastic time” is disappearing, we are making good way through the schedule (but not too fast), she’s engaged with the readings and there’s no slop-rush to finish just to play with her friends or visit the Grandparents.

She’s decided that while Benjamin Franklin had his faults, he was overall a pretty great guy. HIGHLY unimpressed about his leaving his wife in America and her eventual death without him (as she keeps mentioning it over and over, haha), but can understand why he’s still revered in American history.

Bullfinch’s mythology is finally starting to become a little familiar to us, and she feels like a lot of the stories are really repetitive. Same plot, different characters. It’s opened up some great discussions about gods vs. God, and how pre-Christian cultures comprehended the Divine.

Plutarch – oh, Plutarch. Honestly, we’re just plugging v e r y slowly through Publicola, but I think it too is starting to become familiar to us. I’ve never read Plutarch so it’s a situation where we’re both learning. If we get through Publicola  in 36 weeks it will be a miracle. 😉

Shakespeare – still wading through A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Hopefully we can finish it up this coming week but if it flows in to term 2, that’s okay.

Math, spelling, and copywork are all coming along great; she’s decided to copy the book of Proverbs for her copywork, as well the prayers she’s memorizing. Spelling is making great leaps thanks to Phonetic Zoo.

I haven’t had a chance yet to look at which books change for her and which books carry on. I know that we’ll have an astronomy focus for term 2’s science, which I’m really excited for. We’ll be using Sabbath Mood Homeschool’s astronomy guide.

Next week I go back to having two kids in the rotation, and the new adjustment period for the new books for Moose. It should be fun, especially with the time change (fall back, YAY!) right around the corner.

AO Year 4, Term 1, Week 9 | AO Year 2, Term 1, Week 11

This week was one of those weeks where flexibility was the name of the game. It came apparent to me that we had something going on every day of the week and in some instances; had some double booking going on. Happily Grandma helped out by taking the kids to and from choir for me while I went to the doctor; and we basically forced ourselves through the rest of the week.

Monday and Tuesday Peanut (Yr 4) and Moose (Yr 2) discovered the wonder of having all their school done by 11:30 in the morning. I have told them until I’m blue in the face that if you finish your work well (as in, not slopped or rushed through) and don’t dawdle; you can be finished before noon – which leaves the rest of the day for playing, reading, visiting Grandparents, playing with friends, and so on. Sure enough they discovered that I wasn’t yanking their chains.

Peanut and Moose both had math tests and passed. Peanut finally finished up Math Mammoth Grade 3 and can begin Grade 4; Moose moves on to the next chapter in his Math Mammoth text. We also went on to the next list in both Phonetic Zoo and high frequency words.

Wednesday was a day where everything went south but we managed to get things accomplished. Our special needs kid had an extremely hard morning of therapies which meant that that child was fried and drained and needed to rest all day (but was irritable making it hard for others to work), I was fried and drained from whatever health problem I’m having, and it was just blah. I didn’t force school too much on everyone because when we’re at each other’s throats, sometimes we just need to shelve everything and have some hot cocoa (or a Snickers bar) and chill. The relationship with the kids trumps any knowledge they may gain. And besides, who can learn when someone’s antagonizing you, you’re frustrated because things “aren’t easy” and so on.

Peanut did have her heart broken a little bit more about Benjamin Franklin, she was entirely unimpressed that he stayed in England so long, despite his wife begging him to return (and not returning until after her passing). She still thinks he’s a “mostly good guy” though. 😉

Thursday was worse than Wednesday, in that I had a blood draw scheduled for 1 in the afternoon. “Please fast for 12 hours beforehand” said my doctor. Welllll I don’t know about you, but I’m not up at midnight getting my last meal in. I ended up having an unintentional 17 hour fast. At least I was hydrated enough for the five vials that needed to be drawn. I forgot to ask the phlebotomist (I was ready to go to the grocery for ALL THE FOOD) when my results would be in, and since I have no new lab reports in my online account I’m guessing all the tests are done across the state. Maybe on Monday!

(My doctor thinks that maybe I feel so screwed up because my ferritin iron levels may be low, so he’s having that checked, plus thyroid antibodies and like 249820675698719584867 other tests.)

Friday was swim class day and absolutely TGIF. Moose wasn’t impressed to learn that we’re finishing Understood Betsy next week. I find that we’re slowly “falling behind” except that we’re not, if that makes sense. Yes, we got off on our Latin schedule so the regularly scheduled quiz wasn’t on Friday, and next week we’ll do some extra reading to get done with Moose’s first term. But really, it’s not a big deal. I’m finding in necessary to cut myself slack and let go of some tightly held (and wound) beliefs. I’m participating in Brandy Vencel’s “Charlotte Mason Boot Camp” right now. I wasn’t sure if I could handle it while feeling so lousy BUT it’s so great, I’m glad I took the chance and signed up. Plus, I enjoy having to make some time to be quiet, read and discuss and pray about certain aspects of our homeschool and life in general.

‘What I’m Reading’ Wednesday

Two weeks ago my spiritual reading book was the book pictured above. It’s a very quick read, written by Fr. Carney about the people he has met as he walks the streets of St. Joseph, Missouri; as well as his motivations for doing so and his plans for the future. I enjoyed it greatly, Fr. Carney writes very simply yet profoundly, and you can feel his enthusiasm for souls leap from the page. I’m extremely glad Amazon’s algorithm recommended it to me, and I’m sure I’ll be rereading it again and again.

This week, I was WAY! TOO! EXCITED! to see that Formed has Cardinal Sarah’s new book available to read.
I read his first book, God or Nothing and was greatly moved. The African church has gone through so much (and continues to do so) and yet the joyfulness they have is amazing.

I also needed some mental candy lately, on a whim I checked this book out from the digital library:
It’s quite a cute book as well as informative. I’m about 2/3rds through it, and so far it’s discussed things like capsule wardrobe, femininity, eating and enjoying it, using the best you have (because saving it for later means that it never gets used), and so on. Delightfully refreshing and still informative at the same time. Hopefully the digital library will purchase the other books that Ms Scott wrote about her time in France, as I’d like to read those next!

The links above are Amazon affiliate links, which provide me a little commission at no extra charge to you when you do your Amazon shopping.

‘What I’m Reading’ Wednesday

And I’m actually writing it on Wednesday! 😉


The spiritual reading I mentioned last week was fantastic. I found it hard to put down, and gleamed so many great ideas from it. It really is great for establishing a Christian household, covering aspects of prayer, devotion, discipline, cleanliness, order, and more. But rather than provide a list of “shoulds”, it provides principles and explains the reasoning behind them.

I found a great deal of Charlotte Mason-y ideas in it, such as reading of good and noble literature, plenty of time outside, limiting the TV (which could be expanded to all screens, although we do need some screens in this day and age), and more.

The Kindle edition is $0.99, and is priceless in its contents. Highly recommended!

This week I am waiting for my dog’s new friend, the UPS man to bring me new book mail (and some vitamins). Our lovely UPS carrier always brings a little dog treat for the dogs on his route, and therefore whenever the big brown van drives by, my dog starts whining and crying to be let out for his treat. Too bad Mr. UPS doesn’t stop by every day (although it’s probably best for my dog’s waistline…).

After lots of hemming and hawing, I finally decided to purchase this book. One of the big factors was seeing a “before” and “while working through the book” set of pictures from my fellow home educating friend in England. I can barely draw stick figures, so I’m excited to maybe improve my ability, even just a little bit.

My spiritual reading for this week is this book, which was a “suggested for you” by the Amazon algorithm. It’s a the (true) story of a priest who walks along with a Rosary and Crucifix in St. Joseph, Missouri; ministering to the souls he meets along the way. The Kindle sample was very engrossing, and I’m really excited to receive it and read it.


I also began Volume 3, and as usual is slow going. It takes me much more attention to read Charlotte Mason’s works, and to understand what she is trying to convey. I’m finding that the Modern English Paraphrase, over at AmblesideOnline; is truly beneficial to me in reading her original works.

As usual, the book links are to Amazon unless otherwise noted. Amazon links are affiliate links, so please use them and help further my book addiction. 🙂 

Hits and Misses for the 2016-2017 School Year

We’re close enough to the end that I can do a good “year in review” on our most recent homeschool year. Hip hip hooray!

The Hits

The biggest hit was switching to Ambleside Online and just going all-in. I tried to stay as close to the philosophy and methodology put forth by Charlotte Mason and used by AO as much as possible. I only substituted books based on religion (eg Trial and Triumph) or if I legitimately couldn’t get my hands on them without spending a lot of money (thankfully which are few and far between). I also haven’t plunged into using the method of reading Charlotte details in her books, as BOB books and MCP Plaid Phonics are working well for Moose.

Math Mammoth has served Peanut well, and we did use with Peanut until she became hung up with division. Moose was still having problems in math as well, no matter what we did with him. It was at this point that I purchased the Living Math Bundle over at Simply Charlotte Mason. Richele basically took all of what Charlotte wrote about math, and put it into an easy to read book, with a  DVD explaining the lessons, so you can SEE how lessons function and how even to teach math. I decided to use Math Mammoth for practice and the bundle for teaching (well, teaching me how to teach CM style math) and we are off to the races. Both Moose and Peanut were frustrated and dreading Math, but Peanut again declares Math is her favorite subject and she begs for the math lessons all day long. Division makes sense now, and the MM worktexts give me great practice sheets for her to use. Moose is also making progress, but one of the great things about CM style math is that you move at the child’s pace. Peanut is flying through multiplication review (and division is taught at the same time – eg, 6 four times is 24, how many 6’s are in 48, etc).

Other resources that helped immensely:

* A Delectable Education podcast – although it’s really hard to listen to podcasts around here because of noise, it’s a great resource to have available in that I can get a lot of the WHY learned in easily digestible bites.

* Online reading groups on Facebook – one is reading through Volume 1 together, and the other is reading through For the Children’s Sake currently, and is hosted by Leah at My Little Robins. I am probably the worst active participant ever but reading and watching the discussions are super helpful for me.

* stepping WAY outside my comfort zone and starting a local Charlotte Mason group. All we are doing right now are nature walks but we have to start somewhere.

* Scheduling cards. Love these things because they make my schedule so easy to play with and I don’t feel entirely overwhelmed getting everything figured out.

* An occupational therapist for Moose. Worth every cent right there.

The Misses

Sooo, the misses for this year are mostly on me. Lots of disorganization, as Greg and I basically decided on a whim to try out AO and go “all-in”. I need to do some work in the summertime doing things like printing off the picture study prints, getting maps together, and the like.

Non-existent habit training. Another one on my part. Moose’s leg break threw us all out of kilter and we are just now righting the ship in terms of habits and the like. But it isn’t just Moose with bad habits, we all do. I know what we’ll be continuing this summer.

For the first time ever I don’t have any real curricula related misses. It’s all been on my shoulders, which isn’t a bad  thing, just more of a ‘this is where I need to focus on’. Plus, it’s nice to have an idea of what to fix and how to fix it vs feeling entirely in the dark.

* * *

I’m looking forward to wrapping up our loose ends and taking the summer off. I plan on doing my best to get as organized as I can, so come the fall we can start Years 4, 2, and 0 without much hassle.

Good Habits Start With You

As we slowly get on the right page with regards to habit-training, one thing I’m noticing is just how bad my habits are. I am seeing exactly what Charlotte Mason was talking about when she compared habits to wheel ruts. I have some good habits, but I have a plethora of really bad habits that were so automatic, I had no clue they were even there.

One of my children is extremely good at negotiating. Like, “if only the bar exam was available to minors” good. I prided myself on withstanding the little lawyer but upon closer inspection, I will have to plead guilty on that charge.

The habit I want to teach the kids first is obedience, because that (to me) is the one habit that all the others rest on. Not to mention, when we are walking near lakes and other bodies of water; obedience is crucial if they want to stay dry. If I ask my little lawyer to take a shower, the response comes back that they’re busy and will do it later. I, thinking I’m SOOOO good, say “OK!” and then later never happens.

Do you see which habit is starting to form? I thought I was being flexible but it turns out I was training my little lawyer to 1) always negotiate and 2) bank on the fact that I have 4 other kids, a dog, a house, a husband, a life – and that I will end up distracted in some way, shape, or form.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with a kid telling me they want to finish up [whatever they’re working on] and then go shower. But to simply say “I’ll do it later!” – that’s not cool. It’s actually bleeding over into all aspects of life, including school. Now school is becoming more of a struggle than it used to be, because I’ve allowed my little lawyer to negotiate. My lawyer would prefer to do school RIGHT before bed, at that point I’m running on fumes and my eyes are tired and I just want to read a book without someone going “MOM MOM MOMOMOMOMOMOMOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!” for the 900th time.

Ahem.

After I had that little epiphany, I started looking at my other habits. I have some pretty sloppy ones – and then I wonder why the kids don’t do the things that I would like them to do – because they aren’t seeing me do the same things!

The adage “you can’t give what you don’t have” is tossed around a lot in terms of making sure your Mama (and Papa) cups are full – get good sleep, eat good food, etc. But in terms of character and habits that aren’t easy to teach step-by-step like putting away silverware; the kids need to be inspired by something. Or in most cases, someone. There’s plenty of great literature out there, but if a kid lives with someone who, for the most part; has their act together and can model things like obedience (to God), attention (to the kids, and to their spouse), orderliness, etc – they’ll do the same thing.

Nature abhors a vacuum. If you don’t teach and model desirable habits – less than desirable ones will take their place.

ONWARD!