What I’m Reading Wednesday

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve done this, right? Lots of stuff going on, watching the hurricanes roll in and make sure my family is out of harm’s way, medical stuff, and more. But it’s nice to check in with what’s going on in my book world, yes?

I started reading Cardinal Sarah’s book, The Power of Silence last week. It’s a lovely, meaty book that really is challenging me as I tend to like “background noise”. Like most people, I’m rather uncomfortable with silence. There’s so much to deal with in silence that it’s easier to just have the background noise on. But, as we know; God is not found in the noise (or the earthquake, or in the fire…) but in the silence.

I suspect this will take me some time to get through, as it is rather meaty like I mentioned above as well as uncomfortable. 🙂

I like to think that I have a good handle on organization, in terms of getting my stuff done (homeschooling, homemaking, etc) and still having time to do All The Things. A recent confession determined that I’m not as organized as I thought (or said) I was. There were still plenty of time-sinks, and a lot of procrastination simply because I felt overwhelmed about what to do when the day gets off track and the like. Providentially, I won a copy of the book, A Plan for Joy in the Home. I’ve already read it and have been working on implementing it. It’s a lot like A Mother’s Rule of Life but I’m finding this way of approaching things more realistic for me, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s because it’s a short book, and it gets right into getting down to business. Maybe it’s because of the handy worksheets included in the book (or printable from the author’s website). Whatever the reason, I am enjoying it and hopefully can reign in a lot of my procrastination.

I visit the doctor tomorrow and hopefully can start moving in the right direction of getting answers to some health issues that I’ve been having as of late. It’s been impacting my energy levels, and so my book reading has been sparse as of late. Kindly pray for me!

(Book images are Amazon affiliate links, thank you for your support!)

AO Year 2 Term 1 Week 3

Within the last week, I ended up extremely frustrated with the State of the House and its occupants. Despite my best intentions, chores slowly were piled on my back, too much technology had crept in, and attitudes were everywhere. Obviously the problem was too much unstructured time – idle hands and idle thoughts and all. So, I sat down and thought “what are the things that I want to incorporate into our family culture” and “how will that be accomplished?” I ended up generating a schedule like so:

Breakfast – Wake up, make beds, get dressed, brush hair. Eat breakfast, clear off table, load dishwasher. Morning prayers.

Morning – Chore of the Day. Everyone plays with the baby. School for those old enough, Nugget naps. Everyone else is playing, coloring, or reading a book.

Snacktime – Only if people are respectful during school and Nugget’s nap (we’ve had a problem with people deliberately waking up the baby, grr).

Lunchtime – Mom and Nugget eat, everyone else plays, prays, reads, or cleans. Big kids eat with Dad during his lunch break. Afterwards – clear table, load dishwasher, sweep floor.

Afternoon – Big kids finish up school. If school was finished in the morning, then afternoon occupations. Little kids can play, color, be read to, etc. When Nugget is napping everyone has quiet time.

Snacktime – Only if people are respectful during Nugget’s nap.

4 o’clock – Quick tidy so Dad doesn’t come home to a disaster area. Make dinner, eat when Dad is back from work. Clear table, load dishwasher, run it.

Evening – Playtime with Dad while Mom eats chocolate in the bathroom. Final clean up. Bath/showers for all kids. Read aloud. Bedtime prayers, tuck in, lights out.

I made several copies of the schedule, and gave one copy each to Peanut and Moose. Everyone else gets it read to them and reminded regularly about what they should be doing and what’s coming up. It’s working out rather well – I’m not as frustrated, the kids aren’t as aimless, and everyone is understanding that Mom Means Business if you dare to wake the baby from any kind of sleep!

***
When I broke the readings into their daily components, one thing I did for Moose (year 2) is leave one day a week as a “light” day. He’s the kind of kid who will burn out quickly without regularly scheduled breaks. In addition to trying a six week on/one off break schedule this year; we’re testing out a four day on/one day “light” day for five days of school each week. He still has to do reading, math, handwriting, literature, and religion but the rest (British history, history tales, etc) isn’t done. Thursday is our “light” day, which worked out well yesterday. At 11am my husband called me to let me know that at 2pm, I needed to take our dog to the vet to get his rabies shot updated. Okie-dokie. Thanks to our “light” day, everything was pretty much done and so it was easy to work into our schedule (although it did make it so Nugget couldn’t nap, but oh well).

***
On Monday we add in Peanut, who will start Year 4. It shouldn’t be too chaotic as she’s pretty independent and Moose is off to an acting camp for the week. The following week the juggling will begin as both will be doing school at the same time. 🙂

Sweet summertime

Summer is officially upon is, and I have to say it’s rather enjoyable.

Everyone is taking a nice break from school while I plan out the upcoming year. I’m done with the hard stuff (laying out a 180 day schedule for me – the kids won’t see it – so I know how to move through the year). Now I just need to put maps in binders, print off art prints, print off biographers for composers, etc.

The kids are enjoying a simpler routine – all the outside classes are finished so we are mostly at home. Each day we have breakfast together and I read something to them. There’s chores and lots of time outside. On the freakishly hot days we hunker down and watch something worthwhile. At the end of the day, I read to Peanut and Moose individually. Then there’s a little playtime and then tuck-ins for bed.

Habit training is in full-swing, and there’s a lot of sadness breaking old habits and developing new ones. My goal for the summer is to uproot some of the more nasty ones so that this fall is easier on everyone. I have been using this resource with much success, and a review is forthcoming.

I’m also working on my habits – when the weather is hot and I feel like I could melt into the floor; it’s hard to stay on top of the kids and stay on top of the housework. Somewhere I heard the phrase, The lazy man works twice, and so I try to keep that in the back of my mind when it comes to getting stuff done when I just want to be a slug.

Obviously, I’ve been puttering around here, bringing over my posts from my old blog, and working on getting everything moved over. It’s slow-going but at least it’s going. 🙂

Eventually the pace will pick up and we will get back into our school routine; but for now I’m enjoying the daily life equivalent of floating down a river in an inner tube.

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!