Archive | August 2013

How in the World?

I’m often asked how we manage to keep the house in order with so many kids. It’s simple really. Train your kids at a young age to help out. Kids naturally want to be helpful but if you don’t cultivate this they will quickly become lazy, and once they get to that point it is very hard to train them well. Not impossible but much harder.

You don’t have to beat the cleaning into them. Start small, and make it fun. At 1 to 1 1/2 years old they can start.

When Shamus was one, he was able to kick anything and hit his target. It was incredible. Anytime he didn’t want to pick up toys we’d have him kick them into the toy box. It would go from almost a full on tantrum of defiance to a playful game of kick the toys. It took longer but we were all having fun with it. Plus, the older kids got involved because they saw Shamus having so much fun.  Did I mention he was only one?!

See how many toys they can throw into the toy box, or set a timer and see how much can be picked up in a set amount of time.  If you have more than one little one, make it a race and see who can pick up the most in a set time. This is the start to joyful and compliant cleaning later. They won’t always find it fun when they are older but these little things help set the foundation for when they are older because they always know “this is how it’s done.” They are part of the family and they help as a family.

The ages of our kids are 12, 11, 10, 9, 7, 6, 4, 2, and 8 months, and all but the baby have set chores that they are responsible for on a daily basis.

There was a point in time that I thought it was all on me to do. Literally everything. How silly of me to think! But I believe every mom falls into this at the beginning. Then they hit a breaking point because they can no longer do it all and they are faced with training their almost teenagers to clean. If you came to your breaking point before they are preteen, good for you. It will save you many headaches.

We have tried many things over the years but I think we finally nailed down a schedule that will work for us long term. We chose a two month rotate as this gives the kids time to “master” their chore before learning/moving onto a different set of chores.

Right now the kids are doing this:

Living room – Emry and Tirzah

Dining room – Mara

Kitchen – Garrett

Garbage – Kurtis

Bathroom – Garrett

Boy’s room – Adrian

Girl’s room – Mara and Tirzah

Reading room and stairs – Wyatt

Bottom of stairs and sorting dirty laundry – Kurtis

Wash clothes and keep landing clean – Mara

Put clothes on the line – Garrett

Fold and put away clothes – Adrian


Breakfast – Adrian

Lunch – Kurtis

Snack and supper – Emry

For yard work we all go out and pick up together and the oldest five kid have their own area they keep mowed.

Once winter is here we have shoveling to deal with. Garrett is our main shoveler but that is because he likes it and almost always takes care of it as needed without even being asked. He’s good about letting us know if he doesn’t want to shovel or is getting burnt out on it and we have others take their turn.

As a child gets a new chore Dean and I take the first week or two to walk them through the right way to do that chore until we feel they can handle it on their own. Every day after the kids think their chores are done the check in and Dean and I check their area. Some days are better than others, but it’s a work in progress, as everything else in life.

How do you get your kids involved in house cleaning?


Our 2013/2014 Daily Schedule

Our daily schedule changes with the seasons some but it’s always nice to go over it every once in awhile and make sure it’s either still working or make some changes.

At the “beginning” of our school year Dean and I always sit down and make the appropriate changes to match up with school and daily life. I then post it were the kids can see it easily so they also know what is going on through out the day. Some need this more the others and it works well for us. This also helps the ones that need the extra structure to know what is coming up next and can prepare for the next thing. I have a couple kids that really need that time to transition from one activity to the next and without that time all heck can break lose.

I am the queen of charts and schedules. This year I have made or revised a chart/schedule for gym class, chores, showers, yes, we have a shower schedule, don’t laugh 😛 Were was I, oh yes, a schedule for meals for the rest of the year, meal helper schedule, puppy helper schedule, and  movie night with mom schedule. I think I got them all. Dean use to tease me about all my charts and planning but now if we don’t have one for something that comes up he asks me to make one up. haha  The kids have even asked for them or try to make their own daily schedules.

Here is how our days will be looking for awhile…

5:30am – Dean and I wake up

6:30am – Kids wake up call

7:00am – Catechism and Bible

7:30am – Breakfast

8:00am – Chores and showers

9:00am – School

10:30am – Start lunch

11:00am – Lunch

11:30am – Chores and finish up school

12:30/1:00pm – Quiet time/free time

2:00pm – Free time

4:00pm – Start supper and chores

5:00pm – Supper

5:30/5:45pm – Supper clean up and chores

6:00pm – Free time

7:30pm – Get ready for bed (bathroom and brush teeth)

8:00pm – Bed time

8:30pm – Lights out

10:00pm – Lights out for Dean and I

How do you structure your school days?

New to Homeschooling?

I’ve come across a few really great blog posts that help with being new to homeschooling and I’d like to share them with you. I’ve thought about writing a list up myself but these ladies have done a wonderful job of it already. Maybe someday I’ll create my own list but for now I’ll share what I’ve found helpful from others. Enjoy!

What are Your Back to School Resolutions?

The beginning of every school year comes with new goals and new hopes. However, like all resolutions it’s easy to set unrealistic goals in the excitement of the new year. Here is a great blog post that couldn’t have said it any better to “make a list and change it twice.” Enjoy!

‘Tis the Season



The season to blog about a new school year that is. We will be starting fall classes in one week, and once again we are shaking things up. The last couple years we have schooled year round but taken longer breaks. We’d work three months, then take one off. This year we will not be taking breaks other than for birthdays and holidays. Oh yeah, and we’re schooling on Saturdays.

Before you call us slave drivers, let me explain.

We want our kids, primarily, to enjoy learning. Kids love to learn and are (overly?) inquisitive by nature. It takes a special kind of “education” to drive that out of them, and we were steering way too close to that kind of special. Something needed to change.

At the heart of our un-fun school year (not that it was all bad, mind you, but wasn’t nearly as fun as we envisioned it, or as it could have been) was the constant, nagging feeling to add more. We have books we haven’t even cracked yet that we bought years ago (is that normal?). Then there’s that gnawing notion that maybe we’re not teaching them all they need to know, as evidenced by all the other homeschool blogs we read. You know the type where their four year olds have nearly mastered Latin and Greek?

Adrian-age 11

Adrian-age 11

So what’s a family to do? Focus and prioritize.

We want our homeschooling efforts marked by focused attention to a topic and information retention which leads to creative thinking. In other words: If they pay attention for a few minutes, they’ll learn more. The more they learn, the more ideas they’ll come up with throughout their life. Pretty simple, if we can pull it off.

That brings us to our latest round of tweaks. We sat at the table for the better part of the day hashing out a lot of ideas. Some we had been thinking about for weeks or months. Other ideas came to us on the spot.

We narrowed down our list of subjects for the year, deciding who was ready for what subject and who needed more time before they were ready.

Cut back to the essentials.

We decided Bible, reading, and gym were the only truly foundational subjects (mind, body, spirit). Everything else we added on top of that was bonus. This helped remove any guilt of not covering certain things yet, and help us focus on what matters.

Garrett-age 10

Garrett-age 10

Rotate classes quarterly

Every three months they’ll tackle 4-5 subjects. For instance, starting in September they will have their core subjects, plus music and history. Then on the fourth month, we scale back to Bible and one other class, like Math.

This will give them a chance to focus deeply on fewer subjects, but still look forward to an entire month of a lighter workload.

Saturday School

This one doesn’t make us very popular parents, but that’s okay. We’ve found our family does better with more structure, and when we don’t do school, the day gets chaotic. Plus, with all the days we end up taking off due to appointments or other life events that get in the way, this gives us a buffer so we’re not trying to play catch-up later on.

I really don’t know if this is how other homeschoolers lay their year out but we’re seeing a lot of good things coming from this schedule. Breaking the subjects up through out the year will give us more time to focus on each topic and do the fun extras that go along with many of them verses skipping or

Emry-age 9

Emry-age 9

rushing through them because we have to “get to the next thing.” Plus, it gives the kids a break from subjects that they don’t care for as much, and gives them time to look forward to the ones they do like.

This is what we plan to tackle this year.

Catechism/Bible – M,A,G,E,K,W,T

English – M,A,G,E,K,W,T

Math – M,A,G,E,K,W,T

History/Geography – M,A,G,E,K

Science – M,A,G,E,K

Typing – M,A,G,E

Logic – M,A,G,E,K,W,T

Gym – M,A,G,E,K,W,T

Music – M,A,G,E,K

Kurtis-age 7

Kurtis-age 7

Art – M,A,G,E

Current Events – M,A,G,E,K,W,T

Cooking – M,A,G,E

Sep, Oct, Nov – Catechism/Bible, English, Gym, History/Geography, and Music

Dec – Catechism/Bible and Math

Jan, Feb, Mar – Catechism/Bible, English, Gym, Science, Logic, and Art

Apr – Catechism/Bible and History/Geography

May, Jun, Jul – Catechism/Bible, English, Gym, Math, and Typing

Aug – Catechism/Bible, and Science

*Cooking and Current Events Through out the year but not scheduled in.

How do you get in all the subjects you want to teach in a year?

Wyatt-age 6

Wyatt-age 6

Tirzah-age 4

Tirzah-age 4

Shamus-age 2

Shamus-age 2


All kids 1


All kids 2


All kids 3


All kids 4

Running Recap (Aug 18th-24th)

It’s been almost two weeks sense I’ve ran and I’m feeling a bit batty. The last time I ran was Aug 10th. I did 6 miles at a walk/run and it was awesome, but my legs killed afterward. I finally came to terms with waiting out my leg injuries and focus on strength training.

The last couple weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions. Knowing I had to push back my half marathon date was overwhelming to me but then I had to stop running all together. I wanted to quit, completely give up, throw in the towel and not run ever again. I was angry at myself for “failing” and mad that my legs were stupid. After my couple days of a temper tantram  and pitty party I got my head back on and mad a new plan. I needed to replace my running with something so I decided to focus on core and arm strength.

I have been doing this video for my arms and doing the ab ripper by Power 90. The arm video is only 10 minutes and the ab ripper is 6 minutes. Super easy workouts in only a few minutes. That’s my kind of work out. After only 6 sessions I have noticed a difference in my arm strength and I’ve lost a inch off my waste! woot woot!

Today, (Thursday) I ran for the first time sense the 10th. I was a little nervous that  I wasn’t going to get far before the pain kicked in and I’d have to head home…but the pain never came. I ran 2 miles doing  very easy interval running and simply hoped I could do the whole half hour. I gotta say, I kicked those two miles in the pants. My speed increased and I felt strong in my form. I wanted to keep going but I made myself stop at the two mile mark. I will also be forcing myself not to run tomorrow. Yes, forcing myself NOT to run. Some days not running drives me crazy.

…Yesterday went well. Not running was good and it gave my legs time to rest as they were a little sore from the Thursday. Today I feel good but with the 90 degree weekend I’m planning to wait it out and run on Monday. I’ll be doing my strength training and be ok with that.

Happy weekend everyone!

Running Recap (July 29th-Aug 4th)

This week was good. Despite my shin splint flare up I’m still happy with how my training is going. I took Monday off because I did my long run on Sunday. I ran three miles Tuesday and set a PR. Sooooo happy! It was taking me about 37ish minutes to run three miles but Tuesday it took me 33.51 minutes! I really pushed myself and focused on speed because I wanted to see where I was at. Then…shin splint flare up. Go figure.

I tried running my three miles Wednesday but my legs would not have it. My legs kind of hurt before my run but I planned to just do an easy run and be ok with that. I got a mile in and knew I couldn’t finish. My legs felt like they were on fire. Luckily Emry was with so I sent him to get Dean. I walked as much as I could back home but ended up sitting on the side of the road trying not to cry because of the pain. For the rest of the night Dean made me sit with my legs up with ice on them.

Friday was a good three mile run. I was still a little sore but it wasn’t bad. Saturday my legs were not ready for a long run so I took the day off. I’m realizing that I need to tweak my running schedule and be ok with maybe only running three times a week until my legs are better.

My long run was ok. I did it, but I hurt almost the whole time and I felt tired and weak. I didn’t get into a grove and couldn’t just tune out like normal. I had to talk my way through most of the miles. But hey, I did it! 8 miles!

Another thing I discovered  with this long run is that one cup of cream and sugar coffee will not fuel me. lol For three or four miles it’s fine but I need to start eating breakfast at least on the morning of my long run.

What do you do when you have to tweak your training schedule?

Do you run through injuries/or other running pain or wait them out?

Total miles for the week:

Tuesday: 3 miles

Wednesday: 1 mile

Friday: 3 miles

Sunday: 8 miles

Total: 15 miles