But how do you do it all?
If they are capable of building a different and interesting train track, like this, every single day during their lunch hour, perhaps I’m not expecting enough of them work-wise, here at the house. Look at this thing! It goes under the tables, over bridges, through Grand Central Station. It’s a work of art!
All those boxes that are still packed up? Perhaps they could help more than I think.
The vacuuming? I think they could do it.
Folding clothes without my help? Maybe even. They fold clothes now, but it’s always alongside me. Maybe these children are ready for more responsibility.
Why am I pondering how much work I can get out of my children: because I have way, way more work than I can possibly do right now! No, really. really really really. Then why am I blogging instead of cleaning, you ask? Humph! No one can be “on” allll day long. This mom of four needs down time in a serious way.
This one will be short, as I do actually have chicken in the oven. Also, I need to check on Caleb. He’s in the backyard playing with a friend. Did I say friend? Yes, you heard me right. The boys have made friends with the boys right behind us. I’m hoping they can regularly just play in the backyards. I can see them. Everyone is happy.
So HOW am I doing “it all”, people sometimes ask. Well, I’m not. I am most certainly not doing it all. I am simply living by the clock. There’s a schedule, and once the time is up for something, the time is up, whether the task is finished or not, we just close up shop and move on. For example, if it is 12:00, and we are not finished with Grammar, we simply stop where we are and go to lunch. We can do more Grammar lessons the next day. I figure that’s how things are done in public or private school, right? If a teacher’s lunch period arrives, but she wasn’t finished with grammar, she simply has to stop. The day ends at 2:50 whether your class is finished or not, so that is how we are running home school.
The thing I’m struggling with the most is finding time to clean and unpack our new home and decorate or shop or read.
I spent a long time in prayer Sunday morning. I didn’t go to church. I had a snotty baby and a scratchy throat, so JD and I had a blissful morning at home. It was so much easier to pray with less folks in the house!!! I prayed about my schedule, my priorities, the blog, lots of things, and I got some really great direction.
Here is my current schedule:
6:00 am I wake up and stumble down the stairs to get coffee.
6:10 Plop myself down in “my chair” (worn-out-wonderful old recliner) with my coffee and my Bible, while silently hoping the boys will sleep, sleep, sleep at least 50 more minutes….
I really don’t understand anyone that cannot appreciate a wonderful old worn-out recliner. When I am old, I am going to have several!! And I’m going to sit to my heart’s content!
6:30ish They begin trickling down stairs. Caleb or Daniel come first. They are always just starving when they come down. We eat cereal for breakfast. It was good enough for me when I was a kid, so I figure it’s good enough for them. 🙂 Hang out with boys and with Alan. Empty dishwasher. Reboot laundry.
We have conversations like this:
Alan: Hey, April, we need to talk about *something serious I don’t want to talk about= money, appointments, calling people*
April: Nooo, *groan* It’s just too early to talk about that stuff. I need to have coffee first.
Alan: What, sigh, April, at night you’ll say it’s just too late to talk about that stuff, so we’re talking about it now. We have to.”
Question: Is this just me? Surely there are others of you out there that have these sort of conversations. I’d be so happy if I could just do without appointments, calling people, or finances, or paper work of any kind.
7:30 Get dressed, fix hair, etc.
8:00 Oh yeah! We have a baby. Grab the monitor. There’s JD, just standing in his crib, waiting. Poor 4th baby.
Feed JD, wash more dishes, clean the high chair, rally the boys, hopefully discuss a couple of Bible verses with them…and….
9:00 Time for school! Whether I ever finished brushing my teeth or not. I just live by the clock. We’re Americans. This is what we do. 😉
Boys begin seatwork: spelling, math practice, writing practice, grammar practice–whatever their curriculum throws at them.
10:15 Put baby down for nap.
10:20-12:00 2nd grade Math
3rd grade Math
2nd grade Phonics and Reading
3rd grade Grammar
I just do exactly what the teacher’s guide tells me to do. After all, this is my first year, and since I only have two students (By this point Daniel is in his room playing.) Sometimes Joshua’s math takes longer than Caleb’s and vice/versa, depending on the mood of the student and the material.
Caleb has made HUGE strides in reading already. He read me a brand new book from the library today with very few errors. I was impressed.
12:00 Lunch. I have a lunch menu hanging in the kitchen and everything. The second day, I told Joshua he had to eat his chicken chowder. Caleb said, “Mom, at our school, if you don’t like it you just don’t eat, and you don’t get anything else either, and nobody bothers you about it.”
Ha! Actually, I decided that would make my life a little easier, so the boy was just a little less full that afternoon. Whatever.
12:40ish: This is where the times start to get looser. I read to the boys. First, I read a nonfiction book. Then I read a chapter from a chapter book, but usually one chapter turns into another and then another and another. I have always loved reading to them. We all sit on the love-seat together, and JD is still in bed, and it’s just so wonderful. It’s the best part of the day.
….Then at 1pm, I think, “OH yeah!! JD!!” I snatch up the monitor, and there he is, standing up, chewing on the side of his crib, quiet and well rested.
After I take care of all of JD’s immediate needs, we resume class. In the afternoon, we do our Classical Conversations memory work, handwriting, and map work. I think the map work is really fun. I just introduced it today. The boys have to trace and label a map of the United States every single day. They will learn all of the states and their capitals and where they are located this year. I even got Daniel a map, which he scribbled all over with a dry erase marker.
Somedays we do a science activity, and certain days we learn history. For now, we’ve been ending by 1:45 pm, but I know once memory work starts, it will be closer to 3pm.
After school, I always need to rest a bit before I return to chores, and so do the boys. The boys get free time, and I just get in the floor and chill with Daniel and John David. Everyone wins.
Today, around 4:30 pm, I was cooking dinner, and I’d had all I could take of the boys running around, wrecking my nice new house. I kicked the two big ones out into the backyard. I told them to go make some friends, and they did. They made several, from the houses right behind us. Our backyards run right into each other. One adorable little 6-year-old with a really cute lisp came to our backdoor with Caleb, and Caleb said, “Mom, can my new friend come in?”
I told him he could, if it was okay with his mother.
The sweet little fella’ said, “She said I can go anywhere, as long as I don’t cross the street.”
I giggled. “Well, Caleb can go with you to ask if you may come in. That way she will know where you are.”
That made them happy, and they ran off to ask. Once Daniel saw the new friend, my fun was over because he insisted on putting his shoes on and going out to play too.
Drat. If Dan goes out, I go out, because he is still little, but you know what? I’m so glad he dragged me out because I met the parents of Caleb’s new friend, as well as their neighbors. Everyone was so nice, and we all have several little boys. I would say things are looking up. About 6pm, Alan arrived, so he got to meet everyone too.
Then we said good-bye to our new friends, and we came inside, and guess what was waiting for us! I don’t have the pictures uploaded yet, but I will soon. We received a package from a dear family of friends from Virginia. Joshua grabbed the giant envelope with glee, “It’s a whole envelope FULL of letters from Xavier!!!” he exclaimed. Well, close. It was a bag of souvenirs for us from their Disney World vacation. I got an adorable Anna pin! THANK YOU!!! We miss you all SO much! It’s a rare thing to make such great friends.
That was the kind of surprise that made our day really fun.
Once supper was over, JD and I headed off to the grocery store. I just refuse to buy groceries with 4 little boys in tow. I’m not much of a warrior. By the time I got home it was 9pm, and there was still plenty of things to take care of.
Now it’s 10:27, and I have a hard and fast rule that I MUST be in bed at 10:30 to survive my days, so I suppose that is all for tonight!