I decided I would try to answer some of the questions that are coming in via the comments before I forgot about them.
From Amy Ellen: Do you mind if I ask how your blogs come out during the school day? Do write them in advance and schedule the posting? I am so curious to know how you fit all that happens on this blog into less than an hour! But what about exercise too? I struggle to get up early enough for exercise and quiet time and shower before my littles wake up. Something has to go… or change. But, back to my question… do you have a time set aside to exercise?
Amy Ellen, WordPress has this really nice feature that allows you to schedule your posts in advance. I try to do the bulk of my writing on the weekend and then one night a week. Occasionally I will write a short post in the morning if there is a deal (like free ice cream or cheap groceries) but I usually try to write in advance. The only exception to this is the Commissary sales because those are not released until the day I write the post. I try to get up a little early on those days in order to write up the sales, but sometimes I fall behind on those days. I do try to limit my time on the blog, which is why I do a really terrible job at answering questions, returning emails, and commenting.
Exercise… hmmm. I must admit I am not a big go to the gym person. There is a gym about 3 minutes from our house, but I have never been. When it is warm we almost always go for a walk or bike ride after dinner. During the summer we are at the pool or playground five or six days a week. During the school year I sometimes take my younger three kids on a walk while the oldest three work on their independent work in the morning, it just depends. My husband and I invested in a very nice jogging stroller as well as a bike trailer several years ago. I realized that having a big family meant I might not always have time to exercise by myself every day. Taking the kids for walks or bike rides is one way I am able to exercise with the kids, they have fun and I am able to stay healthy.
From April: Then what about parks and your kids don’t seem to have much interaction with people outside the family. What about church? Here in the south most people go to church 3 times a week for regularly scheduled services and then sometimes there are extra things for the kids to do. What about getting together with other homeschoolers.
April, we live on a military base with access to 3 playgrounds within a 3 minute walk. My older children are allowed to go to the playground without me, per base regulations. They spend almost all their free time outside. Saturdays and Sundays we usually go somewhere as a family, either to the aquarium, site seeing in the city, or to a large city park.
We get together with other families on a regular basis on weekends and occasionally weeknights. In the summer months we also try to go the park after dinner almost every night. Our church has one service a week, bible study every other week and a parent youth meeting every other week. We attend those events faithfully barring illness.
As for getting together with other homeschoolers, we prefer to get together with other families on the weekends. We have participated in co-ops when our schedule allows, but this year it was not the best for our family. The decision to participate in extra homeschooling activities is made on a case by case basis.
I have found that in a large family my children are never without a playmate and consider their siblings close friends. This is beneficial to us, being a military family and moving every two years, they have built in friendships wherever we go.
From Jenn @ A Beautiful Calling: My oldest just turned 2. She loves to help around the house and obeys (most times) the first time however lately it hasn’t always been with a good attitude. Somewhere along the line she learned to stomp her little feet, or she will cry “no no” but in both cases, she does obey. She doesn’t talk much at this stage. You talk about a good/joyful attitude and I so agree! At what age do you begin to work on attitude and HOW??
Jenn, I don’t want to open a debate about discipline, because I know it can bring a heated discussion. We start working on attitudes from the very beginning. Stomping feet and yelling no, even with outward compliance is still disobedience in my opinion. It is more important that her heart is obedient, actions tend to follow the heart. I highly recommend Shepherding a Child’s Heart and Don’t Make Me Count to Three: a Mom’s Look at Heart-Oriented Discipline because they address your question very specifically.
From Lawanda: I wanna know when you cut your veggies and grind your wheat and bake your bread. Is it a weekly thing or daily or less often or what?!
Lawanda, you are getting ahead of yourself. I haven’t written about the cooking part of my day yet. But since you are such a faithful reader I’ll answer your questions anyway. I grind wheat and bake bread about four times a week. Before I was pregnant, I would do the bulk of my baking on Sunday afternoon or Monday afternoon for the entire week. This worked really well, when I was doing it. I think I stopped when I was having morning sickness and never really got into the habit again. I will definitely start back up in the summer so I am only turning my oven on once a week, and I will probably do it late in the day when the house cools off. I also grind extra flour when I make bread and store it in the freezer for pancakes, waffles, cinnamon rolls and other breakfast foods. Freezing the flour does lessen the nutritional value, but it is still significantly better than white flour. As for cutting up the veggies, I have slacked on that as well. I was cutting up many items at the beginning of the week, but now I just cut as a I go, or cheat and buy pre-cut stuff.
From Rebecca: How old do you start your kids out with chores? I have my 14 mo old help pick up toys when we are done playing, but I don’t consider that a real chore.
If your 14 month old is helping to pick up his(her) toys I think that is great. My 14 month old’s were still trying to eat all their toys! I have always tried to make chores or jobs into fun games. My three year old thinks being able to help clean is a big deal because it makes her feel grown up like her siblings. One thing I did with my toddlers is give them a baby wipe to clean with while I was windexing or dusting. They loved cleaning everything with the baby wipe. It was harmless to them, even if they put it in their mouth and they felt like they were just like mommy. It sounds like you are off to a great start, we usually start allowing our kids to help clean (with water and paper towels or wipes) when they are around two. You know your child best and know what they are capable of doing with your help.
Thank you for all your questions. I will try to answer them in new posts as I have time. Coming up next ~ Schedules and Real Life.