Home and Family, Organization

Getting the job done

When our children were young, chores were a part of each day.  For me and for them.  While I knew that it was important they learn to work, my husband and I struggled with what to expect.  As time passed, we realized that we would need some way of stating and reminding them what the expectations were for each assigned task.  One tool we used was our “This room is clean when…” lists posted in a frame in each room.  As long as the child was able to read, the need to nag was greatly minimized.  If the child wasn’t reading yet, pictures helped.   The lists looked something like this:

FRONT ROOM

  • Straighten pillows and afghan(s) on couch and chairs
  • Clean up floor clutter and trash
  • Tidy surfaces
  • Check under furniture for stray items
  • Dust
  • Empty trash
  • Run sweeper over carpet daily/ vacuum on Saturday

KITCHEN

  • Empty dishwasher (dish drainer when we didn’t have a dishwasher)
  • Clear table
  • Place dirty dishes in dishwasher (or stack neatly for hand washing)
  • Complete hand wash
  • Tidy and wipe down counters and appliances
  • Sweep floor
  • Empty trash
  • Wipe up any sticky/dirty spots on cabinet fronts and walls

BATHROOM

  • Clear surfaces
  • Tub toys put away in net bag
  • Wipe down fixtures-inside and outside
  • Empty trash
  • Clean mirrors
  • Check linens; put out fresh if needed
  • All clothes go IN the hamper, not around, on top, or close to
  • Scrub all fixtures and surfaces on Saturday

BEDROOM

  • Make bed
  • Tidy floor/ toys put away
  • Place dirty clothes in the clothes hamper
  • Fold and place clean clothes in dresser (DO NOT put dirty clothes in drawers)
  • Tidy surfaces and closet floor
  • Check under furniture for stray items
  • Empty trash
  • Run sweeper over carpet daily/ vacuum on Saturday
  • Dust on Saturday

Twice a year, I would go through their room and straighten every drawer, closet, shelf, etc.  If they worked with me without whining, they had some say in what stayed and what left.  If not, I purged on my own.  This clear-out generally happened once at the beginning of the summer, and once before Christmas.  I also went through our school supplies, kitchen cabinets, and all closets (linen, coat, etc.)  Not always our favorite thing, but we all enjoyed the clearer spaces.  Some years I would save the excess for a yard sale; most of the time, it went to the local charity shop.

One of the greatest advantages to these lists is that the standard was set.  My mood, their whims, or a tight schedule didn’t affect the expectations.  They were clear, posted, and easy to follow.  When the children were first learning the procedures for each room, Mom or Dad would work with them.  As they got older, they could take care of each room on their own. As adults, they can clean, sort, clear, and organize their own living spaces.  That is a great pay-off!

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Finances, Homeschooling

The wonders of a homeschool convention

June is the month when our state convention and vendor fair is held.  Each year as I teach, I am impressed by the number of new homeschoolers (affectionately referred to as newbies) in attendance.  The homeschooling movement is growing so quickly; it is such a joy to watch!  Moms learn so much as they attend the different classes, and fires are kindled (or re-kindled) over the course of the day(s).  Getting ideas from others who have taught their children successfully can remove the feeling that you must be somehow trying to “re-invent the wheel” in your homeschool.

I also grin as I watch parents make connections with others who live in their area, and expand their networks.  Having a support system is a massive help when you are working to teach your children and stay sane at the same time!  You can gather names, email addresses, and collect information about groups in your state while you are there.  What a great bonus!

Each year my daughters and I look forward to the vendor fair, and each year we find something we didn’t know existed (and now can’t do without it).  Lessons in that arena include- there is always something new around the corner that you can use to fill a gap, and there are so many things you could your spend money on, be careful.  You can overspend easily!  Even though I am a bit of a homeschool junkie, even I have experienced buyers remorse.  Not all curriculum, supplies, and games are created equal.  Saying “no” can be as wise as saying “yes!”

Take time to check out the convention in your area.  Hidden gems are waiting for you.

 

Home and Family, Homemaking

Stay home

Sometimes you hear that stay-at-home mothers are lacking in ambition.  *exasperated sigh*  Due to circumstances beyond my control, I have not been able to stay home for a while.  What did I learn (or learn again) about staying home?  Here is a smattering:

  • Sleeping in your own bed is a blessing I take for granted WAY too often!
  • I can cook meals that feed our bodies and souls with real ingredients…and love.  That is hard to do without a kitchen! Eating out or just grabbing a quick bite is hard on our health, budget, and nerves.
  • Spending time with family is best done daily.  Too many special trips, extra goodies, or just being out of touch is tough on husbands, kids, grandparents, and everyone else.  Nothing beats routine, regular time together.  Touch base with those you love only on the days you brush your teeth.
  • Slow and steady really does win the race!  I can’t cram all the prep, planning, cleaning, and teaching into a few hours per week.  My home is cleaner, my body is more responsive, and my heart is more peaceful when I focus on hearth, home, and the things the Lord put me here to do.
  • It is cheaper to be home and doing than to be out and about..in just about everyone way!
  • I am a better wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, and friend when I stop being “busy” and I give attention to the things that matter most.
  • My mind is sharper when I take time for me.  Prayer, scripture study, time to meditate, and exercise are essential for mental clarity.  Those are most easily done at home.
  • When I can’t stay home, I need to use that opportunity to reflect on the blessings that are so often overlooked, and give thanks for all that is mine when I can.

I realize not everyone has the ability to be home, and that I and my daughters are blessed to have husbands and family that support and encourage the moms to be with their children, but how easy it can be to get distracted and trade the things of greatest worth for a mess of pottage!

Today I choose to stay home.