Monday, September 26, 2011

Laundry Plan

works for me wednesdays



In reading over April's blog, I could commiserate with her laundry woes.

Laundry (and dishes, and cooking, and grocery shopping) receives much disdain because it is never done. Unless you and your family do your chores au natural, you are simultaneously doing laundry and making more of it. The cycle never ends.

Aside from joining a nudist colony, I did not think a solution existed to this dilemma at various times in my life.

The other complication is that life changes. You find a system, you tweak the system, then something comes along to require dramatic change in the system. Usually that something in our household came in the form of another child.

I appreciated April sharing her laundry plan, and it prompted me to share ours, because there is definitely no one-size-fits-all laundry plan and maybe between the two of ours, you will find some inspiration to come up with your own perfect plan. Or, maybe at least fold a load while you think about it.

Laundry in our house started with two loads a week as newlyweds. Then three loads a week as new parents, then four, then five, then I lost count.

When we still fit in four loads a week I stuck to a laundry day and washed, dried, folded everything at once. I loved forgetting about laundry 6 days a week as long as no one was puking.

Now, even in our Texas-sized machine we need about 6-8 loads a week. But, I don't like doing laundry on weekends, I don't like laundry sitting around in baskets (or doing laundry and not having any empty baskets to empty the dryer into), and my kids started thinking that their opposite gender siblings had cooties.



Hence, the new plan:

We have a laundry hamper in the master bath, one in the bathroom the girls use, a laundry bag in the young boys' room (really need to get them a hamper . . .) and one in the oldest boy's room.

Monday: Blake (14 yo) does his own laundry. 1 load, everything together -- sheets, towels, clothes, everything. He wears mostly old jeans and the color gray so this works.

Tuesday: my laundry day. I wash my husband's, mine, and the two youngest boys (6 yo and 16 month old). This takes me about 3-4 loads depending on how often I neglected to notice my 6 year old wearing the same clothes day after day. He helps me fold the two to three outfits he wore (but 7 sets of pajamas, how does that work?) and the rest doesn't seem so bad.

Wednesday: Girls' day. The three girls (12-10-7) do their own laundry. Takes 2-3 loads. I help fold and put sheets back on bed, but for the most part they take care of their own stuff.

Thursday and Friday: catch up days. I usually run a load of towels, napkins, bibs, stuff that needs it, etc. Some weeks I don't.

Everyone helps put away their own laundry, and it is usually done by the time they go to bed on "their" day. Now and then a partial load gets left unfolded, but gratefully that has become the exception more than the norm around here, at least in my room.

For us it has really worked to have designated laundry days. Rather than just a random load each day, I know who is doing laundry when and so does everyone else in the house. We have used this for close to a year now and it is really working for us. Love when a plan comes together and stays that way for more than a week. ;)

How many loads do you need each week? Do you have a plan? Do you enjoy doing laundry? What age do you expect kids to do their own?

Would love to hear your thoughts. :) And, for more great tips on various topics, don't forget to check out WFMW.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Read aloud challenge



One of my very favorite times in homeschooling is read aloud time. The time when we all set aside whatever else we may have on our plate at the moment and just relax and listen. Well, I read, but everyone else just listens.

Just last week I spoke with a homeschool mom about how this is a hard part of homeschooling to give up as our oldest kids now move into high school. There are still times when all 6 of them gather around, but sometimes now it is just 4 or 5. I feel like I'm missing someone already.

Each week I have read and loved the read aloud challenge that Debra hosts, and am finally finding myself with time to post our books this week. So thankful for that.

So, here's what you'll find in our book basket this week . . .


Streams to the River, River to the Sea -- a book my older kids and I read for the American Literature class at co-op. Following the story of Sacagawea from her home to her eventual place on the Lewis and Clark adventure. Great story, great author (Scott O'Dell), and also a great accompaniment to our next read aloud . . .

Indian Captive: The Story of Mary JemisonIndian Captive -- The true story of Mary Jemison. A sad story of a girl taken from her home in an Indian raid to replace a family member killed by white settlers. She grudgingly adapts to Indian life and reluctantly finds herself learning the language and customs of the Seneca people who raise her. The story makes me sad, but has great learning points about Indian customs and religion. My daughter got impatient waiting for the end and after the first chapter carried the book away to her room and finished it in two days. She still listens in as we read aloud because she enjoyed the story so much.

Walk the Worlds Rim

Walk the World's Rim -- yes, another story about Native Americans. This one takes place in the 1500s in the Southwest, so a completely different take on things. My kids felt this story dragged a bit in the beginning, but they have enjoyed parts of it. They listen quietly, so at least it isn't boring them. It follows the journey of three men from Spain and their African slave as they travel from Indian tribes near modern day Galveston Texas, northwest, and then down into Mexico. It offers a challenging view of religion and slavery and the Indian culture as well.

Mr. Popper's Penguins (Weekly Reader Books)
Mr. Popper's Penguins -- A little more light-hearted, and a must read for any family with young kids just getting old enough to sit for a non-picture book. Nathan (6 year old) loves this for his bed time story, but he keeps sneaking it and reading ahead and moving the book mark. I can't complain. His reading ability blows me away. If you aren't familiar with this book, it drops an antarctic penguin into middle class America and turns a painter into a showman with a dozen penguins. We love how he turns his basement into an ice rink and training ground and enjoys a complete change of pace from his rather ordinary life.

That covers the bulk of our read alouds right now. So much good stuff out there! What are you reading?

Head on over to Footprints in the Butter to share and find some inspiration.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Verse of the Week -- Psalm 46


Psalm 46:

1
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

2
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

3
though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah


4
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.

5
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.

6
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.

7
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.

10
"Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"

11
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah


Fear can cripple even the best of us.

In church this weekend the preacher spoke of fear, framed in the reminder of God's power and might to save us.

I came home, naming my looming fear and still foolishly hiding from the mental security that God offers.

Mulling that chain on my life I step into the garden to grab some vegetables for dinner and there I see a visual illustration of my life lately. Lots of growth. Vines twist and turn out of control over the whole patch. Cantaloupe. Planted unintentionally, and growing rapidly. Various squash staking their own territory. Tomatoes ripping up their stakes with their exploding branches.

That's been my life, my home, recently. So much growth, so much learning, so much to soak in. However, the fruit is not so pretty or abundant. The information and challenging situations continue to grow me, but unchecked I become just a nuisance vine with loads of information and no real fruit to show for it.

That's my fear in a way, that I will miss opportunities. So much blessing, so much learning, so much potential within our home, and yet . . . The fruit remains hidden. I fear missed opportunities in the midst of all the busy-ness. Missed opportunities with my kids, for my kids, in ministry, in sharing my faith, in the future.

I start to move leaves, search out the areas of growth and begin to see the start of fruit. It is there, just small and unrealized.

It may sound silly, but sometimes I fear that having children and being so busy at home pulls me away from greater opportunity for Christ. I never realized how all consuming motherhood would be, and sometimes I feel that the fruit is hidden in it all. I really wrestle with this and fear missing how God wants to use me outside the home now and later. Will I be all used up by the time the kids are out of the house? Is there more I should be doing now to be a witness for Him?

Interesting that Satan can even use a desire to serve God to bring us down. Those sunglasses of doubt distort the blessing of motherhood into a shroud of restraint.

It comes back to trust. God has placed me here and walks with me. He gives me the incredible strength that I need to walk this path each day.

My responsibility lies not in fretting about what I might accomplish, but in trusting God through each day of faithfully living for Him where He has me. He didn't give us 6 kids to let them raise themselves and for me to jump into ministry elsewhere.

He has me here, right now. Still growing me, still ripening the fruit sometimes hidden beneath the leaves. He prunes and fences in and weeds as needed to make my life shine as brightly as possible for Him. The end result will be the sweetest, purest fruit. He has an agenda for me tomorrow and next week and next year, and as His word lights my path I'll see just enough to follow the right direction.

His strength, His wisdom, His plans, His steps, His outcomes, His blessings, His glory.


Psalm 46 with my personal applications sewn in:

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in homeschooling. 2 Therefore we will not fear though the curriculum gives way, though the schedule be swallowed into the heart of life's interruptions, 3 though doubts roar and foam, though the lips quiver at algebra. Selah

4
There is a homeschool mom whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns, and afternoon drags on. 6 The sibling rivalry rages, the toddler tantrums; He utters his voice, the earth melts. 7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

8
Come, (each morning) behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes rivalries cease to the end of the house; he breaks the frustration and shatters the complaints; he burns the mean notes with fire. 10 "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted in your homeschool, I will be exalted in your home!" 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Friday, September 2, 2011

School plans

I'm pretty sure I have missed every single start-of-the-school-year blog carnival and meme out there. But, we did start school on time as scheduled. So, my lack of blogging produced a mountain of accomplished tasks and planning instead.

The plans for the coming semester/year:

Everyone:

Bible -- Grapevine New Testament Survey. We started this week and are doing it more together than we did the Old Testament one and I like that better. Some of my kids dislike writing anything, so they would rather just listen, and others love drawing the stick figures, but some days there are a bit much. Really looking forward to studying the whole New Testament together this year. Blake and Paige will also be reading the whole NT on their own.

Blake -- 9th grade

Apologia Physics (through a co-op; right now he is reading through the Chemistry book because he has not taken chemistry, but really wanted to be in physics this year. The teacher consented since his math is where it needs to be as long as he worked into the chemistry book before co-op starts in 10 days).

Economics -- another co-op class, but I am supplementing to make it a half credit. He is reading an economics text at home during the week and we discuss it weekly. Great conversations so far!

Geometry -- this has been our challenge so far. He hates busy work, and proofs seem a lot like busy work to a mind used to working in leaps and bounds. We'll make it, but it was a rough week.

American History
-- Sonlight Core 100 will pave the way for this. Timelines, group discussions, and lots of reading.

American Literature -- co-op class, but one I am teaching. Building off of Core 100 and adding in with a Bob Jones Am Lit text that I picked up for a couple bucks somewhere.

PE -- his favorite class. ;) I printed out a check sheet for him to mark off hours as he participates in various classes and activities in and out of home. when he hits 135 hours he has his credit for the year.


Paige -- 7th grade


American History -- she'll complete this over two years using Sonlight Core 100

American Literature -- in my co-op class with Blake

English -- Rod and Staff 7 and IEW Level C. We are taking two years to complete the R&S book and she is doing the IEW slowly, a lesson every 2 weeks when co-op is not in session.

Spanish -- online with Mango (free through our library!)

Music -- piano lessons

Math -- Saxon Algebra 1/2

Science -- Apologia's Physical Science

PE -- soccer, gym and swim, and classes at home

Looking that over, she does have kind of a lot this year, but she is doing great so far. She was done with most of her work by lunch on Friday. So proud of her!


Faith -- 5th grade


American History -- Sonlight Core 100. I will be reading selected books outloud with the younger kids and we will be compiling out timeline.

Spanish -- online with Mango (free through our library!)

Music -- piano lessons. She wants to take violin, I just need to get it in working order.

English
-- Rod and Staff 5; All About Spelling level 2

Math -- Saxon 6/5

Science -- Flying creatures then Considering God's creation

PE -- soccer, gym and swim, co-op class, and classes at home


Brooke -- 2nd grade


American History - Sonlight Core 100. I will be reading selected books outloud with the younger kids and we will be compiling out timeline.

Spanish -- online with Mango (free through our library!)

Music -- piano lessons

Math -- Saxon 3

English -- Rod and Staff 2; All About Spelling level 2

Reading -- A Beka readers. She's currently on the third book in the third grade readers.

Science -- Flying creatures then Considering God's creation

PE -- soccer, gym and swim, co-op class, and classes at home

Nathan -- 1st grade
Lots of oral learning, but we use these workbooks and such to keep us grounded:

American History - Sonlight Core 100. I will be reading selected books outloud with the younger kids and we will be compiling out timeline.

Spanish -- online with Mango (free through our library!)

Music -- piano lessons

Math -- A Beka 1 will be done in October, then 2nd grade

English -- A Beka 1 workbook; All About Spelling level 2

Reading -- A Beka readers. He is currently in the fourth book in the first grade series.

Science -- Flying creatures then Considering God's creation

PE -- gym and swim, co-op class, and classes at home


Eli -- 15 months
Thankful that this little guy will not start school until my oldest is in college. I don't know how I could fit another student in my daily schedule. :) Right now he is the entertainment, the fun distraction, the excuse to put off work, and the joy of our days. God knew just what we needed in adding this blessing to our family.

And, I have put all of this down, carved into my computer's hard drive using Homeschool Tracker Plus. I am thrilled to pieces with this program that I just started using over the summer. I will be posting a review soon (way too much to say to cram in here), but you can check out the basic edition for free while you wait, and you can try the plus edition for $5 for 30 days. If you do decide to buy, pleas use my referral code: U33EH and I'll get a little bonus for referring you. :)



Phew! So, that's where I've been the last few weeks. Now, my schedule is in place (that'll have to be another post), my school room is in order (hmm, another post . . .), our assignment sheets are done, and aside from heading into crazy soccer season and the AWANA year, I look forward to a few more snippets of time here and there.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rare, rare moment

A rare moment here, but hopefully one that I will stumble on a bit more often in the near future. A quiet afternoon.

All the school work done for the day. Most of the first week behind us.

Baby taking a rare second nap. Okay, toddler. :( I don't want to admit he is not my baby anymore.

Shared Ritz and peanut butter with some of my favorite girls.

Enjoying glimpses of the friends my kids are whether they admit it or not.

Laughing over simple fun, or not so simple:



Just plain silliness. Amazing how much time it takes those two, or anyone, to create a fairly short clip. But, it's time well spent building memories and relationship. Patient director, willing actor. The perfect afternoon activity for a 14 year old and a 6 year old to share. :)