What does just do it look like?
There are some real advantages to having a family of six move in with you, especially if they have four children six and under. I have gotten a birds eye view reminder of what it is REALLY like to parent and home educate. I have been thinking back to my own days and this has really brought back memories, some good and some bad.
Today was just a particularly interesting and REAL day and I just had to share. It was an example of what “just do it” means in a family.
I heard the children at about 6:30 but I didn’t get up until after 7:00. It was quiet in the living room with Jodie busily working on her computer while children watched a movie around her. That is how Jodie gets her own devotional and study time in from 6:30 to 8:00, the movie is essential. We all know that watching a movie isn’t the best way to occupy children but, well, you do what you can, right.
Breakfast happens in shifts as each child awakes. It takes about an hour to feed Maggie, the six year old with CP, and so Jodie often does that while she reads her scriptures or does her planning for the day on the computer. If all goes well, and today it did, everyone is happy, it feels peaceful and all are fed by 8:00 or so. I might mention here that sometimes one or more child has two breakfasts because by the time the first wakes up till the last wakes up, or Jodie has time to get food to each one, a number of hours can go by. By then early risers are ready for breakfast two. In fact, I had forgotten how often you have to stop and get food for someone in this age group! No matter how your morning goes as you move towards structured family learning time you just have to keep doing it.
On mornings where it all doesn’t go as smoothly as today it might be 10:00 before everyone is fed and dressed. Those are the noisy and sometimes exhausting mornings. You just have to keep smiling, hugging and remembering that this to will pass.
Just do it happens even when its not perfect!
Then it’s getting all the littles changed and dressed. This is less peaceful and usually goes a bit less smoothly. : ); you know how it is. One doesn’t like what you have given them to wear, another doesn’t want their diaper changed, a third won’t hold still long enough to get dressed and all the while Maggie is asking for her Ipad in a loud and “where are you” squeal.
Then it was family devotional. Quiet reverence is not the standard here. There is family singing with one voice, mom’s. There is a lot of sit down, fold your arms, can you listen please and sighing…on mom’s part. As I watch and sometimes participate, I sometimes think that I would just bag it and move on. Mom is a stalwart for sure.
By about 10:15 today all the aforementioned was finally accomplished, mom had showered and dressed and it was time for family work. (How she got a shower in there I am not quite sure!) Family work is never called chores. It isn’t a chore to do your part in your family. Chores are saved for consequences when you forget to do as asked in a pleasant way, which on some days can be often! : )
Family chores are one way that Jodie and Doug help their children gain confidence and pride in their abilities. I saw Jodie pull about 6-8 folded dishcloths out of the drawer, unfold them and give them to Jack to fold. (He didn’t see her unfold them.) This happened because there wasn’t any clean laundry to fold. It wasn’t that there wasn’t any laundry; it was just all still dirty. Often laundry takes a back seat to what really matters.
Mary was assigned to empty waste baskets.
Benny carried his little broom around copying the bigs in his life.
Maggie swept and vacuumed and she loves helping. It will always be a special treat to her because it is never mundane.
After family work it was “family structured time”. Today they read the classic they are working on “Raggedy Ann and Andy”.
Then it was helping Maggie play ball. Jack is a great big brother.
A few weeks ago I was talking about hedge hogs to the kids. We looked at pictures and videos on line and they were so taken with them. Today Jack asked to make a hedgehog, out of the blue! You can see here that he has a very creative mom, just stuff out of the odds and ends box. She didn’t wait to make a better plan (for a more real looking hedgehog) but just used what she had.
I want you to know that I am really mad at myself for not taking a picture of the kitchen table when they started their hedgehog project. It was a disaster. Most of what we used for dinner was still there from last night. I am sorry to have to confess that, but there it is. Jodie did what any great mom would do. She pushed it out of the way and carried on.
And here in a borrowed home, in cramped quarters, that was all of it, all there was to “kid school”. There are thoughts in both our minds, mine and Jodie’s, about what a successful home education and family together day ought to look like. This is what it looks like for now.
Instead of requiring everything to be “just right” before you move forward, decide instead to “just do it!” It’s progress not perfection that gets the job done.
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- “It Is Rocket Science” by Kerry Paterson or How to Help Kids Learn!
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- How Do I Find Peace as a Parent
- Family Philanthropy Project – How to Grow Your Family’s Heart by Jodie Palmer