family

I Am THAT Mom Who Doesn't Tuck Her Kids In

I don't tuck my kids in? Uh, no, no I don't.

 

This is when most people walk away from me shaking their heads.

 

I didn't say I don't LOVE my children. I only said I don't tuck them in. On top of that, I think it's a good thing.

 

I don't tuck my kids in?! It's true. It was one of the best things we did for our bedtime. It may be just what you need for you and your kids. Come and decide for yourself.

 

Let me explain a bit better so you can rest easy knowing that my children aren't neglected and unloved.

 

Setting the Scene

 

It's night. We've had dinner, cleaned up, played, talked, or gone to whatever sport, class, or meeting we have for that night.

It's nearly bedtime. The kids are done. I'm done. Mr. Barlow is done.

What's a parent to do? Send the kids to bed.

Wait... that's IT?

 

Our bedtime routine

  1. Put your clothes away (laundry or hang up)
  2. Put your jammies on
  3. Brush your teeth
  4. Wash your face
  5. Family Scriptures (read 1/2 - 1 chapter together)
  6. Family Prayer
  7. Family Hug, followed by individual hugs and kisses for all
  8. Send them off to bed

 

That's it.

Sometimes, *gasp* we just have family prayer and hug and night night. Especially if it's been one of those days.

I won't lie, we've had days where it's just a hug and a send-off.

We don't...

  • We don't have read aloud time.
  • We don't talk to each child for 30 minutes.
  • We don't grab a pile of books, snuggle under the covers and read to each child until they drift off to sleep.
  • We don't make up stories or share stories by their beds.
  • We don't lay next to them until they fall asleep.
  • We don't rub their backs, put oils on them, rub lotion on them, or sing sweet lullabys to them.
  • We don't tuck them in.*

*If one of the kids asks me to tuck them in, I'll happily go up and tuck them in, accompanied with my favorite tucking of the blankets under their little selves while saying, "snug as a bug in a rug." Kiss their sweet faces, turn the lights off, blow them a kiss and say, "sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite."

 

Fun fact: this phrase stresses my kids out. BED BUGS!?!?!?!  AHHHHHHhhhhhh!!!!!

I had a 5 minute conversation calming my kids down after saying that once. Never mind that I'd said it to them multiple times. Perhaps they just never listened.  I digress.

 

What the heck is wrong with me and where is my supermom card so you can take it away??

 

Listen. I love my children. I love to spend time with them. In fact, I spend ALL day with them.

  • We read books together
  • We make up stories together
  • I share stories from when I was a kid
  • We talk in funny voices
  • Sing made up songs
  • Throw dance parties
  • Put on shows
  • Color
  • Go on walks
  • and much more

Heck, we homeschool; that should count for something!

The only thing different is it's during the DAY, not at night.

I don't tuck my kids in?! It's true. It was one of the best things we did for our bedtime. It may be just what you need for you and your kids. Come and decide for yourself.

Why it's a good thing

 

When they were smaller I would sing a special song, talk to them, smooth their foreheads, read books and the whole bedtime showtime that so many parents put on nightly. Guess what?

They didn't go to sleep. They stayed up for hours talking, playing, doing whatever it was that children do when they'd rather do anything except sleep.

When we eliminated all that stuff they went to bed. They went to sleep right when we closed the door.

Not instantaneously, of course. Within minutes though.

They ALL shared a room, too.

 

Now, we have both girls in one room and the three boys in another. The boys are 9, 6, and 1.5. They all go to bed at the same time and they all go right to sleep.

 

I Am THAT Mom Who Doesn't Tuck Her Kids In

 

 

I have friends that go through a circus performance nightly, are wiped out, and still wind up having their kids climb in bed with them just a few hours later because they can't get to sleep.

To them, I'd love to say, cut out the stuff and just send them to bed. When it's time to sleep, it's time to sleep.

 

Keep in mind

We do have a no-nonsense approach to parenting though. We use the same principles to have our children sit still and be quiet.

My 20-month-old, son just Friday, sat next to me for 2 hours while his siblings swam in an indoor pool. He didn't whine, didn't cry, didn't make a fuss to get down.

He was content with his drink, one bag of fruit snacks, and his cow.

Oi, this isn't about sitting still.

 

My point is your kids CAN do it.

My kids aren't super special children. Well, they *are,* but they're not unique in the sense of being able to go to sleep or sit still for a few hours.

Your kids don't need the 2-hour long bedtime routine.

You shouldn't have to say, well, I want my kids in bed by 8, so I'd better start now at 6:30, which means we can't go out and do such and such, and on and on and on with more cutting everything out of your lives.

We put our kids to bed at 8:30. They start getting ready for bed around 8:15.

They do all the stuff they need to do (by themselves), come down, we read scriptures, say prayer, hug and kiss and then they're off to slumber.

What's the point of all this mumbo jumbo?

It's not to say I'm a better parent than you. That's NOT the case.

It's not to say you're doing it all wrong. I may have implied that at one point, actually... but that's no what I was trying to say.

 

The Real Point

  • You don't have to do a big production just because you think that's what makes a good mom or dad.
  • You don't have to feel guilty if you skip it or don't want to do it.
  • You don't have to feel guilty if you don't do it, or even if you do.
  • Simplifying may be what you and your children need.

If bedtime is too long, or too draining, or is a constant battle -- then I'd urge you to simplify and cut back, cut back, cut back.

We don't tuck our kids in and they still know how much we love and cherish them. They go to sleep without any fuss and battle. I then have the chance to end my day with some downtime: I can work, I can be with Mr. Barlow, I can draw and paint. I may even read a book. I can go to sleep early.

For us, it was the best choice.

I Am THAT Mom who doesn't tuck her kids in

 

What do YOU think? Do you do anything that some people would consider shady parenting?

ThatMom

 

Mwah

 

 

 

 

The Homeschool Omnibus is here! Grab the 90 Creative Resources to Refresh Your Homeschool

How to Teach Your Child Reverence - The Best Method

Sometimes you wonder why you even bother going to church...all you're doing is wrestling your child trying to get them to shush for 1 minute bursts. You can teach your child to be reverent without bribes, rewards, or death threats! CLICK to read more on the best method (and the easiest) to teach your child reverence. Reverence... doesn't have to be hard to teach.

You ask yourself, "why am I even bothering to go to church?"

What's the point when you miss most everything and you're wrestling a stinker child the entire time? Let me be the first to remind you that despite your struggles it really is worth it. That's all well and good, but we don't want to have church time equate a battle of the wills.

I have many people that ask me how I get my kids to be so reverent in church.

 

Please don't misunderstand, I'm not bragging. Nor am I saying my kids are heavenly angels 100% or even 90% of the time. They're regular children, just like everyone else's. Meaning, they get into trouble every day.

I am also not saying I am the master of parenting. Ha!

I AM saying it's possible to teach your children reverence (or quiet, to start with) without bribing, rewards, or death threats.

 

Here are the reverence rules:

Sometimes you wonder why you even bother going to church...all you're doing is wrestling your child trying to get them to shush for 1 minute bursts. You can teach your child to be reverent without bribes, rewards, or death threats! CLICK to read more on the best method (and the easiest) to teach your child reverence.

  1. No toys
  2. No paper and coloring things*
  3. No food*
  4. No more than one warning
  5. Don't reward bad choices

Okay, here's how it goes down.

Don't bring toys to church. NONE.

That is all. Do not bring toys. They do not need them. Honest.

How will they learn to listen to the service (or their teachers) if they are always playing with toys? I do NOT want to get into a debate about ADD/ADHD and all that goodness. Both my brothers and myself have these and trust me when I say, we went without toys and we were still happy and able to listen.

Same for coloring supplies

Ditch the coloring goodies. Leave them at home.

*There is a point you can re-introduce these. We'll talk about those in a minute.

Food is unnecessary!

Don't have your bag filled with fruit snacks, crackers, cheese, bananas, etc, etc.

If your child is over the age of 3 they don't need snacks at church. So don't bring any. The only exception to this is if your child has a real medical reason to have food accessible. A real one.

*If they're under the age of 3, bring only the minimal amount and not a bajillion choices. One or two things max, and a drink.

For instance, Teddy Bear is 19 months old now. We bring a sippy cup and a small snack bag of cereal or goldfish. ONE snack bag. It's not even all the way full. I only bring it out when it's necessary.

Seating Arrangements

They can sit in your lap or sit next to you. Those are the ONLY two options!

If they've over a certain age/size, then sitting in your lap would not be a good idea. My 6, 8, or 9 year old in my lap? I don't think so.

  • You don't let them get down to walk around by your feet.
  • You don't let them sit down on the floor.
  • You don't let them walk around the aisles or crawl around the aisles.

I do allow my children to stand on the benches until they reach an age/height that makes that inappropriate. Usually around 2.

One warning ONLY!

This shouldn't be a wrestling match. If they are misbehaving in ANY way (crying, whining, talking loudly, wrestling trying to get down, etc) you give them stern, but quiet direction. No threats, no warnings, no counting, no chances.

Here are some examples of things to say/do:

  • Tap them on the shoulder.
  • Tap them on the shoulder + "the look"
  • Tap them on the shoulder + a silent Shhhhh
  • "No more crying."
  • "Stop whining"
  • "You can sit next to me or sit in my lap. Those are your choices. You have 10 seconds to pick or I'll pick for you."  **Count the 10 seconds in your head only.** 
  • "It's time to be quiet"
  • "Stop. Now."

Etc.

You only say it once!!

One time. Uno. Not two, not three, not one and a half. ONE. TIME.

Well, what happens when they do it again?

Pick them up as gently as the situation allows, and without fuss you remove them from the chapel. If they are too big to be carried, you hold their hand and lead them out. If they're too old for that, walk them out in any way you see appropriate but the least disruptive to those around you.

Even if you warned them 5 minutes ago, you remove them now. If it was significantly longer than 5 minutes, I'll leave it up to your discretion, just keep an eye on it. Don't let it become a pattern or habit. If it happens at regular intervals, drop the hammer after the first reminder no matter the time between the first offense and the second.

My recommendation: until their good behavior has been consistent I would remove them even if they didn't misbehave for 30 minutes. Then, when they have been consistent, I'd become more relaxed.

NOW... this is the important bit.

You've just removed your child from the chapel because of poor choices.

Do NOT set them down to walk/crawl around!

Do NOT talk with others in the hallway!

 

  1. Find a quiet corner or empty classroom. Preferably with a chair or table. Don't leave the church. Stay inside.
  2. Set them down on the chair (a table will do in a pinch).
  3. Say, "we will go back in when you are ready to stop ____."
  4. Do not say more.

Do not make eye contact. Do not engage with them at all. At all. If they get down, pick them up and set them back down. Do not say a word no matter how many times they get off the chair or how upsetting it can be.

Do not show them any type of emotion in your face, eyes, body, or voice. Just be calm and neutral. Take deep breaths and maybe find your own nearby spot to be quiet in.

Why are we doing this?

The reward for their good behavior is to go back into the chapel and sit down with their family.

If you let them run around or are talking to other people the reward for their behavior is to get out of the chapel and have fun. Not the message you want to send.

When they've stopped crying or whining for a sufficient amount of time then come back in. Look happy and calm. Sit back down and enjoy your church service.

My general rule of thumb: 1 minute per year they are old -- I'll do longer if I feel they're not quite done. It does need to be that whole amount of time.

For instance, Sweet Cheeks is 4. If she were to be set on the chair, I'd have her be quiet for at least 4 minutes. If she gets down at 3.5 minutes, or starts crying again at 3.5 minutes (or any other time), her time starts over when she stops crying or sits back down. No exceptions. It must be 4 minutes straight.

Repeat as many times as is necessary.

Here are some more things you may find helpful.

  • Sit up towards the front.
  • Don't sit next to their friends.
  • Don't sit next or near (in front of or behind) families with children that are rowdy and disruptive.

When my eldest was 4 we once made the mistake of sitting near a family with a boy his age. His parents literally had a backpack FULL of toys and a backpack FULL of food. No joke. TWO BACKPACKS full of stuff for their one child. My son saw that and went berserk. Of course he wanted those toys and food! I did too, and I'm an adult!

You can sit near other rowdy kids or friends when your kids have been able to sit through the whole service for a few months without having to be removed.

Now, this isn't because we're better than those children or parents. We're not. This is for your children to be able to develop their own discipline without having to work even harder than usual for it. Sitting still and quiet can be a real challenge for some. Let's make it as easy as possible on them.

  • When your kids are older and have been reverent for some time (more than a few months), then you may bring a FEW sheets of paper and a small set of writing utensils. One pencil, one pen, or a FEW crayons/colored pencils (not the whole box).

My children receive these items after the sacrament portion of the service is over. This could be your communion, or other really important part of the service. Or about 1/3 through.

I don't even allow these items to be used every Sunday.

If they slip into bad habits they are removed.

  • When the older children need a drink of water or to go to the bathroom they are to leave quietly go about their business and return promptly. If it's been some time I either send an older child, or my husband or I go to check on them. If they're caught playing, talking, or dawdling, they will now have to be taken to the bathroom/water fountain for the next month.

[Tweet "Teaching children to be reverent is easier than I thought!"]

That's it!!

I realize that some of you may find this approach strict and even mean. You're allowed to believe what you believe. I, however, disagree with your disagreement. ;)

I have used this approach with each of my children with great success and without a ton of work. My rowdiest child was calm after two Sundays of "work."  I haven't had to take him out ever again.

I also see the fruits of my labor in other areas. When we go to a doctor or dentist appointment, if we have any meeting where they are required to sit still and be quiet, they can do it and it's not a power struggle. When they're at their sports practice, dance class, they are usually the only kid paying attention to their coach or teacher. They pay attention in their homeschool co-op and aren't chattering away with their friends when they should be working or listening.

Most important to me, my children listen to the church service, they listen in their Sunday School classes and actively participate. That is how children go from learning to sit still and be quiet, to learning to show true reverence.

This is how they are given the opportunity to learn the gospel, grow closer to their Father in Heaven and the Savior. To learn truths that will bless their lives forever. That is the biggest win of all.

This is perfect for pinning!!

Sometimes you wonder why you even bother going to church...all you're doing is wrestling your child trying to get them to shush for 1 minute bursts. You can teach your child to be reverent without bribes, rewards, or death threats! CLICK to read more on the best method (and the easiest) to teach your child reverence.

Let me know how it goes!

Have any questions? Success stories? Please share them below!

Mwah

 

 

 

 

The Homeschool Omnibus is here! Grab the 90 Creative Resources to Refresh Your Homeschool

Top 10 Tips For Homeschooling A Large Family: Tips 2 & 1

Did you have a tear slip slowly down your cheek too? Yeah, I know. It's the last day of the top 10 tips for homeschooling a large, and awesome, family.

Either you're crying with sorrow that it's over, or you're crying with joy because it's over (and now you can get to work... not that you were suffering, right?).

 

ten tips large family 5 header

 

The tips were so hard to put in order of importance. In a week, they could change. However, these last two tips were the ones I needed most to go from stressed and overwhelmed to feeling like a homeschooling supermom.

I'm even wearing my Wonder Woman T-shirt today to prove it.

#2

Your plan is set, that picture in your head is almost 100% clear. You ask yourself, "what will the day-to-day be like, though?"

Set your daily and weekly schedule to fit your personality and lifestyle.

This is best done by picking the scheduling method that suits you and gleaning from excellent examples, without copying.

Schedule Types

Set time schedule

You wake up and are ready at the same time, reading is always at 10 AM, lunch is always at 12:30, etc.

Robinson curriculum is similar to this. You read 2 hours a day, math 2 hours a day, and writing 1 hour a day. Without fail. It's encouraged to do this bright and early in the morning and be done at lunch.

Routine

Routine is that you do certain things in an order, but you don't care what time you do it at. reading could be at 9:23, lunch at 11:45, and history could have gone on for a lot longer than normal.

Block Schedule

Your school times are in chunks of time. You do your core subjects (3 R's) in the AM block, have lunch at a set time, and then do your other subjects after lunch.

When we were using Konos (unit studies) this is what we did. The 3 R's in the morning, and then our Unit Studies in the afternoon. I later switched it to Unit Studies in the morning and then the 3 R's in the afternoon because I was more consistent with them this way.

Rhythm Homeschooling

This is fairly new to me, but it's a different thing each week. Basically, you have a small set schedule and you have goals for each day and you allow those to dictate where you're going and what you do that day. It's got boundaries, yet it's completely flexible.

 

plan to be flexible quote

 

In her book, Plan to Be Flexible, Alicia goes much much more in-depth and she might be unhappy with me for not explaining it well. Don't punch me!

This book really resonated with me, her story and mine seem so similar and her pains are mine. She's got it figured out and I don't. This is a book I'm going to have to read twice and take better notes in to figure it all out.

Loop Scheduling 

This is where you list out all the curricula you use, how frequently you need to use it and then you put it in a rotating order. You can have it for a whole week, month, or quarter. So you go down the list and check off each as you complete them and move to the next item.

For instance: 

  1. Science 12x/quarter
  2. Art 6x/quarter
  3. History 12x/quarter
  4. Music 10x/quarter
  5. etc

You'd make your list: science, art, history, music, science, history, music, science, art, history, music, etc

You'd go science, and when you were done, you'd move to art, then history. This is so that if you do history and it takes all day Monday, it didn't ruin any plans, you will just do music on Tuesday and continue from there. You may do lots that day, or you may do one. This just helps you keep on track without feeling the burden of being "behind." There's no such thing.

I'll explain this one more another day. :)

 

In the end, you pick one of these, or any other you've heard of, that meshes well with your personality. As much as I wish I could live by a set time schedule, I immediately feel trapped and stifled and crazy.

You can do a combination of the two. We'll be doing a routine/loop schedule this year. As I read more of rhythm based homeschooling I'll move over to that.

Schedule Resources

Weekly Homeschool Planner -- I've been using this planner since the beginning of time. It's fantastic!

Family Homeschool Planner 2015-2016 -- I just found this one via the Omnibus sale, and I absolutely love it! I love all the extras it has.

#1

It's so easy to let things get in our way or self-sabotage our greatest efforts and plans. Your mental mindset is the final piece. Be reasonable, yet firm, with yourself and your family. Create support, accountability, and a backup plan.

ten tips large family 5 pin

Expectations.

Be realistic, but don't be milquetoast. If something's not working, figure out why. Maybe it's YOU (or your child) that needs a reset or encouragement.

Set expectations for yourself, not unreasonable ones though. Decide what you expect out of yourself and what you expect from your children. Do not budge.

Be flexible.

Tweak when necessary, change after evaluation, and let go of impossible standards.

[Tweet "Tweak when needed, change after eval, and let go of imposs standards. #homeschool"]

When you set expectations that doesn't mean that you need to be super homeschooling mom. That doesn't mean your children are all going to win the Nobel Peace Prize. This also doesn't mean you have to do what Suzie at Iamthebesthomeschoolmomintheworldandyoullnevermatchme.com is doing.

Let go of days that just didn't go how you wanted or planned or expected. Count all the victories, no matter how small. They do count. If something isn't working out, figure out how to make it work for you, not you working for it.

Be persistent.

Be consistent. Push even on those days that are killing you. Push a little more before you call a "day off" of homeschooling.

Those days are good to have, just don't let it become a pattern or that automatic backup plan. Have other strategies in place first.

Find someone to reach out to for you to be held accountable. This is helpful during those times when homeschooling is the last thing you want to do that day.

In summary

Tip #2: Routine + schedule + rhythm

Tip #1: Expectations + Flexibility + Persistence

[Tweet "Know that you've got this! #homeschool #tips"]

You have got this!

 

What has been the most helpful tip for you?

 

 

 

 

The Homeschool Omnibus is here! Grab the 90 Creative Resources to Refresh Your Homeschool

Top 10 Tips For Homeschooling A Large Family: Tips 4 & 3

You're so close to figuring out homeschooling and your swarm of children. par

Or....maybe not. ;)

You're still just not seeing the WHOLE picture or how it all goes together.

These two tips will help fit some of the final pieces together in your mind. That picture will begin to form more wholly and beautifully!

tips for homeschool large family 4

#4

You're searching everywhere, reading everything, trying to figure out how to keep homeschooling your children. There's so many systems, and methods, and suggestions your brain is cramping.

Design your own game plan that combines methods into what works for YOU.

Go to your favorite resources and people to find the plans and suggestions that most appeal to you.

NOT what you think you should be doing. What you think would work FOR your family. Pick what will fit and throw the rest out.

Some resources I've used

Blueprint Homeschooling  -- Some serious goodness here!

Plan to Be Flexible -- Love!

Your Retreat: A Guide to Giving Yourself a Personal Planning Day -- So encouraging!

[Tweet "Your #homeschool plan should be designed for your family, not someone else's. "]

Write/draw it all out so you can see it.

Here's how I've done that.

I will say that I don't have pictures for you and I know how much those help. The huge poster I had filled out got smashed in our move. I just keep forgetting to grab a new poster every time I go to the store. Which I did tonight, I eyed the posters and thought, I think I need one of those... and kept on wheeling through.

But, I DID get to see Captain Hook (minus the hook).

Take out a piece of paper for each kid, even the baby.

  1. Write their name at the top
  2. List out every subject they do
  3. Underneath each subject list each piece of curriculum or resource you use (within reason)
  4. Grab some highlighters (or something similar)
  5. Highlight every piece of curriculum that requires Mom to be with them when they use it. Use the same color for this across all the papers.
  6. Highlight every piece of curriculum that needs some, but not full, one-on-one time. Medium help from mom (give instructions, help set it up, etc.); use the same color.
  7. Highlight every piece of curriculum that they can do on their own 100%. Again, use the same color. It may be helpful to indicate how long this task generally takes.

Now is the mind cramp time. Don't despair. I got through this with some major undiagnosed brain fog and pregnancy brain.  Meaning, even if you're at 5% of your game, you've got this. You just may stare at the paper a little longer. ;)

This is where I grabbed lots of scratch paper. Set out your plan (that you set up) and schedule. You can do this with routines rather than schedules.

 

Look at all your kids, how many things can each do alone, with you, and with some help? The younger ones will need more of you, obviously. Pick a child and a subject. Just do the first on the list. 

Now, when that child is doing this curriculum what could your other children be doing?

If Captain is doing his math (he does alone, unless he is struggling), I can have Little Miss working on her spelling and vocabulary words nearby. I sit with The Animal and do his reading lesson.  

I keep going through each child and putting them in work slots.

We usually do school in chunks of time. I break down our subjects to be efficient and and put about 3-4 work slots in one chunk of time.

[wc_row][wc_column size="one-fourth" position="first"]

The Captain - 4th

  1. Reading
  2. Handwriting
  3. Spelling
  4. Scriptures

[/wc_column][wc_column size="one-fourth"]

Little Miss - 2nd

  1. Math
  2. Handwriting
  3. Spelling
  4. Scriptures

[/wc_column][wc_column size="one-fourth"]

The Animal - 1st

  1. Handwriting
  2. Reading
  3. Math
  4. Play with Sweet Cheeks

[/wc_column][wc_column size="one-fourth" position="last"]

Sweet Cheeks - PreK-ish & The Baby (1)

  1. Color (Baby sits with me)
  2. Reading (Baby plays or has a snack)
  3. Plays (both)
  4. Plays with The Animal (Mom plays with Baby)

[/wc_column][/wc_row]

Then, I go through the next chunk of time and repeat.

I put each block of time on a post-it. This way, if something comes up, I can shift the block of time around and know that when I'm helping The Animal with math, the older two should be working on their spelling. It takes out the day-to-day thinking for me. I just look and it tells me what would be best for the other children to do if I'm helping another on a certain subject.

 

Test and tweak as necessary. Always be realistic with yourself.

 

 

ten tips large family 4 pin

#3

Large families have been blessed with many children just eager to love and be loved. There always seems like at least one child slips through the cracks no matter how hard you try.

Each week, set an appointment with each child to meet with them.

You'll check in with them, chat, and ask questions.

  • How are they doing this week?
  • What's been hard for them?
  • What's been enjoyable?
  • What have they learned?
  • What do they need help with?
  • What would they like to tell you about?

This is a perfect opportunity to go over any missed answers on work that's been turned in, anything they're struggling with, and to review any particular material you want to go over.

You can take this time to teach them something that's just for them. You can work on a special project together. My eldest son and I work on some of his Cub Scout stuff to pass off. With The Animal, we do some fun math games. Little Miss loves working on art projects together.

 

You can make this appointment as short or as long as you'd like. You don't have to do everything I've listed. Just set an appointment, put it in your calendar, and sit down and spend time with them.

 

This brought me a lot of peace when I started it. I have time to really connect and talk to each child, to spend it in a meaningful way, that I hope will foster and grow our relationship as parent and child that will bless us for years to come.

In Plan to Be Flexible, Alicia even talks about setting up a yearly date, or appointment, with each child to evaluate your Homeschooling. She's got tons of great questions and worksheets for this invaluable date.

[Tweet "Crave consistent one-on-one time with your children? Check out this easy #tip"]

In summary

Tip #4: Design your own plan + write it out

Tip #3: Set an appointment with each child

You are nearly there! Your homeschooling is going to take off and be just what you need it to be for your family and yourself. You'll find yourself giggling with relief.

chuffed

 

Get the last two tips tomorrow!! Wahoo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Homeschool Omnibus is here! Grab the 90 Creative Resources to Refresh Your Homeschool

Top 10 Tips For Homeschooling A Large Family: Tips 6 & 5

You thought Homeschooling was for your family, but gosh, this wrangling and teaching and cuddling and cooking and cleaning of all these kids at the same time is terrifying.

What in the heck are you to do? Give up? Throw in the towel? Never! ...but, wow.

tips for homeschool large family 3

 

It's okay. I get it. You're right, you don't have to give up. That voice that tells you there's gotta be a way, after all you see tons of Homeschooling families pulling it off and they look sane, happy, and they're all educated. They can't all be superhuman!

 

They're not. They're just the same as you, and as me.

Check out my next two tips to get you on your way to be just as joyful, calm, sane, and intelligent.

(Did you miss the first four tips? Get tips 10 & 9. Get tips 8 & 7).

 

#6

So many large Homeschooling families have little ones running around. Those precious little ones can (and will) derail your daily homeschool schedule and plans in an instant.

Implementing plans and backup plans will ensure all of your children continue to learn even on the worst days.

 

Schedule the bulk of your activities when your youngsters are at their happiest and most agreeable times. As well as during their nap times.

You can't rely on nap times all the time.

Many kids start to outgrow nap times before you're ready, or they won't go to sleep at the time you have planned, or at all.

For instance, my youngest little guy (1 years old) seems to be happiest early in the morning and then right after dinner. Between those times it's always a guess. Sometimes he's cranky (3 teeth are breaking through right now) and sometimes he's giggly. Sometimes he wants his nap at his regular time and sometimes he decides he needs his nap an hour ahead of his usual time.

[Tweet "Plan your #homeschool times around your baby's happiest times of the day"]

I plan our mom-is-needed school time around those happy times when he's happiest playing by himself with some toys, pulling out all the wipes, or exploring the kitchen drawers.

When he needs me to pay attention to him I have the kids doing the bulk of their independent work, or other items on their daily checklists. He gets lots of mommy playtime, cuddling, and food.

Use your checklists to have older kids rotate school time and sibling time. There are times when I need to help The Animal on his reading and he needs quiet. We go downstairs to the couch and the older kids are working. One is reading to Sweet Cheeks or coloring with her. The other older kid is playing with The Baby.

 

superhuman

 

As I mentioned yesterday, each child has on their daily checklist to spend time with the younger two. It is a tremendous help to me.

Have activities, easy ones, ready for the youngsters. Set guidelines for the older little ones. My Sweet Cheeks is 3.5 and she can handle guidelines where my 1 year old will just drool on my face.

Make the activities simple, easy to put together, and in a location that is easy to access. I would suggest setting rules that these are for school time only in order to keep them from growing uninterested in that set as quick.

Fun activities for babies to preschoolers

 

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#5

Homeschooling families can get overrun with their long lists of things to coordinate.

They don't implement them because they're too overwhelmed to think about it or where to start. Putting systems in place is a profitable strategy because it saves time, energy, and brain cells.

We can't start losing more than we already have! ;)

easy-peasy

Set up a system for your chores. Have chore rotations, each child in charge of a chore appropriate for their age. They can do more than you realize.

Here are the chores we have our kids do:

  • Dishes: hand washing, dishwasher, putting away (started at about age 6/7)
  • Laundry: sorting, wash, dry, fold, and put away (starting at age 3)
  • Trash: collecting, taking out, picking up trash in the house (age 3+)
  • Sweep and mop (age 5+)
  • Vacuum (age 5/6+)
  • Counters, table (4+)
  • Bathrooms (7+)
  • Make beds (2+)
  • Toys, books, clutter, rooms (2+)

Set up buckets or baskets for each chore containing the supplies they need for each chore (if anything is required) and put a checklist in each chore bucket. If the chore doesn't require a bucket, have a place for checklist for that chore.

This is what you'll use to say these things need to be done correctly for this chore to be checked off. You can inspect with that checklist in hand, or have them inspect themselves.

If you want chores done a specific time each day, set up a schedule. You can set up a time of day you'd like it done in (AM, after lunch, PM) otherwise just say it needs to be done today.

ten tips large family 3 pin

Set up systems for meals.

Use a meal planner system, make lunches ahead of time, make an assembly line, make dinners ahead of time, and have your older children involved in cooking.

Organize your school area to provide a place for everything and systems for your school days. Prepare every needful thing. Set aside a weekend to do major prep work, a time slot for each week, and a few minutes each day to prep for the next day.

Have shelfs, baskets, areas, pouches, folders, and bulletin boards and more dedicated to specific school work, tools, resources, and activities. Set up areas for the kids to have access their work and supplies and any other learning activity you'd like them to do independently.

This doesn't mean spend your lifetime doing this or a lifetime worth of money to do it. Do what you can with what you have and do it in the time you have.

The more you can do ahead of time setting up the systems that work for your family the better prepared you'll be when life hits you or you're all just having one of those days.

This MP3 is great at helping you organize your home for some peace!

In summary

#6 Have definite plans and back up plans for your littles.

#5 Get organized with systems and prepare as much as you can.

Today's tips require a bit more work than the previous four. You didn't think you'd get out of working did you? Nah, I knew you were realistic.

Working today will save you tomorrow. So long as you don't overdo it and try to do it all in one day. Make sure you get help from your family.

Tomorrow's Homeschooling tips are some of my favorite! See you then.

Mwah

 

 

 

 

 

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Top 10 Tips For Homeschooling A Large Family: Tips 8 & 7

As a parent of a large homeschooling family you wonder if it's doable. 

There's so much to consider, to worry about. It's overwhelming.

tips for homeschool large family 2

Here are two more tips -- tested and proven -- that will aide you in your noble quest for sanity, fun, and a fabulous education for your amazing family.

#8

You've got so many things you're think about in a constant, steady stream. You've delegated jobs and responsibilities, but are concerned that after half a day it will all fizzle out to nothing more than a puddle of good intentions.

Take your list of delegated responsibilities (tip #9) and make them trackable for each person.

Make a checklist of daily tasks for each child, with a special place to keep it and a pen, marker, highlighter, sticker, or pencil set aside solely for this purpose. This is all the motivation my kids needed.

They are in charge of doing the task and marking it done.

[Tweet "Put your kids in charge of their daily tasks and they will take more ownership #homeschool #tip"]

Include tasks such as:

  • Play with the baby
  • Read to the toddler
  • Go over skip counting with Jr.

Make their daily tasks required (schoolwork, chores, and misc) to be done before anything else. Rotate their responsibilities and switch it up.

Don't confine the children to a time, unless you really need it to be done at a specific time. If you allow them greater freedom by picking the order and the time they do things in, they will cooperate more and take better ownership of their checklists.

Perhaps if they do not do things correctly, or at all, or in a timely manner you could set a schedule for that list until they prove themselves otherwise. That's up to you.

Here are two resources for checklists and daily task sheets that I have used.

Free Accountability Printable -- Heather, over at OnlyPassionateCuriosity.com has so many wonderful printables. some free, some paid, but gosh, they are cheap and worth it! We used this checklist since I found it back in November 2014. Love it!

Betsy at Notebooking Nook has a bajillion amazing and awesome goodies. Check out this great student planner pack and assignment cards. We're going to give these a whirl this year!

ten tips large family 2 pin

#7

You are homeschooling a lot of kids...at the same time. The kids all want your undivided attention...all at the same time. Foster independence in each child and have them rely on themselves more and more to learn.

This may hurt and you may want to punch me: let go of curriculum that is teacher-driven, teacher-led, teacher-powered, teacher teacher teacher. Aahhhhh!

Or come up with a great way to use it, but take out the heavy burden of doing it all always.

Your children may resist. In fact, they will.

I want my teacher back! I want you to give me the information! I don't want to do this by myself... I can't do this by myself.... MooooOOoommmmmm......!

 

Do not fall for it. Your children are brilliant. Even if they don't test high on the IQ, and in fact, you truly worry that they're really not that smart, they are. They are smart enough to do this. This is when it takes faith and trust from you to allow them this opportunity.

You're still there, you're still their teacher (or facilitator), you're just letting them take more control over their own education. This is a great way to teach choice and accountability, a great characteristic for us all.

[Tweet "Your kids may protest when you have them do more #homeschool work on their own. Don't fall for it."]

What do you do instead?

Switch to a child-led curriculum (Robinson Curriculum). Have them read more living, whole, rich books as their way of learning. Charlotte Mason method takes advantage of many living books. As do many Homeschooling methods.

Get your kids writing more. Write more papers, more poems, more journal entries. Have them start notebooking.

Give them individual work that can be done without mom hovering. I'm not saying give them busy work. I do not believe in busy work. In fact, that's one of the reasons I do not send my children to public school. 

Here are some great resources for individual work for all ages:

See? There is TONS of goodness out there. You will need to do some prep work to get this all settled and ready to go. Take a bit of time one weekend, have someone help watch the kids, or have your husband take the kids out to the park while you stay home and just focus in on getting your stuff ready to go at a moment's notice.

If you don't get it all ready you'll never use it, or you'll get so stressed in the moment that you'll curse my name and wish you'd never read this stupid blog post.

iHomeschool Network's 4th annual Omnibus sale • the original homeschool bundle

In summary

#8 = checklists + daily tasks

#7 = independence + independent work (not busy work)

[Tweet "10 tips for #homeschooling large families. Can you guess what tips 8 and 7 are? "]

Up next

Tomorrow you'll get tips 6 & 5. I'll give you a hint: little.

Hey, if you have some great ideas to help with checklists and fostering independence, please tell me. I'm always on the hunt to add to my rotation. 

Mwah

 

 

 

 

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Top 10 Tips For Homeschooling A Large Family: Tips 10 & 9

Is homeschooling a large family really even possible?

Without losing your mind? Without becoming "that homeschool mom" that people bolt at the first sight of?

Yeah, it is.

 

tips for homeschool large family

 

I have many friends that homeschool their first two kids, love it, or get overwhelmed, and then when the third one is old enough for school they bail come August.

That's sad. Not only is it sad, but it's unnecessary.

[Tweet "#Homeschooling a large family is doable, no straightjacket required."]

If you are thinking about not homeschooling anymore because of the size of your family, just give me 5 days to show you another option.

5 Days. For 5 Days you'll get a countdown of my top tips, and things that I have used and am using for my own family. In case you are wondering, I have 5 children. I know some things.

I'm working my way from great to awesome. I'm saving my top tips for last. You've got to build up to the goodness. That doesn't mean you skip 10 - 6 because they're no good. False. They are good. It was really hard to put them in order of impact/importance; there are quite a few that I think are equal.

It's the final countdown!!!!

#10

Many large Homeschooling families feel alone, overwhelmed, and stressed. They don't know how to banish these damaging and discouraging feelings and often turn to the wrong sources. Use the free tools that are right next to you, but you may not see them as a tool and thus, dismiss them.

Learn to laugh at yourself and use humor to diffuse any negative feelings in your home and in your heart.

Using humor robs these negative feelings of their power over you.

 

When the kids' science experiment goes all sorts of wrong find something that you can laugh about; find something that you learned through this colossal gaffe and make it part of the learning process with your children. Breathe.

"Blue skies in, gray skies out." -McKenna (American Girl movie)

 

Start and end your day with sincere, earnest, and specific prayers for you, your spouse, your children, and your homeschool.

Pray for the clarity, energy, and focus you need. Pray for the support you need from your spouse, pray for each thing each of your children need. If they are struggling with writing a paper, pray for help to guide them, to encourage them, and for that child to understand, to persist, and to whatever else they need.

 

Do not isolate yourself or become a martyr. Reach out to your spouse, or anyone else to create a support system that fits you.

This is a hard one for me. I'm a mega introvert and love being alone. It's hard for me to ask for help, but I'm learning that things go so much better when I reach out for help and I make connections with other Homeschooling Mamas doing the same thing I am.

ten tips large family pin

#9

As a Homeschooling mom of a large family it often feels like we're herding cats. Stray, wild, feral cats.

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Getting everything and everyone to operate without any major kinks is necessary to avoid burn-out and stress overload. Work together and share the responsibilities to lighten your load.

Sit down and work out what needs to be done in your home, your family, and your school each day, each week, and each month. Gather the family together to discuss these items and then delegate these duties to every person in the family (except the newborn, of course).

You are a family, which means you are a team. The job of keeping the family going is everyone's.

 

Now what?

I don't like to just have ambiguous ideas thrown at me. I like directions, I like steps, I love examples.

There are a few resources I want to point out to you that you can use to help you accomplish tips #10 and #9.

hope-0

Hope For The Heart of The Homeschool Mom by Jamerrill Stewart

It has the most beautiful cover, don't you think? There are more than just pretty words in here, but actionable, helpful ideas, guidance, and encouragement specifically for those days when you question your sanity and know those angel children of yours are morphing into wild cats.

Mindset For Moms by Jamie Martin

I've followed Jamie since the beginning of time (when I started Homeschooling). This is a wonderful book that lays out a new way of thinking, acting, being for 30 days.

There are 3 MP3 that you will enjoy listening to. The titles alone grabbed me, never mind that they're excellent.

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Letting Go of Mommy Anger -- I know, right!

Discover the Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool -- perfect to go along with your daily prayers.

You Are Not Alone: Collaborate Homeschool -- now you can figure out exactly how to create that support system you need.

You can purchase each of these separately and you will be on your way to mastering the skills, the stress, the overwhelm and doubt that you have. Don't mistake, there's no shame in feeling any of these. The important part is you don't let them beat you; you don't let them win.

Come back tomorrow for tips #8 and #7: they're gonna be awesome!!

Mwah

 

 

 

 

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The Zen of Tea Time

The Zen of Tea Time | RochelleBarlow.com

Before I go into zen mode talking about tea time, let me give you some background.

Recently, I was having a discussion with myself. That’s what I do. I discuss things to myself, by myself. I’m awesome like that.

I thought, "I really just feel like there’s something missing in my homeschool."

I wanted something more, but I wasn’t really quite sure what that “more” could be. What else could I possibly add to my list of ought's and should's and must's without winding up in a padded cell with a muzzle?

Well, in order to keep myself from paddling up guilt river (so unproductive), I tried to be logical about it. What was I wanting my kids to learn in our homeschool?

I made a list.

It was all that book-learnin’ stuff. I analyzed it. It wasn’t quite what I was looking for. So I made another list.

I want them to see the beautiful things around them and appreciate them.

To slow down and breathe.

To connect to the arts.

To connect to each other.

To appreciate one another.

As I was searching for other things, while keeping this list in mind, I found the perfect solution.

Bonus: it’s not overwhelming.

Too often we want to add these things of importance, but find ourselves adding a million things to the "important list," that we truly lose sight of the real important things.

I catch myself adding things to the list that I think I ought to make important. Or that I think others think are important.

Who am I trying to please here? The wrong people. That’s who.

Even with my own list of have-to’s I can get overwhelmed. I just want to breathe and enjoy my days with my crazy-awesome kids. We don’t get any do-overs. (boo)

How in the world am I going to do this? What the heck was my solution?

Tea Time.

Now now. I’m being serious. Maybe you think I’ve lost my mind. Or read too many Regency Romances (not possible). Maybe you’re like, dude, this is old news. N’er you fret, my dears.

Let me explain.

My kids beg for tea time. Yes, even my oldest boy who thinks doing anything girlie is a sin. I didn’t tell him that. Oi, that’s a post for another day.

The Zen of Tea Time | RochelleBarlow.com

They beg for tea time.

It has brought peace to our afternoons. Tea time has given my kids an appreciation for the arts and for our time together.

I joke about the zen it brings, but it truly is a magical hour of the day. I'm not rushing around freaking about what needs to get done. The kids aren't arguing, making messes, shouting across the house.

It's an intentional quiet time. A time of reflection, peace, and calm. I did say magical right?

As in, swaying grass, a dripping weeping willow, fireflies zipping about, crickets singing, frogs croaking, warm sticky breeze, moon glowing magic.

[Tweet "Discover the magic of tea time. You may just be transported to another place. #homeschool http://ctt.ec/xbpH9+"]

Well, how can you bring this zen magic-ness to your life?

Speed version: we listen to classical music, look at a piece of art, read poetry, have tea and a treat, and read aloud.

Let me walk you through what our typical tea time looks like.

Ours is typically at 3 PM.

  1. I pull up Spotify, and play some Beethoven while we set up.
  2. Boil some water in our tea kettle. (2 min.)
  3. Put out a table cloth, set out the tea cups, put out a centerpiece. (1 min.)
  4. I have a tray with herbal teas and apple cider packets. (30 sec.)
  5. I put some snacks on a tray. (2 min.)
  6. We sit down, listen to the music and pour some tea. Or apple cider. (3 - 5 min.)
  7. We serve the snacks. (1 min.)
  8. I turn off the music and pull out the book of poetry we’re reading. I skip around and read some poems. I have my readers pick a poem to read, too. (10 min.)
  9. After they’ve finished round 1 of the tea and treats, we pull out the art piece. We do what’s called a picture talk, or picture narration. They each study the picture until they can describe what it looks like without seeing it. Starting from youngest to oldest (me included) we build on the narration. We don’t interrupt each other. We don’t critique the art. (10 - 15 min.)
  10. Then we serve round 2 of tea and treats. (2 min.)
  11. I pull out the book we’re reading aloud together and I read until I don’t feel like it anymore. Maybe it’s half a chapter, maybe a chapter, maybe more. (20+ min.)

No matter what, tea time is no more than an hour.

How often do we do this?

I was super ambitious when I first heard about it and said, we’re going to do this every day. Life just laughed in my face. Nice try, Rochelle.

So, now we do it once a week. If I can, I’ll do it more, but once a week is the standard.

Here’s what you need:

  • tea cups/mugs/cups
  • books
  • music
  • art book or pictures of art

That’s it.

The Zen of Tea Time | RochelleBarlow.com

If you want Level 2

  • tea cups
  • treat (homemade or purchased)
  • poetry
  • book
  • classical music of one artist
  • art book or pictures of art
  • table cloth
  • center piece

Level 3

  • all of the above, but homemade treats that you made together.

Don’t say, I can’t do this without this this and this. I can’t do this without a special treat. I can’t do this without fill in the blank.

I said those same things too, I know how it is.

Just pick a composer, pick an artist, pick a poetry book. You don’t even have to do the read aloud if you don’t want to. That’s just what I added.

You could work on manners while you serve tea and treats.

You could just talk about what you’re learning, what you’ve been doing lately, or anything your kids want to talk about. It’s such a relaxing and safe way to connect. You’re taking time in your day to slow down, stop what you’re doing, and enjoy one another’s company.

The Zen of Tea Time | RochelleBarlow.com

I say make it your own. To heck with what I do.

You just need something to nibble on, sip on, and some great kiddos around the table. You’ve got that, haven’t you? Nibble on a slice of bread if that’s all you have. The most important part is you and your family.

Just make it happen and show it the reverence it deserves. When the kids feel how special it is, they’ll engage in it and show it equal reverence.

Go forth and drink tea!

(too cheesy? oh well)

[Tweet "I'm bringing #teatime back! Join me if you need some zen in your life.  http://rochellebarlow.com/the-zen-of-tea-time"]

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Need An Awesome New Family Game? Introducing: Escape

We are a family that plays games. What isn't better than busting out a board game, gathering around, snacking, talking, laughing, and plotting the demise of your opponents?

Not much.

Need An Awesome New Family Game? Escape is a game that even non-game lovers can love. Click to see it in action and what it's all about.

 

Mr. Barlow is on his way to having his own big time collection. He's got about 50 games right now, and apparently, according to him, this isn't a lot.

We're not talking Uno and Monopoly. We're talking REAL board games.

 

The Captain is following in his father's footsteps. He's got 5 or 6 serious board games in his collection.

I collect books... and hobbies.

 

The Captain received this game for his 9th birthday.

Escape, The Curse of the Temple

Need An Awesome New Family Game? Escape is a game that even non-game lovers can love. Click to see it in action and what it's all about.

 

Object of the Game

You are in an archeological dig (think Indiana Jones) and you have to escape, get out, of the temple before it collapses on you.

This is a cooperative game. If one person doesn’t escape in time, everyone loses.

The fun part? There’s a soundtrack that you play along with that keeps time for you and prompts you to certain actions. There’s an introduction track to let you know how to play, along with examples of the sounds that signal specific actions.

It is playable without the soundtrack. There is an inclosed timer for your use.

This game is 10 minutes long. It’s short, but there is never a moment where everyone isn’t doing something. It can get intense! I love that it’s so short because you can easily set up it, play, and put it away and you’ve only used up 15 minutes. It’s a great game to use for a break, or when you’re short on time for a long activity.

Most of the time, the game is so addicting you wind up playing several rounds of the game. It’s like a chip. You can’t just have one, right?

Who is this game for?

Our 7 year old daughter plays Escape without any trouble. We just taught our 6-year-old (the older 2 kids did, actually) and, surprisingly, he did pretty great on his first game. He did need to be told what to do and when, but after a few times through he'll do amazing on his own.

We brought this game over to a friends house and my eldest son was sitting around the table playing with 3 girls aged 10 - 14. They were laughing, sweating, and did not want to stop. They kept at it for over two hours and were begging for us to come back over with the game the next day.

He was in heaven.

 

We’ve played Escape with adults, ranging in ages of 19 - 53. Everyone loved it and wanted to keep playing.

I’m just saying. It’s a good game.

We’ve created a fun video for you so you can see how awesome the game really is. We won’t show the whole 10 minutes of play, but some good parts of the action!

Get excited!!

https://youtu.be/KZ1nrcaDtgQ

This is when you tell me how adorable my kiddos are. I'll wait. ;-)

If you have a local game shop, I'd head over there to grab it. We have a fantastic store 15 minutes away from us that we frequent.

Otherwise, I'd snag it here: Escape (aff)

 

As you may have gathered, we have a ton of board games. We'll be sharing our favorites and our new finds with you regularly.

 

Go and get Escape, you will not regret it, I promise. Come back and gush all over the comments telling me how much you love the game.

 

 

aff = affiliate link. I get a small reward if you purchase this game through this link. It does not change the price you pay at all. Just keeps me in pencils.