Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Holidays and birthdays

These are all posts about holidays and birthdays.  Some may be just chatter and others have helpful hints, budgeting and ideas.  Have fun!


Monday, December 29, 2014

#4 Schooling when they are ready in 10 TRICKS OF THE TRADE when Teaching School with a crap ton of kids everywhere- lol:

 This is the fourth in a series about teaching school with lots kids, multiple ages and grades and little ones about. These 10 things would have revolutionized my life had I done all of them from the beginning.  Enjoy and hopefully they help you a bit too!

#4, schooling when they are ready

"SOUND THE ALARM , GOOD FOLKS OF HOMESCHOOLVILLE!  Little Johnny is in the 4th grade and reading at a 1st grade level (insert: gasps all around).  How could such a travesty occur? (everyone looks around sheepishly).  The parents are FAILING little Johhny!  The mother obviously can not teach him!  The Father needs to send that child to public school.  Poor Little Johnny, he will need all sorts of help and therapy now!"  

     We have all heard the newsreel before.  Maybe not out loud but definitely in our heads. We start with good intentions, things don't go the way they want and then we fold under pressure.
      Everyone in the homeschool world says that one of the best things about homeschooling is that we can go slow and teach as the kids are ready.  The truth is though, that so many of us do not practice what we preach.  We stress out, stress our kids out and PANIC because "little Johnny can't read yet and he is 8" or "little Janey cries every time we get up to 2 digit numbers and she is in the 2nd grade already!"  You know I'm right guys!

     No one stresses out when kids are "ahead".  When children learn faster than atypical, everyone applauds the parents and their awesome abilities and the brilliance of the child.  When a child is behind though... well, people whisper in the corners (just loud enough for you to hear of course) about how the child is being "neglected,  maybe un-schooled to the point of abuse, sinning against their child " the parents are failing because... gulp...their child is behind!

     First of all- don't you, or anyone else, compare "normal learning" to the public schools!  (That is another post!)  There is a "norm" but, even in the PS system they have kids who are "ahead" and kids who are "behind".  The public school system is NOT something you should compare your child too.  What you should do is access what they ARE learning!

     In all my years homeschooling, I have had children who are atypical learners, some more ahead and some more behind.  None has taught me more about not freaking out about being "behind" than my 7th child, A9b or... ManBoyA.
     I could go on for days about ManBoyA.  Good, bad and ugly, this kid has it all!  What he taught me though was a valuable lesson about filling a childs life with learning and letting the rest work itself out.

     Learning is not about applicable abilities.  Meaning: the ability to read/write/and do math is not needed to LEARN.   Learning is about filling ones life with knowledge so that when you are ready you can pull from it. 

     There are some things that helped keep education pouring in.  First being that we homeschool with one room school house style teaching.  Science and history are done as a group and ManBoyA could DICTATE what he has learned and I could write it down.  He can color a picture, do a project and other things that still do not involve applicable abilities.
     Math was pretty easy and can be fun to tweak.  In his early years we played a lot of games and did fun math worksheets, though I still freaked out since it didn't seem like we were really doing anything and I still wanted him to "complete" a math curric.  I learned though.  I learned to back off when he started taking too long to do something because we really accomplished nothing but frustration "fighting" it out.  As he got older I could require more from him in this area.  Not only did he "catch up", but he is now a grade level ahead in math.
     Reading was something he was pretty sure he could live without and something I knew he needed to do to be able to live!  We spent many years going no where in this area.  I ignored so many cues.  He did not try writing, he did not try reading,  He did not ask me how to spell things.  He did not care.  I cared... but he could careless.  I tackled that by trying to make it fun and something he would more or less enjoy.
     We stopped doing regular "phonics" type lessons and I put him on the computer with Reading Eggs.  I was always perplexed on how he could move up in all the levels and still couldn't read a "BOB book".  I worried, I prayed, I vented to Tammy and Vanessa.  My husband and I were worried.  We kept on though.  Putting the TOOLS in front of him, letting it sink in and then giving him opportunity to use them.
  FINALLY , one day in the summer, just before his fourth grade year, he started asking about spelling words, making comics on his own, trying to read different things as we were out!  These were are clues that he WAS READY.  All that time on reading eggs had put the words in his head, the ability to read in his mouth and now that he was curious and he just needed practice.  He is not at a "fourth grade level" but he is READING and its more than BOB books!

     ManBoyA's personality and outlook on school FORCED us to re look at schooling and learning and to re-access what "progress" really was.  Comparing him to other children, regardless of how they were being schooled, was not the answer.  Counting each success he accomplished, number 1 in character and number 2 scholastics, was better.  What we began to see was a really smart kid, very active, who just needed time.

     If I had learned this lesson earlier things would have been much different for ManBoyA.  He taught us the lessons of schooling when they are ready.  If I had already learned this lessons, then his schooling life would have gone MUCH differently.  Thankfully I did learn and the three little boys that followed ManBoyA are reaping the benefits!  Their outlook on schooling is the best I have had,  They are eager, wanting and excited to learn.  I push them to try new things but I do not "push them" to the point of frustration and tears.  Homeschool Mom reading this- you know what I mean!  I encourage the learning and fill the homeschool time with learning.  I try and make it more fun and less "booky".  If we are not "feeling it" that day I back off.  Even if that person is me!  I look for the cues and clues and go with it!

     One of the most important lessons I learned from ManBoyA is that "behind" is really a non-word.  The child who is "behind" today in reading can quickly  be the child who is "ahead" tomorrow if you just wait until they are ready.  The child who can not get past long division today can take a break and do multiplication games for a month and then try long division again and blow through it like its nothing and test out of 4 chapters in math and fly ahead.   Its about progressing to the best of your ability- not the kid's next door.

     I do want to note that struggling learners can also have underlying issues like sight problems, dyslexia,and  dyscalculia.  It is important to keep an eye out for other clues that show there is a problem and not just a reluctance to "do school".

  In closing, relax homeschool Mom!  If your child does not seem ready for math and reading, DON'T PUSH THEM.  Read to them, play with them, still "do school".  Look for ways to put in that math or do some reading without it looking likt math, or looking like reading.  Fill their world with information and then watch as they process and replicate the things you teach!

 That concludes this blog post.   I hope you have enjoyed this overview on Schooling when they are ready!  Other topics to come in this series, in no particular order, are:

  • One Room School House Teaching
  • block scheduling/4 day school week
  • 3 hour limit
  • schooling when they are ready- don't stress until then
  • sickness in the house and new babies
  • utilize your team (aka older kids)
  • schooling with toddlers and babies
  • FEED the people
  • Making an "unschedule" for your home

    Sunday, December 28, 2014


         I have been quiet because I have been BUSY!!!  Christmas time for us is all about Jesus, birthdays and family!  I haven't forgotten about all of you though either!  Here are a few pictures of our Christmastime and be watching in the next day or so for the next blog entry "#4 school them when they are ready".  IN the mean time =) you can look at a snippet of our holiday season!

         Our living room is small so we rearranged the dining room, that backs up to the living room, and put the Tree in there!

         In our home, each child has 3 presents to open on Christmas day as well as their party bag (stockings).  We have a price limit for each child ($60).  We try and keep things smaller and manageable and keep our focus on Jesus.  The kids all still get really good presents, we are just thrifty, we wait for the sales and keep it minimal!

    The kids all draw names and buy something for their "present buddy".  Price is set at $5.  We cover the little kids (under 7 this year) but all older kids have to use their funds!

    CH9g became CH10g right before Christmas!  Double digits is a big deal and we do something special!  Boys get pocket knives and girls get their ears pierced!  CH10g was super excited to finally have pierced ears like her older sisters!
      A typical Birthday at our house is this:  You get to pick out a meal and a treat.  Grammy and Papa come over and you get to open your presents.
      We do not do individual big parties.

    Christmas day is spent at Grammy and Papa's.  All of the in town family gathers here and sometimes friends too.
    We exchange gifts with Grammy and Papa.  All teens to adults participate in the "gift game" and the younger cousins exchange a "cousins gift" (done by family not by child).

    Papa prays over each person before handing them their gift.  Creating a Godly legacy is one thing I admire so much about my Father in Law.
      Of course we eat a ton and enjoy one anothers company!  That is pretty much our day =)

    D5b became D6b just after Christmas.  Sometimes it can get tricky keeping things kind of even with all the little boys at Christmas with gifts and then turning around and still needing birthday gifts for this one!
     He is REALLY into super hero's so I made him 4 two sided capes and a plethora of super hero masks (or mask-skez, as the little boys say it).  He got other items too but a bag od super hero dress up stuff to share with his brothers and friends was definitely a HUGE hit!

         And here is a pic of Christmas morning.  Well actually this year it was Christmas Eve, late morning as it was not our year to have The Brownies (my brown hair children that we share with my husbands X).
         In this pic they are opening up their party bags.  We do this instead of stockings because its Jesus birthday and when you go to a party you get a party bag!  I spend roughly $20 (our of the $60) on party bags.  I shop all year and get killer deals!  the kids all had between 18 and 22 items in their party bags.  We do not load them up with candy either.

     Here is a typical 10ish year old girl party bag:

    1. fave candy
    2. gatorade or some kind of drink
    3. cracker/cookie pack
    4. 4 inch chocolate PB penguine
    5. candy cane
    6. journal
    7. pen
    8. drawing book
    9. colored pencils
    10. nail polish
    11. hair tie
    12. nail jewels
    13. necklace
    14. flashlight (so my kids have a thing about flashlights, they just like them!)
    15. photo frame
    16. book mark
    17. earrings or some other type of jewelery 
    18. socks
    19. craft beads/yarn/whatever crafty thing they are into
    20. book
    And for a boy:

    1. fave candy 
    2. gatorade or some kind of drink
    3. cracker/cookie pack
    4. 4 inch chocolate PB penguine
    5. candy cane
    6. rope
    7. pen
    8. drawing book
    9. colored pencils
    10. flashlight (so my kids have a thing about flashlights, they just like them!)
    11. key chain to put on their back pack or whatever
    12. book mark
    13. book
    14. football cards
    15. disc golf stuff
    16. socks
    17. flying airplane thing
    18. playing cards
    19. some kind of craft like thing: this year it was a detective drawing thing
    20. something weird... like fake mustaches =)
      I hope your Christmas was fun, enjoyable and in full celebration of Jesus!  See you all in the New year!

    Sunday, December 14, 2014

    #3 ---> 3 hour limit to teaching in 10 TRICKS OF THE TRADE when Teaching School with a crap ton of kids everywhere- lol:

     This is the Third in a series about teaching school with lots kids, multiple ages and grades and little ones about. These 10 things would have revolutionized my life had I done all of them from the beginning.  Enjoy and hopefully they help you a bit too!

    3 hour limit!

         The 3 hour limit (3hl) has come to mean a few different things over the years.  All valid things but all different needs that fit into the 3hl.  The 3hl is this in a nut shell:

        "schooling/teaching should last no more than 3 hours.... period!"

      So this idea started back in the day when I though I was going to go insane!  How could I possibly teach ALL THOSE SUBJECTS to my Kindy girl with 2 babies hanging off me and prego?  Well, just shy of subjecting my children to a lifetime of counseling for the trauma they would endure from my homeschooling venture, I decided to survive I needed to nix things.  To get to the point of this post, you will need to learn a little about how I got to the 3hl.

         So back to the "nixing".  I started with everything but reading.  If I could only teach my kindy girl to read then she could teach herself anything because she could read the instructions!!!  What an amazing thought!!!!!  I still "mostly" believe this to be true.  Well, I do believe it is true BUT now I would not push a child to learn reading when they are not ready.  I am not sure that my Kindy girl was really ready but she learned anyway, despite me, but it was not a fun process.

        Now, we did not spend 3 hours on reading alone.  We spent 30 minutes.  That was reading and writing.  And I think I was dying from monotony and boredom by minute 7.  I am still so over it all by minute 7.  Kindy girl begrudgingly learned.  Her 3 year old sister though thought it was great!  She was reading like a champ by 3 1/2! (note she is the ONLY one of my kids who did that!).  This is all we really did.  We did do other learning things but it was mostly through play.

         The following year I focused in on Math.  Again 30 minutes. And 1st grade girl did it.  She also kept up on LA for 30. The rest of our day was just play.  Which wasn't bad but I always felt like a loser for not doing "enough".

         Our third year of homeschooling I tried to add in all the subjects.  I quite that after a month.  I got those "everything your kid should know in "such" grade" books from Costco, took out pages, stuck them in a folder and they had to complete a folder a week.  BORING!!  But I was trying to survive and not be the one homeschool Mom who couldn't teach everything!

    Our 4th year (this is starting to sound like a Christmas song- lol) of homeschooling, I still focused on my own teaching time of math and reading only and assigned out sci and his as reading books to the older ones.   They read their stuff to the younger ones.  I nursed children and cooked and did laundry. I tried to do other subject but it didn't work.   See I could ONLY get in 3 HOURS of teaching in and I was not very organised with how I did it.  I used up my 3 hours of time not really accomplishing much through mismanagement!. No matter how I arranged my day I could not seem to get in more than 3 hours of teaching time or more than 3 hours of their attention!

       This is when the "amazing thing started to kick in.  I started to realize that "organized learning and teaching" was something that only worked for about 3 hours period.  I started looking at my day differently.  If LA was no more than 1 hour and math was no more than 1 hour (30 min each for the younger ones) and I facilitated it differently in order to get more than one kid done at the same time, then that left one more hour for sci and his.  (This was before block schedules.  I should have clued into that about here but I didn't).

    3 hour limit: was needed for the following reasons:

    • The childrens brains are fried after that.
    • My brain is fried after that.
    • I need to be done teaching in order to do everything else.
    • The kids need time to play and learn on their own.
    • We all need a break from structured learning.
    • Because, some days we just don't feel like we can do anymore.
    • Before the age of like 10, anything more than 3 hours may just kill all of us.
    • They DO NOT NEED to study EVERY SUBJECT!  The public schools don't even do that!  
    • When they are older they can do more!

          All the above reasons are still the same reasons today, they just apply a little differently than for pure survival.   Now that I have older children, I still only do 3 hours of schooling with me teaching.  I still have young ones that would die from homeschool over-exposure if I didn't pull the plug at 3 hours! However, the older kids can now self govern a lot of things and can wrap up any unfinished business on their own.  I am only used as a "check in" or "occasional help".


      So, my oldest kids get up at 7 am and do an hourish of math before breakfast.  THATS 1 HOUR for them!  Little ones have 0 HOURS at this point
      After breakfast we do 2 hours of whatever block we are doing.  THATS 2 HOURS for little kids and 3 HOURS for olders.
         We eat Lunch.
         After lunch I spend about 40 minutes with the younger bunch doing LA and MATH.  THATS 3 HOURS TOTAL FOR LITTLES now; the k-4th kids.
        The 5th and up kids have about an hours more worth of work to do.  Some less, some more on some days.  BUT NONE OF IT requires me.  I can still do my chores, mind the littles, run errands, whatever.  This technically means the older kids do more like 4 hours (and more for the highschooler) but their brains can handle it now!

         If my kids were all little, lets say I have 4 kids and the oldest is in 2nd grade.  I would do 30 minutes or so of reading/la and 30 minutes or so of math.  Then I would do a QUEENS science for the 3rd hour on sci days and prolly a Queens or MOH his on his days.  I may even not do any formal history yet.  I might just pick a theme like "the old west"  we would watch little house on the prairie episodes and read cowboy books together.  Hmmm... I think I actually did that back when my oldest was 8 and I had just had baby #6!


      This is not a big "AHA" type of thing.  No revolutionary idea.  Nothing I can even show you pictures of.  BUT it is something that if I had followed, I would have actually felt accomplished everyday and I wouldn't have felt like every day I failed my kids because we were not doing everything we should.  This is a stupid idea in and of itself and we will cover that later on in this series.

         I believe my older kids would have viewed schooling with less stress, much like my younger bunch does these days, if I had schooled them the same way.  My kids love learning but that is not the way it was when we started out.  I was bogging them down and myself!  If I could have started each school day knowing that I had 3 hours and then we were done, I think MY OUTLOOK ALONE would have really impacted my kids for the best.
        3hl freed my kids up to learn and me to teach.  It took away that ball and chain feeling that we had for each other and instead replaced it with a feeling of ease.  We all knew what to expect each day.  When we were having fun, we could extend it, and when it was a day of crying, we knew the end was coming before lunch even hit!  I also found that my children naturally were learning on their own and continuing things they were working on during school time in their free time.  It was just all so.... uncomplicated.

     That concludes this blog post.   I hope you have enjoyed this overview on ORSH teaching!  Other topics to come in this series, in no particular order, are:

  • One Room School House Teaching
  • block scheduling/4 day school week
  • 3 hour limit
  • schooling when they are ready- don't stress until then
  • sickness in the house and new babies
  • utilize your team (aka older kids)
  • schooling with toddlers and babies
  • FEED the people
  • Making an "unschedule" for your home

  • Tuesday, December 9, 2014

    #2 "BLOCK schedules and 4 day school weeks" in: 10 TRICKS OF THE TRADE when Teaching School with a crap ton of kids everywhere- lol:

      This is the second in a series about teaching school with lots kids, multiple ages and grades and little ones about. These 10 things would have revolutionized my life had I done all of them from the beginning.  Enjoy and hopefully they help you a bit too!

    #2 BLOCK schedules and 4 DAY school weeks

         This is a concept that has really evolved over the years for me, I certainly didn't understand it all when I first started.
         In the beginning I think most homeschoolers try to "public school at home".  Its what we know, so its what we do.  Trying to fit that in to a homeschool schedule is definitely not easy.  There is so much trial and error put into figuring out your homeschool life.  There are something that I had to learn like block scheduling, whereas a 4 day work week just happened.
         I pretty much have always had a 4 day school week but in the beginning, I would still try and "make up" that 5th day.  I could not figure out how we would actually accomplish stuff without that 5th day BUT I NEEDED that 5th day to be a non school day.  That 5th day was co-op, or shopping, or playdate, or homeschool group, or whatever.  Anything but school.  We were drowning in our lost day though the other 4 days.
         I did not block schedule in the early days.  I wish I had listened to my friend Lydia (HI LYDIA) when she explain block scheduling to me, but I didn't. I have since learned my lesson and learned the key to the 4 day school week was block schedules!   Block schedules and 4 day work weeks just fit so nicely together... like.... like... like peanut butter and chocolate!

    Lets fist deal with a block and what it is:  
         This is when you combine a large period of time to cover one subject.  For instance, instead if doing 1 hour of History and 1 hour of science everyday.  You instead do 2 hours of the subject at one time and cover 2 days of material during that time.

    HOW is it actually blocked out?

    There are 2 different schedules that are used for blocks:

    1. Block/Block: where you combine your blocked hours into blocked days. EG: Mon/Tuesday are Block A days.  Wed/Thurs are both Block B days.  You complete 2 hours each day of whichever subjects you are blocking together.
    2. BLOCK/ALTERNATING: where you block the subject hours but do every other day of it.  EG: Mon Block A, Tue Block B, Wed Block A, Thur Block B.

    I have done both and have chosen op #1 as the winner in my house.  Here's why:
    1. It means we can wrap our brains fully around that subject and submerge ourselves in it without interruption.
    2. Its less confusing.
    3. It makes planning my week easier.  If I need to go out on Monday and miss part or all of our blocked class, I can make sure the following day is free to "get 'er done". 
    4.  With an alternating schedule I had to think to much to organize my weeks and the lesson. 
    5. Because it just works better.

    This can look VERY different in everyone's household.  Some people like to block all subjects and some pick and choose- like myself.
    In my house we block schedule:

    • Science
    • History
    And do not block:
    • LA
    • Math
    • Additional topics

      I picked those subjects to be split that way because:
    • Math and LA should be done everyday.
    • My kids would get way overwhelmed doing a block math schedule- too much at one time!
    • Often with HIS and SCI we would get caught up in the lesson and "get behind"Wwith HIS and SCI I was taking a lot of time to prep some things and it was cutting into my school day
    • If we missed a day of HIS or SCI I felt like my mojo was screwed for the whole week.
    • My days always seemed rushed but if I removed HIS and SCI then they were okay.  I decided they were the culprits and therefore I would deal with them differently!
    Now that you understand that let us look at the week as a whole.

    4 day school week- now known as 4DW (4 day week).  

    Pretty self explanatory.  and works well with a block schedule.   You school (idealy) Monday-Thursday and Fridays you can do as you wish with it.

    We do co-op.  But in the past I have also used that day for field trips, make up work, as a "check in" day, a project day, etc.

    The 4DW works so well with BLOCK scheduling and BLOCKS work so well with ONE ROOM SCHOOL HOUSE teaching!  So how it is all connecting?

    What does MY week look like?

    I will gladly share!

    • 7-8:30 the oldest kids get up and get to their math on the computers (TT and KHAN).  Its quiet in my house and the littles are still in their rooms so this is a great time to get math knocked out!
    • 8:30-9:30 we do before breakfast chores, eat Bfast and do after Bfast chores.
    • 9:30ish- 11:30ish we do: M/T science; W/TH history
    • 11:30-12:30ish we finish our block that day, straighten up, eat lunch, do after lunch chores
    • 12:30ish-1:30ish older kids start their independent work in LA/additional subjects and I do about an hour of stuff with the k-3rd/4th crowd at least 3 times a week.  Sometimes an older kid does it or will help out.
    • 1:30-3ish the oldest kids junior high/highschool will continue to work on stuff as needed.

    All the curric I use can be EASILY worked into all of this.  MOH (mystery of History) actually has several different schedules in the fron of their book to look at and a 4DW is one of them.  I learned a lot from using that!
    QUEENS stuff is usually written as a story and 4 applications.  So combining the story to 2 application days is no problem at all.

         It is also ok to cut out some applications!  You could do 2 lessons but only do 1 application.  Or do something short and combine it with something more indepth.  There is a lot of freedom.

    Sometimes I will do both "lessons" and then do one application. Or both lessons and then both applications or  Other times I will do one lesson and one application and then the second and the second.  It really depends on the subject and what is being covered.
         You will QUICKLY figure it out and find the right rhythm for your family within a week.   

    Tuesday, December 2, 2014

    #1 One Room School House in 10 TRICKS OF THE TRADE when Teaching School with a crap ton of kids everywhere- lol:

       This is the first in a series about teaching school with lots kids, multiple ages and grades and little ones about. These 10 things would have revolutionized my life had I done all of them from the beginning.  Enjoy and hopefully they help you a bit too!

    One room school house... what?

    gathered in the living room for school
      My dear friend Laura and I (HI LAURA!!!!) were just discussing this topic the other day.  Both she and I have large families, with children the same ages.  We started off having babies together, schooling together and large families together.  We were discussing things we wish we had known "way back when" and "schooling multiple grades at one time" came up.

      In my home, we call that "One Room School House" teaching; from this point on ORSH.  This is much like it was back in the beginning days of public schools where a teacher would have 10-20 students of varying grades and had to teach them.  There was no way this teacher could teach all the grades separately and so there was much combining.  Its the same today in many a homeschool household.

      ORSH teaching is very simple and basic.  You teach the same material across the board but the application of what is being taught is different depending on ability (notice how I did not say "grade").  For instance:
    science drawings
      Lets say, for the sake of conversation, you have 4 children in grades 8th, 6th, 4th and 2nd.  Your history lesson today is on the Painter, Michelangelo.  You present the content of the lesson.  Who he was, what time period, look at some paintings on line, etc.  Then during the application portion the 8th grader is too do further research and write a 2 page essay on who he was, his influence on the world and most famous works.  The 4th and 6th graders perhaps are working together.  They are going to also do some research and create an advertisement for  a showing of his art.  On their advertisement they need to include key information that states who he was and some of his paintings.  The second grader is going to do a coloring page of one of his works and dictate to you at least 3 things he remembers about the Artist and you will write them on the back of his paper.


    learning about Pompeii
    and building a volcano 

    There are lots of  subjects that you can easily combine:

    • history
    • science
    • geography
    • bible study
    • health
    • PE
      In my home we combine History and Science into ORSH and then LA and Math are separate. There have been a few times where the youngest ones were just too squirrely to sit and so I let them go play.  Out of 180 days of school, if the k-2nd crowd misses say 7 days, I really do not think they will be educationally defunct for the rest of their lives.   

    Sounds simple but, how do you actually make it work?
        Well, one thing that is key in making it work is choosing curriculum that it works with.  I have found that Queens Curriculum, Mystery of History, Story of the World, Apologia, Answers in Genesis, and Trail Guide to Learning to all be great ORSH applicable curriculum.  Some, like MOH and AIG, are written in ORSH style.  It has the story and then 3 different applications based on younger/middle/older students.  This makes it easy for me because I am not trying to figure stuff out.  My options are all laid out for me and I can pick!

    making nosegays
        Another way it to pick curriculum that hits the medium grade you are teaching.  So like with Queens, if I was teaching science to the same above grades, 2nd/4th/6th/8th; I would pick a science book that hit about 5th-6th grade and all of them would do that booklet.  It does mean that sometimes I might be telling the 8th grader to do additional work to "beef up" her end or I might be telling the younger kids to skip an application or just color me a picture on the subject; "dumb down" for lack of a better phrase, applications for them.  This way might seem more complicated but it really is not, you just need to give yourself the freedom to add to or take away from the lesson plan without feeling like by doing so you will screw your kid up for life.
    more volcano buddies
      Winging it with a mid range curric or even with something written as ORSH is actually very easy.  I have had no problems easily making things work with my favorite curriculum.  Often I will even wing the pre made lesson plans and do something totally different just because... well.... I can!

      Besides picking great curric,  combining several subjects together to teach across the board will greatly streamline your school day. We do about 2 hours of ORSH schooling a day and then there is another hour for me to teach one on one stuff with the k-3rd/4th crowd.  The older kids have anywhere from 2-4 hours of additional schooling each day depending on their grade and work load.  1 hour of that is math (which they do before breakfast between 7 and 8 in the morning) and the other hour is LA.  The additional time would be used doing science or history assignments that requires more work, or additional topics being covered that year.... in general, its kinda like homework time ;)

    How does this work if you have much older kids and much younger kids?

      This is a wonderful good question!  I finally faced this problem last year when my oldest 3 homeschoolers were in 5th/7th/9th and my younger 4 were prek/prek/1st/3rd.  It was a pretty big gap between the youngers and the olders.
    F15g is in the back ground doing her
     own science while
    H13g is working on a
     group project (last year)
    reading lesson ;)
      I still approached it from the perspective on what could I combine and then had to ask with whom.  This year and last year have both looked a little different.  Last year I combined everyone for history AND my oldest had an additional history book to read on her own (but not do assignments for).  We combined sci except for my oldest, she had her own.  This year I do one science with the the 4 youngest.  The middle kid has her own and the 2 older ones are doing one together.  The only one I teach is the younger group.  History is ORSH except the oldest, she has her own.  So on science days I gather my ORSH in the living room, the lone wolf goes to the dining room and the older girls gather their ORSH in the kitchen.  On history days it looks much the same.  Those who are ORSH'ing with me meet in the living room and those that are not do their history elsewhere.

    You named many ORSH doable subjects, 
    but you only do 2, why?

    making posters
      Another good observation!  Some of bible is ORSH (for the younger kids) where as the older ones have their own.  PE is something that naturally happens in our house and my kids all swim throughout the week.  Geography I do not stress out about.  They get a generalization through history and then I assign geography work as additional work for older grades (more or less 8th +) using Queens geography books.  A good overview, done as an upper level students, as a one time thing, is more worth it to me than trying to fit in another subject with lower grades.  It just does not need to be that complicated.

     That concludes this blog post.   I hope you have enjoyed this overview on ORSH teaching!  Other topics to come in this series, in no particular order, are:

    Sunday, November 30, 2014

    Household Tips and Tricks

    This is a collection of my posts on how my household works!  From chore charts to laundry to making beds... ITS ALL HERE FOLKS!


    Tooth Brushes to the tenth power

    My CAFE dining room 

     What I do about.... (stuff like... Stuff, socks, towels, etc)  The stuff post

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

    Now, lets be thankful....

    I am thankful for...

    1. The child whose 20 min science application that turned into a 3 day parasite research project.  Complete with a "My parasite book", which includes what they are, what they do to you and how to identify and treat them.  Gross.
    2. The library book that needed to go back to the library and didn't make it to the van (though it made it to the living room, the front door and the front porch but not in the van) for 5 days!  This made me have to go to the library again and thus I got my book I was waiting for.
    3. Tri-fold brochures.  Thank you history lesson for having them so their application in said brochure.  That was weeks ago.  I have tri-fold brochures all over my house about random things... like mold.... and I am sure soon, parasites.
    4. For the child who decided it was a good idea to jump through ones room inside his pillow case during reading time.  And for the children who decided they should follow.  They all went to bed early.  Quite night.
    5. Bulk buys on magic erasers.  They get out everything! Paint, perm marker, crayon, my "24 hour lip stain" that was used to paint the dash board of my van pink.
    6. Pigtails and rag curlers. You sweet girls growing up too quickly never look a day over 5 like that!
    7. Lisps and stutters. Afterall "if you are go-ingth to learn about parathites and grosth thsings like that" then you might as well do it with a lisp. A-a-a-a-a-a-and if you-you-you-you are going to re-re-re-respond then do it with a stutter.   This makes it even better for mama to understand what you people are talking about =)
    8. Blankets that don't kill you while you sleep.  Because somehow, some of these children seem to get so wrapped in their blankets that they become their blankets and you can't even tell there is a child on the bed.  The blanket is not breathing, the child must not be either but alas, they are alive!
    9. Trees.  Trees give me paper.  Paper keeps the kids busy.  Not quiet, but busy.
    10. CoreyTown.  You are a plague of my own making, you are also one of the funniest things.  I just wanted the kids to have fun with make believe.  I never thought they all would take it so far!  Its like a real society!

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

    COME AND SEE! a review of one of the Queens Science Currics.

    This is my review of the science book "Come and See" by Queen Homeschool.  Here is the synopsis:

    "Come and See!  by Casey Queen, story by Mary E. Woodis
    180 days worth of science and nature lessons for your pre-readers and early readers contained in one adorable, fun volume!  Join Auntie Mary as she teaches about nature and science through weekly stories and daily corresponding lessons in coloring, drawing, fun facts to read, and hands-on activities for each science topic introduced in the stories!  Spiral bound, consumable."

    Sounds pretty fun right?  RIGHT!  So we are in week 14, which is almost half way through the book.  This is the science I do with my boys, ages 4 prek, almost 6 K, 7 1/2 2nd and 9 4th.

    One of the things I love about Queens is that there are "suggested" age/grade ranges that the curric works best for instead of the "by grade only" approach that is most common.  One of the reasons I love the broader spectrum that one book can cover, is that it makes it easier for me to teach multiple grades at one time.  Sometimes I have to "beef up" an application or "dumb down" an application depending on what I am using but I have found that THIS BOOK is working very well across the 4 kids/grades I am using it for.

     The story is pretty fun.  Not as "meaty" as say, "Marys Meadow", which I did last year with grades 1st-8th.  Its a light and breezy story of a group of kid/cousins and their Aunt.  As the kids get together to play, they discover things around them.  I love that the kids in the story are learning the same way our kids are learning, through discovery!  As they play, as the seasons change, as they notice things, they are asking questions and learning and we are learning right along with them.

     If I had to pinpoint the "rhythm" of the story to a grade range, I would say it was k-3rd.  My 4th grader though really loves the story and since he is not a big reader (yet), I think he appreciates that the stories are a little simpler than "Marys Meadow" (which he did enjoy).  If he was a strong reader already or say 5th or 6th grade, you could still do this curric but you would prolly want to beef it up and make the applications heavier.  I am not doing that for A9b because this is just right for him this year =)

    It is also working well with the other grades I have too.  It really was the best pick for this age range for me this year.   Another thing; my 6th grader loves science and often she teaches the boys their lesson.  Even though she is in the 6th grade she too enjoys the story and the things they are learning.  I often find her doing further research on the topics she did with the boys earlier that day.

    There are 36 general, nature science lessons.  Each lesson covers 1 week.  Each week has 5 things to do.  Day 1 is your story and day 2-5 are your applications.  They vary from a coloring page, to a hands on activity.   We block schedule and this layout is very easy for us to accommodate that.  Science days are m/t.  I read the story to them and then they do one or two applications.  Then the next day they do 2 more applications.

    The story usually mentions several different "sciencey type things".  For instance: In lesson 13 titled "baby birds", the applications are; Orpington chickens coloring page, Ameraucana chicken eggs/how you like to eat eggs, American Robin coloring page and how to tell if chickens are girl/boy by their combs coloring page.  So those are all the "applications" BUT!!! within the story you also learn about/hear about other things (this is the "sciencey stuff I was talking about) like service berries, mocking birds, worms, other chicken breeds, etc.  Lots of stuff to learn about.

    We gather in the living room.  My boys sit on the floor with their school book and crayons and colored pencils and wait (usually with their hands folded because if not they are coloring in their books which they should not be doing...yet).  I hook my computer up to our tv and have google ready.  As we read the story I will stop and look things up, a picture of a service berry bush, a youtube video of a mocking bird, birds eating worms, etc.  It breaks the story up a little but its fun "discovering" with the kids in the story.  It also helps teach research skills early on.

    After the story they do their application.  All the coloring pages in this book was a pretty big shift for us from last years "Marys Meadow".  But "Marys Meadow" is a mid/upper elementary/junior high book.  I had to "dumb down" a lot of applications for the younger kids.  I am not having to do that this year and that has been great!
      There are not to many "write this down" applications either.  Which I actually like since most of these boys have limited writing, although they can copy things just fine.  A word or two here or there is much better and doable vs the sentences and paragraphs asked for is some of the higher books.   There are some hand on things that come up like nature walks, or a craft/science type projects. All are things you can do right outside your door or with things you would normally have around your house.  You can use your own imagination as well.
     One week when we were studying bees I googled a craft project to do with them that they all really liked.  I point this out because you CAN HAVE flexibility! It was raining outside and I knew they would blow through the coloring pretty quick so we did painted hand bees and hives.  There was nothing wrong with what was in the book, but there was also nothing wrong with doing something different.

    So far we have covered things such as: the life cycle of a frog, bees vs wasps, how to make maple syrup,  flowers, cows, armadillos, opossums, vegetables, different berries, different birds, cats, chickens, grubs, dirt, etc.  Its fun!  It's thorough!  And because you are learning about many different things within one story, you are also learning about how everything is connected together!

    The only things I do not really like (and this is for all the science books I have done of Queens so far) is that the books do not correlate to the seasons that follow along the school year.  And lets face it, most homeschoolers still school September-end of May (give or take ;)  Because this is natural science, so many of the applications and projects have to do with what is going on seasonally.  It's kind of weird being told to do a spring planting project in October- kwim?  When I hot stuff like that I usually just youtube it.  This is a small thing though and not anything that "makes or breaks" the program.

    My boys are really enjoying this science and look forward to it every week. It is really facilitating a love for learning science and its pretty neat to see just how much they really are retaining.  I think the topics being covered are varied enough that things stay exciting but are not far fetched or over their heads at all.  The story is cute and keeps their interest and thats also a plus!  We are enjoying it, thats for sure!

    Links to my posts on homeschooling

    I will continue to add to this list as time goes on =)


    Wednesday, November 19, 2014

    I hate teaching children to read, so I pretty much don't.

        There, I have said it.  I hate teaching kids to read.  My first experience with my oldest child did not set the tone for a good "road to reading".  She didn't like learning to read and I couldn't handle not having this child succeed beyond everyones expectations.

          I did not factor in that said oldest child was a "young" kindy girl as she had just turned 5 in August and school started in September.  My attitude going into homeschooling was also very prideful, "My kid will do better than the public school kids!"  So how is it that 3 weeks into my first year of homeschooling MY CHILD refused to read, hated school and we both gave up?!

         The truth is, if I had to pick any point of time to send my homeschooled children to public school, I would pick K-3rd.  Someone else may teach them to read and write and do basic math and then send them back to me.  The "public school damage" is most minimized in the k-3rd grades, so again, if I had to choose, it would be then.  (But, I didn't and wouldn't, I'm just say'n).

         Teaching a child to read is like groundhogs day.  If you happen to have a lot of children and teach Kindergarten like every year, then groundhogs day pretty much never ends.  I DO NOT want to read another BOB BOOK, LEAP FROG gives me nightmares, the little AMISH KIDS can go find their cat Blackie without me, and no you CAN NOT TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ IN 100 EASY LESSONS because ITS NOT EASY!!!!! (this is me ranting because I actually do like all of the above items, and have them all in my house.  I just look upon them all with contempt these days.)

         Back to my oldest.  She did not want to read.  I wanted her to read.  It was not fun.  Her 3 year old sister on the other hand did want to read.  She learned to read by sitting on my lap and playing quietly while I taught her older sister to hate reading.  Funny how that work.  So now the 3 year old was like "nailed it" and the 5 year old was like "suck it".  Such was life.  We muddled through and said oldest child is a very good reader and loves to read, there was just a lot of gnashing of teeth involved.

     So what do I do now?  Well there is this beautifulprogram called

        Reading eggs is this happy, online program, where the child travels down this happy learning path of reading.  They learn letters, sounds, spelling.  They play games and read books and earn golden eggs. When you first set up your childs account, they take a quiz to see what they know.  The program them puts them on the learning path based on that quiz.  Its so fun and very interactive.     
     In the Lower levels they are learning the letters and the sounds they make.  By the time you get to the end they are reading full sentences, working on spelling and basic grammar and parts of speech.
    My kids have loved using reading eggs!  We still read bob books and the pathways readers too but those are in addition to learning on reading eggs and I don't push those until I see them on their own trying to read books.  It is at that point that I know they are ready to jump into books without frustration.
         Reading Eggs is a "pay for" program.

         I'd also like you to know that Reading Eggs has been very instrumental in helping to teach my VERY RELUCTANT reader, my son A.  Since starting Reading Eggs, I have found out other things about how my super creative boys brain works.  To read more about A's story, click here!

    Another program I like (but not as much) is TEACH YOUR MONSTER TO READ.   This program is FREE.  My 4 year old uses this one.  I like that its fun and pretty easy to use.
     The story line is that your monster has crashed on an island.
     The Island King will help your monster fix his space ship if your monster helps him collected letters/words.
         My 4 year old thinks this is the best game ever!  He loves the rhythm of the program, the graphics are fun but not too busy.  He loves earning the prizes for his monster
      The only thing I don't like with it is that I think the program moves too fast through what they are teaching.  I wish they spent more time making sure that the child using it really had a good grasp of the letters.  It seemed like E4b had just started learning letters and then all of a sudden he had to spell the word "duck".  He made it through that part but not because he really read it, he just lucked out in the order to which he lined up the game pieces.
     I also think some of the games move a little to quick or are not very clear in what they want.  I do think though that some of that has to do with my first problem of moving the child along too quickly.  For a FREE PROGRAM though, it is a great program, my kid loves it.  Its better than ABC MOUSE which we all found frustrating, but not as systematic as READING EGGS.

         I am thankful for these programs that do the "teaching" portion and then I get to do all the follow up.  I like that they are fun, yet full of learning!  I know my oldest would have really like it and it would have been less stressful.
         Out of all of my children, there have been a few that would have loved and thrived on the whole "discover reading with wooden blocks and writing letters in the sand" thing.  The rest of them really could care less and WE ARE A READING FAMILY!!!  I no longer worry about measuring up to the rest of the world and don't feel guilty when I delegate certain subjects to "other teachers".  We all have our "bent" in life and teaching reading is not mine.  So THANK YOU online programs, you made my life easier.

         Along with Reading Eggs, we have since also fall'n in LOVE with Homeschool Journals/Dyslexia Games.  I HIGHLY recommend that every homeschool child has a journal and using Dyslexia Games, even with NON-DYSLEXIC's!

    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    My 2014/15 school year =)

    This is my curriculum line up for the 7 homeschooling children for the 2014/15 school year. You need to know that I am identifying each child by the first letter of their name and age and a g or b for gender.  =)

    F15g/10th grade

    Language Arts:  
    H13.5g/8th grade:

    Language Arts:

    Language Arts:

    Language Arts:
    My PreK boy does a lot of Kindy workbook stuff from amazon and the $tree and he loves Teach Your Monster to Read a free online reading program and Looney Tunes Phincs on the Tablet.

    Also, it may look like my Younger students have wayyyy more work than my older ones.  This is not true at all.  The older kids have way more writing and longer applications.

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    CHORES and how we do it around here.

         With so many children and a busy schedule, it is important for us to have a "normative estate".  This is what should happen every day.  Our chore chart reminds us all what that is and the expectations of each child.
         My chore chart has evolved over the years and where I have landed is with simplicity.  I needed something that would practically run itself and needed little involvement from me.  Life gets busy and I can't not have my household floundering because I forgot to do something on the Chart.  This was happening with other systems and then things would fall apart. So truly, simplicity is the key.

        This chart has looked and functioned slightly different throughout the years but more or less this has been it! Different things in the past were run by me (namely the kitchen) and there was once a time that "babies" was a heading on there, but we are "baby-less" at the moment.  Thats the great thing about this kind of chart though, its completely free form to work with YOUR NEEDS and YOUR HOUSE!  If you do have questions beyond this post, feel free to ask questions either here or on my FACEBOOK page.


    The blue thing is a reusable calendar
    The paper stuff is all hacked up3x5 cards
    re-enforced with packing tape.

    Top Line:
    Extra name tabs.
    Each child has a color paper and their first name letter on it.  I covered them in clear packing tape to make them more durable.

    Second Line:
    Jurisdictions: These are the areas of the house that that person(s) are in charge of to make sure it is picked up and clean.
    These change once a month on the 1st.

    • Living Room
    • bathrooms
    • front porch
    • playroom
    • laundry room

    Bottom Left Section:
    These are our our "Monthly/aftermeal" chores.  These change once a month on the 1st.

    • Jurisdiction
    • dining room
    • kitchen
    Column on Right:
    Our "before breakfast" chores.
    These change weekly on Mondays

    • Report to Mom
    • Feed dog 
    • Feed chickens, 
    • Kitchen helper (older make bfast with me or by themselves.  Younger kids are my helper only)
    •  Laundry

         Pretty simple looking right?  RIGHT!!!  It can be simple for you too!

     Now let me explain:

    • Some things are a given.  Such as, in the morning they wake up and read in their beds until I or Hubby "wakes up" the house.  Exception would be school days.  The oldest get up at 7 and do math until 8:15.  Then they start their day like normal.  When the house has been "woken up".  Kids make their beds, get dressed and make sure their room is tidy.  In theory, it should already be clean since the rooms should be tidy before going to bed.  So staying in bed and reading, getting dressed and doing your room/bed is a given and does not need to be on the chart.  I will not feed you if these things are not done.
    • Kids look at the Column on Right which are the "weekly" chores and do the job they have been assigned.
    • We EAT and then do our "after breakfast/monthly" chores.  
    • do whatever we do in between b-fast and lunch
    • We EAT and then do our "after lunch/monthly" chores. 
    • do whatever we do in between lunch and dinner.
    • We EAT and then do our "after dinner/monthly" chores. 
         This System ensures that after every meal the kitchen and dinning room get done.  It also makes it so that every part of the house gets cleaned at least once every day.  It does not matter who made the mess, didn't pick up after their shower, left lego's on the ground, got dust on the book shelf, left crayons on the table.  If its your jurisdiction you do it!  (more on those later)

         I found that most of our messes were created around meals so I created the chart to work around that.  It's also great when the house is messy and I can say to everyone "jurisdictions" and the whole house will get an extra once over.  Another given is that when you are done with your "job" you always report to Mom.  This way if there is something extra that comes up I have workers coming who can do them on the spot.
         No matter what happens in our day, we all have to eat.  Our chore chart often acts as a "reset" button for us.  No matter what else is going on,   It brings us back to "the normative estate".

         And what is REPORT TO MOM???  Well, that is when the child reports to me and I tell them what to do.  I am usually in the kitchen making the meal or assisting in its making.  I have the "report to Mom" kids do things like set the table (only if the "kitchen helper people are busy with other things like making food), or I have them make my bed, or help with laundry or another chore that seems like the people on that team would be blessed by some help.  I might have them help me with extra stuff for our homeschool enrichment group, HYPE, or help the little boys get dressed, bring stuff to the mail box, whatevs.


         Okay!  So on the Column on the Right section you will see the "weekly chores."  I change these every Monday morning. "Chickens/kitchen/laundry" are my three main before breakfast chores.  I always assign an older child who can get the job done.  I can not give the 5 year old "chickens", know what I mean?  "Feed dog/report to Mom" are the other two spots currently and even the youngest kids can do those.
         So I assign them out and then on Monday Mornings I change it up.  the three  main chores I assign to older kids and they cycle through so that each week they do a different one..  So if F15g is on "chickens" this week, then next week I move her down to "kitchen" then the following week she would move to "laundry and then the week after that back to "chickens".  The "feed dog/report to Mom" I buddy up younger ones to do together.

       On the  bottom left  sections I have "Jurisdictions and Monthly/After meal chores" I change this on the 1st of every month. I  try and make sure that its pretty even and that no person is doing any chore, say the kitchen twice, in one day.   So if  M12g does "kitchen" in the morning, then in the afternoon she would do" jurisdiction" and in the evening she would do "dining room".
          I like making sure I have an older worker in the kitchen at night time so I always make sure I have an older kid to be "Sweet Boss"d in the "after dinner kitchen".  There may be little ones on there, but it is well know in the house that the "littles" are helpers only.  Also note that the "evening" line is missing 2 kids.  That would be the 2 youngest.  Also notice that on "evening jurisdictions" it also says, "LB JAMS".  This group takes the two "LB's" (little boy;s), to get cleaned up, jammied, teeth brushed and ready for bed.  Then they check their jurisdiction.  It just works better for us this way.

         It's pretty easy to keep things "even Stephen".  When a new month comes I move the "monthly assignment" groups to a blank area on my chart so that the chart is "clear" but I can still see who was buddied up together.  Then I just move everyone around so that they have a new buddy arrangement and are doing the chores in a different order than the previous month.

        On the Second Line  I have my "jurisdictions".  These are the main areas of the house that need to be kept up.  I do not have kitchen/dining room on there since it get cleaned 3 times a day.
       You can't tell on here but, I have a mix of older kids with younger kids.  Also not all kids are working on that jurisdiction at the same time.  For instance on "living room" D6, F15 and CH10 are all on that one.  D6 does it in the morning and F15 and H10 do it in the afternoon.

       There isn't a "right way or wrong way" to set up your chart.  Input your children into it based upon the needs of your household and the ages/stages of your children.  Everyones family is going to run a little different.  I have 3 kids that are only here 1/2 of every week.  So I needed to set up my chart to function with them here or gone without me needing to redo the chart every few days.
         For a while only my oldest 1 or 2 kids could do the kitchen at all so during that time the chart looked different than it does now.  Up until a year ago we had "babies" on there and in the morning the "jurisdiction" kids always did "living room/babies".  Babies in the morning was circle time.  They sang songs, read a book, did finger plays and games.  About 20ish minutes (about the same time it takes for dining room and kitchen crew to get done), When circle time was done they would clean up from that and the living room at the same time.  The most SOUGHT after job in our house was always "babies" and "circle time".  You knew you had "arrived" in our house if we trusted you to run this job- the most important one!  My point is this, work it the way you need to for your family!

    OLDEST IS 4!!

         Good point.  This is where we get in to "Sweet Bosses and Faithful followers".  YOU are the sweet boss and YOU have to do all the work because there are no big people.  So your 4 year old  is a "faithful follower" and you could have her "before bfast chore" be stuff she could do without you like "feed to cat", "clean door-handles with a baby wipe" or "sing songs to the baby".  Then their meal chore could be "dining room".  They can help you clear the table, wipe the table and chairs off.  Then she can be a "kitchen helper" and wipe off cupboards or  straighten up a cabinet or put away plastics.  A lot of these things even a 2 year old can do.  The point is not that they can do it like you but that they "do it to the best of their ability".  YOU ARE TRAINING THEM.  When this child is 6 they will be able to not only do dining room alone but then THEY WILL TRAIN the new 4 year old or 2 year old.  One day you will wake up and realize you never trained your 6 year old to do laundry but that your 10 year old did because they are chore buddies.  You may also have to tell the 10 year old that even though the 6 year old can  do the laundry alone that that defeats the purpose of chore buddies and that they MUST still be present.  Just say'in.


    The bible says  in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 "... If any would not work, neither should he eat"
    So there is your answer.  No we do not pay our children to be a member of our family.  We are a team people and we function like one.  And furthermore, my children get hungry everyday, 3 times a day at least, and they are goooooooooood workers!  ;)


         So the "team leader" is the "sweet boss" (SB).  You keep your other workers in line and motivated and if the job is not done right it falls on you and you do the "biggest part" of the job.  So if you are the SB of the kitchen- you wash the dishes and give direction to your FF's on what else needs to be done.  If you get done with dishes then you help your FF's finish up.  Make sense?  
         The other workers are "faithful followers" (FF).  They are to work WITH the Sweet Boss, but ultimately they are your boss/manager and you need to follow under their leadership.  Everyone takes turns.  Young and old, boy or girl.  Everyone gets a chance to be the Sweet Boss.  Full "Sweet Boss" authority is given at about 7 in our house, although kitchen is a bog job to tackle and so as they are learning that one its usually lunch only.  Girls are SB's on even days and Boys on odd days.  If you are being a "mean boss" and not leading with grace and efficiency then Mom/Dad can demote you to a FF for the time/day... even if that means you are 14 and reporting to your 5 year old brother who was just promoted.  If either SB or FF are really wretched then Mom/Dad may send everyone but you out of the job and make you do it by yourself, and possibly even for an extended period of time.  Remember!!!  You need to be someone that others can work with both as a SB and a FF!!!

    UMMMmmmmmmm...... Where's Mom in all this?

         Right?!  I am where ever I need to be.  I really am at the point in my family where I not only have a lot of children but I have a lot of older, well trained, capable children.  So now things are more on the management level for me lol.  I do the things I need to get done.  If I had a baby I would prolly be sitting and nursing.  In the morning I get ready for the school day, pay bills, answer questions on my blog ;).  In the afternoon its usually the same;  what are we doing for the afternoon portion of our day?, doing something that's needed for HYPE, etc.  In the evening I help out where its need, do odds and ends, check my email, flip laundry, whatever.  It kind of just depends on what I need to get done and what the needs of the house hold are at that moment.

         We are in a VERY BUSY stage of life right now.  The great things about the system I have is that they don't need me to make it work.  I was gone for a week in CO last year and during that time.  Food was made, the house was cleaned, school was done.  Day in and day out everyone just did what they were supposed to do.  They don't need me here to make it work.  I was not in a panic the whole time either because I knew that they knew exactly what to do at home.  It may look like I am not doing much when you look at what my kids are doing but I am running the household and running the household around lol.


    1. If you don't have enough kids to buddy up on chores then you will need to decided if they work separately on one chore or together on many.  I have done it both ways.
    2. CROSS TRAIN THEM!!!  Do not just leave them on the same chores.  Thats why we rotate at least once a month on the main stuff.  Its just as important to be able to clean the bathroom as it is to do the dinner dishes.
    3. Don't overload the young ones.  This kind of goes with #2 a little.  My 7 year old can do lunch kitchen on his own or as a SB easily on most days but if I put him in their as anything other than a FF at dinner kitchen he would get frustrated and the job would take forever.  So, keep that in mind.
    4. My laundry person in the morning is just to get laundry going and to sort if there are any clean clothes waiting.  I remember laundry throughout the day and call on whoever is available to help flip/sort/put away.  We do about 3 loads a day. 
    5. What about when your 16 year old is the FF to the 7yr old SB?  Isn't that weird and just not right?  NOPE!  In life your children will have to report to all sorts of people, young and old, different ethnicity, male/female.  Having older children report to younger children keeps them humble ;) It gives the younger kids a chance to practice leadership skills and gives the older kids a chance to help encourage those skills.  When the 16 year old is reporting to the 7 year old in the dinning room and the 7 yr old is not sure what to do the 16 year could say "Would you like me to wipe off the chairs while you do the table?".  This helps the younger child with the organization of the chore and gives the older child an opportunity to respect the younger one as a person.