It's been so long since I've actually typed a post that I'm at a loss for words...or maybe it's just I have too many words floating around my head. Things have been pretty busy so computer time has been limited.
For starters, we "officially" started school 2 weeks ago. The girls and I woke up Monday morning very excited about our "first day of school". We rushed around quickly so we could get started by 9 AM. I pulled out the folder with that day's activities and the new car box we had for Sammy. Everything was going smoothly - Sammy was entertained and the girls and I were having fun with our Alphabet board game (from Confessions of a Homeschooler). Doesn't Lydia look like she is having fun? :)
My perfect "plan" lasted about 2 minutes. After that, everything was a blur of chasing the dog to get Sammy's toys, picking up a few "presents" she left me...by that time Sammy was bored with his toys and the girls had decided to look inside the folder, which ended with it all on the floor. The second day, I was a little smarter - I put the dog in her kennel and gave Sammy a snack.
As you can see, Sammy decided to make it a science experiment to test how far he could fling his soggy muffin. Add to all of that a discouraging doctor's visit, leaving me wanting to cry for mama to come get me. There were many days that I rushed around like a mad woman cleaning, only to come in and find this...
...all of the summer and winter clothes in one big pile on the floor (though you can't help but notice the smiling boy in the midst of it all).
I knew that something needed to change. There had to be another way. The next week we didn't accomplish as much school as I wanted but focused instead on building some good habits that would help us and just tried to quiet my spirit so that I wasn't continually rushing - both mentally and physically - but never accomplishing anything. The things that we learned last week helped us to have a great beginning to our school week today. Not only is it helping me balance house-keeping and school but it is also helping me be more relaxed and have some blogging time. Here are a few of the things that we learned last week.
1) Sammy started mat time. What is mat time? For us, it is a blanket on the floor with a few toys/books. During the allotted time, he is not allowed off of the blanket. Last week it took a lot of discipline to get him to stay there and it was hard work, but it all paid off today as he sat at least 30 minutes quietly playing while I did school with the girls! I could go on and on about mat time. My girls are already very good at it. Since we don't have a nursery, it has taught them how to sit quietly in one spot during church.
2) The girls help with dishes right after meals. I wash, Lydia rinses and Anna dries and puts away. Sammy sometimes helps too by passing the dishes between Lydia and Anna. They are doing very well at it and I already don't know what to do without their help! Not only are they a big help, but they also LOVE helping and talked forever about how "we were friends and sisters". Before I tried to do it by myself "quickly" so that I would have time to spend with them, but it seemed like my time was always rushed. Now, we do it together in about the same amount of time (maybe quicker) AND have a fun time. This has been a HUGE blessing to me as we have started boiling even our water for washing dishes because of the continued parasite problem (it has been at least a year), making dishes an even bigger task.
3) I have learned that rushing around like a mad woman from one task to another does not help me accomplish more, it only makes me more stressed. SO, breathe in and out...I don't have to do it all. The funny thing is - things are more in order when I take it easy then when I go through the house like a whirlwind! I'm also trying to not go so much by the clock. It's not the end of the world if I am 10 minutes late getting to the dishes.
Well, the kids are all awake, Eric is coming home early today and we are having Yuri and Kristina over for supper tonight so I guess I better get moving - slowly of course. ;)