Primarily written by Adrienne, a homeschooling mother of seven, ages 10 and under. She chronicles life, laughs, struggles, and lessons learned as she raises a larger-than-most sized family and tries to figure out what she's doing day by day.

With occasional posts, Alexandra, Adrienne's older sister, writes of her ranch life in Nevada and raising four sons, ages 5 and under. Life is never dull and her boys have given her some pretty awesome stories to tell.

Stick around awhile, and you're sure to laugh, nod, smile, be encouraged, and see what life is like with a big (little) family.

4.17.2013

Things I wish I knew 10 years ago.

As we wrap up our school year, (Ours goes May-April. I don’t really know why. It’s just the way it started years ago and here we are.) life gets a little easier. With many subjects finished for the year, our school days are shorter and the weather outside is nicer. It makes for a cleaner house and more laundry. Who wants to fold laundry inside on a nice day?! Baskets litter the living room, and just when I get it all folded and put away there’s more to fold. Around and around we go.

Today: Things that make my life easier.

I sweep. The kids follow me with a little broom and dustpan and clean up the piles. The baby has less chance of crawling through them this way.

The kids all have laundry baskets with their names on them. Laundry is folded into them, and each big kid takes care of their own basket and their buddy’s basket.

The Buddy System: Liberty and Pierce are together, Eden and Charlotte, Sterling and Ruby have each other. After much deliberation, putting the two middles together works phenomenally well. They aren’t old enough to be responsible for a little one, but are old enough to take care of most things themselves. They keep each other in check.

The buddies help each other out. Charlotte needs to go potty? Eden helps with that. Pierce needs to be washed up? Liberty’s all over it. Sterling has a job he finds daunting? Ruby will pitch in. Buckling up in the van is so much faster when I can put them all in, close the door, and kids set to buckling seat belts for one another. It’s spread the extra workload I can’t do fairly evenly and strengthened the sibling relationships. Ask Charlie who her buddy is and she’ll pipe right up and tell you. The hollers from the bathroom when she needs wiping assistance is pretty hilarious. “EDEN! You. Are. My BUDDY! I need HELP!”

If you finish your job early, it’s beneficial to you to help someone else out. This lesson was long in coming, but they are finally getting it. Free time begins when everyone is finished. Help them, you get out sooner too.

The One Finger Rule: touch that item on the store shelves, go ahead. With ONE finger. Decide to straighten rearrange destroy the shelves with that one finger and your privilege was just revoked and your hands are now in Pocket Detention.

My keys are on a string. This helps me find them quickly in an overcrowded diaper bag. It also provides a leash. Any child who repeatedly has obedience issues must hold on to the string that dangles from my keys in my pocket. Letting go is not an option.

Time stamps. Kids are up by 7am. Breakfast must be finished and cleaned up by 8am. School starts at 8:30. Lunch is at noon, unless you have had a bad attitude and haven’t tried your best. Attitudes result in all school being finished before lunch. Supper is at 6pm. By setting times for certain non-negotiable moments in our day, we keep on task.

My list. It’s the “If nothing else happens today, these are the bare minimums necessary” list. School, food, at least one load of laundry washed and dried, and the house straightened. If these things happen, we’ve had a successful day. More is obviously great, helpful, and necessary to run the house, but we won’t fall apart and tomorrow won’t be an awful day of catch-up if we’ve done these things.

What things make your days easier? What rules do you have in your house?

6 comments:

Lanita said...

Wow, Adrienne, that is awesome. You have learned MUCH earlier than I did, how to get the children to pitch in and help and to have a plan for the day. It is great to have times that are unchangeable, so that everyone knows what to expect.

I am a scheduler now and LOVE it!

Anonymous said...

What rules do I have in my house? No biting and if the sheep or chickens come in,- chase them back out. Even Clay helps with this. :)

Adrienne F said...

Oh, that made me laugh. Given my current state of congestion, that was painful. But oh, so funny. :)

Adrienne F said...

I have much to learn yet, but I feel I've made a little bit of progress over the years. If you had handed these children to me 10 years ago, I'd have never been able to make it work. That's a funny thought, really. What I didn't know then!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, thanks. And you notice that I did not identify myself? And everyone that read that comment understands why! Ugh, feels like we are just a bunch of hillbilly's. The other day I could hear one of the boys yelling at something to "GET OUT"and hitting something with what sounded like an empty pop bottle. Turns out I was right. The something turned out to be a chicken that happened to be sitting on the kitchen table when I rounded the corner. The entire house was turned around though with all the circles that they made. I calmly opened the door again (even though the rest of the chickens could get in now, -that was his reasoning for closing it...) picked the chicken up, and threw it out the door. I then spent the rest of the day sterilizing every surface I thought had possibly had come into contact with the bird...
signed: yeah, no. I ain't ever putting my name on this comment either. :)

Adrienne F said...

I noticed. It's not nice to post such stories while I'm drinking coffee. The screen is hard to read through the spray.