Thursday, September 22, 2016

Overwhelmed Sometimes

Do you ever look around your house and think "Wow, how did it get so messy? What have we been doing all day?" I do pretty much every day and I get very stressed out about it. I am not at all a neat freak, but my husband totally is. If he had his way everything would be clean every day.

I have tried. I have tried chore lists, I have tried timers, I have tried everything but I just can't keep up with the house. By the time the kids go to bed at 830, I have to work. I work from home so I sit at the computer from about 830-1030 every night. How else am I going to get my 15 hours a week in? With homeschooling and being around the kids 24/7, there isn't any other time. So I use what I have. Sometimes I get 1 hour in the middle of the day where the kids go to quiet time. Sometimes they are quiet, sometimes they are not. So if I play all of my cards right and everything falls where it should I can get 3 hours a day so that I don't have to work on the weekends. Sometimes that doesn't work out.

So where oh where am I supposed to find the time to clean the house every day? I know ideally I need to get rid of more things. The less stuff I have, the less I have to clean. It seems like the kids keep producing more stuff. Constantly. Today I had a slight breaking point... We have 2 living rooms. One is designated as the School/Playroom. Yesterday was one of those rare days that the boys were playing so well together all day that I didn't want to interrupt them at all and left them to it. Throughout the day they destroyed the room. They cleaned it up 3 separate times and it was fairly clean. I have spent a lot of time in that room trying to devise the best plan for storage of everything and every toy has a home. In my eyes there is no reason any toys should not be put where they belong when cleaning up.

Here is where I reached my point. I walked into the room with grand plans of activities we were going to do for school, including a Revolutionary War reenactment including throwing cannon balls (snowballs) at each other. I walk in and I get completely deflated. There are toys all over the floor again and the table is a mess. They hadn't even been awake an hour yet and it looked trashed. So I pulled them both aside and told them I am setting the timer and they had 20 minutes to clean the mess up and put everything where it goes. Whatever is not picked up at the end of those 20 minutes goes into the trash.

This is where my 7 year old Z decides he needs to take charge. What I mean by that is he decided he needed to boss his little brother around and tell him to get to work. K didn't like that at all and decided he wouldn't do anything at all to help. With 3 minutes left on the time I gave them another warning. I also took K aside and told him I understand that he is upset about being bossed around, but if his items were not picked up by the time the timer went off, they would go in the trash.

Timer went off and there was surprisingly little on the floor. K lost 2 things and Z none...until I looked at the cabinet where all of the toys are stored. There were legos and other toys shoved in crevices and stacked on top of the bins they belonged in. I threw them all away. Everything that was not in its home. The kids screamed and cried and threw fits.

This is where my book Siblings Without Rivalry is helping me so far. I stepped back and explained that there is no reason I should spend all of my time and effort organizing their toys so they can find them if they aren't willing to at least put them where they go. K continued his fit, but Z said he needed to go upstairs to calm down. Surprisingly he came down with the ipad and a meditation ready to go. He asked if we can all do it together to calm down. This was definitely a proud mommy moment that what I have been working to teach him, to find a way to cope with his anger and frustrations, is actually working! We all did the meditation and felt better.  They still aren't getting the toys back though!

What things have happened lately at your home?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Been a Little Crazy Around Here

I know it has been awhile since I have written anything of substance, but after I decided to change my blog to focus more on my art I decided I wouldn't write anything. I have been feeling a pull lately that is urging me to get back into writing, one way or another, so I figured here is as good a place as any!

A lot has happened in the past year or so. I think my last blog post was about why I decided to homeschool. Well an update is that it is still working out. There are days where I want to kick and scream and threaten to send them to public school if they don't get their acts together, but then there are days like this where big brother is teaching little brother and they are playing and getting along great.
We hatched baby chicks for a lesson over last winter and we fell in love so we decided to keep them. Then 4 out of 5 ended up being roosters so we had to take them back to the farm. So then we had a lone chicken. Our farmer friend gave us 2 more chicks to give her friends. Then we decided to try hatching some more and we actually hatched quite a bit of chickens and then some quails for him. This last time was pretty rough because we got 20 eggs and only 1 hatched out of all of them. We are keeping her as long as she isn't a he! And we purchased 2 more babies so we can have the amount of eggs we need when they all start laying. This was an adventure I never thought I would embark on, but it has been fun and the boys are learning so much from it.

My oldest is in 2nd grade now and my youngest is pre-k. I was very nervous last year about if I was doing enough, if I covered enough topics, if if if.... The test was quickly approaching and I was scared. I was scared that he would fail and it would tear him up. I was scared he would fail and it would tear me up and we would have to quit homeschooling. Well, we survived. It was 64 pages of a test that he, as a first grader, mostly had to read himself. It was a trying week full of tears and frustrations for both of us. But when we got his scores back he passed with flying colors. I didn't realize how insufficient I felt until he passed the test and all of those feelings went away. I didn't feel like I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, and that I was somehow failing him. Luckily I was way wrong.

So this year we are taking a more relaxed and fun approach to school, especially since the little one is joining in. Some days we just have workbook pages, but others we don't have any. We are incorporating a nature study once a week and following a curriculum which is super easy to follow and not strict at all. Today we build a ping pong ball roller coaster out of straws. Unfortunately I did most of the work because I don't quite trust the kids with a glue gun, but it was fun, and they got to help decide how the track would be built and helped remedy any track problems we came across. All in all I think it was a good day.

We have been dealing with some behavior issues lately. The 2 big ones are talking back from the older one, and hitting from the little one. I checked out the book Siblings without Rivalry and so far I tried some of the tips today and they are working. I am also planning on binge watching Super Nanny! That is all for tonight. Thanks for reading!