I get asked a lot of questions about motherhood and homeschooling (mostly on Instagram). I'm not going to pretend that I know it all, because I have so much to learn, but I have had some amazing women mentor me through this journey and I hope to be an encouragement to you all. I told everyone to ask me questions and I would answer them here, so these are all of the requests from Instagram. If you have any wisdom on any of these areas, please comment below. :)
Questions on Motherhood:
Q: I have to know how you keep your house so clean every day!!!
A: Well, that's a pretty easy answer- less toys! Each kiddo has a small basket of toys in their room and then we have a few baskets of toys in our basement beside the kiddo's play kitchen. I try to make cleaning up quick and easy for them, and the basket system works. I used to have a "correct basket" for each toy and I soon realized that it was too time consuming (and pointless) to have toys go in certain baskets. When it's clean up time, they throw everything in a basket and it's "out of sight, out of mind!"
Q: What do you do that is life-giving for you and helps you recharge?
A: For motherhood, I focus on what I want it to be like. What do I think glorifies God? Does having a bad attitude that views my kids as a burden glorify Him? No, I don't think it does. I have to refocus my mind, often. My favorite "hobby" for myself is sitting down with my coffee and looking through instagram (so sad, huh???). For homeschooling, I love reading the Wild & Free online magazine. It gives me ideas and helps me to focus on the quality of their learning.
Q: What is your daily rhythm like?
A: I get up by 6 and read my Bible (sometimes earlier, if I can) + drink my coffee. It is a quiet time and allows me to be ready to serve my kids. The kids come out of their rooms around 7 and we eat breakfast as we listen to soft music on pandora and diffuse oils. My kids leave the breakfast table and tidy their beds, brush their teeth, and get dressed. There is normally some time for play before school starts and, if at all possible, I send them outside. Once 8:30 hits, we are sitting and reading our book + the Bible... leading into a more structured school time.
Q: How do you discipline for complete obedience?
A: Uh... well, it all depends on the child, yes? One thing that I am consistent with is routine and rules. We have a pretty set routine, which keeps irritability at bay. I also don't give 1-2-3 warnings. I redirect once (ex. "What is our rule about jumping on the couch?") and if there isn't immediate obedience, we move to the next step- consequence. Even with consistency, there's still sinful natures and nothing works perfectly, but that's what I do.
Q:When do you do quiet time?
A: Quiet time happens after lunch. The younger two nap and the older two read and play quietly in their own spaces. This is a non-negotiable time for us. Again, it takes training and practice for this to happen. :)
Questions regarding Homeschooling:
Q: How do you juggle different ages and keep them from being bored?
A: They are bored sometimes. They just are. I have noticed that if I allow them to be bored, it usually segues into lots of creativity. Through my boredom, I birthed this blog and my instagram feed. My love for lifestyle photography came about. I have noticed the same with my kiddos. As far as juggling the ages, I'm still working on that. With school, I start from the child who needs the most assitance (youngest) and work my way up. Ella (8) can do about 1 hour of work completely independently. This allows me to help Guinnyth (4) and then Liam (6) and by then, I'm ready for Ella.
Q: What are some supplemental tips for a toddler in part time daycare school?
A: Cooking. Let your child help you in the kitchen. Work on motor skills- scooping, dumping, opening lids, cracking eggs, etc. Educate yourself on nature and then take your toddler outside and talk to him/her about it. They soak up so much and we want to create a love for learning, not stifle it.
A: I have found that doing a 1 week "behavior bootcamp" before beginning the year helps a lot! It gets them in the routine and allows me to deal with discipline issues prior to the learning season. Again, you must be consistent and it is exhausting, but it will pay off. When they are naughty, despite my attempts at directing them, we take time in our own rooms and refocus with quiet time. That rarely happens, but I feel that being with one another is a privilege and they should treat it as such.
Q: How do you keep the littles entertained?
A: I get this a lot and I have touched on it a few times. We have a coat closet that we turned into a school closet. It houses all of our games/manipulatives and that keeps them occupied. They also play in their rooms and I allow them 30 minutes of TV during school time. They have their own routine, as well, so that helps. It's also important to be realistic and know that you will be holding a little one during part of your school day. School isn't a "leave me alone, I'm teaching your older siblings" kind of situation. It takes discipline for you as well as them. :)
I hope that helped. There were more questions, but I tried to focus on those asked the most often. :) You can always follow along via instagram @thequickjourney.