Home Schooling, Parenting

Tidy Time Madness!

It’s 3 o’clock.

School is done for the day, what a relief! There is only one problem….the only way we could get through our school day is by letting our gorgeous 3 year old get out any toy he liked!

Mess drives me crazy. I have learnt to live with it though. I don’t know that it is possible to keep a perfectly tidy house when you have 5 kids who are home all the time. I do know  that I am a much more happy, relaxed Mummy if things are tidy and organised though.

Often I can’t stand the mess and I will enforce the ‘one toy out at a time rule’. Other times it’s not worth the effort – I’d rather use the time to teach the other kids and let Dami get out whatever he likes. Once one toy is out he gets quite attached to it, but he wants more toys out as well. Today it was his Marble tower, so carefully made, but not yet ready to pack away even though he had finished playing with it. I tried packing it up and all I heard was “No! Not my Marble tower, Beth helped me make it!” His cars are out, along with his Octonauts toys. Add in there a couple of other toys, and it’s madness!

messy-playroom

I often tell all the kids, if all of them leave just 5 things lying around, that’s 25 things to tidy up. If they do that in a few rooms in the house, then that quickly becomes a messy house.

Even though my house doesn’t seem to stay tidy for long, I have a few tricks up my sleeve for getting people to tidy fast.

In case my tricks will help anyone else then here you go…

  1. NUMBER PICK UP – I pick a number generally between 15  -30 (depending on how much time we have or how messy the place is) and I tell the kids – in a very enthusiastic voice – “Right! Everyone pick up 20 things and put them in their correct place…on your marks, get set, GO!” Everyone (including me) rushes around to see who can make the target number first. As we are running around we often yell out what number we are on. No one argues about whose things they are tidying up because it doesn’t matter. This doesn’t get the place completely tidy but it does make a huge difference.
  2. CATEGORY COLLECT – This one takes a little longer but makes tidying fun for the little ones. As quickly as they can they need to tidy up toys that fit in a particular category…”Pick up all the red/orange/hard/soft/round/little/big toys”. Keep changing categories until all or most of the toys are picked up.
  3. LOADER SCOOP – My younger kids are always the ones who need some encouragement to tidy. Left to their own devices they would get nothing done. This game gives them an easy job. They are the loader and they need to scoop up all the toys and place them in the middle of the room. The older kids then put the pile into categories to make it easier to put them away. Some kids can sort and others can put away. It does save time when tidying so you aren’t going back and forth to the same toy box each time you find yet another toy that belongs there.

These games don’t just include tidying up toys. Anything that is not in its proper home is included in the game.

 

Anyone have any other ideas for keeping a tidy house? Please share your ideas with me and help me to keep a tidy house ! 🙂

 

Australian Curriculum, Family, Health, Home Schooling, Parenting, Uncategorized

The Perfect Homeschool? – or Not!

planning-shelf

It’s planning time again! It feels like only yesterday that I was planning for 2016, and here I am again thinking about what books I need to buy for next year. I was thinking the other day, for the first time since I started homeschooling 10 years ago I am not excited for the next school year. Planning and organising is my passion, so why no enthusiasm?

It took me a while to work it out, but I think it is because I feel that this year was a total flop. So many curriculums which I planned on using, just didn’t happen. Life threw me a curve ball. Term one was three broken bones in the family. Then term 2 we began our huge detox as a family.

Little did I know back then that we would go into survival mode.

Little did I know that Jay would spend most of his days unable to move off the couch. His detox was so debilitating that school was not a priority….his healing was our focus. So one by one, each subject got put completely on the back burner. Our daily plan become this;

Having a good day? Then get as much school work done as you can.

Having an average day? Then do maths and english.

Having a bad day? Then do your easy online subjects (religion, geography) and your textbooks which you can just read (science, history) –  we ditched anything that involved writing for these subjects.

Having a terrible day? Watch documentaries, listen to audio books, rest and relax. Just try to get outside for a small walk and some vitamin D. Even if you have to crawl out there….just get yourself outside.

 

img_2055
Soaking up some vitamin D, and some brotherly love.

I was so worried when it was time for our moderator to come (in Western Australia we have a person come out from the Education department to see how our homeschooling is going). Jay said to me, “Mum, I have nothing to put in my portfolio!” After having a little panic, I realised that although we had no concrete proof of learning, I know that he has still been learning and expanding his mind.

I decided to look at each individual subject and list every book that he has read. We also noted down all the tests he has had and what he learnt from them (DNA tests, bacteria tests). He has also learnt a huge amount about the body and how it functions. He is even now thinking when he finished school he would like to be a chiropractor and functional doctor.

So this year was not a waste. His portfolio still looked great, even though it was very different to each of his past 8 years portfolios.

So while I sit here sifting through curriculums, talking to the kids about what their interests are for next year, and thinking about what worked and didn’t work this year, I have to keep in mind that you never know what another year will bring. What challenges will you face? How will your goals and plans change? As I have done for the last ten years, I will search for curriculum that meet the needs of my kids but I will be prepared to change whatever I must as life always takes us in directions which we cannot control.

path-down-bluff-knoll
The path is long….and hard

What never changes though is the fact that God is by our side. With the help of Mary our mother, the angels and saints we will continue to strive to do our best and even though we fail many times we pick ourselves up and keep trying. Will we ever have the perfect homeschool? No, but we will continue to do our best and that is what we are expected to do.

bluff-knoll
My biggest achievement this year, climbing Bluff Knoll

 

Catholic, Family, Health, Home Schooling, Parenting, Uncategorized

Be grateful, pray and give thanks

Life has been pretty hectic lately. Blogging has certainly had to take a back-seat. It’s a pity really because the whole reason for starting a blog in the first place was to have as a keepsake the things that we do in our home-school.

Lately, all I have managed is cooking for our very strict diet, and getting small amounts of school done. I have even been quiet on the Instagram front too. Jay’s health has taken a turn for the worse. Even though it is entirely ‘normal’ when going through a detox program such as this, it doesn’t make it any easier.

As toxins leave the body they initially make you feel a lot worse. This is difficult because you are putting so much work into trying to heal the body and all you feel like you are doing is making things worse!

As we peel back the layers of Jay’s problems I feel we are gradually getting towards finding out what is going on in his body. His ileocecal valve is not shutting and it looks like it suffered some trauma from having his appendix out 4 years ago. Other problems are surfacing too, but at least this gives us an idea as to what we can do to help him heal.

I want to begin blogging more again. I will be trying to document what we are doing for school. Jay isn’t managing much school work. His work load depends on how he is feeling each day. On a good day he focuses on getting some maths and english done. If he is able to do more, he reads his textbooks for history and science. He also has the option of religion and geography which are online courses. When unwell he spends lots of time on the couch listening to audio books and reading. He also watches documentaries. I have faith that he will catch up and I am so grateful that we homeschool and we can adapt his school as we need to each day.

So I won’t bore you with any more ‘health talk’. I will be posting more about what’s happening around our home. And I will be focussing on all our achievements of the week (even if very small). When things are difficult I believe the only way to survive is to celebrate the success and be grateful for the little things. Be grateful, pray and give thanks!

Thess quote

Family, Parenting, Uncategorized

Tree Acrobatics

Just when you think that you can’t possible have another injury in the house….along comes another one!

Zac broken shoulder
Zac is looking very serious here. We also had to cut his favourite top to be able to see the injury better.

It was Wednesday, early evening. I was cooking dinner and Paul was practising the piano ready to go and play at a Church service. Zac and Dami were both playing beautifully on the back lawn and I was enjoying watching them as I cooked. I was thinking how beautiful it was to watch my 7 and 2 year olds playing so nicely together.

The phone rang and I went down to my room to be able to talk (otherwise I wouldn’t hear anything over the sound of the piano). A little while later I heard a commotion at the back door, Beth was calling, “It’s an emergency! Zac has fallen out of the tree!” I quickly got off the phone went to see what had happened. Paul was already there and Zac was lying on the grass crying in a lot of pain. After questioning the kids we found out that Zac had been trying to jump from the top of the climbing frame to a tree branch where he grabbed on with both hands and then swung like a monkey. This worked the first few times, but the last time he tried he slipped and fell to the ground.

After working out that his only pain was his shoulder, we moved him inside. I could see he was in a lot of pain so I thought it best to take him to the hospital. After getting an x-ray it was evident that he had broken his shoulder – his humorous bone. He now has to wear a special sling for six weeks. Unfortunately he is right handed so school will be tricky now for a while.

So who would have guessed that we could have three fractures in the house at once? I feel like I am running an orthopaedic ward! Friends have suggested to wrap the kids in bubble wrap! I think that sounds like a good idea.

 

Parenting, Uncategorized

Summer Break

 

Well the holidays are over (sigh) and school must begin 😦  It was a wonderful break for the kids though, they did some wonderful things and really enjoyed their well-earned break.

Here is just a snap shot of some things that they did….1

 

From left to right:

  1. The school term ended with a lovely show-and-tell at a friends house.
  2. We also celebrated Dom’s 12th birthday with a yummy breakfast.
  3. After the birthday breakfast we headed to the beach.
  4. Paul played Christmas carols on the guitar with the two big boys and Beth played violin. It was lovely to hear such beautiful music.
  5. Jay and Dom went to their Grandma’s and Poppy’s for a sleep over. Poppy took them go carting – they had a ball!
  6. Part of the kids Christmas present was tickets to the tennis – the Hopman Cup! They were very excited to see Lleyton Hewitt and Serena Williams play!

 

2

  1. We enjoyed another trip to the beach with friends (and also a trip to Point Walter – one of my favourite places – with more friends).
  2. I took Zac to the shop for a bit of Mummy-and-me time. We looked at the lego display and had an ice-cream!
  3. Zac also received a ticket to go and see ‘Deadly 60’ the stage show with his cousin. He was so excited to see Steve Backshall in person. In fact, when he was given the ticket on Christmas day he was so happy that he cried!
  4. 5. & 6. We enjoyed a family outing to Ten Pin Bowling, then a picnic dinner at the river with a full moon in view. It was beautiful.
  5. For Australia day we had yummy pikelets (very Australian) for breakfast. I then took the kids to the local tennis courts for a hit. Whilst having a hit with Zac I had a very bad fall, but was so embarrassed that I got up and kept playing. Once I got home I realised how sore I was. I drove myself to the Emergency Department because Paul and I thought I might have broken my wrist. Thankfully, I had not broken it but my graze and bruise has been very impressive! See UPDATE here.
  6. For a lot of the holidays the kids have enjoyed playing games. Their new game Dominion has been played a lot and enjoyed by all.

Other activities that they have enjoyed are; playing tennis on the driveway, reading, watching the Australian Open on tv, a few movies, time with the cousins and Beth and Zac always squeeze in some craft in their spare time.

They even admitted to me that they were looking forward to starting school! I’ll ask them again in a few days and see if they feel the same way!! I bet they will be wishing they were back on holidays again 🙂

 

 

Parenting

My Baby is Growing Up

His first night in a big bed.

dami sleeping

 

He didn’t get out once! So far so good. Our little trick for keeping kids from getting in and out of a bed….

  • Don’t let them play on their bed – it is only for sleeping!
  • Tell them that they only get in and out of the bed when you are there.
  • Practise with them calling you when they wake up. We did this a few times last night.
  • This morning when he woke up I waited outside his door and then told him to call me. I went into his room and got him out of bed, rather than telling him to get out himself.

 

This has worked with all the kids so far and we have never had any trouble with them getting in and out of bed. Once I put them to bed at night I only want to do it once….not over and over again!