Wednesday, September 03, 2008

WFMW: Homeschool help!

So as my previous post explained, we just started back to school this week.  I have four children, ages 7 (2nd grade), 5 (K), 3, (pre-K), and 1.  

I know homeschooling moms are supposed to have it all together- breastfeeding babies while simultaneously teaching trig to high schoolers, growing a garden and canning the surplus produce for the days ahead, keeping tidy houses with cheerful front porches complete with clean white rocking chairs and freshly planted seasonal flowers, baking fresh bread, drilling spelling bee champs and math wizards all the while sewing pretty dresses with matching hair ribbons for the daughters they are training to one day do all this themselves in their own homes.  But not this momma.

Here's my dilemma:  How do I manage homeschooling two children, doing preschool with one more and occupying an almost toddler?  My school-age children still need me to do most of the instructing one-on-one.  (We haven't reached the, 'here's your grammar work book- go at it' stage.)  Today we got through math, and most of language arts before lunch.  My oldest still has some reading and writing to do this afternoon during quiet time.  

Sounds good, right?  But I didn't do any science, and can't even dream about how to fit in any preschool stuff for my three year old.  She sat at the table and colored for a few minutes and sorted counting pigs for fun, but no shapes, colors, letters, or instruction of that sort going on.

And then there's basic things like vacuuming the floors and keeping the bathrooms mold-free.  Our family understandably appreciates semi-clean toilets and sinks.   

I'm not overwhelmed- the  grace of God and constant cheering from my husband have sustained my joy and I'm so thankful for that!  I'm just wondering if there is some wise counsel from other moms who have been here or who are here.

So, please help!  In my previous post, I asked for other moms to share their schedules, and  I'll still do a separate post on that.  But for now, please, please, would you share any suggestions and practical advice on how to juggle all this and effectively teach my kids everything they need to know?  Thanks!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Time for school

Today was our first day of school here at the Ellison house, and I'm excited about the upcoming school year.  This year will be a transitional year for me- I have a baby (who won't be a baby for much longer!) and will be formally homeschooling two children- Josh in Kindergarten and Carter is 2nd grade.  And of course, Sophie will be here doing preschool.

Needless to say, we will be busy and I do not feel fully equipped to juggle all of this... so I'm asking for a little help from my friends.   I would love for some of you to write about your daily schedule and how you manage your homes from day to day.  I know not all of my friends homeschool and not all of them are stay at home moms, but I think we could each really learn from each other and be encouraged at the same time.

Now, this is not supposed to be a venue to impress each other- I'm not looking for perfected, rigid schedules.  Actually, it would be especially helpful if we could share some things that don't work in our schedules.   

Just like with the quiet time post, I'm hoping there will be a good bit of variety.  So how about it?  Who wants to go first?  Post a comment or email me (if the comment section would be inadequate- my email address is in my profile) and let me know how things work around your house!

Here' s what I'm looking for:
How many children?  Ages?
School aged?
If no, how do you manage your day with preschoolers? (this was an enormous challenge for me!)
Do you homeschool?
If no, give me how your morning routine flows in getting everyone dressed/fed/out the door, and evening routine for dinner/homework/baths/bedtime
If yes, grade levels of children and how you multi-task/teach multiple grade levels?  And what about those preschoolers???

State of confusion

I'm a bit confused about what to think about Sarah Palin's nomination for VP.  I think her position on key issues is right on.  I admire her courage to stand up for what is right, even when her own political party becomes her foe in a particular situation.  I think her character, by all outward signs, is strong and virtuous.  Politically speaking, I think her candidacy is right on.  I'm sure our family will be casting our vote for the McCain/Palin ticket.

So here's my dilemna:  What about her kids?  Sarah Palin is strongly pro-life, which for me is a deal-breaker (if a candidate is not pro-life I cannot vote for them... this belief is a cornerstone belief of our culture and society).  In order to faithfully fulfill the commitment involved in being a Vice-President (or possibly the President, although very unlikely), she will have to essentially give up raising her children.  This seems a bit contradictory.  Yes, her husband can step in.  So can other supportive family members.  But those children only have one mother.  Will they be grateful to give up their mother to 'the cause'?  

Others have written about Palin being equated with Deborah of the Old Testament.  This seems quite out of context.  I've also read warm thoughts about the Kennedy children playing under their Daddy's desk in the Oval Office.  But he was a dad, not a mother, and the roles are very different.  

Am I holding Sarah Palin up to my own convictions instead of allowing her to live out her own life under God?  
Am I wrong to see the contradiction in being pro-life and then leaving your children for a high-profile job that will require your heart and soul to accomplish?
Am I being a bit melodramatic to equate her taking this position with 'giving up raising her children'?

What do you think?  Set me straight.