Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Keeping Track of Chores and Rewards

Yesterday I started a series on "How I Do It"... in response to people's insatiable curiosity about, well, how I do it! So if you are not a regular reader, go here to read my first installment.

One thing I am not good at is remembering when I assigned a job, if it was done, if it needed to be done again, if someone needed to have another job since they didn't do the first one well, etc. I still can't remember much of it, but I have finally figured out an easy reward / discipline system I thought I would pass on.

We were given a bunch of "Tickets" that the church was getting rid of. You could buy those rolls of tickets, or just cut up paper, whichever works best for you. At the beginning of the week, each child gets 10 tickets. I write their initial on the back of it. If they do not do a job I have asked them to do, they hand me a ticket. I cross out the initial so it can be used again.

Each ticket is worth $.25. Or they can trade some for extra computer time. Or staying up late. Or extra toppings on ice cream sundae night. (I even said that 100 tickets can be turned in for a day off school.)

If they do after meal chores exceptionally quickly the whole family earns an extra ticket each. If they go exceptionally slowly they all lose one. Set a successful mousetrap? Ticket. Change a poopy diaper? Ticket.

This is an easy way for us all to keep track of things. They keep their tickets, and I am no longer responsible for remembering everything. Which is a win win situation all around. They way outnumber me, you know.

It's something that Works for Me!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Reality Check

Another Funny... I was just correcting school for Emma (Grade 2) , and came across this letter (written exactly as she wrote it) to some missionary friends we write to every month.

Dear Mr. Mrs. _____________ . Haw are you? I ame Good I ame riting Fast cus I want to be don whith school Frome emma Joy


Lest I actually feel like I am doing a good job or something.

A little humor to brighten the day...

I've been relatively serious lately, so here are a few funnies which happened recently:

Me: Phew, Nate. Your hair smells like a sweaty boy. You need a bath.
Nate: Does your hair smell like a sweaty boy?
Me: Nope. I took a shower. My hair smells pretty. Smell it.
Nate: It smells like DEAD FISH.


Emma: I'm playing the song Om-pa-pa for my piano this week.
Sara: I'm playing Om-ma-ma!


And no- these are not my children, nor do they play them on the web, but it's a pretty funny homeschool song. Just so we don't take ourselves too seriously. [Editor's note: I am pulling the video link since it is not working...]

Monday, November 24, 2008

Well, Here we are...

I finally did it. I have been trying to move over to my own website (and am slowly moving my entries from homeschoolblogger over here...), but have finally gotten my own domain registered and working. Thanks bunches to my brother for all his working with my ineptitude. Feel free to subscribe to the feed... it won't be long before I am here permanently.

Not only are we moving around on the web, we are moving around in my house also. See, when we moved here, we had 6 children ages 11 to 8 months. They were pretty small. Fast forward four years, and I have 9 children ages 15 (almost 16) to 4 months. There are more of them, they are bigger, and they are noisier. I have never been able to handle the noise very well. (Ironic God gave me 9 children and sensitive ears, isn't it?!) They also stay up later, so I have people around me from the minute I wake up in the morning until the minute I go to sleep at night. We were needing some serious re-visiting of where everyone is in the house. For the sake of my sanity, you know. Those in patient treatment facilities are way out of the budget.

Sometimes it just works that you need to re-think the flow of your day, and how you are going to run everything. Where will everyone be? Will there be traffic jams? Can you anticipate trouble areas? Thinking fresh sometimes finds a solution you didn't see before.

Anyone who knows me at all knows I LOVE to move around furniture. Every few months I get this gleam in my eye, and anyone who can be found is trapped into hauling furniture from one place to another. They all roll their eyes and humor me. For I AM my mother's daughter after all. She does the same thing. I come by it honestly.

Eric always lets the boys know that they are getting plenty of practice for when they are married, and their wives ask them to do this very same thing. He also spends much time reminding them that many times their wives will ask them to do things which don't make sense, but men just do them so they can love their wives. He begs Angela to remember this when SHE is married and wanting a change of living room arrangement. She smiles while rubbing her shoulder muscles. The boys groan when I ask for things to be moved in yet another arrangement. I pretend not to hear a bit of it since I am mentally trying to figure out how to get our current furniture to work better in a room which still has the same awkward dimensions.

I was in desperate need of figuring out new places for everyone. I have 5 independent scholars, a kindergartner, and the three and under crowd. (Three of them.) Having them all in the same area was just too chaotic. So we rearranged. Now the three girls are in the rooms upstairs, each in their own spaces so they don't bother each other. The two boys are each in their rooms. The kindergartner is at the table with me, and I am able to work on keeping the three and under crown under control, which is not as easy as it sounds.

This has really helped the last two weeks. I have not felt I am ready to lose my mind even once recently. So here's my take home tidbit for you... find a place for everyone. Train them to STAY THERE! Train them to work without you watching them every minute of the day.

Keep posted this week... this post is one of at least 3 "How do you do it?" I posts I am planning for the next few days. Upcoming topics will include Children and Chores, and Keeping Track of It All...

I often get asked how I "Do It All". Anyone who knows me in real life knows I don't even TRY to "Do It All", and much of what I DO try fails miserably. And what works in MY family won't necessarily work in yours. So rather than specifics, I hope to share principles which will help you.

1) Everyone have a place...
2) Everyone stay there unless called by Mama.

Let me know if this works for you! I'd love to hear from you either via e-mail OR comments! Happy planning!