Friday, April 30, 2010

A Definite Ramble

My children and I have attended multiple Spring plays for my students. “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Cinderella-Musical,” and “Beauty and the Beast-Musical.” So in my records for all of these fabulous drama students I get to write about blocking, voice projection and improvisation. Hmm, improvisation-now that is totally a skill I use as a Mom. My little boy was rather, snotty, poopie and tooth pastie last night, which warranted a full on scrub down in the bath. This of course made him howl. I had to pull out my improvisation hat and since I had just been singing about not wanting to dig through the laundry mountain to find the above mentioned boy something to wear I was sure a musical diversion was in order. And out came a musical story, complete with actions, of me cutting down a tree only to sadden a squirrel who had lived there and then a poor mouse who moved into my house and shared cheese with me. It was a fabulous performance let me tell you, or at least it would have been if I knew how to sing, but anyway it did the job and cheered the poor bath afflicted boy right up. Yes, yes we must teach our daughters to properly care for their future homes, clean, cook, love them babies (you all should have seen my son trying to calm Amelia down while I made lunch, poor little man his eyes glazed into that somebody-come-rescue-me look) and how to improvise musical scores on the spot to divert their poor sad little ones.

On another note Aubrey gave us a musical performance for our extended family home evening last Sunday. She has memorized two songs from “Wicked,” and sang them beautifully. I was quite pleased with pleasure at listening to her. Why, I do believe she can actually sing. Who would have ever thought I would have musical offspring, of course none of it comes from me. Kamron was explaining majors and minors to me yesterday and then singing “I’m Going for a Ride In the Car,” in two different ways so that I would get it. Poor child, he actually thinks I understand what he’s talking about. He even still asks me for help with his piano homework-I’m afraid all I can do is stare blankly at him and offer to look it up on the internet.

On another other note I only had five kids with me two days ago (once that was a lot, but I’ve got big kids now so it’s a snap), so I decided to go grocery shopping. We drive through town and pull into a spot. Sethie (3) says, in his animated way, “Mom, you’re alive!” pause, “Good driving.”

Well, the laundry mountain is still there and I just found out I have a stack of paperwork to fill out, so Kamron can go camping at the air force base with his scout troop. Oh, and I have a notice sitting in my work email (4 learning records-late, ccd to my advisor), umm, I’m working on that. Double date tonight for date night with Kevin’s folks, town parade tomorrow, escrow loan papers to do (did I mention we’re in escrow?). Really, I am going to get my work done, at some point… or we could all just continue to dig for things to wear—who needs dressers after all?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Clutter Question

"When you are able, I would love some great advice on fitting a familyinto small spaces. The clutter is sometimes a little too much around here."

Let's see, my best advice is to get rid of everything you can, then keep everything in the garage that you are not using in the next three months. I put kids toys, clothes (including mine), school supplies, books-everything out there, so that I am not constantly running over a bunch of stuff that I am not using. Every three months go through your house and put the things you are done with or bored of in the garage and take out the things you need, this way toys/school supplies/clothes/even dishes feel like new. We only use half of the garage for storage and then we use the other half as living space, which we heat and cool. This gives us a little more room. My parents sealed our garage door when I was a kid and my three sisters and I shared the whole garage for about eight years-it adds a lot of space. Another idea is to use your back yard as much as possible. A shed could be used for storage, or a quiet space for play or study. Some times I am better at keeping on top of it than other times. I have three little boys in one room-the amount of stuff was getting out of hand, driving all of us crazy. So over the last two weeks I got rid of four garbage bags full of toys, clothes and garbage and then I put everything else in the garage except three winter outfits, five summer outfits, two church outfits, pajamas, each boys" small box of favorite toys, one small three drawer chest of toys, and one box under the bed of toys. They were thrilled! They can now get to their stuff that they want easily and their room appears so much bigger. Also if I have lots of things, like books or kids toys that I can see, they tend to drive me nuts. So I try to hide them as much as possible. Many of bookcases have doors, all my videos are behind doors etc. I hope that helps somewhat.


Just reading your post and wondering where you were able to find all of your tapes. Thanks"

I have over 100 sets of CD’s and tapes. I am a pretty big believer in their value. My older two children ages 9 and 11 pick the Your Story Hour CD’s most often these are usually historical stories from
a Christian perspective. They can be found here

We also have almost everything by Jim Weiss and love them all. Some of these are more appropriate for younger children and some older. His site is here .

He has also done the Story of the World, however this is not one my children pick by themselves, but they don’t mind listening to it if I put it on. It can be found at Rainbow Resource among other places.

My older children also love Jonathan Park, not me so much though. This is a creation science series and can be found here

We also have the Vision Forum History of the World, but I feel like it is more fluff and argument than history content, and was disappointed in it. We do have the movie making and entrepreneurs packs from them that my kids will probably listen to when they are older.

I also pull a lot of our content from Ambleside Online and this company has done several of the audio books recommended by them. My kids don’t typically grab these, except for the “Tales From Shakespeare,” because they love everything Shakespeare. I really appreciated the “Our Island Story” series.

I like the History Audio series by Diana Waring, but my kids think she talks too fast and won’t listen to her-maybe when they are older.

We’ve gotten some great literature on tape here We have the autobiography of Santa Claus, which my kids absolutely love and listen to year round, even though it is very long and follows Santa all through history as he meets historical people, such as Genghis Kahn and Da Vinci. I also loved “The Windboy,” and got along great with “The House Above the Trees.”

My younger children love Winnie the Pooh and AA Milne poems, and Alice in Wonderland. These can be found on Amazon.

I also like the kids to have a pretty good background in the original fairy tales and liked this one

I am LDS and my children and I find Scriptures Scouts and the All-Abouts indispensible, these can be found here

We also have all of the audio books from the distribution center-love the scriptures stories for kids.

Hide em in Your Heart is a series of scripture verse with explanations set to music. I got mine from

Beethoven’s Wig series is indispensible, and is at Amazon

The Classical Composers (Meet the Masters) life stories mixed with their music is also wonderful, but out of print, though it can still be found here .

For myself, I love The Teaching Company series, love, love , love these.

That should give you a starting place=).

Homeschooling Many Children

Question-How do you homeschool many children at the same time?

One thing that helps for us is after we had been going for a couple years I began to let the environment and rythms do much of the work.

For instance, instead of reading a geography text we stuck a world map under plastic on the table. Within two years my older kids could pretty much tell you where ever place in the world is and what it is next to. We have also stuck artwork under the table, I wrote about that here-

I have also trained all of the children to listen to tapes before bed and then I bought tons of History, scriptures, poetry, musician biographies, and works of literature on tapes and CDs. This morning I mentioned for the first time George Washington Carver, and got a huge explanation of who he was and what he did, not because I had taught it, but because they heard it on tape.

One of the rythms we have also that works well for us, is first thing in the morning I roll the kids out of bed and start reading to them--this morning it was the last chapter of "Gulliver's Travels," and then a chpater in "Story of the World," about Africa after World War II, which was followed by a discussion of racism, inequality, and then somehow how one should pick who they marry and what to look for, and then what kind of jobs can be done from home, so they can be their with their families as much as possible. This rythm of first reading and then letting any discussions come, allows a lot of learning to occur early in the day, since I work from home and need afternoons for that.

If I keep going I'll start rambling, so I will just stop and say. Homeschooling large families does work for the parent willing to deviate from the grade level paradigm, and there is a lot of satisfaction in it.