I got a question about how to homeschool with many children. While I wrote a post here http://melissacalapp.blogspot.com/2010/04/homeschooling-many-children.html about it I thought I'd add a few things.
Everything has a season. We all know this. We know that when we are pregnant and the oldest children are still just becoming helpful everything is not going to be as smooth as we like. But some times this does not help when we are in the midst of it all, because we really want it to be smooth! When we find ourselves here I think we need to do two things, smooth out what we can and redefine smooth.
To make things smoother we need to go back to the management side of things. Set a calm schedule with extra time in it-delete some things from the schedule. Add those things in which are really important. Switch over to learning modes which allow the kids to learn independently most of the time. Train the most important aspects of behavior. Set up realistic chores systems and basic meal plans. Purge belongings in each room. And set up realistic help when possible. All of these are topics in their own right and perhaps I will get to them soon.
The second area is one I keep having to remind my husband and myself of-when we have a houseful of little ones the expectations can't be as high as they would otherwise be. It is okay if the house is not spotless and our son does not finish his logic program. It is okay to eat hot dogs for dinner. It is okay if all the little girls don't have bows in their hair and the boys are wearing mismatched socks. Of course these things aren't preferred but there are seasons and sometimes whole lives lived in less than ideal conditions and joy is still present, the gospel lived and service and love is still given. We have to realize that what makes life smooth and that what creates peace and joy and passes the greatest things possible on to our children is not always having every detail perfect, it is instead in our attitudes and the general atmospheres that we give off.
I'm not perfect at any of this, my kids aren't perfect, but we are growing and we do find delight in the process. Creating home centered families is worth the work and the less than ideal situations we find ourselves in.