Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pillar III For Home Education - Structure

I tried, really, really tried to get to that laundry yesterday, however, for several reasons known only to my dog, I only got one small load done!! 
BUT, the good news is that I am in Greeley with Steve and Keshawn for the next few days.  While Steve works during the day, I will work here at the hotel getting my new school year planned out.  
This is what Kalyn threatened to do if the children are not good for her while we are gone (poor darlin’s...I gave them a good ol’ Texas size talkin’ to!!). 
O.K., no more procrastination...
"How do we, as home makers and mothers get the house work done and the school work; how do we still give time to our little children and how can we organize their time so that we can home school the older ones; how do we meet the needs of our families and can we balance everything?”
I am now more convinced than ever that we must ask the right question.  So often I have struggled to balance every thing and I’m not even sure what that means except to may be be super woman in every area, EVERY DAY.  There is no “perfect” here.  There is real life though.
I think that the right question is “How can I minister to the needs of my family and others today?”  Now I know that this is broad, so lets look a little closer.  I have some guiding scriptures to help me with my mission as a woman, wife and mother. 
The Bible tells us that “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:10)  I like this...it makes me feel valued to know that the LORD has good work for me to do each day. 
I am encouraged to “see that I fulfill the ministry that I have received in the LORD.” (Col. 4:17)  I have a purpose - A MINISTRY from the LORD!
I have a call to bold endurance in my ministry - “For God gave me a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.” (IITim. 1:7)
And my favorite promise to my mother’s heart - “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.” (bold from me - II Cor. 9:10-12)
I have found and truly believe that we will “succeed” better if we look at our days and times as seasons, just as a farmer does.  And that is where the 3rd Home Education Pillar comes into play.  We must structure our work.  My structure will look different than yours, but we all need structure to reach the goal of sowing bountifully and reaping bountifully (II Cor. 9:6).
Now to some “hows”.  
For the little ones....O.K., well, when the LORD blessed us with 4 children all practically the same age, I lost my mind, ummm, structure.  Lately though, I have looked at some ideas from Montessori and used some of those idea (or asked family to buy certain things for birthdays and holidays).  I bought trays and will set up “stations” at the table, where I can watch them.  One tray may have magnets, another beads to string, or buttons to sort.  I have bought those veggies trays at dollar stores so that the children can sort things into different compartments.  Of course, play dough is always a favorite, as is painting (which depends on MY mood, not theirs!).  I want to start reading to them more than I have been.  I have never start “school” till the children where 7.  I just give them tons of enriching things around the house to play with...puzzles, Legos, Play Mobile, pretend play, etc.  However, this year, I am thinking of doing a pre-school curr. with the little 4 just so that I can structure some time with them. I’ll let you know what I find. 
Honestly, it has been hard with so many little ones.  And I must remember to “meet their needs” also.  This is not easy for me, as I get really “flustered” by all the interruptions.  However, it is those interruptions that I need to see as signs to stop and look and my child, hold them if needed, or listen.  An older friend said something I have never forgotten.  She said us younger mothers get way to worked up about “what to do” with our children.  She said she just did life with them under her feet and included them in what she was doing.  I have always been encouraged by that.  
A sanity saving structure that I adopted a long time ago, and it has not changed in years is this; we focus on home education from around 8 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  We then have lunch, and the little ones must lay down for “nap" at 1:30 or 2ish.  They don’t always nap, but they do know to stay in bed and be quiet till about 3 or 3:30.  That time is my “quiet” time and the other 5 know to respect that, or they have to lay down too.  The older ones (usually the high school age children) do some more of their school in the afternoon since their education requires more time now.  I keep lots of educational and fun games around and the children are alway pulling those out.  I call that “informal” education...not really planned, but I purposefully keep enriching and “educational” things around the house for the children to do.  
Well, this is long again, so I will post more on structure in the next day or two.  I hope this is helpful to some of you.  Please let me know if you have any thoughts or questions!


  1. Sounds very similar to what we do as well :)

  2. Wonderful to catch up on the blog! I always love reading about your family~ I wanted you to know my blog is going to private. If you would like to continue following. Please post your email in a comment on my last blog post. This way I can send you an invitation to follow. I have my comments set to be approved, so no one other then I will see your email. Blessings Catherine

  3. It's been a while since I've done any blog reading, but I always enjoy reading about your family. This post was especially interesting because we began homeschooling in January after bringing home our first daughter - I'm always looking for other families to learn from - thank you for sharing!

  4. Wow, great information Shonni.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Love the picture of Kaylin with the kids!!

  5. Structure ... one key to our family's happy dance. In all the change, of moving nations, adjustment ... structure enables our little guys to to know what lies ahead and leap into our arms to trust.

    Thanks for the reminder,

  6. I really appreciated reading this!! Thank-you for taking the time to post- it is encouraging, as so many of us are trying to "do it all".

  7. Thanks for sharing - definitely the juggling of everything is what I've found difficult with home schooling. Do you have any advice on how to implement a rest time when the kids are already over 4 years old?
    Have a lovely day

  8. I'm loving these posts! Thanks! As I first year homeschooler (and our first full week homeschooling), it has been helpful....really helpful! Thanks!

  9. What great info! It all makes my head spin, I will say! ha Looking forward to reading your upcoming posts!!!

  10. Shonni, I am enjoying these posts even though we don't homeschool anymore. We have another new addition at our house (a teen this time) and I have been adjusting to seven kids between 0 and 15 - loving it - but facing a few challenges at the same time. Where I read you just 'do life' with the little ones, it reminded me of something from years ago that I have slowly gotten away from, but needed that reminder to get back on track! God told me years ago that Lauren was to be my 'shadow'. She would be happy to sit for hours dangling beads and muttering to herself. I find it is so easy to let her slip away like that while I am busying around with other kids and laundry, dinner, etc. So, THANK YOU for reminding me to keep her by my side, doing life with me as my shadow :) xoxo


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