Plans? What Plans?

My plan for the day involved a movie, a sparkling clean house, and  newly canned tomato soup lining my cabinets. My reality for the day was runny noses, a not-so-clean house, canning jars stacked neatly in a closet for future use, and children sprawled about the living room.

We had intended to go to the movies to see Mr. Peabody and Sherman this morning, but the kids were somewhat snarfly and sleepy, so we had an at home day instead.  A  friend dropped off 100 canning jars, as was planned. I had great intentions of canning some soup today. However, reality struck again. I realized:  if I want to can, I need lids. To get lids, I must load 4  under the weather children into the car, and do several other errands since I am in town anyway. Thus, the large pot of tomato soup is becoming gulosh for the week. The kids love gulosh, and we could use the vitamin C.

My Mom (who lives with us) and Em (my teen) are both gone for the week. We miss them. It took me a minute to adjust to having less pairs of hands around. I had gotten used to my Mom spending time with the baby every morning and Em helping the girls brush and braid their hair. On the other hand,  It has been nice having time with just the little people, particularly in the evenings. I am getting less “done”, but maybe my time is better spent.

 We’ve been re-watching the kid’s favorite episodes of Dr. Who. We have been working with Annie on her potty training. Learning to milk goats. Trying to be more available for family and friends.  Worked on transitioning back into reasonable bedtime routines. I have been supervising the bedroom clean ups while I read to the kids from “The Silver Chair”. Not what was planned, but sweet, savory moments to remember.

…And I just remembered I was supposed to be at a baby shower tonight. It was planned. One of those errands was Target. But there is a small puddle on the floor and a bare bottomed child running around, a neighbor on her way over for a visit, so I guess we’ll do sweet reality instead and bring a gift to church Sunday.



Underhill Academy Fall 2014

It’s that time again. Time to plan another school year. Fall semester starts August 18th and will run until the week of Christmas.

Our day starts early. Every child is expected down for breakfast ready for the day, in proper clothing, with beds made, and animals cared for. Maggie will help me with the milking.

At 9am we have a  morning meeting. Students will be assigned a  verse to copy out in their neatest handwriting.  We will recite a weekly catechism question and work on a weekly psalm. I then read to the children  from the Bible (Prophets- Luke) and from our History book (Story of the World- Greeks). We are also researching subjects from various Dr. Who episodes appropriate to the time periods we are discussing. 

Emily will head to the computer for Math as she is using Teaching Textbooks: Algebra 1. Everyone else will  look at the calendar, sing some songs, and cover math concepts from the Saxon 1 curriculum (like skip counting and memorizing math facts), as well as a story a day from Life of Fred.

Younger children  will also work with me  on science/ cooking/geography. This fall we will be doing a Unit study on the Microscopic world two days a week, and working with various forms of measurement one day a week, and working on Geography and map skills one day a week.

During this time, older children work independently on language arts. We are using a computer program that helps them progress through core standards as they develop competency.

All children are sent outside  with their nature journals before lunch.

Older children break from math/language arts to work with me on reading aloud from the Webster’s Speller and spend a little bit of time on Latin vocabulary (Latin’s Not so Tough Level 1). Em is choosing to work on Spanish this year (Mango Languages through the library).  Older children will  spend a total of two hours  spent logged into Math and Language Arts subjects areas per day, and may continue working until the proper time is logged.  There will be weekly writing assignments graded according to a  rubric.

Younger children will  read to me from their phonics readers and spend some time answering reading comprehension questions.

Everyone is to spend 30 minutes- 1 hour daily reading or looking at books of their choosing.

Children will all spend the late afternoon participating in household chores and meal preparation

Nightly bedtime reading will include : The Silver Chair, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Stories from Shakespeare, Stories from Dickens, White Fang, Heidi, and stories of famous Americans from the Childcraft books.

On Fridays, we attend Creative Kids Co-op. Emily will be going early for a weekly science class with reading assignments and homework to be completed through the week. One of Gracie’s classes for the fall will be “the Human Body”. All the kids will have Art and PE.

Em will continue with weekly art lessons and Gracie with piano lessons.

How a Mom Washes Dishes…

Fill sink with hot soapy water.

Teen asks for batteries for the wii remote. The fact that there are none is apparently the last straw to a hot and bothersome day. Spend several minutes trying to offer perspective. Give up and return to dishes

Wash two plates. Notice baby emerge from storage room with a half eaten apple in one hand and a half eaten potato in the other. Follow baby baby back to storage room. Notice the rest of the potatoes, apples, and all the clean wash on the floor. “Help” baby clean up the mess. Get her involved in another activity in a room where it is hoped some older siblings will help watch.

Wash two more plates. Notice children wrestling in living room. Send baby in to Daddy and the rest outside to play until dishes are done.

Begin, once again to wash dishes.

“There’s a cat with a mayonnaise jar stuck on its head and we can’t get it off.”

Go outside for a half hour and look for the cat that is now terrified and hiding from helpful children. Vow to return to look for the cat after the kids go to bed.

See that the water in the sink has gotten cold. Refill sink with hot soapy water. Hear the baby scream. Find her dangling from the bathroom sink, and notice she is poopy. Change the baby. Wash hands. Return to dishes.

Repeat however many times it takes to get the dishes done 🙂


Not What I Ordered… Dreams of Plumbers and Lollipops

“I DON’T WANT THAT!!”, my toddler shakes her head emphatically at her supper. We laugh.

My teenager has a similar response to a limit that I feel, as a responsible parent, I must set. It doesn’t seem as cute coming from her, but I recognize the sentiment.

I didn’t want kids to be sick this week…we had plans. I didn’t want to wake up early after being up all night with a sick baby, but that’s life.

I didn’t want to be without hot water for several days, waiting for a plumber and electrician to fit us into their schedule. We had company and I would have liked to impress with my clean children and house.

I didn’t want for us have to pay for a new chimney liner when we were saving for a kitchen remodel.

I didn’t want to hear any feedback from my husband about what he would have done differently after I’d spent a day organizing our oft neglected bedroom.

I, like my toddler, prefer lollipops and ice cream. I want the sweet parts and whine when I get what is necessary. My struggles are not nearly as difficult as what some of my loved ones are dealing with right now. Yet, the same truth speaks to us all:

There is more to life then what we can immediately see.  In our death, and in all our little deaths, we live. We are being conformed to the image of the Perfect Man .We take on new resurrection life. And when Christ, who is our life appears, we will be with Him, and know Him, and be like Him.

And then, we won’t care if it was green beans or lollipops. Newly laminated kitchen floor will seem a trifle, and plumbers just a silly dream we had before we woke.

The Book of the Lost

The Book of The Lost


Chapter 1 Aoide

The children of Cain were dying.


It was a mild summer night and  Aoide stood off from the rest of the women attending the birth. She held a stillborn babe in her arms. As an apprentice,she cleaned the baby while her aunt attended the mother. The daub and wattle fishing hut filled with pungent smoke from the herbs Rhea, the midwife, used to ease birth pains. It was hot, stiflingly so, and loud.  Older women cried out as they surrounded the distressed mother. Rhea tried to quiet them so that she could finish her work. The afterbirth still needed to be delivered, but the mother was weakened by a long labor, broken by the death of another child.

Aoide gently wiped the green fluid from the baby’s face. She wasn’t sad, exactly. Stillbirth was a fact of life since the Days of Blood. She did feel sorry for Jatem. It was her fifth child born dead.  This child had gills on the side of his neck, but apparently no way to breathe outside the womb. It uttered a single pitiful mewling as the cord was cut, then remained silent forever. Aoide crooned a sorrowful tune as she worked on preparing the body for burial.


Her song beckoned Kroba, the empath. Soon he appeared at the door. His scaly body glistened a like a sapphire studded robe.  Kroba was Kn’keth, a native of Mashu’s seas. He moved on two flipper like legs: slowly, painfully. Aoide knew that time on land took a great toll on her friend, as would the emotional intensity of the unfolding scene, but the call had been instinctive.


Kroba approached Aoide, enveloping her in a quick embrace, and brushed the baby’s cheek with a webbed hand.  He paused to lean over her and whisper, “We need to talk later, dear one.”Then he silently approached the keening women. He reached for Jatem, beginning the deep melodic groans of some Knketh song of mourning. Jatem’s body sagged, her loud crying ceased.  A sweet peace fell on everyone in the room. Some of the women, still wary of native ways, gathered their things and left. Old Rhea, the village healer, remained.


The normally gruff woman looked up, with tears in her own eyes. “Thank You”. Kroba nodded, then shuffled out of the room. The afterbirth had been delivered. Rhea led Jatem to a simple pallet and began cleaning her up.


Aoide finished her work, laying the infant in a small boat of waxy sea grass. She had fashioned it in preparation of the birth. Tomorrow Jatem would give her child’s body to the Sea, and pray that his soul would find the keeping of the Shepherd of Souls. The tawny girl left the baby and his funeral craft with one of Jatem’s relatives.


She slipped quietly out into the night, gathering up her ragged woolen skirt so that she could walk quickly. Aoide carefully picked her way through a shell garden between the huts, trying not to cut her bare feet, and went to find Kroba.


A fish salt breeze was the first thing to greet her. Aoide followed the rush lined path between the homes, taking her time now and enjoying the feel of the cool sand beneath her heels.  Nets were carefully stretched over wicker fences. The village at night was an obstacle course of fishing paraphernalia. Gossiping women leaned over fences as they carefully inspected  and repaired the nets. In the commons, sweaty men teased each other as they prepared an evening meal of the day’s catch. No one danced now. Music had been buried in the graves of a thousand dead infants.


The smell of the cooking fish reminded Aoide that she’d not eaten since noon meal.  Aoide reached into a pouch strung to her side and pulled out another staple of the village diet: some dried, seasoned seaweed.


The girl chewed thoughtfully. She wondered briefly at her own birth. Her parents had left her in the small seaside village before she had been old enough to ask.  Did they rejoice to give birth to a live child? Even then, it was a rare thing. She only vaguely remembered her mother’s long, dark hair and her father’s scratchy beard. Her throat began to tighten, but she forced herself to relax. They had a good reason. The Resistance is important. I am here, and I am safe, Rhea teaches me the healing craft and I have a good friend in Kroba. It is enough.

She swallowed the lump in her throat and threw back her head to catch the breeze.


Through the darkness, Aoide could sense that her friend was in the water near the dock. She unfastened her leather belt and pouch, carefully setting them on a pier. Quickly then, she stripped off her skirt and tunic and lowered her body into the cool water. Kroba floated up to her, scales glistening in the first slivers planet rise. Mir, the sister planet, began her ascent in the horizon. The Robin’s Egg gracefully rose, as if from the depths. The sea sparkled like a field of diamonds in its cerulean light.


Aoide allowed herself to float in the warm water as she watched, face to the night sky. She could see the Great Whale, the Ram, and the Fishwife. The Crab and the Conch were blotted out in the halo of lillac planetlight. Held in the womb of the sea, glimpsing the glory of the heavens, she was filled with awe. “ I wish I could live here all the time”


Kroba floated next to her, shoulder to shoulder. Aoide felt the warmth of his body radiate up her arm. She was young now, but she supposed she’d be his mate one day. She would live in a hut near his sea cave, and somehow THIER children would be able to breathe in sea and on land. And he would wrap those muscled arms around her and…


“You’d miss the village” Kroba interrupted her reverie, answering both her spoken words and her thoughts.


“I like being alone. Floating. Not worrying about dead babies or collecting herbs or trying so hard just to get by” I could join the KnKeth and be “alone together, always joined in thought”.


“ You’d miss the people, the noise, the conversation. You’d miss being involved with the stuff of life. We are a solitary people. I have not seen another Kn’Keth in six cycles”


“You’re not alone though. Not really. We’re friends. You talk to some of the people from the village” A school of vibrantly colored fish swam beneath them. Aoide rolled upright to study them, suddenly embarrassed by her presuppositions. She treaded water next to him.


“That wouldn’t be enough for you. It’s not who you were meant to be”


“What about you?” Her voice was muffled, squeaking past a constantly threatening lump.


“I’m KnKeth” and soon I must leave even you, little one.


Aoide could sense the wistfulness, but not the full thought. “What’s the difference?”

His next words were brutal, but his tone tender. “You are a child, a self thinking youngone who has isolated herself as much as possible from her own people. You miss your parents and do what you’re told. You haven’t learned to Knth– to pour yourself our like water– for another. You have not yet sacrificed anything.  This is not the way of the KnKeth.” He filled her mind with images of many individual rivers and tributaries all pouring into the Great Ocean. Of billions of droplets, each playing a part.


“I gave up my parents. I gave up my home. I work for Rhea all day!” Aoide flushed and began to swim back toward the dock.


He dove beneath the water. In seconds he was up again, this time directly under Aoide. Before she even knew what was happening, he was upright, with her gathered in his arms.  Aoide sputtered and splashed. When she calmed, Kroba began to speak again. “You have not given up anything, though much has been taken from you. Be careful, dearest friend, that you do not hold too tightly to what is left.  Holding onto the things that you claim as your own is a good way to remain a child forever.”


The girl’s eyes stung with tears. She knew that Kroba loved her, but his words hurt. She wanted him to think better of her, maybe even pity her for what she had been through. Instead he called her selfish. It wasn’t fair! He didn’t understand! Didn’t she weep with the mothers! Who was it that made all the funeral crafts, and hunted herbs for Rhea.  She was involved!


Kroba gently set her down into the water, still supporting Aoide with one arm.  “I know that I have spoken hard words. Soon I must leave you, and I could not leave without warning my best loved friend of her greatest snare.”


“You’re leaving…?” Aoide began to cry in earnest. Kroba tightened his grip.


“It is time for me to find a mate from among my people. The call has gone out. We will soon assemble. “ He gave her the image of a sacred assembly that would take place on a small island off the coast. There were scores of KnKeth present, in every shade of sunset and planet rise. They all had eyes like Kroba–deep warm pools teeming with life.


The beauty of the image made Aoide gasp. “I didn’t know there were so many of you, in so many colors. All so beautiful.  Will you come back then, with your mate?”


“No, I must leave this life behind.”


She tried to be happy for him. He was joining his perfect race once again, and would have a worthy mate. She should have congratulated him. She should have hugged him goodbye and wished him well. Instead, Aoide’s last words to her best friend were: “So you‘re leaving me too?”


Aoide pulled away from him and swam back to shore, the salt water mingling with her tears.


Kroba mouthed a silent goodbye, and began his journey towards his final act


copyright Kim Shank 2014

Two Unit studies: Human Body and Murals

Human Body (4 Days)

We will begin our week at the library, loading up on all the books on the body that we can find. These will be accessible to look at throughout week.

target age pre-K-3rd grade

Day One: Fearfully and wonderfully made

Trace kids bodies on butcher paper. Trace one extra body to make an “Inside Out Guy” that we’ll work on throughout the week.

Kids may decorate their paper bodies. Have kids write traits about themselves.Talk about how God made each of us “knitted us together”. Introduce Heredity

Video Cilp

Make a family tree. Globe study: Talk about Adam and the area of the fertile crescent, how people spread over the earth. Find countries where our progenitors lived.

Discuss DNA

make DNA model using toothpicks and gumdrops

Math Probability- use 2 each of 2 different coloured gumdrops. How many different combinations can we make. Create a chart. Repeat with 3 and 4 different colours

PE:Kids Yoga Cards

Day 2 Teeth and Bones

Get out anatomy books. Look at skeletal system. Let kids glue various shaped pasta to black construction paper to make their own skeleton diagram.

Today we are going to add a skeleton to our “Inside Out Guy”

Send kids outside to collect sticks to use as bones

Song: Ba ba Bones

Do skeletal system worksheet from enchanted learning. Use sticks to make ulna, radias, tibia, fibia, rib cage, phalanges, tarsals. use play doah for joints and Add to” inside out guy” with postal tape

make a spinal column with paper rings and pipe cleaners

play this game

Math. We are born with over 300 bones! Lets count to 300! Count by 1’s, 5’s, 10’s, 25’s, 50’s, and 100’s.

Health: talk about keeping teeth healthy. Practice flossing and brushing.

Day 3 Body Systems

Watch Magic School Bus Gets eaten. Use milk jug, toilet paper rolls, paper tubes to make a digestive system

Watch Circulation Make a 4 chambered heart (cardboard). Add yarn veins to “Guy”

Make a lung add it to “Guy”

Day four: Senses and Muscles

Watch Magic School Flexes its Muscles  (on Netflix)

Lets exercise our muscles! Plan an Olympics.


Lifting heavy objects

Foot races



Dance Routines

Yoga Cards- points for good form

Senses Events:

1)see if you can identify hidden objects by touch, taste, smell

2) Listening game: who can correctly identify the most sounds with their eyes closed

3) Play I Spy

Math: Add up everyone’s Olympic scores and  award places

make a 5 senses book about things we touch, taste, smell, hear, and see


target age:jr high

We’ll start with some virtual tours of existing murals and a discussion of symbolism

Project: Line a living room wall with butcher paper. Spend the week creating a mural that deals with something important to you and incorporates symbolism.

Optional field trip: Look for murals around town. Really look at them. How does it make you feel? What do you think it means? What resonates with you? What physical attributes do you like/not like?


Winter. Sickness. Snow. Cabin fever. This has not been an easy season. Last week, we a little bit extra going on around here as well.

I was supposed to go out with some friends yesterday evening, but then life happened. Mom was sick. The baby was fussy. The kids were wild. Shane had to spend Saturday afternoon at the post office catching up on work. 

I started feeling sorry for myself. Tethered.  Wanting to escape. I had a long whine to my husband about it. 

Then we went dancing.

We bundled all the whiny, moody, muddled children in the car and crashed a VHE event where Civil War re-enactors were teaching Contra dancing. And it was fun. Really fun. (I have always found crashing events I don’t belong at to bring on unique adventures…highly recommend it )The kids left all tired out (except Millie, she found the people and the dancing quite electrifying and was still “not sleepy” late into the night…but that’s another story.).

Raising children is not easy. It’s exhausting. Sometimes I want to run away and hide. “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed,” (Heb. 10:39). Sometimes the only way to move forward is to do a little sidestep.  We can’t give up…but we can dance.

On my toes…

She’s eating an onion bulb. I decide not to intervene. She sticks the onion bulb in my mouth in an attempt to share.

Yesterday I took the kids on a co-op field trip to the Creamery in Mt Crawford. I would highly recommend it, though 1 year old Annie gave me a run for my money. “Cow says MOOO!!!” she emphatically declared every time she saw a cow. Oh- but here’s the thing. There are LOTs of cows at the Creamery. LOTS. The lady giving the tour had to contend with a constant litany of “COW goes MOOOO!!!” There were a few cats, so we got a few “CATS!!! Meow! Meow”- just for variety.

Allow me to pause for a moment…I see the onion, but no Annie. . . . .  . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

In the kitchen cabinets, causing the rice to rain down upon her. Much easier to clean up then cream of wheat, trust me. Also has taken one bite each out of two large onions. Maybe a stinky food deficiency? Judging by the contents of her diaper, I think not. Night Night Annie! Time for a nap.

Anyway, back to the Creamery. What a great tour! We even got to watch them milk. The end of the tour was a sit down learning time in the store. Surely I could control one small child for 20 minutes while a kind women  teaches a colorful and interesting lesson to a group of 1st-3rd graders. Ya think?

COW says MOO!!!! COW says MOO!!!! COW says MOO!!!! There are a LOT of cow images in the creamery store. A LOT. Trust me. So many things for a squirmy,active toddler to try to escape and touch. Or taste. Or comment on. COW says MOO!!!!

Towards the end of the presentation, I gave up and told the kids to head to the car. I would buy a copious amount of dairy products to make up for the level of disruption we tried not to cause. (If only they sold dairy products at church…never mind) I made a hasty retreat to the cash registers, passing several other eager customers on my way. Purchases rung up, but where O where has my credit card gone? O where, O where can it be? The other parents from the tour are waiting patiently in line behind me as I rifle through my purse and coat pockets. Receipts..check. Gate hinges…check. Stale animal crackers…check.  Hoof trimmers…check. No credit card. I did come up with a few singles, and a peso,  and was able to at lease purchase one item. I was only a few cents short…

(The credit card was in the pocket of my OTHER coat…I found it when I got home)

This is the life…

Two Homeschool Unit Studies and resources: Oceans and Video Games

I’m putting this up so that I can find it again, and in case some of my legwork finding theme activities is beneficial to someone else.

Each day of our theme week begins with a morning meeting that includes devotions, catechism, Latin review, and calender time.

Oceans Unit

Target age: PreK-3rd Grade

An exploration of the seven seas using hands on experiments, projects, and multimedia, and literature.

Day 1: Field Trip

Would have loved for this to be a trip to an aquarium, but time and budget dictated it be a trip to the Pet store and library instead. We loaded up on all the Juvenile Nonfiction related to the Ocean, as well as some children’s literature. We looked at the different kinds of fish at the Pet Store and picked up a Beta Fish. If we would have found the book “A Home for Hermit Crab”, we’d have gotten a hermit crab instead. Kids looked at and discussed the books we found on the ocean

Day 2: Oceans of the World

Movie: Window to the sea (Netflix)


The Little fish Who Cried Wolf

How will we get to the beach?

The sea and I

Science Experiments:

1) Sink or Swim: experiment with household objects. See which sink or float in water

2) Sink or Swim: add 1 cup salt to water. Did the results change? Why? Dicuss

3) Introduce Ocean Light Zones


World Map Puzzle. Name Oceans


O for Ocean coloring page


1) look at print of Hokusai “Great Wave” Briefly discuss tsunamis. Paint bubble wrap with blue finger paint. Use rolling pin to make a print of the painted bubble wrap on poster board. Save for rest of week

2) watercolor landscapes of ocean.


sorting sea glass (smooth glass stones from the craft store) group in 3’s, group in 6’s. Fill out a 3 and 6 multiplication fact grid


Listen to excerpt of Le Mer by Debussy

songs and fingerplays: “A sailor went to sea” and “A big ship sails”

Day 3 Coral Reefs


Mister Seahorse by Eric Carl


Animals that live in the Sea


The Living Sea


Observe external anatomy of Beta Fish. Fish anatomy worksheet

creatures of the Euphotic Zone


Add coral reef to poster board ocean with sponges and stickers

Fish Ex-ray cave paintings( brown paper and chalk)

Sand Art


Clown fish puzzle


Le Mer

1,2,3,4,5 Once I caught a fish alive


Sea glass: group by 2’s and 5’s

Day 4 Dolphins Sharks and Whales


A sea of Sharks from A-Z

The Curious little Dolphin



Animal Planet: appropriate episodes

Some fish are mammals. Talk about mammals, traits.

Sharks are different than many other kinds of fish, cartiledge/not bone

fish classification worksheet

Math: group sea glass by 4’s and 8’s


Listen/Dance to some more of Le Mer


Mattise: using construction paper cutouts to make dolphins, shark, and whale to add to ocean scene

Day 5:  Strange creatures of the deep

Movie: Ted Talks: Oceans, particularly segments on bioluminescence

Finding Nemo

Ripleys Big,Weird and Dangerous Fish

Science: sort fish by their light zone (pics from enchanted learned web site) after sorting may color and glue pics were appropriate in their ocean

Use some pics to illustrate  a food chain


Play dough ocean floors

Invent a strange sea creature


Le mer


Sea glass: group in 7’s


review interesting facts learned this week


Video Game Design Unit (or Intro to programming and design)

age: junior high

goal use some interesting online resources to introduce logic, computer programming, programming language, graphic design and engineering

resources Computer Aided Design- has a free trial, but only available until the end of April – get a big picture view of the concepts and logic behind game design is a free programming language and online community where you can create your own interactive stories, games, and animations. designed with kids in mind a free 3D programming environment for high school-college- prevents syntax errors , teaches the basics of programming logic/language – Lego draw, an introduction to Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) for kids. Build your lego creations on the computer and try them out before you build. – Another free source CAD program. Build anything you can imagine using computer drafting skills.



The Slackers guide to a Successful Life Part 2:

OR Twenty seven requests for a Cookie does not an emergency make.
Once upon a time, I got a bunch of leadership training that I figured wouldn’t really apply to the slacker mommy life. Guess what? I was wrong. One of the most helpful, non-spiritual pieces of advice I’d ever recieved can be found in this commonly used chart from the book: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Basically, there are 4 quadrants

1) Important and Urgent                                   2) Important /Not Urgent
feeding everyone                                                     Relationship building

keeping the house warm                               planning/dreaming/organizing/creating

sitting at Jesus’ feet and encouraging my kids to do so

3) Urgent/Not important                                 4) Not Urgent/Not important

others minor crises                                                                   facebook

phone calls                                                                    TV, mindless activities

I’d modify it a bit to meet my needs, but it is no coincidence that the father of the family the book “Cheaper by the Dozen” was based on was, in fact, a real life Efficiency Expert. Sometimes the reason stuff doesn’t get done is because we spend all of our time oiling the squeakiest  wheels. Sometimes we waste time, but very often we find ourselves driven by  the urgent rather then our true priorities. Sometimes the dishes can wait while we color with our child. Sometimes an hour dreaming is a better use of time  then playing Candy Crush.

Basically, we want to spend the first fruits of our time in the Important boxes.  If nothing else gets done in a day, I want to accomplish my important and urgent things (everyone’s physical needs/spiritual needs are met), move on the the important not urgent things (other needs are met ) I may throw in some not so important things along the way, and that’s fine- but the important stuff gets priority

One lesson it has taken me a long time to learn as a parent is that entertainment is not a need. Boredom  can seem like a minor crisis to a child, but they are far better off learning to :read a book, collect rocks, color, ride a cardboard box down the stairs, chase chickens, catch slimy critters, and otherwise amuse themselves. I am not doing my children any favors by trying to keep them happy.  In fact, the greatest precursor to happiness in adults is a high level of contentment.  I am not saying that as a homeschooler that I should not be intentional about helping my children get their social needs met. I am not saying that parents shouldn’t take time to do stuff with children, relationship building is VERY important. I am saying that  “I’m bored” isn’t a problem that I, as a parent, need to concern myself with.  My children know where to find the art supplies.

Relationship building could involve working together on common goals. Dreaming together. Talking. Creating. Exercising. Gardening. Chasing goats. Cleaning the kitchen. Folding wash. Serving someone. Anything we do together with open hearts is relationship building.

What about house cleaning? For me, aspects of it can fall in all four categories.  To a degree it goes with meeting kids physical needs-Important and urgent. Having a model showroom house-not all that important. Having clean dishes and clothes- Important.  Making my home as comfortable and useful as I am able–important/not urgent. Making my home impressive to outsiders- not so important to me in this season of life.

Lastly, we can never underestimate the true importance of dreaming.  We live in a society driven to distraction, but we were made for more. Dreaming trains our minds, and focuses our creativity towards it’s true purpose. It pulls us from despair as it seeks new ways through our problems. It empowers us. What is dreaming? It is making goals and coming up with ways to work towards them. it is looking for new solutions to old problems. Sometimes its figuring out how to make lemonade. Dreaming is part of our dominion work, it is the seeing of the garden beneath the thorns and thistles. It is making the vision plain so that we can work toward it.

Stay tuned for part 3 where we’ll learn how to worry , and why the 80/20 rule doesn’t apply to canning or anything involving chemicals