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From: Dani (
Subject:         Re: Needing serious advice here!
Date: September 21, 2009 at 3:21 am PST

In Reply to: Needing serious advice here! posted by Jane on September 5, 2009 at 9:09 pm:

Here's another idea that will help. Get the baby on a good sleeping schedule so you get nice long naps and baby is happy and content to play alone when she is awake or have times being carted around in front/backpack. (I like my ERGO BABY CARRIER.) I had my son at school age when his three sisters were born, one after the other close together, and I did not have too much trouble at all in the first year with each baby, for sure. (Two good naps a day makes that first year a piece of cake!) When they're down to one nap, as long as it's a good one, you can organize your day. Now I have the youngest as a toddler so her "school" is a rotation of educational toys inside a six panel gate set to contain her and toys. She'll play in her room to a cassette tape I make for her to learn things like ABCs, our address, bible songs, bible verses and then repeat ABCs, and read one of her favorite books on the tape and she can turn the pages. On the tape sprinkle in your words of affirmation, I love you and with how she's being a good girl and being such a blessing to mommy while she plays. This tape thing with your voice is really great and even a three month old would lay on the floor listening to the tape and play with a baby gym, longer than she would without the tape. Of course, she'll sit at the table with us doing fine motor things like putting coins into a piggy bank/play dough. (I don't know what age your baby is so there's a bit here for all ages to toddler and some can be modified.) She'll cuddle with me for read alouds with us. And then there's still that naptime! If baby is still working on the schedule, I liked Growing Kids Gods Way books by the Ezzos.

The other piece of very helpful insight, I received from a conference my first year homeschooling is for the school age kids. That was to work hard to get them working independently on their schoolwork. So, my 11 year old has been independent for several years, just takes his list of assignments and manages his own time, usually in his room, watches his math-u-see lesson himself and only needs me when he needs help. Now I'm working on the first of the girls. Got her reading last year (first grade) and thru summer so now the push is to get her on her own with a motivational reward system like a sticker/reward chart I saw at Staples and then Mommy's store she can go shopping in to buy things she wants with those sticker points she's earned. You can stock your "store" with things from the dollar store and I hit the jackpot at Michaels in their clearance/dollar section, plus candy and gum if you approve, or time to play computer games is a nice thing they can buy too. I think she's old enough to do well with it. My son did great younger than I ever thought he could have. Your kiddos can too! If they're old enough, you might use a play with the baby rotation to give one a break from school, while you work with the other, and then later in the day, the other gets their play with the baby time. They can practice their reading to her, and help her learn to stack blocks or whatever developmental level she is at even if it's only peek-a-boo. They should quiz each other on the math facts. A younger child will learn them just by holding up the flash cards for the older one and hearing them repeated over each day while you are busy with feeding/changing the baby. So, with all of these ideas, and the goal of getting them to move thru their day more or less independantly, you'll have to make up a good schedule of their time so they know what to be doing when, when that school work is, when they get to play with baby, when they quiz each other on memory work, all synchronized with baby's schedule. Manager's of Their Homes is a good book to help with scheduling the kids days.

And don't forget to schedule in the chores! My kids each have a laundry day and I paired them up so the oldest one does the third child's clothes with his, and the second oldest does the baby's clothes with her own. I do have to help that first grade girl with the laundry, but getting them independent is a process. The chores are on their list of assignments and in their schedule. That third child is our laundry assistant,learning to fold with her brother and helps put away with me and her older sister, so she'll be ready when it's time to have her do her own. And the toddler helps put the laundry from washer to dryer and dryer to laundry basket. Everyone feels useful, they re learning excellent skills, and they know Mommy could not do it without them. They are productive members of Mommy's team! Another idea I use for chores is from Lori Flemm's magazine, I'm not getting the subscription now, but I think it's called Teaching Home. She has each child do a before breakfast chore, before lunch chore and before Daddy gets home scurry around and pick up. I sometimes have to remind the kids that the bible does say "He that will not work, let him not eat." So, he that will not finish that chore in the given period of time, will not get that meal. Not many missed meals to drive that one home. Don't know what a social worker would have to say about that. You might have to pray about that one.

So, yes, lots of ideas here and some you might know already, but I've had to give this efficiency thing a lot of thought, taking advice of those who've gone before me, had more kids than I do, and who have learned how to make it work. And pray over all of it, and ask the Lord to show you how to schedule their time, and what you can reasonably expect from each child, and how to make the most of your own time with each of them, and to do your own work. Hope this helps! And enjoy that time with one more baby, particularly if you thought you were done having kids. It makes me want another one!

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