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Fabulous Family Friday!

I’m sorry about last week–I had a busy Friday, and thought I’d post a late one on Monday, only to find I couldn’t because of the big changeover here at Homeschool Blogger!

I’m learning the ropes here, got some of my “widgets” back on the sidebar, and it’s starting to feel a little bit like “home” again! ;)

Years ago Mary Pride had a wonderful newsletter called “Help for Growing Families”.   I devoured and re-devoured each issue and kept them in a handy place to refer to for years!   Lots of good stuff, and there were some Godly, older “Titus 2″ moms who contributed quite a bit!

One tidbit that I remember was how to avoid one of the pitfalls of a big family.   What usually happens is you train your children to help (out of necessity!), and they become quite good little helpers!  Then they get older, and you have more little ones, and you depend on your older ones.  They’ve become your right hand!  (And left, too!)  

So what’s wrong with that, you ask?  What’s the pitfall?

Well, the tendency is that life is so busy, that you never get around to training the younger up-and-coming ones as well as you did your older ones.  That makes for a double whammy–the older ones are overworked, and the younger ones aren’t contributing as much–which sometimes leads to a triple whammy–too much free time to bicker!

The tip from the older mom (wish I could find that exact article to give her credit!) was as you come to a job, ask yourself,  “Who is the youngest child that could do this job?” 

I confess that it is hard to do this!  After all, the dishes need done NOW and by the time you get Sally to quit playing and back on task, Janie could have had them washed, dried, put away and on to the next thing!

But Mama, if you keep doing that, some day Sally not only won’t be good  help, she won’t want to help!  And Janie won’t like Sally much, either!

I think it is God’s design to get us to slow down and….you know what I’m going to say, don’t you!!!

Focus on the relationship!


This isn’t just “train them to work so we can get it all done” (if you do that, let me know how it goes!  :) ).   This is truly character training.

Yours just as much as theirs!

Little ones really do want to help, and yes, you could do it faster yourself, but unless you want to wear yourself out doing it all yourself, I suggest you lower your standards of perfection and train the littles—and try to enjoy the process as you go!  Let them know how much you enjoy their help and their chatter and brag on them!

I remember when our Noah was just a toddler, he would “help” the girls bring in a jar of milk.  They would be hanging onto it at the top, and he’d put his sweet baby hands underneath.  They’d let him carry a bit of the weight so he really felt a part of it, and we’d brag on what a strong boy he was and such good help, too!  

As he got older, he brought in a jar by himself one day and said,   “Look!  I strong boy!”   Oh, how sweet a memory!

So as you think through different chores, think youngest to oldest, and you will avoid one big pitfall of big families—and have good helpers and sweet memories to boot!

Remember, “Life is what happens while you’re trying to get everything back to normal!”  



Something we and many families I know do is to divide up the house into “areas” 0r “jurisdictions”.   I know the Duggars do this, but we were doing it long before we heard of the Duggars!  (And I had the privilege of hearing Michelle speak back in 2000!)   


Our “areas” are library and living room, kitchen and laundry room, entry and main bath, sunroom.    The girls are responsible for their own rooms, and a few older girls now take care of the upstairs bath and stairway (including two landings).


They are assigned their area and they stay there for quite awhile.  I used to rotate more, but now they ask to trade out every so often, so they’re basically doing the rotating!  ;)   They are to dust –it’s supposed to be weekly.  Reality:   it gets done every other week and sometimes monthly.  When they were younger, if we were dusting they would ask who is coming over!   Now you know my deep, dark secrets!  (To be fair, dusting was way low on my husband’s priority list–he was made to dust daily and thought it was a major overkill!)   They also sweep/vacuum their area, and they are responsible to straighten it daily.   Whoever is in charge of the library is expected to straighten up the children’s books bookcase as needed!


Now whoever has the kitchen is only responsible to sweep and mop—cleaning of the kitchen itself goes to the girl in charge of meals.   When Jessica, our oldest, was around 13, we graduated her out of her area and she helped make supper.  She became responsible for supper all the time, eventually.  So at that time, she did not have to do dishes (we’ve changed some things since then), but she was responsible to clean out the microwave, clean the stove, clean out the refrigerator, etc.


Before that, *I* was the one doing it!   But it still was quite helpful to have my helpers all over the house, each doing her part!


Bathroom detail is three times a week.  Basics are cleaning the toilet, sinks (we have two in the main bath), and the outside of the tub.   Once a week they are to clean the tub/shower, wipe down cupboard doors, etc. 


We clean baths 3 times a week, and we sweep 3 times a week, so Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are bath cleaning days, while Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday are sweeping days. 


There are times, of course, when we need a little extra cleaning or sweeping on an “off” day.  And yes, I have and still do hear, “But this isn’t sweeping day!”


To which I reply, “I just made it sweeping day!” :)


The downfall of “jurisdictional areas” is that people become quite possessive and dogmatic about it.  Which means I also hear, “This isn’t my area!”  



To which I reply, “I just made it your area!” :)



I explain to my children that this is not just about getting things done.  There are times we need to pull together and help each other because perhaps company is coming and a younger child can’t get their area all cleaned up quickly.  Or someone is sick.   Then there are other times that yes, that person needs to take care of their area.  One thing I have to constantly be on guard is a selfish, “I got mine done, so why should I help her?” attitude.



I remind them that we are to develop the heart of a servant–Jesus came not to be served, but served others, and He did the job of the lowliest servant of His time!


There is a training time, and I’ve had checklists on the back of cupboard doors or on clipboards for them to check off that they did what they are supposed to.   Then when it’s time for them to move to another area, they are responsible to train the next sibling!  (With my oversight, of course!)




What do you do with all those cute cards your children make you?  Or the sweet pictures that you would like to keep?  First of all, put their name and age on it, perhaps the date (have them write their name if possible!), then you can either make a file with that child’s name on it in your filing cabinet or box, OR you can use Ziploc bags!   I write the year on them, and then all the Mother’s Day, birthday, Christmas and whatever cards are put in there.   Pictures I try to put in a folder or box, but I’ve been known to fold it nicely and stick it in a Ziploc, too!   That way, if you don’t have lots of file space, you can keep mementos somewhat together! 


I’d like to say that I have a wonderful organizational system for you to keep those Ziploc bags under control….but I don’t!  


And of course, after awhile you may need to pare down the file or box where you keep these treasures!  





Do you have a difficult child?  One who is on hyperdrive most of the time?   Or just one that seems to always be in the middle of a muddle?


Have you ever tried “Hug Therapy”?



On the T-Tapp Mommy Fitness Forum we were discussing this just a little while ago.   Many of us have found that these children actually need our love the most when we want to give it to them the least!  



Kind of like our Abba Father, isn’t it?


Often, just grabbing them and hugging them or reaching out and tousling their hair, rubbing a back…many times that will do much to diffuse a situation that could escalate into a battle of wills.



It doesn’t always work (just like it doesn’t always work with us!), but many times we need to diffuse our emotions, too.


So try it!  You’ll be amazed what a hug will do! 





What do you do when life happens and “school” slams to a halt?



Well, for awhile you could play Horseopoly!



Then when you get tired of that, you could make your own game of….






Or how about Muffin-opoly?







Cat-opoly, maybe?



I know!








Well, that’s what my younger girls (Anna, Bekah and Charissa) have been doing these past two weeks!



If you think about it—there are many skills covered here!



Critical thinking skills.  Art.   Math.   Problem solving.   Sorting and classifying.   Creativity.   Spelling.  Language arts (for the cards you draw!). 



I am always amazed at how much “school” they do on their own…..how much they learn when it’s something they are excited about!



I’ve seen it happen before–chaos hits, “school” stops, they do their own thing, and then I’m amazed at how much they learned in spite of the unplanned crisis!



Which is why Isaiah 54:13 is a good,  if not THE, homeschooling verse:



“And all your children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of your children.”



Because the Lord knows that we don’t live in some sterile bubble.



We live this thing called “life” and He actually makes sure things don’t always follow our well-laid plans.  Especially if we’re leaving Him out of the planning!



We’ll get back to whatever “normal” is sometime. 



Or maybe not . 



Maybe we’ll just have LIFE!




6 Responses to “Fabulous Family Friday!”

  1. Mama Mirage says:

    It hasn’t let me comment since the change over so if it works this time I’ll be doing a happy dance!

    Just wanted to say thank you and I really enjoy your posts!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    WOW! So much WISDOM packed into one blog post!!!! That was Amazing!!! Thanks for sharing! Oh, BTW, we have been doing Jurisdictions for forever too! I really like it that way. I never could keep up with whose job was whose when we were doing the standard rotating chore system!

  3. mp-elsing says:

    these games are the cutest invintions!! kids have such imaginations.

  4. Gena says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I learned so much and was very encouraged. I had never heard about that pitfall, but as I’m about to have 7 kids, ages 9 and under, I will definitely keep it in mind now. We have had a few instances of “learning” when we didn’t do school. My kids set up a store in the backyard yesterday where they used trading/bartering as the method of payment! And my older boys put all their books in alphbetical order of author’s last name.

    • Trisch says:

      You’re quite welcome, Gena!

      Love about your store! Which reminds me of a wonderful learning experience the girls had several years ago….I’ll share it on this Friday!



  5. We’ve got Horse-Opoly! But I never heard of Pie-Opoly! Maybe if the girls get good at it they can sell them on the Etsy

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