But that's OK. We have every morning next week to make it better.
And the week after that.
And so on and so on.
After breakfast, we do our morning housework.
I admit this has taken some adjusting on my part.
You see, I used to be a member of the "do most of it myself and let them help a little" club.
I'm out of that club.
I did let them help and taught them how to do various chores, but what I lacked was consistency.
And we all know that consistency is key with parenting.
It's kind of a bummer because consistency requires a lot of work on our part.
But then I was really inspired/convicted by 2 books.
The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the Country Bunny and the Little Golden Shoes by Dubose Heyward.
Two very different books but there was a message there that struck a chord with me.
I need to teach my kids how to work and expect them to do it every day.
Home schooling for me is about much more than sitting around the table learning to read, add and subtract.
As one of my favorite educators, Charlotte Mason says, "education is a life."
It is my job to teach them how to be successful in life, not just in the classroom. That involves knowing how to work, how to enjoy work and how to do a variety of practical, real life things.
Like doing the dishes.
After each child has carried his or her dishes to the sink, we wipe down the table and sweep the floor. It took a week of me directing and supervising to make sure they knew how to do it all well. And to be honest, I could still do it better and faster, but that isn't what it is about.
After cleaning the dining room, we head to the sink where each of us has a role.
William dries. (side note: see William's tucked in shirt? I never tuck. But he loves to dress himself and he always tucks. It cracks me up.)
Lilly mostly makes a mess.
But she is also in charge of rinsing the silverware.
One month of this routine and it is still going along nicely. Even this week when they were sick and cranky.
They don't complain. (yet)
They like doing the dishes.
They like having a job to do that is a true help to me.
They like working together and have learned first hand the truth of the old adage:
Many hands make light work.
And the thing that really surprised me was how much better this has made the morning go for me.
After the initial week of instruction, I now find my morning work is done much, much faster.
After I wash, I can leave them to rinsing and drying while I put a load of clothes in the wash, sweep the kitchen floor or tidy the rest of the house.
They are quick--but not too quick because the one broken dish we've had came from rushing--but thorough.
It's really quite nice and I don't know why I didn't do this a long time ago.
This new way of including them in my housework shows the two things that really spoke to me when I was reading the above mentioned books.
1. The Ingalls family had to work together. They could not have done the work alone. Pa built their house himself, but Ma helped. Laura helped Pa stack the hay. Carrie brought them water in the field. They had many practical skills beyond the book learning they also had, but it took them working as a family to survive on the prairie.
2. The Mommy bunny trained each of her children to do all sorts of different jobs around the home so that they could take care of themselves and so she could be a better mommy. For me, being a better mommy does not mean I spend the morning cleaning the house while the kids play Legos and then I teach them school and then I continue to do everything else myself for the rest of the day.
Being a better Mommy means there is time for me to be a Mommy, not a house keeper. It means I have taught them how to care for a home so that they will be equipped to do that for themselves one day.
After the breakfast dishes, we make our beds and tidy the bedrooms.
Then it is personal Bible time.
I'll talk abut that next.
See you on Monday!