How to Keep Your Sanity When You’re a Mom of Many

The Most CRUCIAL Thing I’ve Learned as a Mom of 11!

I love being a mom of many. It’s that simple. The funny thing is, when I try to tell someone that, they often look at me like I have a third eye. Inevitably, this question always comes up sooner rather than later:

How can you have that many children without going a little insane?

I can’t blame them. Our oldest was an only child for 5 1/2 years, and I remember what used to run through my mind whenever I saw a family with a large number of children.  Continue reading “How to Keep Your Sanity When You’re a Mom of Many”

How to Get Your Large Family Out the Door on Time

I’m one of those people who hates to be late for anything. Anything. I would rather be an hour early than five minutes late.

As a mom of many, getting somewhere on time honestly isn’t something I have to think much about. It just happens. Very often- usually at church- other moms will ask me how I’m able to get my huge crew out the door and actually show up early, especially considering the fact that my husband isn’t usually with me.

In case you’re wondering, I don’t have a magic formula. I don’t have a foolproof trick. What I do have is a routine that is simple and consistently helps us to get where we’re going without a problem.

So for all you moms of many out there…  Continue reading “How to Get Your Large Family Out the Door on Time”

A Homeschool Day in the Life of a Dozen

Last month I published a post documenting a typical day at our house. Since the older kids had not yet started their new homeschool year, I decided to write another one that included more of what my teenagers do so you’d get a more accurate picture of what homeschooling is actually like at our house. Thankfully, this day was not as crazy as the last time I did this. Phew! Remember that one?? Anyway…  Continue reading “A Homeschool Day in the Life of a Dozen”

A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers- We Start Monday!

Start homeschool Monday
Image courtesy of Ohmega1982 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Well, this will be my last post when everyone is still on summer break. Yay! School starts Monday for all my non-teens, and we couldn’t be more excited. In fact, when the copy paper and ink arrived in the mail a few days ago, the kids asked if we could start right away. 🙂 I love it. Unfortunately we couldn’t, though, because we’ve had a fairly busy week.

On Sunday we invited my mother and our oldest son over for a 4th of July cookout. Yes, I realize that was the 3rd, but I wanted to have it on a day when my husband wouldn’t have to wake up early for work the next day, so Sunday it was!

We didn’t do much on the real 4th of July. The kids and I did try to watch the fireworks from our front porch…but when my 5 year old went into the house to use the bathroom, the front door got stuck, and she had to wake my hubby up to get the door open because we were all locked outside. (Apparently, the heat had made our door expand. Interesting.) We ended up missing the vast majority of the fireworks then because we had to go inside so my husband could go to bed in case the door got stuck again. Bummer. Continue reading “A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers- We Start Monday!”

A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers- Summer Fun!

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Another week has flown by, and I’m telling you, I am already so antsy to begin our new homeschool year! There’s a reason for this…after years of doing lapbooking, I finally decided to look into notebooking, and I am wondering why I never checked it out before. It looks like so much fun and will be a great way to transition some of my kids into writing more often. Yay for Jimmie Lanley!

I’ve also been trying to come up with a plan for my soon-to-be 11th grader for history. He’s very hands-on and doesn’t like to read, so I’m thinking of writing a study of World Folklore for him to do for the year. (I can see a beautiful notebook for this!) We’ll see where this takes us, but for now I’m really psyched about it. I’m such a nerd. 🙂

This past Saturday I went to Family Day at my oldest son’s Military Police Reserve unit. It was fairly relaxing since the only “child” I brought with me was my 16-yr-old. It was bittersweet, though, because there was a bounce house, dart games, bubbles, and Batman! (I didn’t tell my younger kids that they missed out on Batman. Ssh!)

 

Sunday was a washout, so we weren’t able to inflate the pool, but we got it up on Monday. Boy, did the kids have fun with that! There was also quite a bit of playing in the dirt this past week, and we found a ladybug larva- I never knew there was such a thing.

We also made some butterflies with paint- thanks for the idea, Mother of 3!

 

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My oldest daughter is in Atlantic City as I write this, getting ready for an anime convention this weekend. She’s particularly excited about this one because, other than it being in Atlantic City, it’s also the first convention she’s been to in 10 months. Believe me, she was more than ready.

As for me, I just received the book With My Eyes Wide Open from UPS yesterday and have already finished it because it.was.amazing. I don’t want to give away too much, but suffice it to say, the faith of this rock star made me take a second look at my relationship with Jesus. Let’s just say that it made me pull my devotional off the shelf and dust it off with tears in my eyes. Look for a review of it in the next couple of days.

Tomorrow my hubby is planning on taking several of the kids to see the World of Warcraft movie. They’re so excited.

That’s about it for this fun-filled week. Leave a comment and tell me how yours has been!

 

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A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers- Our First Official Week of Break!

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Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Now that all of the kids are “officially” on break and our homeschool evaluations have been turned into the school district, the summer fun has begun!

On Saturday we had a birthday party at my mother’s house for my two youngest daughters, whose birthdays are only five days apart. All of the kids had tons of fun playing on the slip and slide…okay, maybe I did, too.

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Sunday and Monday we really didn’t do much. Unfortunately, our invitations to Memorial Day and other picnics are few and far between because people either assume that a. they won’t be able to feed all of us, or b. they’re afraid they won’t have enough room for all of us, so…we usually do end up just barbecuing in our own backyard on those days. That’s actually all right with me because I have become a bit of a homebody lately.

Devin (17) left on Sunday to spend a few days at her friend’s house (she lives an hour away). After a few days, they’ll be heading to Penn State for the Special Olympics because her friend’s brother participates in the track event. This will be her third year going with them, and she always enjoys it.

Dillon (16) is still on a quest for snakes and has been a regular attender at the creek once again. He’s also been swimming quite a bit in his friend’s pool and actually got a really nasty sunburn the other day. Hey, these kids are half-ginger- they’ll burn after five minutes in the sun wearing SPF 100!

Arianna (14) and London (10) have spent most of the week at my mom’s, although today they left to spend a few days at my brother’s house. Anything to get out of chores… 🙂

The rest of the kids have just been traipsing around the house with me. They’ve been outside quite a bit because it’s been gorgeous out. I did put up a clothes line in the yard this week because the dryer was making the house too hot. The kids are fascinated with it. You’d think it was a new iPhone or something! But, hey, I’ll take the extra help while I can.

 

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This is Violet. She always looks like she wants to hurt someone.

 

If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you probably know that my kids and I are fans of Shopkins. We were really excited this week because my husband was able to get some of our very favorites off of eBay.

 

We’re expecting a few more on Saturday. It’s little things like this that make us happy!

Luke (7) earned himself a few dollars doing some extra chores, so today Caollin (11) and I walked him to Family Dollar. On the way there, he was fascinated when we found some ant hills because, apparently, he had never seen any before! (I don’t know how that’s possible considering the number of ants in our yard.) We actually found one that looked like it was made out of gravel. Now that I’ve never seen before. We had an interesting discussion about how hard ants work, the tunnels inside the ant hills, and the ant farm I had as a kid. I can see one of them requesting their own in the near future. They love bugs!

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This weekend, Dillon (16) and I will be attending Family Day with Brendan’s (22)  Army Reserve unit. While we’re there, the rest of the kiddos will be at home with my husband while he fills up their sandbox and sets up their new pool.

We’re all looking forward to a fun-filled, yet hopefully, relaxing weekend. What have you been up to?

A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers- Art and Election Day

It’s that time again for our end of the week review. Join me as I write again about another crazy homeschool week with ten kids!

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Image courtesy of atibodyphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

(Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.)

(If you’re interested in a more detailed example of our homeschooling days, click here.)

I can’t believe another week has gone by! Time flies when you’re having fun, right?? While last week my kids were enjoying the warm weather all week, as I write this post, I’m sitting in my dining room in a sweatshirt, next to a space heater, shivering. Gotta love this fickle weather.

Anyway…this week my kids got much more book work done than last week, but we also accomplished quite a few other things, as well.

On Monday, I accidentally stumbled upon a new snack idea for the kids. Since I have to make so many waffles for breakfast at one time, I usually put them in the oven instead of the toaster. I happened to get…umm…sidetracked and forgot they were in the oven, and if there’s anything my kids hate, it’s crunchy waffles. Desperate to save some time and avoid making something else, I came upon the idea of waffles and ice cream in a chip and dip platter. (Okay, two things- I know ice cream is a horrible breakfast idea, but, hey, it was Monday :P, and the reason I thought of using the ice cream was to make my hard waffles softer. Phew! I feel much better confessing, so now I can move on…)

A desperate mom's breakfast hack!

The kids ended up really enjoying it, and I promise I will only use this idea for snacks from here on in!

On Tuesday, five of my kids had dentist appointments, so on the way home from there, I stopped by the local polling place to vote in the primary election. Since the 2-yr.-old threw up in the van (my kids always get sick after the dentist, do yours?), my oldest daughter sat with her and the 4-yr.-old while I took two of my other daughters in with me while I voted. This is an actual conversation with my 11-yr.-old as we walked through the parking lot:

Daughter: Mom, who are you going to vote for?

Me: Ted Cruz.

Daughter: Isn’t he an actor?

Me: (Cracking up) No, that’s Tom Cruise.

One hour later…

Older daughter: So who did you vote for?

Me: Tom…I mean Ted Cruz.

{Sigh}

And now on to the fun stuff:

The Littles:

The younger children finished up Lentil this week by learning about acoustics by singing in the bathroom, testing taste buds by eating sour candy, singing Fifty Nifty United States, and learning how to use shading when drawing.

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Here, my youngest decided to showcase her artistic prowess by decorating our bathroom wall.

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The Big Kids:

We’ve still been reading through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone together, although all three kids have started new books for their silent reading. The 8-yr.-old is reading Mummies in the Morning (Magic Tree House), the 10-yr.-old is reading Dork Diaries No. 10, and the 11-yr.-old is reading Horns and Wrinkles. They’ve spent most of this week preparing for a report they’re going to be writing tomorrow and next week. We’ve also been doing lots of fun activities which emphasize how books are categorized at the library. They really seem to enjoy these and are excited for the scavenger hunt we have planned tomorrow which goes along with this theme. Besides that, they’ve been doing all kinds of art projects on their own (as they always are).

 

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Drawn by the 11-yr.-old during our Harry Potter read-aloud. This is Harry and Ron eating the candy on the train to Hogwarts.
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This was by the 10-yr.-old. All of the kids made several variations of fish and sharks and later used ribbons to tie them to long branches to look like fishing rods.

The Teens:

My 14- and 16-yr.-olds spent quite a bit of time at the creek this week looking for snakes and other critters. My son actually went there for several hours almost every single day, and this experience has motivated him to become an amateur wildlife photographer.

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One of the many photos he took.

My oldest daughter, who is turning 17 on Sunday, spent a lot of time with our oldest son, who is 22, this week. Although he is over five years older than her, they get along wonderfully, and they share many of the same friends. Tonight she went to an alternative gallery with some of her friends. She visits there several times a month and is planning on showing some of her work there in the near future. This was one of her favorite pieces she saw there today:

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Book-wise, my son is still working through several WWII books, while the 17-yr.-old is still reading Dante’s Inferno and the 14-yr.-old has started The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler. Believe it or not, neither of these books were assigned to them. They chose them on their own. 🙂

So that’s where we’re at in our homeschool right now. What have you been up to?

 

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A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers-Weekly Highlights- 4/21

(Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.)

It’s been about two years since I’ve written a weekly review post, and there has been one major change since then- we no longer identify as unschoolers and have settled in as relaxed homeschoolers. While unschooling can and does work for many families, the lack of structure and direction created some chaos in our lives.

I’ve learned a lot from our stint with unschooling, however, and feel that while some book work is necessary, it is hardly the most important part of our homeschool. Having said that, I’ve decided that if I am going to resume these review posts, for the most part I will not be focusing too much on our seat work and will instead focus on the parts of our weeks that I truly consider to be either highlights or developments that made this week different from the last.

Since I know so many people are curious as to how homeschooling can work with ten kids in the house, I have written a post that better addresses the technicalities of our daily routine.

Now on with the show!

A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This week has been one of those weeks that we really let life take the lead and backed off a bit on doing much structured learning. Our week started with two of my children taking their state-mandated standardized tests. (One on Monday and one on Tuesday)

We are really blessed in that our state only requires standardized tests in grades 3, 5, and 8 and in that my children were able to do these online at home, but it did not take away the stress that both of my children felt from doing them. After having one child in tears and another loudly complaining that she hates “school.” I am dreading having to go through this again with two more of my children next year.

While I’d be perfectly happy if we never had to see another test like that again, it was so refreshing to watch my son outside playing with the water table during his breaks. It just absolutely reinforced my beliefs in the benefits of homeschooling, because how many school children get to do things like that during their testing time?

Earlier in the week, Sunday to be precise, I went out to get the newspaper and found a headline glaring at me, stating how unsafe our city’s schools are. Apparently our school district had almost 3,000 incidents of violence by students that had to be reported to the Department of Education in the 2014-2015 school year alone. Add to that the fact that during that school term, the police had to be called 500 times and students were arrested 300 times. And the cherry on top was the story of a third grader who wrapped his hands around another child’s neck during breakfast in the cafeteria, and it turned out that this was the child’s 14th discipline report in seven weeks. Again, all I can say is, hallelujah for homeschooling.

Wednesday I helped take my disabled brother to a doctor’s appointment, so we actually did not do anything school-related that day at all. It was a well-timed break, though, after the stressful testing days. The rest of our week has been mainly activities-based, which is how they like it. Since I break my kids down into three groups in our homeschooling routine, I’ll do the same here to give you a picture of what was accomplished this week.

The Littles- Ages 7, 6, 4 (and sometimes the 2-yr.-old)

We’ve been reading the book Lentil this week and did some accompanying activities from our FIAR curriculum, such as mapping, coloring the US flag, and learning some shading techniques for an art project. We also talked about uniqueness and jealousy and worked on some character trait issues.

The Big Kids- Ages 11, 10, and 8

We’ve been reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone together, and the kids have been reading books from the Encyclopedia Brown series because they work well with the research/reference unit study we’re doing right now. We’ve been practicing looking for information using library resources and actually took a field trip there today, so that they could choose books for their upcoming reports and better learn how to tell the difference in the placement of fiction and non-fiction books on the shelves.

As an aside, I’ve got to say that I was horrified when I found out today that a young boy was assaulted in the men’s room of our library. Our library. Add to that the fact that our mayor is being investigated by the FBI for bribery charges, and you’ve got a pretty clear picture of the state that our city is in right now.

Anyway…

The Teens- Ages 16, 16, and 14

My oldest daughter has been reading a modern English version of Dante’s Inferno, while my younger daughter just finished The Book Thief. My son isn’t much of a reader, so he’s just been reading through some non-fiction books about WWII from the library and taking some notes from them. The three of them actually did get the vast majority of their assigned work done this week since they mainly do it on their own (with exception to math, of course- sigh). Otherwise, my oldest daughter’s been painting quite a bit with her acrylics. She hopes to sell some of her work online in the future and has been working at perfecting her artistic style. My son has been out and about with his friends quite a bit, bike riding, playing basketball, and watching a volleyball game at the middle school. My younger daughter has been going through a phase where I pretty much have to force her to come out of her room and get some fresh air. She does go for walks with her sister and me, and we’ve been lamenting the fact that the cherry blossoms have already turned green! Sniff.

The Oldest- Age 22

Okay, I know he’s technically the 11th kid I’ve mentioned and the title of the post is “A Tale of TEN Homeschoolers,” and I know that he isn’t homeschooled (he’s actually in college), BUT I felt like I had to include him because he’s still one of my children, and, with all the editing and proofreading I do for his college papers, sometimes I feel like he IS my 11th homeschooler.

He has been having some issues recently with conflicting responsibilities because he has a huge workload right now for school, and he also has some classes he needs to take for the army (he’s in reserves) because he’s supposed to be going to Germany this summer for some training thing. (I don’t know the technical term). Hopefully, he’ll be able to figure something out that will satisfy both needs.

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And that’s about it. I’m looking forward to a beautiful weekend and can’t wait to see what next week will bring!

How has your week been?

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