Monday, October 2, 2017

5 Strengths, 1 Weakness as a Homemaker

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While there are varying skill levels, from messies to cleanies, there is no such thing as a perfect homemaker or the perfect home. We all have room for some improvements!

Last week I enjoyed the many sessions available through the online Homemaking Ministries Conference {I'm still catch-up watching this week and probably will be for awhile! So many good sessions!}. If you missed the live launching of the conference, you can still purchase a "ticket" at any time and enjoy lifetime access to each video session and the conference notebook.

Watching the sessions and thinking through the topics, I've had a chance to reflect on my own home. I'm also in high nesting gear {due date is Friday!}, so naturally I'm organizing all of the closets and reflecting on my home in general.

There are a few areas I am very thankful to feel like I've finally figured out in our current season {which I'm sure are bound to be wildly disrupted with the coming of a newborn! Ha!}.

Laundry. One load each morning Monday-Saturday, started before breakfast, switched while kids play, folded and put away while I work with my six year old on her homeschool. This happens most days, so if I miss a day or two, we still have clean underwear and socks.

I don't like mixing my loads up too much, so I have a laundry sorter {similar} in my closet to divide loads. Whichever bag is the fullest is the load that gets washed that day. Sometimes I'll combine light colors with whites, or vivid colors with darks, but I'm able to keep things generally separate.

Getting dinner on the table. After naps and reading a few books together, the kids go outside and I make dinner. I've even been cooking double to fill our freezer for postpartum days, so I feel very accomplished right now! Cooking isn't my favorite thing, but its a lot easier without kiddos underfoot 😉. I always have to give myself a pep talk to get started, but once I'm in the swing of it, its not so bad.

Weekly meal planning the day before I grocery shop is the key to making this happen.


Homeschool. Not necessarily a homemaking task, but a regular part of life in our home. I've grown a lot in consistency over the last few months, my daughter expects to have to do her school work each week morning, and I'm finally in a good groove of making sure what needs to happen is happening.

Kid's morning chores. Making beds and unloading the dishwasher happens every weekday morning, and it contributes greatly to the general orderliness of our home!

I've been realizing lately that my kids are probably capable of quite a bit more than what I'm asking of them, so now that these chores are down, I'd like to start slowly training them in a few other areas over the course of the next few months.

Mother of 7 Amy Roberts from Raising Arrows has a great session for the Homemaking Conference all about training children to help around the home, and I can't wait to implement her suggestions and printables!

Daily pick ups. We pick up toys, shelve books, and clear clutter off tables 2 or 3 times each day. My house may not be in perfect shape, but it is much more pleasant and tidy this way! The more I ask my kids to do these things, the better they get at it. So we are just practicing a lot 😉.

There is, however, one area that I find myself falling desperately short in, week after week.

Cleaning. Between the school work and the dishes, laundry and meal prep, homeschool and general tidying.... our house runs smoothly, but I struggle to find/make time for scrubbing the bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, and mopping each week.

My home is picked up. But it's also kind of filthy.

A friend recently recommended Dana White's book, How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind. It was a quick and fun read, with plenty of good advice and generous doses of humor.


In the book Dana talks a lot about pre-made decisions- determining ahead of time that doing the dishes every day, for example, is a non-negotiable. Most of us are great about rationalizing our way out of things we don't want to do {especially cleaning!}. A pre-made decision is supposed to guard against this human tendency.

I think this helped me to identify my main struggle with weekly cleaning. I've set a time for cleaning each day {in the morning, right before school}. But I pull from a list of cleaning tasks, trying to decide in the moment WHAT I will clean on a particular day.

If we are running behind, or kids are more underfoot than usual because the weather has cooped them up indoors... it can be difficult to pick a task that fits my constraints. This makes it easy to waste my time rationalizing away what needs to be done.

Sticking with my predetermined time slot, I'm going to try assigning each particular job to a particular day. I'm hoping this will eliminate my decision fatigue and just help me to get it done! Not perfectly, but anything would be better than the sporadic cleaning I've been guilty of in recent months.

What areas do you dominate as a homemaker? And where could you use improvement? I love reflecting on and trouble shooting these sorts of topics 😊.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Our Homeschool This Year

There are affiliate links in this post. That means that if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a commission at no extra charge to you. You can read my full disclosure policy here. Thanks for your support of The Purposeful Wife! 

Because all the other homeschool mamas want to know what other homeschool mamas are doing. Plus it's fun to share!


Our oldest turned six in July. We debated last summer after her fifth birthday if she was ready to start Kindergarten or not. S was born three months premature- so if she had come "on time" and closer to her due date, she would not have started until this Fall.

 Feeling the need to get started, wanting her to be "ahead," I committed to trying. I struggled to know when to push school work and when to back off. Our year was inconsistent at best!

The great thing about homeschooling these younger years is that I don't quite have to slap a grade level on her yet.

At this point we are *probably* at the half way through kindergarten level- she is starting to get more of a knack for reading simple three and four letter words without struggle. Her writing has improved, but she still tires out and grows frustrated quickly, so we limit our hand work.

One thing that really did work well for our family last year was Classical Conversations. It is kind of like a co-op, where kids get to experience a class of their own with a teacher other than their parent one day each week. They memorize tons of great information, most of which is set to music. The one schoolish activity I could guarantee S would not complain about last year was her CC memory work!

You can read more about CC and why I like it here.

Our First Day of Classical Conversations!
Monday is Classical Conversations for us. The kids spend about four hours with their tutor being introduced to the week's science, math, history, geography, latin, timeline, grammar, and Scripture memory work.

That means we are out until after lunch, exhausted when we get home, and ready to just rest. We don't do any other school stuff that day!

Here's what I aim to do Tuesday-Friday:

Math. We started Math U See at the Primer level midway through last year, and we are finishing the book up. Retrospectively, I wish I had purchased the Alpha level instead as the content in Primer is super basic and repeated through later levels. Live and learn I guess!

As a whole I really like Math U See. It explains basic mathematical concepts in a way that both me and my littles can grasp. This is a big deal for a person who quit math as soon as she was able and barely understood what she did take! The hands on manipulatives really shed light on the material.

To cut our costs, I tear out the workbook sheets and have my daughter fill them out in a protective sleeve with a dry erase marker. Then we wipe off, remove the sheet from the pocket, and store it in a binder. That way every sibling behind her can use the same workbook.

Looking for washable, kid friendly dry erase tools? I've been so impressed with Crayolas selection! We love these markers and colored pencils.

My goal is to get through one lesson each week. We don't necessarily finish all of the worksheets for each lesson. There are about 6 front and back pages. If S demonstrates understanding and has had enough practice, I call it good. We might do one or two per day.

I love that the last couple of worksheets for each lesson feature several review problems to keep previously covered lessons fresh.


Phonics. Explode the Code has been a good fit for my oldest. She completes one worksheet each day, front and back. This covers phonetic reading, writing, and spelling; so I love how many bases I can hit with just the one book. We also do these with dry erase to save them for my future students.

Reading. To build her fluency, I usually have her read 1-3 Bob books to me or a sibling each day.

All other subjects. Classical Conversations does a great job of covering the rest of my bases. Because S is still so young, we really aren't doing much extra other than memorizing. But I do try to check out books and videos from the library to expand upon and compliment what we are memorizing for history and science.

All in all, I'm keeping things super simple. Maybe too simple? I don't know. To be a homeschool mom is to second guess yourself.

I'm a big believer in the benefits of reading aloud to kids, so we spend quite a bit of time most days just reading together. I'm hoping this covers the multitude of our educational sins.

Our basic school work of math and reading takes about an hour each morning, and we review our Classical Conversations memory work at lunch each day, and randomly in the car, at my midwife appointments, etc.


If you homeschool, I'd love to know what you are doing and how it is going!

Friday, August 25, 2017

New School Year, New Habits {Plus a Coupon Code!}


Back-to-school season is like New Years; so fresh and inspiring and full of possibilities! Now that my oldest is school age, I get to relish it all the more... but even when I just had super littles, I bought new crayons, paper, and colored pencils every fall.

With new routines taking shape, now is a great time to consider what habits you want to develop, both personally and in family life, to keep through the following year.

If reading the Scriptures with your kids isn't a part of your daily rhythm yet, why not begin?

I read the Bible with the kids most mornings at the breakfast table, and despite wiggles and interruptions and spilled milk, it has proved the best way to start our days.

In honor of the new school year, I'm offering a special coupon code for my ebook, Read the Bible to Your Kids. From now through September 1st, you can enter the code BACKTOSCHOOL at checkout for 20% off.


The book has 13 month long thematic plans, all with short passages for short attention spans, to ease both you and your children into the precious habit of opening God's Word together. I hope it is a blessing to you!

Happy New School Year 😊!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Reacting to our Children vs. Leading Them

There are affiliate links in this post. That means that if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a commission at no extra charge to you. You can read my full disclosure policy here. Thanks for your support of The Purposeful Wife! 

Life with small children is wildly unpredictable. Before having kids, I swore I would never yell and I didn't understand how parents lost their tempers so easily. Then I hit the sleepless nights, the constant interruptions, the unexpected and totally insane messes, the noise, and baby brain. 

And wow, it was a recipe for disaster. All of my cherished notions flew out the window and I finally understood a thing or two. Mainly that I didn't understand a thing or two about parenting!



Friday, August 11, 2017

What's For Dinner?

I don't know what it is, but for some reason every. single. night. around 5:00 the people in my house get hungry and start asking for food.

Of course my kids aren't too choosy, and they'd be thrilled if I just threw a few cookies at them. While I won't say that never happens around here {spirit of full disclosure and all}, I generally speaking try to fill their bellies with a little more substance.


Which means my response is, "Good news! It's almost dinner time, so you can eat then."
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