You have gotten a lot of great advice! The only thing that I have to add is to remember it takes time for the changes you instill to make a difference, and often things will appear to get worse before they start getting better. You kids will test whatever boundaries/consequences you put into effect to see if you are serious and once they realize you are, they will test you even more. I have seen it in my classroom and even with my DD, young though she is. Pick the battles that are important to you and stick with them. As long as you are consistent the results will come.
i feel like i've run my whole family off the tracks somehow.... - Page 2
This works for us - I think of it as "dangling the carrot". We can go do X (play outside, watch a show, read a book, bake, etc. - something fun) after the toys are picked up. Ideally, I try for several "mini-cleans" a day - one before each activity. We'll go to the park after the toys are put away. We'll take a walk after the clothes are folded. You can ride your bike after your room is cleaned, etc.
wow! i go away for a day and come back to awesome advice! thanks again ladies!
i like the pictorial rhythm chart. i made one a few years ago and my oldest loved it (he was about 3 at the time), but it got ratty (posterboard) and we tossed it. i still have most of the pictures though so we could make a new one! the problem is finding the time to do it.
re: how we homeschool and why i'm freaking: obviously, i'm new to this as my oldest just turned 6. he is registered as a k student so i'm feeling pressure to do something b/c at some point, we'll face testing. he doesn't want to do anything called "school". says he can't concentrate?!?! but the other day, he was shocked when i pointed out he was able to build a motorized lego robot while i read a book aloud to him and he asked questions while i was reading (for deeper understanding/clarification) and was able to discuss the chapters after we were finished. so there's something to labeling it school or him realizing that we're doing "school work" that for whatever reason is bothering him.
i'm having to adjust to dealing with a situation where one is not an eager beaver to do school. i was the child that Could.Not.Wait for the first day of school. loved school. and by school, i mean the academic part. dh OTOH despised school and couldn't wait to get out. our grades were reflective of our situations. i don't want my son to "hate school" so i'm having to both relax and be creative here. i'm very committed to hsing but i just haven't quite gotten the hang of it yet and i kind of beat myself up for that. overall, i'd say right now, we're eclectic. i'm leaning toward CM/Classical in some respects but don't want to be that 100%. and that's another thing. i feel like i need some "teacher workdays" to get my act together, but that feels next to impossible with a baby that won't be put down and won't nap worth a nickel on top of everything else.
some days, it feels that all i've accomplished is survival! today i will take all the advice here and try to get rolling for a fresh start in 2011. grandma is taking the boys out to breakfast so while they're gone, i plan to strip the playroom of most toys and take them to the attic. if time remains, i'm going to work on the picture schedule and maybe some type of chore list/chart/grab jar. i want the whole family to be involved. my ideal situation for now and for as long as children are in my house is for the family as a whole to do all the pickup and maintaining an organized clear home (everything in it's own home at bedtime). i like to clean and don't mind the dusting and vacuuming and such. i just want people to pick up after themselves and generally be helpful. if i just had to clean, it wouldn't be *that* bad. it's the toy pickup that drives me batty.
thank you all! i'm open to any more ideas you have!