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Old 01-05-2012, 09:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Piglet68, thanks for your post and blogs.  I am in a similar space here, and am looking for places where the enthusiasm exists.  kathymuggle, I understand about the nag vs. the heel.  It is exactly that kind of balance that I am looking for, because I don't want to feel like the heel, either.  However, what I end up doing to keep from feeling that might be different from what you might do.  I've mostly abandoned the day-to-day pickup of toys, except where the pathways are.  I've been focusing on the dishes (sometimes accompanied by dd2) and the bathrooms (dd1 likes doing the sink), keeping shoes and coats near the door (I do nag on blatant misplacement of those-- I mean, I don't think "Throw them somewhere by the door" is a very high bar to reach!)  I keep the laundry put away and the floor swept except the rooms where the toys are strewn.  Games that are pulled out every now and again, and have bazillion little pieces I nag to have put away (those damn Risk pieces still being popular with dd2) and I still get some resistance but, yes, Piglet, I always offer to help because I see that it is a "yes".  I always say "I like to have company when I work, too", and I do!  And for me the more important lesson here is pitching in and helping out, because "Many hands make light work."  (Thank you, Ma Ingalls!)

 

I'd say I've been doing pretty well since I first started this thread, and a lot has to do with a similar epiphany to yours.  However, I come at it from a different end.  I'm a terrible housekeeper in so many ways, and I've had to teach myself some basic housekeeping skills.  Not How To Clean, but how to create rhythms and habits.  I mean, we are *just* starting to do a weekly menu, dh and I!  You'd think this wasn't so hard, but we have lots of competing allergies, and dinner has always been a bit of a joke.  Throw in a picky "preschooler" and it pretty much has been short order every night.  Between all this I don't think I have more time to sit down-- always something I thought I'd get from Keeping It Together.  But I notice that the reward is more that I don't run around like a hen with her head chopped of when gathering together matching socks (or even 4 unmatching socks!) shoes, etc. when we need to get out the door.  The reward for doing the menu is the ease of mind every day at 4:30 when I have to start pulling it together.  It also provides a chance for the girls to give their input into the family grocery list.  So, all these years I had the wrong expectations and it's almost as if I needed to have kids to see it.

 

It would be nice if the house was fresh each day, and we could dive in to all kinds of fun projects, but the Housekeeping needs to be learned and conquered first.  And it's really where my girls are at right now.  They want to play, mostly.  I'm seeing signs of a coming transition in dd1, who will be 7 next month.  But, from what I can see, she still wants to play so for now we still have time for emphasizing Housekeeping 101.  At least we've evolved past the bossiness, at least for the most part (grumpy days excepting) and I'm feeling like they are becoming more courteous and I'm feeling less like the heel just from that.

 

 


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Old 01-05-2012, 09:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

Piglet68, thanks for your post and blogs.  I am in a similar space here, and am looking for places where the enthusiasm exists.  kathymuggle, I understand about the nag vs. the heel.  It is exactly that kind of balance that I am looking for, because I don't want to feel like the heel, either.  However, what I end up doing to keep from feeling that might be different from what you might do.  I've mostly abandoned the day-to-day pickup of toys, except where the pathways are.  I've been focusing on the dishes (sometimes accompanied by dd2) and the bathrooms (dd1 likes doing the sink), keeping shoes and coats near the door (I do nag on blatant misplacement of those-- I mean, I don't think "Throw them somewhere by the door" is a very high bar to reach!)  I keep the laundry put away and the floor swept except the rooms where the toys are strewn.  Games that are pulled out every now and again, and have bazillion little pieces I nag to have put away (those damn Risk pieces still being popular with dd2) and I still get some resistance but, yes, Piglet, I always offer to help because I see that it is a "yes".  I always say "I like to have company when I work, too", and I do!  And for me the more important lesson here is pitching in and helping out, because "Many hands make light work."  (Thank you, Ma Ingalls!)

 

 

 

bolding mine.    When my kids were younger, I did (usually) try and get them to help clean up.  I did it because I felt it was the right thing to do - but honestly, it did not save me any work.  They were young and only so capable. However, about 6 months ago I had a lightbulb moment.  These were not little kids anymore and were capable of cleaning in a way that genuinely contributed to a cleaner house.  The lightbulb was this:  I am somewhat of a quantitative person.  I looked at about 2 hours of housework, and thought:  5 people - if we actually divide 120 minutes of work by 5 people it is only 24 minutes!!!  Ever since this mathematical epiphany I have been a little more forceful about them doing their share <grin>.

 

We started with 15 minute cleaning burst where everyone cleaned.  Most did it happily (albeit with some stalling), but my hormonal 12 yr old was a challenge.  She liked to focus on what a poor job everyone else was doing instead of her own work.  Still - 15 minutes of griping beat me doing it all!  We have since moved onto "everyone cleans their own mess plus 10 minutes of something" which works fairly well.  This makes my cleaner older 2 feel less grumbly - and is fair. DD (9) does have issues with making mess and it is her issue - so she should bear more of the brunt of it.  I do help her clean, because she still sometimes needs it, and because I like to model a generous spirit, but I do not feel I have to.

 

There is till some tweaking that needs to do, and honestly, for me, I think it something I will always grapple with.  We are now working on keeping zones clean.  This weeks activities:  Hang up your coat, and dishes go on the counter  That is what I am reminding people about at the moment - when we master this we might move onto other areas.
 

 

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Old 01-05-2012, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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dishes.gif (They need a picture of a mama and papa with the kids "helping"!)

 

kathymuggle, I like your incremental approach.  Yes, my girls are about ready to expect more out of on the cleaning front!  By my declaration that I wouldn't find any missing toys, except when I was doing "the big toy-finding", they have gotten more self-sufficient in looking for their things.  A pretty low bar!  But it's somewhere to start.  That's their responsibility currently, and someother domestic goddess might balk at that counting as "chores" and "cleaning".  But it made a huge difference!  First, I was off the hook for the endless, time-devouring searches for little Roo and other such toys.  In addition, it really boosted their confidence in their ability to look for things (and find them!).  And it goes on.... right this second the TV remote dropped and sent the batteries and the back flying (something it does often).  My response to "Mama the remote broke" was at first "I'll get it later" then "you can try fixing it".  DD2 went running into the living room shouting "I'll get it!" and then dd1 finally announced that she got it.)

 

So, baby steps so little that they are more like baby caterpillar steps, but it seems necessary in our house to start there.   DD1 did ask what she could be responsible for-- I think at the time I was making dinner and I think she wanted to dust right then, not "responsible for" in general, but I do think it's time we talked about it in general.

 

I have very fond memories of Saturday house cleaning when I was about 8.  While I wasn't fond of the work, I did enjoy the whole house pitching in (and, not incidentally, the last of our intact family, as my eldest sister ran off to live with my father in Seattle).  That's the vision I have for this house eventually.

 

 


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Old 05-29-2012, 08:10 AM
 
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I know this thread is a lil old, but this morning seemed to apply! smile.gif  I think I mentioned on the disorganization thread, but...DS learns *so much* from the crap around our house, haha.

 

He's only 13 months, so of course we are currently unschooling, but I've been bitten by the bug and definitely plan to in the future as well (I could rhapsodize on my love affair with this style of learning, how it lines up so well with our values, but I digress...).

 

SO this morning, he has been up for about a half an hour and so far has experimented with threading a huge plastic drinking straw down into the filter hole of an old Brita pitcher, used a mechanical pencil to spin the loose knob on an old dresser and repeatedly put the tip into a hole left behind by a missing knob, sorted various small toys into bins, and pulled diapers out of his diaper bag and wipes out of the wipe container.  (Incidentally, he's also climbed the stairs and tried to climb out the second story window, practiced going up and down the bottom two steps by himself, used the potty, eaten a banana, and we read a few books - I have managed some cereal but have yet to taste my coffee hahaha).

 

Anyway, point being - he is constantly learning by implementing the stuff around our house in new ways.  So, that makes me feel better when it's all out on the floor because he does so enjoy discovering new toys and tools, and ways to use them.  That and reading up on Waldorf has helped me romanticize the housework, so I feel like I'm doing something really earthy and genuine by including him in my cleaning projects in whatever way I can (granted, we are still more in the way of "helping" than helping, but he does love to scrub a cast iron pan!  And it's really cute when he "sorts" laundry, pretends to feed the cat, wipes up the floor, etc.  He even likes to push the vacuum! So, while his efforts may leave a bit to be desired in efficiency, they are certainly enthusiatic, so I don't have that issue yet. winky.gif ).


~ Lucky wife of DH blowkiss.gifand loving mama to DS biggrinbounce.gif (04/11) ~

 

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Old 05-29-2012, 08:22 AM
 
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While he was playing with a ball (putting it on tables, in bins, throwing it, putting it on his flat bed truck, etc.) I was sitting on the living room floor with him and looked to my left...

 

Brown paper grocery sack filled by DS with...a box of quinoa pasta, a small djembe, a glass bottle, a plastic bottle, a wooden block, a fruit cup, a can of soup and some crackers. wild.gif

 

He's now brushing his hair with a vegetable scrubber and walking around the house with the pole from an old yard pinwheel as his walking stick. 


~ Lucky wife of DH blowkiss.gifand loving mama to DS biggrinbounce.gif (04/11) ~

 

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Old 05-29-2012, 09:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sweet!  I'm glad you found this thread helpful, and my "DISorganization" thread as well.  Yes, messes can be inspiring in pretty hilarious ways.


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Old 05-29-2012, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I embrace consensual living more than I do USing in regards to attitude.  I do not take it to extreme, but otherwise it seems to work.  I approach it from a POV  of "what can we do so we both get our needs and wants met?"  

 

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     When I already operate on a child-led learning philosophy I *feel* like I am indulging them to the nth degree and this is nurturing the bossiness.  Because I *will* give them the binoculars to look at the kittens across the street.  Because I *will* lend them the camera.  Because I will figure out a way for all of us to fit into the kitchen sink.  If they have the idea (and it doesn't involve painting the house with mud), I will help make it happen if they want.  Maybe I need to set things up in a way where they can help themselves more?  But is that teaching them to speak respectfully to me?  Are *my* bossy moments teaching them bad habits?  

 

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I was thinking about this thread the other night.  We had a *great* day of free play and stories, very child-led but not much trouble.  I even convinced dd2 to help me clean up some toys in our (momentarily) pristine playroom before she went outside.  Victory!  (Momentary, of course.)  Then bedtime.  Sooo much trouble corralling these kids.  So much sass and unmindfulness.  Being summer, I tried giving them bedtime autonomy but we just had major meltdowns.  (Maybe I'll try again next summer).   So, I have trouble with this.  I give them so much freedom to direct their days, then when it comes time for them to be mindful I can have a really hard time (usually only at home, out and about they seem fine.)  I almost (but not really) believe that you need to say "no" just to get them used to it!  

 

I should have called this thread "The balance between unschooling and mutiny"!!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

Anyway, for what it's worth, here's my story. When my eldest was about 9 I felt I was reaching a crisis point in terms of chaos and my kids seemed aimless and difficult to live with. I decided to spend my parenting energy not on reining in the chaos or controlling their aimlessness with a schedule and parental expectations, but working on our family dynamics. I was pretty sure that we were not necessarily following our bliss as much as we were aimlessly following a rut we were stuck in. The kids flitted all day from mess to mess. I was wrapped up in trying to contain the mess and help everyone get along. Were we really all doing what made us happiest? I didn't think so, so I resolved to provide some leadership within the family so that we could become happier, so that we could figure out "how to make our family work better." I framed it for myself as a year-long project. I would put relationships first and hope that the rest (the mess, the aimlessness) would fall into place as a result.

 

But I really think it's been the right approach for us. We see each other as human beings, we see the difficulties we share through each others' eyes, and we are constantly engaged in working towards mutually agreeable solutions. It's the best life-learning of all.

 

Miranda

 

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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

There was a mention in another thread about the tendency for unschooling to be about "me and now" if not balanced by empathy and delayed gratification.  That was definitely a lot of what I was finding before I I started this thread, and very succinctly phrased what took me "pages" to describe. Since unschooling is child-led, as a parent I can lose sight of that balance and get into the habit of bending when I need to be more steady and tall.  Since bending can be a positive trait, I can get into a habit of bending always.  I will never be anything but a permissive parent.  Not this old hippie anarchist, no way!  But I can set a good example for running a house, for respect of others, for ordering the day nicely.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I don't like cleaning.  No amount of self talk has made me happily like cleaning (although, like everyone else, there are some tasks I prefer to others).

 

I am not going to spend most of my time cleaning up after people who are capable of cleaning up after themselves.  It is not fair to me, nor is it good for them.

 

The logistics of getting people to clean up are still a work in progress.  My kids will clean both their messes and common areas if they are asked - but they almost never remember to do it on their own.  I end up feeling like a nag.  I am going to try a few things out soon to remedy this.  However, I take nag over servant and resentful (which is what I feel like if I clean up after people who do not clean up after themselves).   Any day.

 

I somewhat reject the idea that if mess bothers me it is my problem. If your standards are unrealistically high - then yes, it is your problem.  I don't think you kids should have to worry about messing up a bolster on a couch or a speck of playdoh on the floor - but if your standards are reasonable ( dishes to eat off of, not have garbage on the floor, hygienic surfaces) - then no, it is not just mom's "problem".  There is a base-line level of work that needs to take place to make a house livable and everyone has a part to play in it.

 

I've bolded the quotes that were especially relevant to me.  It was nice to go back and reread this old thread.  It's given me a chance to see what has changed and what hasn't.

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Old 05-30-2012, 03:03 PM
 
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I loved reading this thread! One of the biggest reasons I home school is because my values of thrifty, green, homemade, nature influenced and eco minded are always in the background, much as another type of private school would be. I am a strong parent because character building is so important to me. I have children that love each other because I take a lot of time to heal and share when bumps happen. I keep a clean and neat home because I think it is also another way to keep materialism in check, also brings out the art in the place. I do think that it can be like a Sudbury school, which I have read about and which can be grueling to keep up. Learning how to be in real life is so important to me though. Sometimes when I feel like I am going to crack I just start taking pictures of everything that is going on. Children do change and we can totally manipulate the situation to keep it more sane for us (toys really). Honestly toys are such a hard place to deal with for ANY parent! So remember that one! I am totally with the mom that cleans at night. I actually do a lot of cleaning at night, the whole 15 min chore thing to a clean home in one month. I am very organized about the night and never really totally getting it all done - ever! In my mind.. we are very much simple animals and we should not be guilted or scolding ourselves or our children for such a resourceful and complex world! It never will be totally under control in this lifetime. This was all meant to comfort you! Haha! I hope! But.. do you get it? It just seems so ridiculous and like.. well.. we can Only be talking about this very moment in history! Unless, we have lost a husband to war, have no family, pregnant and nursing while trying to get the seeds in the ground to live.. yes, that can be overwhelming. But...we clearly are not so.. the alternative is we do work on our relationships and put character building 101, first. (And I can say that to you because we share similar homeschooling views!)

 

"A Sudbury school is a school that practices a form of democratic education in which students individually decide what to do with their time, and learn as a by-product of ordinary experience rather than adopting a descriptive educational syllabus or standardized instruction by classes following a prescriptive curriculum. Students have complete responsibility for their own education and the school is run by direct democracy in which students and staff are equals.[1]"

 

 


Leslie, organic semi-unschooling mama teaching my children 5 and 2.75, that love & happiness is most important. Letting their light shine, finding out they are teaching me. Love being in the moment & nature.

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Old 06-05-2012, 02:38 PM
 
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Just wanted to add something. IME at 5 and 6 kids are probably not developmentally at a stage where they even realise in advance that their actions will cause mess, or that this will upset you. My kids at this age are just too in the moment to realise that they need to clean up after themselves. My approach is to grit my teeth and expect to remind them to do the things I want them to do, mainly clearing up after themselves, taking their plate through, doing the washing up together a few times a week, bringing down their own laundry. But this approach doesn't seem to bear fruit til they are about 7 or so, my oldest (nearly 9) is now very good at housework but has probably only been able to really plan and execute a task well in the last year or so. We tend to trade housework for time doing something they want to and that we don't, or can't really find time for, as in, they do the work for us and this frees up time for us to do something they want.


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Old 06-05-2012, 02:42 PM
 
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Oh and I LOVE this " Sometimes when I feel like I am going to crack I just start taking pictures of everything that is going on."(greenacres mama). I do that too! Looking at things through a lens gives me that distance I need sometimes.


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