Hello :) to me there is no definition to teaching, maybe unschooling applies best at how we try to learn :) But anyway, still I'd like to spend more time reading to my kids, dancing with them....etc....but I can't :( we have a farm and there is constantly something to do....on top I have an educational center for kids that I run so a lot of work too...how do you do it? when do you find the time for some quiet time with your kids???
I guess every situation is different. To some extent, I make life choices that make it possible to spend time with them, and also with each child, at some point in most weeks, alone. I guess its partly about prioritising for me though I accept I'm very lucky that I can financially make that (sometimes hard) choice. I don't have to work, even though our lives would be a lot easier financially if I did.
That is a plateful! I probably shouldn't even consider giving advice, but that's never stopped me before .
I agree with "prioritize". For housework, my priority is functionability-- dishes, laundry, trash and recycling, hygiene, finding shoes and jackets and hats and other necessaries. That puts toys and dusting at the far bottom. Disclosure: my house is a mess, but partly that's because of the play habits of my youngest, and the fair amount of time I spend in soothing arguments between my 2 girls.
Animals have top priority-- we have cats and a flock of chickens. Mostly, now the girls are 6 and 8, I get get the bare essentials done, and they are starting to help a little on their own terms and in their own style. I don't argue with it, though I have some impatient words if they throw their shoes off then whine about finding them again. Not that I don't set things down without thinking, I just don't complain to everyone else about it.
My girls are very good about playing together--well, "good" isn''t the best word-- they are drawn to each other, and my time is called for when the going gets tough, which is often. My biggest complaint on the chore front is that I don't have large chunks of time to get anything done. Everything I do has to be done in manageable chunks.
I seek out days when chores are not pressing to sit my a$$ on the couch and read my book, which invariably brings the girls nearby, and I end up listening to them talk about their games or their discoveries, or they ask to play a board game. I try to keep up on the dishes, and of course the animals need tending to, but chickens aren't that big of a deal. The girls don't necessarily need my attention, they just need to know I'm available. The computer doesn't cut it--they start whining if I'm on here too long, but reading my book or doing some stitching advertises "interrupt me!" That's a good thing!
In the end, you need to evaluate each thing that's taking up your time and seeing if it needs to go, or be altered: the time dedicated to outside work, the number and type of farm animals, the level of housekeeping.
I think the easiest, really, is to set aside a "family day" and ask what the kids want to do, have them plan the day and you join in with them. Skip everything except tending the animals, and even then, don't do extra farm chores. No mucking out chicken coops, for example.
ETA: what ages and how many kids do you have?
"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
I think unschooling is more of a philosophy of living, not one of schooling, necessarily. I don't really "get it" fully, but then again, I also don't consider myself an unschooling mother. :) I think you can have a relaxed version of formal academic instruction (or lack thereof) and still see yourself as the final authority in your home. In other words, it's only fair to require kids to help out, at least around the house. It's just a part of life. We often read stories on the theme of "whoever doesn't work, doesn't eat" , like the red hen story, the Grimm (or is it Anderson?) story of the two daughters, etc. It's not an all-or-nothing sort of lifestyle IMO.
Since we don't know the ages of her kids, it's possible they are quite young and "helping out"--even if they are willing--doesn't necessarily make the load easier. Though, it could create some bonding time she is craving. I get the sense something more relaxing is what she's looking for.
But, more information would be helpful!
"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
thank you so much for your replies :) I thought the ages of the kids are in the signature anyway ds1 is 8, dd is 5 and ds2 is 2....the big thing of a problem for me is that I am ALWAYS doing something...so many projects and things around that it is almost impossible to find sometime with them. their dad puts them to sleep and bathtime turns out into torture sometimes since i get so overtired in the evening..:( they do help with tidying up their things after constant nagging from my side....i think i just keep on feeling guilty that we actually dont achieve anything on the academic level....i mean there has to be some education no?
The 1st thing I want to say is BREATHE. Read to your kids it's awesome bonding time. Read while something's on the stove, Read while they're in the bath. Read while your resting on the porch. Just read. Something about that provides excellent closeness, looking at the pics everybody snuggled up close. I read to the kids, Dad reads to ALL of us, DS#1 reads to siblings. It's precious to see my 2 year old ask brother 7 to read to her because she climbs in his lap while he reads. What memories your creating just from reading a book. Next.... Get them to help. Not in a mean kinda way. Just as... this is our home and life. We are together and everyone must work. Chore charts and work days help me so much. And if doing too much is making you angry or an unhappy mom scale back..... Say no, but not to your family. Because in the end we all say no to someone. If you work too much your saying no to the kids/family in the end. They are most important and goodness knows it'll be over in a flash. 2 books I'd suggest is Large Family Logistics and A Busy Homeschool Mom's guide to daylight. Both can be found on Amazon.
can I just make a point about the book recommendations. They are for HIGHLY Christian-orientated books. Vickity I appreciate that this is where you may be coming from but can I suggest gently that you make it clear when you are suggesting a book that is most appropriate to people of a particular faith, as otherwise it feels a bit disrespectful to those of us who come from a secular viewpoint.
Fair enough the OP might be Christian and seeking highly Bible-orientated stuff but I'd say its good manners to flag up religious stuff as such to be on the safe side.
I think this is the part that is much harder for farm families. As a non-farmer, I can say no to the laundry today and catch up later. I can choose to vacuum the bedrooms once every two weeks instead of twice a week. I can use a jar of pasta sauce rather than from scratch cooking tonight. By doing those things I can carve out little snippets of time to read to my kids or play games with them.
My farming friends, if they say no to chores, things die: entire tomato crops, the alfalfa field, or baby chicks or goats.
For farmers who say no the decisions are bigger, costlier and longer-term. Do we just not breed the sheep this year? Do we bite the bullet and buy a couple of tons of hay? Sell off the milk cow? To the original poster: no solutions, just sympathy. And reassurance that if your children are included, if they inhabit the slipstream of your daily life, there is most certainly education taking place!
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
Yes! I think this is very important. At first letting them "help" may not reduce your workload but if you can look at the long term picture, they will be learning about a lot more than just the specific farm chores, and also those farm chores are important in their own right.
Echoing something Sweet SIlver said, I probably shouldn't talk since I have never farmed but I love the idea of living and learning on a farm. In any case I share some of the predicament of the OP in that I am "constantly doing something" but maybe because I have only one dd it is easier for me to try to include her and also to find time to do other things with her. Also the point that Miranda raised about the time sensitivity.
no longer or or ... dd is going on 12 (!) how was I to know there was a homeschool going on?