I have been reading and implementing the book Large Family Logistics. Our family, as of yet, isn't quite as large as the author's family (9 kids), but I am taking what I can from the book. This is part of why I have been a little slow on the blog posts. I have been attempting an overhaul of our household. The need for this came from being overwhelmed by homeschooling and having an infant around. I think I just needed a fresh start since this is the first time I have had so much to balance daily.
There are a few parts of the book that I just don't think are realistic for me, large family or not. One thing that I just don't see happening in our family is self-teaching. One way Kim Brenneman is able to do so much is because she has the kids teaching themselves and helping the younger ones as soon as they can read. Her curriculum is all geared toward that. I don't want full self teaching in our home for several reasons that I should probably save for another post.
Another thing I don't see happening is having my 7 year old do laundry without my oversight since I fear many things will have stains set in and will be shrunk or ruined in the dryer. She recommends a detailed laundry chart. I am going to try it, but let's just say I have my doubts.
The next thing that I don't do according to the book is such extensive cleaning. I just don't have the hours in the day since I do devote so much time to teaching the kids. So some things (the things I do not care about or notice) will have to be "let go." Although this program should help me get a lot more of the deep cleaning done on a regular basis than was happening before.
There are other things that I am not implementing at this time and may never implement that are more her family's traditions and fun activities. We have our own rhythm and traditions. Kim Brenneman is hard core! I mean really, truly hard core. The quote from the book that proves this point is one that my mouth dropped open when I read it, and then I reread it to Brian...and then to my mom.
"Rest is what God has given us for our physical bodies on the seventh day. Rest is not something that you do during the daylight hours unless you are ill, postpartum, or taking a nap with your babies."
I mean, yeah, I guess most days I would say I didn't rest during the daylight hours, but 6 days of the week? Hmm, not so sure. Even on those days I would say I didn't rest, most likely there are moments when I collapsed on the porch swing to watch the kids play outside or sat down at the computer for a "moment" that turned into 30 minutes. One thing I am aiming for through this program is making Sunday a day of rest for me for real. It seems I am always catching up on things and prepping for the week on Sunday. Hannah called me on this one not too long before I started this program. She said, "Mom, Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest." Aah! Humbled by a seven year old yet again.
I started putting together a notebook about three weeks ago and started dividing my tasks into certain days of the week like Kim does. As I read the book, I made notes and then I typed them up and put them in sheet protectors in a binder. Each day is assigned, like Monday is Cleaning Day, Tuesday is Kitchen Day, etc. Then there are areas of concentration on a monthly rotating schedule. So far, I have only made it as far as doing the task of the day, and not made it to the extra cleaning each week. Slow and steady wins the race. I am trying to make these things a habit and make sure it is not so overwhelming that I don't stick with it. Also I should mention that I didn't finish my Kitchen Day to do list on Tuesday, or a few other days. With the Large Family Logistics plan, that is okay and doesn't make you want to scrap the whole thing, even a perfectionist like myself, because you always have the next Tuesday when it is Kitchen Day again. I did do a couple of quick kitchen chores on Town Day since we didn't have any errands to run that day.
So how did these two weeks go? Well, the first week went great! At least, as far as outcome goes. I was totally exhausted and doubting the system by Wednesday since I wasn't sitting down to rest until 9:30pm every night, but by Saturday felt awesome about how the house looked and that I made it through the week. Week Two didn't go so well. We had a doctors appointment on Monday, Tuesday we had a more difficult day as far as the kids' behavior (which meant schoolwork wasn't completed until 4pm! instead of noonish,) and I broke my toe on Wednesday (which way slowed me down and gave me a BIG lesson in patience when in pain.) I am going to chalk that up to a random bad week, and I am trying my best to get back on track this week. I can finally walk on my heel instead of the outside edge of my foot. I broke the middle toe so the first couple of days were rough to get around, especially the stairs. The edge of my foot was aching from me putting my weight on it all day. Sweet Genna kept telling me to get in bed and she would bring me a snack. I asked her if she could also take care of the baby the rest of the day, and she wasn't so sure about that. So mom with the broken toe carried on with all the necessary tasks of the day and let everything else go. Unfortunately, that was Laundry Day and that involves a lot of stairs. Fortunately, we didn't have 9 loads of laundry this week since we have begun enforcing one of Kim's rules, "If it isn't dirty, don't put it in the laundry hamper." It's amazing how much time that alone has saved me.
Her book is full of tips like that and how to enforce them. She also stresses getting your kids more involved in chores. My mom insists that my kids do enough already. However, I feel too much of today's society is all about kids playing and focusing on themselves, and not enough about kids working, learning how to contribute to a family, and focusing on others.
This post is long enough, so I may post more on this later. For now I need to get to bed!