Saturday, January 26, 2013

"play at home mom"

Kids love structure. Kids love to learn. Moms love well behaved smart kids. But it takes some work! One of my new year's resolutions is to plan more for my kids, that includes both at home activities and fun with their friends. I've done pretty well, I visited my friends and have had friends over. And I am attempting to have the kids and myself clean up after our specific toys/messes/activities. 

So I didn't plan anything specific last Friday, but knew that I'd have all 6 kids over since there was no school. I planned on staying off of my computer and wanted to be engaged with the kids the whole day. They started playing together in the living room. Isaac went in time out twice before Corrie left when she was dropping her 3 off. I don't remember why, but sometimes the kids exclude one or more of each other. And they sometimes don't want the babies to mess up their set ups. Corrie suggested that I separate the kids so it's just two on two on two. I figured I'd keep that as a back up plan. These kids are stuck to one another for life and maybe forever, so they need to get along. Plus, they need to get along with others too. One thing about growing up being home schooled, I really didn't get it why people asked me what grade I was in or how old I was. Who cares? We can all be friends. We hung out with our neighbor guy at the end of the street, the younger kids next door, and the even younger kids to our other side. Of course some activities are better suited for certain age groups, but playing with superheroes and cars is an all age kind of activity. Anyway, I had them clean up while we listened to some Pandora dance song then I asked them to all go to the table. I pulled the extra strong Poppin magnets off of the fridge and got another stack out of my craft box. Then, they couldn't believe it, but I got them an entire box of big nails! They first promised they'd put them ALL away after keeping them on the table only. I found a box of screws and gave them to them under the same condition. I didn't give them out evenly. I let them figure it out. That's another thing I've been saying lately. If one kid whines, I ask them if they can figure it out or if they need me to intervene. They have chosen both. Also, when one kid claims it's his turn for something, I ask the same question and if they want me to intervene, then I tell the needy kid that the other kid is a great sharer and that I'm sure that he'll share once he's done with it. Instead of me putting a time limit on the turn, sometimes they'll ask me to time it or they'll hand it over, or they won't. But at least they're learning how to figure out their own problems and not needing a mommy all the time. (Of course I intervene before requested when it's important.)

So here's Tyler, yes I even let the babies play with nails and screws and choking hazard-sized magnets. Luckily neither Tyler nor Ivy are big into putting everything into their mouths. I know I shouldn't jinx it, but some kids put everything in their mouths. These two might try it and I can never assume they won't, but with supervision, why not let these kids have fun! 
Last year, Isaac and I did Joy School with 3 other kids. I'd have play areas and stations pre-set up. We'd learn new songs, bake bread or granola, go on nature walks, etc. I'm going to get those lesson plans back out. It's just that his other friends now go to preschool or Kindergarten now so there's nobody else who stays home who wants to do the co-op with me now.
 This kept these kids occupied for at least an hour.
 So proud.
 Can you tell I was practicing with my new camera? (AND the focus is broken. It's going to cost like $150 to get it fixed, but the lense was way over $300, so I guess I'm going to pay it. It looks like another no-profit year for FFP.)

Then, the weather warmed up so I had the kids put on real clothes. That's another area where I let them decide what to wear. I care sometimes, but not often. Isaac caught a lizard. Malia was so excited b/c she knew that they would be easier to catch on a cooler morning b/c they're cold blooded. 
 She's the self-proclaimed leader of the pack. Some follow.
 I love that all 6 kids were so interested in the poor lizard.
 Tyler even held him for a bit. No pictures of course, thank goodness this camera is on a leash around my neck so I can drop it to save lizards.
Here's my lovely view from my kitchen window. 
Then it was nap time. Noah, the babies, and I took a little nap. Noah and the babies took a longer nap. I set up the Valentine's station for the kids since my mom was sending a package to my brother soon. It's Valentine's Day and his birthday coming up. I set out stuff and let them at it while I slept. They made awesome cards! They even found our stash of hidden Halloween candy and made special trap doors in the cards with candy for their uncle. They didn't eat any themselves b/c they waited to ask me. What good kids! And yes I believe them. I wish I took pictures of the sweet cards. Malia made a card for her Mamaw too.

Once the Crews left, it was time for homework. 
I had Isaac work on a random workbook that we have. He worked on adding and subtracting. 
We used Tyler's bristle blocks for items to count. 
 I helped a little with this, but he got the idea.
 Then a week later, there was NO order in the house. (And no pictures to prove it, my hands were full.) I invited a bunch of moms over, some had kids, some didn't, some had their kids plus extras. Some I had never met before! The last time I had people over, I wanted everybody to just be outside, but that didn't happen. So I didn't expect that this time. I want my house to be a fun house for my kids and their friends so that they'll want to be home so I can keep an eye on them. I figure I should start now. Plus it's crazy getting out with all of them, so to see my awesome friends, I have them come to me:) Let me count how many people came. Me + 4, Kim + 1, Jefra + 2, Rachel + 4 (2 friends), Chelsea + 2 or 3, Bridget + 1, Dori + 1, Liz + 1, Jodi + 3, Nancy + 3, Elisabeth + 1, Yvonne + 1 (It was her birthday!!), Jessica + 1, and my visiting teacher, Robin + 1 = 40 or 41 people over!! I made frog eye salad and had some M&Ms then most others brought food too although I didn't want anybody to feel obligated at ALL. Dori even made a quiche from scratch from the eggs from her chickens! She's such a good cook always with fresh ingredients.

Anyway, I had these pictures already but saw something on the "Play At Home Mom"'s Facebook page that reminded me of this. And I still need to do more planning and rule making.

1 comment:

Grandpa said...

Magnets are WONDERFUL toys! My favorite magnets are from microwave ovens (see, microwave ovens are at least good for something!). But they break easily if you're not very careful getting them out of the microwave.