Nov 7, 2011

Emotion and Assumptions

My beliefs have been attacked recently. My beliefs about the Lord Jesus Christ, my beliefs about the way I educate, and even my previous blog post :)

It has been a week full of thinking and pondering and reviewing. (That is a good thing)

As I was reading the scriptures this week I was pondering anew about disappointments, and sorrow and weakness, emotions and assumptions. I was reminded again how I have often pondered how Lehi could witness the future destruction of his home in Jerusalem and keep prophesying. How he could view in vision his oldest children rejecting the fruit of the tree of life and then continue teaching them the gospel. I would think he had some disappointments and sorrow. I have often pondered how Nephi could see the destruction of his people, of the entire civilization of the Nephites and keep going, keep preaching, keep giving. I would think he had some emotions and humbling. And this week I was impressed by Jacob in Second Nephi when it is revealed to him that the Messiah will be crucified. He goes on to say, "Cheer up your hearts." How can these men, these prophets, not be swayed by emotion and by assumptions, by their own fears and guilt's and weaknesses'? How can they seek and testify of truth when it is so hard to hear and obey.

Because they have put off the natural man and received the spirit of the Lord!

Unlike Lehi and Nephi and Jacob my first natural-man reaction to these attacks this week was to be emotional. To get upset, frustrated, cynical. My second natural-man reaction is to the lack of emotion; to have apathy for these people and their choices. Neither of these choices is correct. The answer is to be filled with the Spirit of the Lord. Am I deceived in things that I do and say? Yes. We all are, we are all flawed, we all make poor choices, we all do things incorrectly, we all are selfish, we all sin....the people and prophets in the scriptures are great examples of this.

The problem here-in lies in the fact that when we are emotionally attached to an opinion or and idea we cannot seek truth. Truth seeking is done through the spirit of the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord cannot help us seek truth when we are angry, dismayed, bitter, or in the throws of sorrow. Nor can the Spirit lead us to truth when we are lacking in charity for others, when our hearts have waxed cold, when we have sought dominion over others.

Another natural-man reaction to attack is to make assumptions. I can assume then that my neighbor must hate all Mormon's and view them as inherently evil since he believes that I am entirely incorrect in my beliefs about the Lord. I can assume that others are sleep deprived and have become bitter and biting in their opinions and blog posts, condemning others for a word. But actually I don't believe that any of these things are true. Assumptions are based on lies. They are based on truths that we tell ourselves. When we make assumptions about people, places or things they are based on our own limited knowledge, opinion and thoughts. Almost all...nope, I'm going to go with ALL assumptions are in some way false. They are false because they stop our seeking for truth. If I make an assumption about someone I have already chosen to believe who they are, what they are saying and their motivation behind what they are doing. Most likely I am wrong on all three counts. Again, the answer is to be filled with the Spirit of the Lord. The Lord does not assume. He knows! He knows who I am. He knows what I intend to say. He knows my motivations behind the things I do. He also knows all of the other flawed humans around me. When I ask Him for His love and His charity I can know them also. I can seek for truth...truth about who people are and about their own character, but not if I am making assumptions. If I am making assumptions I have stopped seeking for truth. I have begun the path to fault finding, evil speaking and being offended for a word.

When I am emotional or making assumptions about someone it is a red flag for me that I am in the wrong spirit. When I feel defensive towards an idea or a thought or a person it is a red flag for me that there is something in my heart or mind that is not true.

Do I believe in a different Lord than my neighbor? Yes. He believes in the trinity, he believes in different attributes, character and purposes of God. Can I get emotionally upset and choose to dislike my neighbor, can I become hurt and offended and hide from my neighbor? Can I make assumptions that I have all truth and he has none? But none of these answers lead me to seek truth. Because REALLY we do believe in the same Lord. We believe in the Lord that answers our prayers, that directs us to do good, that leads us to find truth.

Do I have flawed education ideas? Yes. Some of the things I have done and believed and studied in my life have been false. Some people I have believed in and sought counsel from have been flawed, even dishonest. Can I become emotional, choose to be offended, seek retribution or retaliation? None of these answers leads me to seek truth. Because REALLY every human is dishonest, every man is flawed, every educational "ideal" has gaping holes and errors. I believe in seeking answers from the Lord, in following His counsels and guiding and in His ability to lead me and guide me to do good and to find truth.

Do I write blog posts that are deserving of attack? Yes. Although my husband said this I'm learning a lot about you from this read best sellers? you exercise? ...unfortunately, or fortunately, neither of those assumptions made by the person who attacked me are true (just ask my husband) Nor is the assumption true that I have used this "new invention" to keep my kids occupied while I do what I want to do. These are just assumptions about me and my home from someone who doesn't know me and has not asked the Lord to know me and my heart. Because REALLY I am not an expert in education, study, field, science, art or religion. I do not have qualms about admitting that I do not have all truth or even much truth. I occasionally make assumptions and am sometimes swayed by emotion. I make assumptions that others who may read my blog are also seeking for truth and can see that what I say and write and believe is not all reflected in this blog.

I have been learning about the importance of leaving emotion aside, not making assumptions and turning to the Lord. He is the source of all light and truth, not someones blog, newspaper column, or yahoo post....certainly not my blog, newspaper opinion, or posts! I am just a seeker of truth. I understand that the Lord Jesus Christ is the source of all light and truth and that my quest is to seek His light and His truth and His way.

Oct 4, 2011

Workin' Boxes

Workin' Boxes?!?

I have heard about these....these work boxes for a while now. I never paid much attention to them. Previously I had visions about moms putting science projects together in a box and millions of beads and crafts and games and pages and pages of math worksheets on and on and on. And if I was one of those good mom's I might do that :)

But as usual, I have to tweek a system and make it my own . So wala.... Work Boxes

When we began I gave my kids each three boxes...I'll be honest I didn't want to spend a small fortune buying everyone a box and then have them sit there unused like so many other "systems" I've tried.

The first box is church box. They put their scriptures in here and their journals and their strength of youth books, etc. We talked about the importance of doing the Lord's work first so the first box is always used to serve the Lord and His knolwedge and His work. I don't dictate how much or how long they choose to read or to write. They each choose for themselves.

The second box has to be Math. I laid out all the math workbooks and textbooks and said...choose. I don't tell them how much to do or how long to go I just showed them the books and let them pick. My 10 yo does one problem a day. My 8 year old does three pages...go figure! I talked to them about the importance of doing the hardest things first when our brains are fresh and ready to learn so that is why we do math second.

The third box is their reading box. They are allowed to put anything in here that they would like to read. My boys have put their reading books for their boys club and my girls have picked books they would like to read. Chipper is reading The Wizard of Oz. Since this is the first chapter book she has ever read I think it is pretty ambitious.

Each day after 2nd devotional I simply say, "Time for boxes"...and the cheering commences. Well....., sometime the cheering commences, but there is never "booing"!... so I take this as a good sign. I even get away with saying things like "Hey, it's Saturday! Let's do boxes" and they do. And when they are bored I say..."Hmmmm, Have you done all your boxes" and if they say yes then I say get to say nice things like, "wow! That's awesome! Tell me what you learned." And sometimes they get so excited they work on their boxes again!

Since things went so well the first two weeks of boxes we decided to upgrade everyone to 6 boxes. And I love it because now everyones "stuff" has a place.

My boys boxes are: Gospel, Math, Reading, Scouts, Karate, Piano.

My girls have Ballet and Violin in theirs.

My oldest who is in Vanguard this year has 12 boxes. She has her Gospel, Math, and Reading, as well as Ballet, Piano and Violin and she has one box for her Writing Class and one box for her TFT group and the rest of the boxes she uses for her scholar group.

(For some of the mom's who also have children in Vanguard I'll share how I do these boxes) At the beginning of each month when we receive the newsletter she goes through and highlights which activities and inspirements she would like to do for the month. Then I go through with her and we talk about them and I find out how I can help her to get them done. Then I put supplies or books or sometimes just a note reminding her what she picked to do, or what the assigment says. For example, This week she has a play to practice so that has it's own box, She wants to make something from Poland for geography projects so there is a polish cookbook in one box, She also has a box with her books to read and their bookmarks full of activities. This week she has one empty box which she has filled with her things I lovingly call "junk."

At the end of the week, usually on Saturday I go through everyones boxes collecting library books and spare bits of paper that seem to collect themselves during the week and sometimes I put little surprises in the boxes like a Yummy Organic Sucker or a bookmark or a treat coupon. Something to make the boxes exciting and fun. It is also helpful for me to see where they are at and what they have been working on the past weeks.

When they finish something during the week in their boxes they put it on top of my box and then I know that I need to help them find something else to put in their box. For example my 10 yo does not love to practice the piano...shocking! I know! And for a year I have had to encourage him to play. But not anymore with boxes. He looks in his piano box and it tells him exactly what to practice. There is a little piece of paper that says...practice book 1 and the new song. When he has done that he puts the paper on top of my box and I never have to say did you practice today? Then I put the next little paper in his box which says...practice book 3 and the new song.

So I also have to say how much I love my boxes! You know that pile of books that all homeschool moms have that never goes away! Yes, yes, we all have them. It piles up and up and up and then the books on the bottom never get read. Well between Vanguard , my Speech Class, the 5 Pillar Class, My friend book group, and my TFT group I am reading 7 books a month...and that's not including all the books I want to read! If I just kept my books in a pile I would be in BIG TROUBLE. With my boxes each has a book in it. Then when I have a minute to myself I can open a box and start reading. No more piles! and I even have a few fun boxes for me the bills, (that box is soooo fun) and other books I want to read, and church articles, and one that reminds me to practice piano and guitar and violin and even to lift some weights and stretch.

I also have my devotional boxes. We have our gospel devotional each morning where we read from the scriptures and sing songs and read a scripture story from the Bible and memorize a verse and a poem. All of this goes in one box. One box has our value for the month. This year I am teaching about "The Leader in Me" By Covey. We talk and do activities about beginning with the end in mind and being proactive.

Then each month I teach about a scientist and we do some science experiments or study about the things he/she studied about. I also teach about a famous person from history and we do some stories and activities out of the Story of the World by Susan Wise Bower. Then each month we study a famous Mathmetician from Mathmeticians are People too and we do an exercise from Family Math. And finally we study a famous Composer and listen to his music for the month. Each of these subjects have their own box and it is so convenient to find everything and to grab it, whether we are on the couch or on the run.

I empty the boxes once a month and fill them once a month and then they always are ready when I need them and I don't wake up in the morning fretting about what I am going to teach that day.

I'm so loving workboxes!

ps. If you decide to try work boxes you might be interested to know that I purchased mine from Office Depot when they were buy one get one. They ended up being around $14 each. They are the plain black and clear ones and that works well for me since I'm into white and black. A good friend recently bought the really cool colorful ones..which I'm sure my kids would love if their mom wasn't so black and white :).....she got them from Shopko for under $20. So you can find some good deals if you look around.

...this is for you RaNae! :)

Sep 29, 2011


My eldest child is becoming a scholar. She has joined with a group of other scholar youth to learn and grow together. One of the mentors creatively coined the term Inspirements:

(my own definition) Inspirements: (n) a learning activity similar to an assignment, except it is meant to inspire.

Each week several of these inspirements are given and the youth are encouraged to pick any inspirement that they would like to do. The inspirements are very diverse and meant to meet every learning style. It has been a joy to watch which ones my eldest has picked and which ones she has profited and learned from.

So this past week in our home we were going to learn about Mormon as our "ancient history biography" So in the spirit of inspiring and inspirements instead of giving a lecture or reading a book about Mormon (which would have been amazing btw :) ) I gathered all my resources about Mormon, laid them all out on the floor, and said, lets learn about Mormon.

Everyone picked their own resource or not (dude asked if he could just make a list of all the things he already knows in his head about Mormon) and after 30 minutes we all came back together to share. Everyone had something different that they learned about Mormon. And as a homeschooling mother I thought that was pretty cool.

But the REALLY cool thing was that we REALLY learned about did you know that his father was named Mormon? And did you know that Mormon in Nephite language actually means "More Good" and so when we refer to ourselves as Mormon's we are actually saying we are "more good"? And we are not saying it in a prideful more good that others.... but that we are striving to do more good. And that Mormon was 10 when he found his mission (the same age as dude)? And that it was a huge mission...keep all the records for an entire civilization! And that when he was 15 he actually saw Jesus Christ and that Christ changed his mission from just make your own record, like Ammaron had told him to do, into the mission to abridge all of the plates from the whole history of his people...oh and btw lead an army while your doing it all :). And then that he was commanded to not cry repentance to the people for a time because they were so wicked. Our learning went on and on and on.

After we were done my kids all said, Mom, that was so much fun...can we do it again tommorrow? Can we do Alma?

What more can a homeschooling mom want? peace :)...yea, that would be nice too!

ps. Thanks to great homeschool mentor mom's who are so wise and inspired and are still helping me after 5 years of homeschooling to figure out there is a better way then the way I keep on using :)...silly me

Apr 4, 2011

Fear vs Faith

General Conference is always a highlight at our home. My 7 year old started last Monday counting the days left till is even more exciting than Christmas. After it was over my 10 yo says...I wish every day was too! But I guess we can give the prophet and apostles some slack and let them counsel us every six months...besides it will take me more than six months to perfect all the things I have to work on from this last conference.

Fear vs Faith....I know that no one at conference spoke directly on this subject, but it was the resounding principle that the Lord wanted me to learn. Faith not Fear. Too many times in my life I do things out of fear instead of out of faith.

For example, there were several least three... that talked about young men getting married. I think that many young men are not getting married because of fear and a lack of faith. Fear about how will it impact my schooling, my social network, my silliness, my finances, my freedom, my friends? They may fear rejection, divorce, committment, ability to provide, fatherhood, or choosing the right person.

In my opinion faith takes care of all these concerns. When I was a recently returned missionary I had no job, no car, no schooling. The man I would marry worked part time at a computer lab for the school district. He had a car that was 20 years old and would break down on the same exit off the freeway every single time he drove past it...thanks to Spencer for rescuing us many times!....He had one...yes ONE....year of schooling completed. Would getting married impact our schooling, our social interactions, our care-free lifestyle, finances, freedom and friends....YES!

We were engaged within 3 weeks of my returning home and married within 3 months. Could we have feared rejection...3 weeks? divorce...3 months?....committment, providing, parenting, or is this THE ONE? YES!

But we didn't, we looked forward with faith. I got a job, we bought a car together so I could rescue him, he enrolled in school with my encouragement...okay, my demands :) We didn't go into debt we both worked sometimes two jobs and went to school. And....drum roll please...we were happy. We were full of faith and hope. We were together...well for atleast 2 hours a day from 9 to 11 before sleep, and oh how we loved the Sabbath...a day free from work and from play and from school.

We didn't worry about all of those other things. We knew the Lord could fix them. We knew He would bless us for staying out of debt, we knew He would bless us to get into a house someday, we knew He would help us to love one another and to keep our covenants and we knew that it required a lot of work from us...A LOT of work.

Did it impact our finances? Yes, we had no money! We look at what we lived on each month making 8 dollars an hour, paying rent and paying for school but we always had enough. Did it impact our friends? Yes, we had no friends! We relied on each other. We spent every spare minute together and when we weren't just together we were with our families enjoying them and learning from them. Did it impact our freedom? Yes, we were buzy all the time working for each other. We spent three years just working to finish school we had no other objectives, no plans for a big home, no plans for a fun vacation, NO PLANS...just a focus that we could keep going with faith and patience. Did impact our silliness? Um, yup! When you have no one else to rely on besides the Lord and this person sitting next to you it impacts your care free life style...your silliness. I remember one of our first "fights" and I remember distinctly the spirit telling me. Do you want to behave this silly way your whole life or are you ready to grow up and work together. Really my silliness was selfishness. A desire to hold on to childishness and to "get what I want" Yes my silliness was impacted that night in a way that I will always be grateful for. Did it impact our social life? Absolutely..what social life? I always like to tease my husband about all the super fun dates he went on before we got married. He took girls to the Harlem Globe Trotters and to fancy dinner dates and did all the fun things that young couples are "supposed" to do. Our first date was breakfast at my house with my family followed by my accompanying him to some of his college classes.....Heart stopping fun! Our second date was a talk on the trampoline....costly! Our third date was a homemade meal on an overpass of the freeway....let's give him some points for creativity! In his defense he did propose after a lovely meal at the Roof accross from Temple Square and it was beautiful. He even had a spectacular firework show...okay it was spectacular, but he didn't plan it. It was just one of those beautiful gifts from the Lord. Did it impact my schooling? Yes, I never did finish school! But I am getting a great education now educating my kids which I love and it inspires me to be better every day, not just to get a grade.

We had faith. The Lord blessed us every day in every way. He blessed us to be happy, He blessed us to have peace, He blessed us with abilities beyond our own, He blessed us with all the things we needed and He blessed us with love for each other and for Him. Was everything perfect...nope.... but that didn't stop us from having faith and from working hard and from looking forward to many more blessings along the way.

Another example, there were several talks.....atleast three.....that talked about paying tithes and offerings and giving generously to those in need. I think that many times in my life I give reservedly out of fear instead of out of faith.

I know the importance of paying tithing. I learned that while I was a young college student who didn't know how I would make ends meet up, but paid my tithing anyway trusting that I would not attend another semester if I couldn't work it out. The very next day my employer at the college invited me into his office. I was sure this was the end of my job as well, but instead he commended me for my efforts and gave me a scholarship that would pay my tuition and books for the remainder of the year. I don't have a problem paying tithing anymore.

I know the importance of fast offering. We always try to think of our favorite restaurants and how much it costs our family to go there and then we donate that much money as our fast offering contribution. I sometimes wonder that enough? I do not know what it feels like to go hungry. I truly have never been starving. How much would it be worth to me to never have to feel this way. I could be more generous in my fast offerings.

I know the importance of giving to the other programs of the church, we give when there is a natural disaster, a missionary in need, or a request for funds.

But...and for me this has been a point of pondering I give enough? We are not rich. In fact in my neighborhood we would probably be considered poor...although it's really all perspective. I feel rich. I have a comfortable home with everything I need. I have healthy happy children whom I can provide for...and even help a few extra's. I have two + years worth of food storage that I use and rotate. I even have a little in savings. comes the fear....I don't save for my children's education or their mission funds as I know my parents did for us. I have several home improvement projects that really need to be done for safety reasons as well as asthetic beauty. I save some every month, but wish it was much much more. I need to buy a reliable car that will fit our expanding family but don't know where that money will come from. I am extremely thrifty every month and try to always live within my means and I rarely buy anything extra that I would like and I always think well, maybe next month I'll get to buy that.

So then I listen to conference and I desire to do much more. So which one will I choose...fear or faith. I loved it when Elder Eyring said, " You can not give yourself poor." Those words were solice to my fearful soul. The Lord will bless me in many ways for having faith. For trusting in the words of a prophet that if I give I will be given, that if I help I will be helped.

Last month a friend of my husbands called and needed money to pay rent so that they wouldn't loose their home. I informed him of our shortages for the month and then invited him to pray and make the deicision and then I would trust his judgement. He decided to help this friend. Even though I had given my consent I must admit a bit of bitterness. Just a bit of wondering what we would go without so that this friend might not loose their house. As I pondered on it I was given a great feeling of peace that it was the right thing to do and that we would make it by on less.

I know that Faith does not always bring temporal blessings, but I need all the blessings of the Lord that I am worthy to receive, temporal, physical, spiritual, and emotional. Faith in giving of our want and need is a powerful the widows mite. When we go forward with faith and give the Lord will bless. It will probably take some extra work on my part. I won't be able to get all those groceries on my list. I probably will have to stay home instead of driving out and about. I probably will have to cook instead of going out to dinner....bummer, I really don't feel like cooking when I am nine months pregnant :) But the Lord will bless me and the people who truly are in need will be blessed and that is truly the work I am to do....His work.

There are so many other good things from conference that I could relate...desire, missionary work, sabbath day, temple work, forgiveness, "being". All of these things take faith. It is easy to fear our desires to do good, to fear to become a missionary, to fear not having a day of "fun" if we keep the sabbath, to fear sacrificing our time to go to the temple, to fear forgiving others, to fear trying harder to be a better parent. After all, all of our efforts and giving and trying may fail, they may make our lives more difficult, they may cause loss of frienships, we may appear peculiar to our family, friends, and neighbors, we may get hurt, injured or lonely.

And yet,......there is Faith. When I turn my heart, my wishes, my will over to the Lord to do with it as he pleases when I have faith that I can give to others even when I feel like curling into a ball and waiting out the next four weeks of pregnancy, when I have faith that I can share the gospel by my words and my actions and by being cheerful in all I say and do, when I have faith that I can tweek even more our sabbath day observance to make it an holy day unto the Lord, when I have faith that even if this is the only date night I get with my husband this month that we used it to serve someone else by going to the temple, when I have faith that I can truly in my heart and mind forgive someone for something that deeply hurt and caused much pain and doubt in my own heart because it is what the Lord wants me to do, when I have faith that my small efforts will make some difference in the lives of my children I feel closer to the Lord. I feel light and revelation touching my spirit. I feel my faith grow.

I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me. Christ never feared. During conference I tried really hard to imagine a time in Christ's life that he felt the garden, on trial, on the cross, cleansing the temple, healing, raising the dead...nope, I could not do it. He did not fear! Christ did not fear his mission, or his preparation, his trial or his purpose. He did not fear what God asked Him to do. He always walked forward with faith and encourages me to do the same. I have much to do and become. I have much faith to grow and strengthen.

Mar 24, 2011

Doing it Right

Recently a good friend told me about a "system" that she was implementing at her home. It has been so beneficial to our family that I wanted to share it with others.

My children have many jobs that they are required to do, and this I feel good about. The problem is that they like to do them fast, get them over with and move on to doing the things that they want to do, and I feel good about this too. But, this can lead to 100 dishes soaking in the sink because truly there is food on them so they must need to soak a little longer... or how about this one...yes, I'm sure I cleaned my bathroom today (I'm staring at the toothpast in the sink and thinking..... no way!)

So, now for the brilliant plan: Good, Better, Best (sound familiar)

A few weeks ago we all started out in Good.

Good means that it is time for mommy to teach you how to do your job the right way.

Mom takes each child by themselves and instructs them how to do their job, reminds them of things they are missing and basically waits in close proximity while they complete their job and then checks off the job to make sure that no parts were skipped...purposefully or accidentally

In order for me to teach I needed to know that additional messes and problems were not being created so when my children are in good they must take turns sitting on the couch without book, pen, paper or toys. They were told that this is not a punishment it is what we do when we are in good. I would take one child at a time and we would work on a job together. It took us a LOOOONNNNGGGG time to finish our jobs. But when we were finished the house was spic and span. That has not happened for quite some time

After two days of tortured sitting on the couch for several hours a day the girls were freed to move to Better.

Better means that you are free to do your job without supervision.

You are also free to do your jobs in any order and at any time that you choose (in the alloted job time) Better means that when you are finished you must come and find mom, lead me showing me each of your jobs that is completed.

The boys I found were dragging their feet a bit and doodling so they had to stay in good and take turns waiting for each other. This only lasted two more days because they saw how the girls were done more than an hour before they were because the didn't have to be supervised by mom.

After a full week the boys had moved to Better and the girls were freed to Best.

In Best children return and report that their jobs are done.

I do not have to review their jobs or check on their completion.

I trust them that when they tell me their jobs are done that they are done in the right way.

I have really enjoyed this simple system. There are no treats or silly rewards or charts to keep up. They know what they are to do and they know how they are to do it, and they know if they are trustworthy that they earn more free time and if they are sloppy and careless then they will loose freedom and have to be supervised again. The children know that they may move up and down from good to better to best at any time depending on if I have to remind, reprimand, conjoul, or encourage quickness.

I also must admit, I am requiring quite a bit from my children.

Here are my lists for my four children..age 7 to 11: (they rotate lists on a monthly basis so each child does one list for a whole month and then everyone gets a new list)


Cook...all three meals...younger two children under 10 are aided by mom

Set and Clear Table...we find this job goes good with cook since the chef needs to put away all food and preparation before and after dinner. (kitchen job)

Garbage...gather, empty, reload liner

Cleaning Room...make bed, sweep floor, pick up

Kids Bathroom....wiping down sink and toilet and sweep

Sweep 2nd Floor


Laundry...starting washer, hanging up clothes to dry, sorting socks, emptying dryer and fold and put away

Counters, Fridge, Sink (kitchen job)....clear and wipe

Chickens...feed and water

Cleaning Room

Master Bathroom

Vacuum all of the upstairs


Dishes (kitchen job and regular job) rinse, load dishwasher, unload dishwasher


Cleaning Room

Downstairs Bathroom

Sweep downstairs


Pick up....all of the upstairs, the stairs and the "mud" room

Table and Chairs...wash all parts including legs


Cleaning Room

Upstairs Bathroom

Sweep upstairs....and shake out rugs

We start our morning with a devotional and scripture study at 7:30-8:00 and then our chef for the month is free to cook and everyone else works on all of their jobs...except their kitchen job. Mom is avaliable and working on her own my room, doing extra jobs, cleaning out closets, etc. We all gather together for breakfast usually by 9:00, then we all work on kitchen jobs and any other jobs that have not been completed yet...usually sweeping and garbage are the only other jobs remaining. Our alloted job time is to be finished by 10:00 at which time we have another devotional...more secular knowledge and family reading. At 11:00 we have family work time until 12 or 12:30 or 1:00 depending on the job and how much energy the mama has.

All jobs are required to be done once a the morning, except kitchen jobs which are done three times a day...breakfast, lunch and dinner. Laundry, Cook and Pick up may also be required to do more than just once in the morning.

I have noticed a large difference in requiring that the job be done well. My children were doing all of their jobs before, but they were only half done jobs and I was finding that I was picking up the slack....changing the laundry, picking up things left on the floor, washing the counters off better etc. I have noticed that my children are very capable of doing a job well and that I was short changing myself by only requiring a half of a job. When my children are older I want then to know how to do a thing well, and to put in the hard work and effort to finish it the right way and in the right time.

It may seems is. It may seem like a was, especially for the first two days when we literally spent the whole day working on our jobs. It may seem like a lot of jobs to require but they do a great job and are becoming proficient in many areas. I am glad for wise friends who share their wisdom with me. This has come as such a blessing in our home at this time, especially during this last stretch of the pregnancy when my abilities and capabilities are reduced. It has been a blessing to see these sweet little spirits step up and be truly responsible and wise stewards over a few things in our family.

On a side note, we also have Saturday jobs. They are still required to complete their daily jobs but in addition the person on cook (#1) plans the meals and goes grocery shopping with a parent. They also vacuum and wash off the benches in the kitchen and family room. The person on laundry (#2) is in charge of counters so they are in charge of helping put the groceries away and and prep of any food...veggies and fruit. The dishes person (#3) is on washing all the fruits and veggies. They must make sure the dishes are all out of the sink so that the fruit has a place to be washed...#2 and #3 work together to finish these jobs. This person also sweeps or vacuums the stairway. (#4) is also in charge of sweeping or vaccuming the stairs. Each person also is in charge of cleaning out their cubby...the area where they keep their school work and other items stored during the week. And we all take a level of the fridge and clean out the fridge each saturday morning before the weeks shopping comes home and needs to be put away. Doing these few little extras has made the week go by so much smoother.

As with any "system" this plan is of course not for everyone, maybe you can take some little gem and make it your own. I love working from principles. It is a principle to do something and do it right. This is dating me...but I still remember that song that good ol' Mr Rogers would sing about if your going to take the time to do it, take the time to do it right. I think this is a powerful principle to teach children as they are growing up and learning wisdom in their youth...To Do It Right.

ps. I do have a 3 year old living at my house as well. He does not have a list of jobs but he sweeps his room...very poorly....each morning and he follows me around and helps me with all of the extra's that I am working on for that day. He is also very helpful in wanting to help the other kids to complete their jobs so he will help with the laundry and help with cook...if he can get away with it :) and help with sweeping. The kids know that he doesn't get passed off for doing their job but they can allow him to help and usually enjoy having a little buddy to do things with. I do not feel that at his young age it is the appropriate time to require him to reach perfection in the few jobs that I am giving him to do. I sometimes will show him how to do something a little better but mostly I just smile and give him hugs for trying. To everything in life there is a season, he will have his turn someday to learn to do it right.

Jan 27, 2011

A Mentor

Last year I received a guitar for Christmas from my hubby. I was really excited. I purchased a book, asked a friend to come over and teach me a little how to play, and goofed around with it for a while. Then it just wasn't fun anymore, I broke a string and put it away.

Recently I heard about a guitar class being taught at a local high school. I debated...was it worth the money, was it worth the time commitment, would I really learn anything. I decided to go for it....even though my 12 yo said...what are you going to do when your stomach gets too big and you loose your lap...rude..but good point :)

I attended the first class, there were 40 people in the class, I was disappointed, how will I learn with 40 other people in the class? Our instructor began teaching..about the basics of the guitar, about how to read music, about strumming, about fingering, and chords. In the course of one hour she covered all of these things...she's pretty amazing...I came home and played a song for my family. I'm pretty choppy. Wednesday I had to stop and look at my fingers to make sure they are on the right strings, my strumming is still pretty stiff, my fingers sometimes slip off the notes. But today as I played I only looked at my fingers one time, my strumming is still pretty stiff, my pauses between chord changes are still a little choppy. Our new little friend says...mommy keeps stopping, (while I'm singing the song) but by next lesson I'm determined to have this song down.

So, what does this have to do with mentoring? Could I have learned to play the guitar all by myself?...probably. I read my book, I could figure out the chords, I could already read music. But the mentor taught me some things I had not thought of ( one of her tricks was "think in your own mind a way that you can correlate the changing of the chords from one to another ie...the first finger slides up to the first fret, the third and fourth fingers are glued together, first and second finger split and move, etc") The mentor challenged us. ("play until it hurts, don't play until it bleeds..I don't want any bleeding, but play until it hurts, I'd like to see some nice calous' next week") The mentor shared her love of the guitar and her passion for teaching us to love the guitar.

When the student is ready, the mentor appears? I don't know that as I student I was ready per se, except that I made the decision to be willing to sacrifice the time and the money and the effort. But I think as parents and students we need to realize that we have some work to do. For example, we were discussing how to know if your child needs a mentor to inspire in math. I believe that a child does not need a mentor in math until they have mastered the basics. There is really no point in my child being mentored in Euclid if they can't add 5 +7 or 4 X 9. Those are the basics. Some individuals in my guitar class have no musical background. They received their guitars for Christmas and now they want to learn how to play. The mentor could see their "deer in the headlights" looks as she cruised through the material. To me she was just right. Her little tips and tricks, her little analogies and excitement, her challenges were just right. I was ready to take guitar lessons. The basics didn't phase me. I don't have to memorize the frets and the strings and the fingering. I already learned those things. I don't have to work on counting, reading notes, or time signatures. I am ready to be mentored in how to play the guitar.

As parents, and students, how important it is to lay the ground work. To teach and learn the basics. Once we have mastered the basics it is easy to be mentored. We are ready to take off, to soar, to become something more. Without basics we get stuck and bored and frustrated with our ability to progress. It is why we learn to read, write and basic arithmetic. It is why we learn about George Washington before reading the Declaration. It is why we learn about the sun before we study the laws of physics.

It is why the Lord teaches us line upon line. He asks us to listen to the missionaries, to read a book, to go to church, then to pay tithing. Missionaries don't walk up to people and ask them to pay tithing. It is a process. It gets harder as you go along. Sometimes I look down the road and think...really? Do I need to become THAT? But if I look at the steps in front of me I am ready for each one when the time comes. After all God is the greatest mentor of all. He knows when to push and when to wait, when to let us master a few more basics and when we are ready to soar ahead.

I watched an eagle soar to great heights.
How majestic he was in his flight.
He swooped down quickly to catch his prey.
He was quite prosperous that day.

High on a rock, an eagle's nest can be found.
It protects her young from danger on the ground.
She watches over her young with great care.
There's not a mightier bird found anywhere.

Lord, I've prayed fervently many a night.
I'm ready now to take my flight.
May I soar the heavens in Your care.
I know Your strength will carry me anywhere.

Thank you, Lord, for my strength made anew.
Your Words I've claimed are always true.
I'll not faint or be made weary again,
If I draw from Your strength as a new day begins.

I've waited on You to make me strong.
I'm on higher ground, where I belong.
Like the eagle, I now have keener sight.
I'm soaring with You to greater heights.

Happy Mentoring or being Mentored :)