Friday, April 30, 2010

A Few Updates

I am always tweaking, altering and changing things around our house. It is done in an attempt to make life either  healthier, simpler, easier (smoother running), or more conducive to an environment of learning. I read all sorts of books, articles and blogs about ways to improve my parenting, housekeeping, diet, homeschooling and all the other things that, as a Mom, I am responsible. It is my job, so I need to do it well. 

Recently I read a TJEd article called Headgates. (You can get the free 30 pg. article from ) Several of the blogs in my reader and yahoo groups I belong to have been talking about it. The article has really made me think and as a result has caused me to make some changes. I have already shared a few of the alterations I have been making which were sparked by this article, but each day that passes I can see the wisdom in what was shared. I admit the author sounded very extreme in her approach the first time I read it, and I doubt I will implement anything close to that in our home but I am enjoying the direction I am moving. And who knows.... maybe I will get to that point some day. For now I am just interested in removing some of our distractions and a lot of our junk.

Ian's sketchbook

One of the changes I already spoke about and that is working really well is the sketch books rather than loose paper. The Headgates article speaks about using supplies or tools rather than wasting resources.  I didn't want to take all paper away from my kids. They love to draw and I like that they doodle and sketch. I just didn't like the waste and the mess it was making in my house. It ended up being a great change. We aren't throwing out nearly as many little sketches or cut up papers.  Sophie has almost filled her sketch book with drawings and they aren't just doodles. She is coloring them in and really thinking about them. It is exactly what I was hoping would happen. 

Sophie's Sketchbook 
Sophie even has written a few little reports in her sketchbook. 
I didn't ask her to write these she just decided to put them in.

Ian and Henry haven't done nearly as many but they seem to like having a sketch book where they can look back at their drawings.

Henry's sketchbook

The morning family chores is also going well. I usually try to make the chore pretty short since Henry really fights having to do this. He has pulled out every excuse as to why he shouldn't have to do any work, including "I am too little to do this",  "Papa doesn't have to fold his clothes" or "I am boy, this is girl work". I don't know where that last one came from. We certainly don't label anything boy work or girl work.  I have had my husband work with him with the clothes folding and now he doesn't seem to fight it quite as much. It has also helped keep his "accidents" under more control because he realized his pile of clothes was so much bigger because he was going through more clothes.  But we have been doing lots of other things besides laundry and folding clothes. My kids have cleaned each of the bathrooms, wiped down all kitchen counters and cabinets, cleaned out the refrigerator,  organized the game closet (and even sorted through all the games and took some to Goodwill!), changed sheets on the beds, gave each kids room a good cleaning and emptied the dishwasher several mornings. This may not sound like that big a deal but as far as my kids and work go this has been quite a change. They often don't want to stop at just one job they want to clean more rather than move onto doing "school work". 

I think one of the best things we have been doing the last few weeks is just clearing out a lot of stuff. We have taken three large bags of books to the library for their book sale. Many of them still had the price sticker still on them from when I purchased them from the used book shelf. Oh well... I guess I have donated a lot of my spare change to the library. I am just happy to be rid of a lot of fluff books that we really don't read or need. I have also taken two good size loads of stuff to Goodwill. Toys, games, clothes and such that has just been floating around or that I thought we didn't need anymore. It is so nice to look in the closets and see them less full and more organized. The kids haven't fought me at all about the toys either. We even were able to get rid of a few of the stuffed animals. I am sure the purging will continue but it needs to be done slowly or else the kids will really notice and feel like they are being punished. I don't want them to think that. I want them to understand why the changes are made and the things go away. 

So our house is getting a good clean out and we are spending our time doing good things!


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the lazy reader said...

Awsome! I am so glad things are going well. Decluttering and cleaning is something I love love love to do. It gives me such a good feeling that things are orderly and that our house is not controlled by our stuff. Honestly, I don't know where all the stuff comes from in the first place. the whole process can be a bit addicting.

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

We've been cleaning out our closets too. I donated six kitchen sized trash bags of clothes from my closet alone! Yikes. But it feels so nice to see everything in order and a few empty shelves too.