Thursday, July 12, 2012

July 12th

A few snippets of today:

  • In davening, 6 yo added second part of baruch sheamar. One day, he just decided that he wanted to do it and he did it. He is complaining a lot about having to say birchot hashahar now, I am wondering whether he bit off more than he can chew. He is also reading all little blurbs in his siddur which explain different things about davening. I am seriously contemplating getting him a siddur with English translation, when time comes for his big kid siddur. I think he will get much more out of it than a plain, all-Hebrew one.

  • I took all kids bike riding in the park. 6 yo worked on his bike and got the hang of it, without training wheels. He did not want to go originally, but he really practiced on his own and it worked! I had to teach him how to brake with his feet, either he forgot, or he was too scared not to be able to put his feet out. He loved the burnt rubber marks left on the pavement after his "good brakes". To celebrate, we went out to Menchie's.

  • 8 yo practiced diving and 6 yo unassisted back stroke at the pool today. It is such a relief to see them both eager to swim and gaining so much. Of course, they are clamoring for even more swim time. I tried today watching all three in the deep pool, but it was too nerve-wrecking. 

  • At home, 8 yo is rereading Story of the World, part 2. We also got a book about Rashi through Feldheim, called Rashi HaKadosh. I found it to be disappointing: it is poorly made, poorly written, has legends given over as history and looks like they took blurry stills from a movie and published it without proofreading. The boys found it to be fascinating. I discussed with 8 yo the treatment of crusades by SOTW and Rashi book, and how history can be told from different perspectives. All of this reading is being down without any input from me, I much rather be "off", but this kind of learning does not seem to take a vacation.

  • 8 yo picked up a circular in Menchie's which had sudoku and a crossword. I found him later sitting down with a dictionary, working on it.

  • For goodnight stories, the boys picked a book about time travel to the time of the Vikings and that Rashi book. 

Now onto a challenge:

It's called the cleaning issue. I clean up, and the place is a mess. I don't clean up, and the place is a disaster. I ask the kids to clean, I beg them, I scream at them, I cajole them... it works, for five minutes. And then it's back to square one. I feel like I want that remote control which freezes everything, so that I have 24 hours to put everything in its place. Another thing I feel is that we have too much stuff, coupled with many things not having an established home. I want to start the next school year in an organized fashion. I know that for me, a certain amount of order brings happiness. Not plastic slipcovers on untouchable couch, but being able to sit on that couch without displacing piles of stuff that accumulated there during the day. I am using this time to think things through, but I know it's mid-July and there is only so much of the summer left to implement and cement new routines.


  1. A bit of mess in the house is worth all of the amazing things your kids are doing!

  2. i've found helpful to let everyone know that in 5 minutes we are going to do a big group cleanup of the main room. then i yell, "everybody.. PAUSE! time to clean up!" and we race around together and see how much we can get done in 5 to 10 minutes. i do as much as i can while shouting encouragement, describing who is cleaning what in a praiseful voice. sometimes we can do it more than once a day. i try to do a pass through the main floor in the morning before the day starts (i know, dumb because they are about to make it worse, but like you said, the choices are messy or disaster) and another pass through at about 6pm. and occasionally if i have the energy, another one after bedtime. that is exceedingly rare.

    i also use something i read in love and logic, when they ask, "can i do X" i answer, "sure! let's just clean that up first."

    and i have been finding it helpful to clean up their toys with them. i fought this for a while, because i felt that they ought to be able to clean up themselves, especially seeing as they messed it themselves. but they get much less psychologically blocked if i'm helping them.

    with all this, when i have the energy to implement it, my home mostly stays away from disaster and leans more towards "messy that can be dealt with fairly quickly."

    i read a lot about homeschools that have the kids doing rotations of housework and it's actually one of my dreams to implement that. i'd love to train every kid to do the housework and have us all rotate through it, either some each day or a few hours 2x a week.