So moving on to the fun stuff quickly - because I really do need to go score that schoolwork... Miss Macie is growing .
That little chunk-a-monk is five months old and weighs almost as much as Hayden. And she TALKS. Like nonstop, always shrieking and babbling and telling the world how excited she is to be in it. Melts.my.heart. I get to keep her overnight for the first time, as Jo and Mo are moving to a different place. Josiah brought her into the house and immediately Hayden ran over (yes, he runs now) and started yelling May Mays !!! She is pretty popular around here :)
Other news :
We've settled in nicely to a new school routine. I am so thankful to have kids who are self-motivated to get their work done each day. This did not happen overnight. It took years of establishing that a) school work has to get done every day, and b) they have to stay on track without me constantly supervising them, if homeschooling is going to work. And I do mean yeeeeaaars. People ask me all the time how we are able to get our kids to do schoolwork ... how do they stay on task and get along and how do I not lose my mind daily?
I don't have quick fixes or simple solutions, rather the same principle that we apply to every area : lots of prayer and lots of structure and lots of love.
Sometimes things get totally crazy, and Sam calls a family meeting before bed, where rules are established and things brought back to center. We air our griefs, we come up with new strategies for handling the chaos that is sometimes The Rice Ranch, and we make a plan. We are not always 100% successful at mastering that plan, but at least we have one.
Also : we pray daily for our kids to have a love for learning and a willingness to cooperate. If they have a heart for those two things, we can overcome any challenge. I have kids who are not as good at staying focused as others, but if I see in them a love for learning, I can redirect them as many times as needed, until they get their work done. I have kids who struggle at math or don't enjoy reading like the others do, but if they have a willingness to cooperate, then we can find a way to plow through the challenges they face.
And what I have found is that my kids need a LOT of firmness (NO, you may not check your email real quick before getting on your math) and a LOT of love (I see that you are struggling at your writing assignment today, let's sit down together and help you catch up) to keep everything running smoothly. Praise and tenderness and understanding can go a long way with a child who is easily distracted. I can't tell you how many times I have seen one of my children turn around, as far as attitudes go, when I praise them in front of their siblings for doing well on an assignment, or studying quietly and nicely. Sometimes the children who seem the least "focused" are really the ones who just need a little extra love and attention to help them grow and mature. This doesn't always happen instantly, but over time I've seen my difficult children (yes, we do really have some of those) thrive under lots of encouragement and praise.
Okay, well Macie and Hayden both decided that Lily going down for her nap (don't you sleep in your apron ??) would be a great time to wake up from theirs. So my mini essay on homeschooling and what's new with my grand baby will end spontaneously right now... if you have any questions on homeschooling you'd like to see answered in a blogpost, leave them in the comment section.
Happy Thursday !!