School after breakfast: English

When the chores are done and Audra is down for her nap, and if it's a Tuesday, Thursday or a Saturday, Ella and I work on an English lesson together.

We use Rod and Staff, and we really like it.

One of my favorite things about Rod and Staff is that the text and exercises are based on Bible stories and there is a focus on character traits we value: obedience, respectfulness, cheerfulness and hard work.

I usually have Ella read her lesson to me, and then we go over the instructions together. Then she works independently until she completes the exercises. (Maybe 20-30 minutes.)

After I get Ella working independently, Isaac and I do some Kindergarten work together.

This is where it gets a little tricky with Adelia (and Audra if she happens to be awake). I don't think we have a good system for this time of our day yet. All I know is that Adelia When Ella and Isaac are at the table, she would like to be right there beside them. If they are holding a pencil, she would like to be holding a pencil, too. As a matter of fact, that very pencil Ella is holding!

We've tried different things. Sometimes I pull her onto my lap and try to school with her there. Except for the thing about Adelia is that she does not sit still for longer than 45 seconds. So then it becomes a battle to keep her there.

I've had her help me with things in the kitchen (washing dishes, cleaning up, etc) so that we can be near the table. I've had her in the Ergo at different times, but she doesn't always want to be there for long. I've set up the pack-n-play near the table, but that's usually a battle, too- and then I feel guilty for containing her when she was just strapped into her seat for all of our breakfast school time.

There are times I release her and Isaias to "go play nicely together" (which is brave of me to hope for, truly)~ but it works sometimes. The thing about that plan, though, is that they have to go downstairs because I don't want them playing in the living room because they'll get too rowdy and noisy for a napping Audra. So then they're completely out of sight so I end up being really distracted with checking in on them.

More often, lately- we all move downstairs. The negatives are that we're away from the table and the dry-erase board, and we're in an area of the house that has a lot of toys, which can be super distracting for Ella and Isaac.

The positives are that my light-sleeper of a baby can have an uninterrupted nap, I'm not as frazzled trying to keep everyone quiet, and I can see and hear everyone.

It's a little crazy, though. I am increasingly aware of how patient both Ella and Isaac are. I can't tell you how many times I've said to Isaac: "Okay, I'm ready to do some Kindergarten with you now! Can you bring your pencil and book to the table?" And he scurries off excitedly to do so and then tells me he's ready and by that time I'm changing a diaper or dealing with a discipline issue with another child and then I'm answering a question of Ella's or thinking: "Oh, I have to photocopy that page from his book" so I go to do that and while I'm there I throw in a load of laundry and then I remember "Aack! I haven't taken out the meat to thaw for dinner", so I do that and I pass Isaac at the table and realize I've forgotten all about him. There he sits, patiently waiting. So I tell him, "Just a minute, budders. I'll be right there" only to hear Audra cry or Adelia yell or whatever and on it goes.

This is our life. I'm so thankful for how well the kids have adapted to this season of life with its unique challenges. I know they will be all the better for it.

Coming up: Kindergarten


  1. These narratives from your days have been a real encouragment to me! I have felt a little down about our school days the lack of smoothness with two in school and two littles at my feet. After a day of distractions and noise and school on the floor, I feel like maybe I'm not cut out for this. (Of course, I know I AM cut out for this, but it sure doesn't feel that way sometimes.) It is so refreshing to know there are other mamas in the same season of life with the same challenges.

  2. I appreciate your transparency! It is so nice to know I am not alone in this season. I do anxiously await the time when my children will work mostly independant. I love Rod and Staff as well but sometimes find it really difficult for them to do alone.
    Check out Steve and Teri Maxwell Managers series. The schedules have helped me tremendously and have allowed time for laundry and dinner prep!

  3. Stacy,
    This post is *exactly* what my heart needed today. I was having this kind of morning...or really I just keep having it over and over again and I find myself getting so guilty about dropping the ball...not meeting the needs of my kids' little hearts, just being frazzled in general,etc. It means so much to me to read this and see over and over again the love in your home and have some assurance that our kids too, know they are loved and love being together and sharing in this crazy life. Thank you for your words and the glimpse into life there.

  4. Oh, thank you, sweet girls, for your comments! I'm so happy to know that sharing our craziness can bring encouragement to others! It is nice to know there are many of us in this same season. My friend Amy and I say to each other about 35x per conversation: "This is just a season..." And I say it to Mark, too~ when we're weary (which is often!) I keep reminding myself to do the best I can, with God's grace~ until we make it to the next one! And oh, aren't there so many joys in this one, though?!

  5. I read this and thought, is she peeking in our windows? LOL. Nice insight about your son's patience. My six year old is extremely patient as well as he waits for mommy to get it together.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  6. Love reading about your lovely family. You are a true blessing.I just wanted to stop by to wish your family Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. I totally echo what everyone has said! I only am schooling one and have two younger, but especially the nap time stress of wanting everyone to be entertained yet quiet as not to wake sisi! Thanks for the encouragement!


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