"I would ALSO like to know how you balance homeschooling the older girls
and have 2 (and hopefully more) under 2?! I can't imagine! I get
overwhelmed taking care of my one dog!! Hahaha."
And here are the strategies that make this possible:
1. First, Brandon's shift at work is three days a week. He does 3 thirteen hour shifts and he is done. All three aren't in a row. He has 2 days off in a row, works one day, off a day, works one day, off a day, works one day... and then it starts over! On the days that Brandon is home, we use what Brandon's calls Zone Defense and Offense. LOL! It's no longer Man on Man! This means that Brandon holds down the fort with the Littles while I do school with the Bigs or vice versa.
I have an incredible husband that insists on us sharing household/childcare responsibilities. I used to feel guilty that I didn't work outside the home but yet I didn't solely do all of the household and childcare duties, but over the years Brandon has convinced me that this is okay. :)
For instance: Brandon loves to cook. So the days that he is home, he usually cooks. I love to clean bathrooms and I'm obsessive about vacuum cleaning. I can fit an amazing amount of dishes in a dishwasher and yet I handwash pots and pans very quickly too. Those things are mine. :) Brandon and I share changing diapers, getting Littles dressed, feeding (except for nursing!), bathtime, playtime, etc.
2. Usually our homeschooling is done in the afternoon.. and coincides with an amazing phenomenon called Naptime. This, of course, only happens when I'm not pregnant, nursing, or sick. If I am pregnant, nursing, or sick, we school in the morning and I nap when the Littles do. *gasp* If we aren't having school that day, the girls are required to have Quiet Time. They can read or look at a book quietly. This assures that the girls are quiet enough for Naptime to occur.
3. Homeschooling doesn't take us near as much time as other schooling. Usually Lainey can knock out her work in about 3-4 hours. On days that she really applies herself, it can be much less.. or if she digs her heels in, it can be longer. Kindergarten took Lainey about 1.5 hours of formal work (max!!!) Of course, we had other "Activities" that tricked her into thinking she was playing and she was really learning. I'm sneaky like that and I'll trick Julianne the same way! Brandon and I believe that keeping school short and to the point, has really given our children a LOVE of learning. And that is one of our long term goals.
4. We also believe in delegation. The girls do their fair share of chores around here (and when the boys are old enough they will too!) We recently gave the girls new tasks after they begged for more chores. I have fabulous laundry folders/hangers now. The girls also take care of things like taking clothes to the laundry, sorting loads, refilling the diaper stacker, refilling the diaper bag with diapers, wipes and clothes, unloading the dishwasher, unloading and helping put up groceries, etc. Many hands make light work. The children don't do their chores at the same level of thoroughness I do, but they are learning!!!
Of course, the social worker got a much more succinct answer.. but I did touch on each of these thoughts. She seemed satisfied.
PS: Like the new blog header? Anne-Holly surprised me by putting this together after a short Facebook Chat session. :) Thanks, AH!