SOOOO many ideas…so little time?

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  • waynesweakervessel

    I have 7 children but only 4 live at home. When my big kids (upper teens now) were little I worked and we were up and out the door and the house didn’t get dirty. Now that we homeschool and we’re having another round of kiddos I feel SO overwhelmed. I feel like I can’t get “it” together! I have my 16 year old daughter at home and then my new little ones that we’ve had after our reversal… 4, 3, and 16 months. There are so many ideas that I am excited to implement with my “new” batch and I’m SO excited to learn with them. But… I can’t even get my thoughts together and organized about all the CM ideas… OR my daily chores. I can’t keep up with them already… How in the world am I ever going to educate them even using the relaxed method of Charlotte Mason. We are in our 8th year of homeschooling but the big kids started with School at Home and then we evolved into a Lifestyle of Learning and about a year ago I found CM! The big boys are in college now and doing well so I know this homeschooling things works but… I just can’t seem to get past changing diapers, picking up toys, keeping 2 toddlers and a baby busy!!!! Any help ideas? Notebooks for notes? Please help me get both my homeschool ideas and my homemaking organized!!!!! – – – Brenda in E. Central MN


    Dear Brenda,

    Breathe!! Is your 16 year old pretty much independent? If I’m counting right, that leaves the 4, 3, and 16 month old children to teach, right? If I’m correct, then I would get a copy of Sonya’s Laying Down the Rails and start working on habits. Good habits will allow things to go so much smoother later on. Then I would make sure to read Scripture and some good books to them, and get them outside every day.

    I would build my schedule more around the home needs than academics (allowing for your daughter, of course). I would routinize everything possible (we have a routine for getting up/before breakfast, before lunch, after lunch, before dinner, after dinner/before bedtime). can help here as well. For the tiniest, we have made photo charts for some of the routines with a photo of them getting dressed, brushing their teeth, etc. and posted it in the hall.

    There are a lot of “I would” in this post-I do not mean to lecture! I was just thinking about what ‘I would’ have changed when I had mostly littles. As with anything, you will want to take it to you husband and the Lord in prayer first. Also, this can be a time of prayer in order to seek out God’s direction for your family amid all the wonderful ideas.




    Thanks for the encouragement Cindy. We are beginning to work on routines and habits so I guess we’re on the right track 🙂 I feel like I have millions of snippets of ideas from all my reading that I’m trying to hang on to so I have it when I need it in the coming years. I’ve begun to take lots of notes but they are chaotic to say the least. Any ideas on how to organize all the ideas from SCM, Elizabeth Foss, Karen Andreola, Catherine Levison, various websites, various seminars, and CM herself? I feel that you need to glean from many sources and then take that information and make it personal for your individual family. I’m having a hard time with all the ideas swirling around in my head so that I’m not able to concentrate some days on the routines even. Am I loopy and/or loosing it???? Am I the only one that has struggled with this starting out? It isn’t complicated but it seems to be more intregal than just the school at home workbook approach. Am I making sense?? Brenda


    You are making perfect sense, Brenda!

    You are not loosing it; but you may be a little loopy right now. 🙂 Too much in our heads does that. Remember that Satan loves confusion; he is the author of confusion and wants to diminish the impact our ministry has on our children.

    I know it’s hard; we want the very best for our children, plus everything seems so valuable and enticing! Right now I have a 4yo (number 8). I’m thinking she will be the last one (I’m 49 so that’s likely!) and today we finished a Bible story book. The thought flashed through my mind that went something like this: “What if I don’t get it right with her! She is my last chance to do things *JUST RIGHT*.” Talk about LOOPY!

    At any rate, I dare say that if you were to just pick one thing to do faithfully it would go farther than all the reading you could do. We know that God’s word is sufficient and so we move from that basis knowing that everything else we come across is a blessing; not a have to. It is also easy to spend so much time planning and thinking that we forget to just enjoy our children (speaking from some experience here!).

    God’s injunction to live a quiet life is important. So much of what we are as a family we grew into; it takes time for God to mold your family into what will work for ya’ll. That’s why habits are so important. I continue to stand in awe of what God can do with hearts that are yielded to Him. And that is what I have noticed most about the habits; it is a yielding of one’s perceived rights to do the right thing. As we teach the little ones to lay down their ‘rights’ God gives them a better thing and they learn to see God in their circumstances.

    I did not know this when I had all littles and so I’m somewhat waving the warning flag for you now. We have older and younger ones and it is so difficult to train habits to so many; especially when bad habits need to be rooted out first. I also continue to ask God to relieve me of my heathen philosophy of education! 🙂 – seriously!

    As for studying, my one suggestion might be to choose a subject or one source to concentrate on. Take narration (or SCM!), since that is so prevalent in CM’s teachings. Read what you can; taking only notes that really strike you, not trying to rewrite the book or article (personal experience, again!). I’m not sure if that is a good suggestion, it just came to mind. Better yet would be to read something and then narrate it on paper for yourself!

    I will pray for you!




    That’s funny! When I tried to type a number 8 with a parenthesis after it, it makes a little fellow in sunglasses!



    In regards to all the information you’re gathering, what I found helpful was to set up a binder with tabs and I keep each subject organized separately. I make sure to keep lined note paper in each section to write relevant information. It’s so much easier to find things this way. My children all know where to find “My Charlotte Mason Binder” when I need someone to get it for me. 🙂

    Two things I am finding that really make a difference are: to have a schedule and as Cindy mentioned,to work on one thing at a time. Not a schedule to rule our day, but a schedule to put order in our day. Just be sure to tackle one thing at a time. I went from no schedule to a full one and that in itself can be overwhelming. As an example: try family prayer at 9:00 for a week, then keep up with that along with adding read aloud time at 10:30 for a week, then keep these two and add a third in of nap/quiet time at 1:00 p.m. for a week, and before you know it, your day will have some much welcomed routine to it. I can’t express enough how much my children prefer to be on a schedule. It really affects them if there is no structure – discipline becomes a dominating factor because they don’t know what to do with themselves.

    In regards to the housework, what I have found best is to schedule your chores. Figure out what you would like done throughout the week and when the best time is to schedule each chore and focus only on those chores for that particular day. Anything else that seems out of place can wait until its scheduled day – FREE your mind from it. As an example: On Monday, I balance the checkbook, clean the bathroom and make sure the mirrors and TV screen is free and clear of finger prints. On Tuesday – vacuuming, dusting one of the rooms (each room has its assigned day), and cleaning the windows are scheduled. On Wednesday (we have a lighter school day) we clean bathroom, de-web, clean garbage cans, take garbage out, change bedsheets, and do laundry. And on goes the week with its scheduled daily chores. I don’t do ALL of this, each family member helps out (those that can). I even have a monthly and yearly chore schedule for those things that need less frequent attention. This relieves the mind from having to think of all that needs to be done. Only figure the “must’s” for chores. The wish list can wait, your sense of peace should not.

    How silly of me, I should just tell you how I learned to do things like this. There’s a gem of a book out there (no longer in print, but you can still find it) by Denise Schofield titled ‘Confessions of an Organized Homemaker’. This book, along with another she has, titled ‘Springing the Time Trap’ have made a huge diffence in my life. You can most likely find them at your local library. Be aware – ONE THING AT A TIME. She has so many wonderful ideas that are manageable but only if you try changing one thing at a time.

    One last thing, insist on down time every day because us moms NEED it. Even when they get to the age that they are not napping regularly, we still have rest time. They must be in their bed resting their body. My four year old only needs a nap every other day, so he gets to “read” quietly the other days on his bed. Everyone knows this is ‘quiet time’. (I have a 2yo, 4yo, 7yo, and 9yo.) Now don’t be tempted to do your chores at this time because it is ‘quiet time’ and that means for you too. 🙂 Our mind and body need a break – put your feet up and relax.

    O.k, I’m sorry. I only meant to share about my CM binder and suddenly everything comes pouring out. I’ll be praying for you. You are not alone.

    Cindy, I personally thank you for your wisdom! Thank you for sharing – you always keep things in line with Truth. God’s continued blessings upon you!

    Rebecca 🙂


    Rebecca, thanks so much for your post. I am not the original poster, but I benefited from this discussion anyway. I have 4 childre, (14,12,5,and 3)and I just never seem to be caught up. I bog down with the details and can’t see the big picture. Making a master chore list is a perfectly fabulous idea and my kids would certainly get into that. The boys love to mark off what they’ve done and to know what they still have to do before free-time.

    Raising them for Him,


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