“lead me to the ROCK that is higher than I”. . .The season of ALONE

“If we lose the house. . .then Billy loses all sense of security and later, never have a relationship. . .so he’ll just spend his whole life just alone.

There he’ll be, just alone, nobody with him, just like a bum.”

   One of my kids’ favorite movies, “Fun with Dick and Jane” outlines an upper middle income suburban family who suffers the wave of events caused by a corporate implode and instant loss of income.  My kids like it because it makes us laugh even when we ourselves have suffered through that particular season of “alone” in losing everything.  Granted. . .my husband and I picked ourselves up, dusted off and started all over again without resulting to thievery.

We laugh at the scenes because we finally found a moment when someone, even if they were fictional, realized our past struggle.  Which was very real. . .very hard. . .and YES very, very lonely.

a   l   o   n   e

Being alone- isn’t that what we fear the most?  Being alone, lonely, excluded, set apart, rejected, misunderstood, disliked, invisible.

Why? God said from the beginning in Genesis that is was not good for man to be alone.  He Himself sets the lonely within our hearts by creating us to be in constant search of . . .HIM.

So let’s just skip over the causes of lonely, the outcome and the struggle and hop right into being satisfied with the company of the one and only. . .the creator. . .our Lord and Savior. . .the Great I AM!

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret.  The short version (and we all say. . .yay!).  Every single one of us will one day or another go through a season of ALONE.  A season where we are either all alone or have fallen into circumstances which set us apart from the average, the herd- so to speak.  Sometimes this is by our own doing and sometimes God leads us beside those still waters just He and I.  Time alone. . .together.

God who whispers in my ear. . .”let’s take a walk. . .just you and I. . .for I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you. . .YOU are my child.”

The question is. . .in those times. . .is God enough?  Is it satisfying to say, take the entire world, my belongings, my life Lord and give me just Jesus.  Well. . .is it?  For you and I most of the time the answer is a sobering NO.

The addict, the depressed, the OCD, the busy “I don’t even have time to sleep.” For those of us who are human- we fill the empty, the “alone” to fill the God given void that can only be filled by HIM.

“O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.  My heart throbs; my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes- it also has gone from me.  My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my nearest kin stand far off…But for you O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer. ”

Psalm 38:9-11,15

I live in the country, have five homeschooling children and am in the process of adopting.  I guess you could say I stand in the season of Alone frequently.  I have found that I tend to grab my masonry tools and erect walls of solitude when I feel the world doesn’t see as I see, or understand what I’m going through.  Those are the moments I’m brought back to God who whispers in my ear. . .”let’s take a walk. . .just you and I. . .for I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you. . .YOU are my child.”

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4

we can stand in the alone without being lonely.

The Valley of the shadow of death.  Yes, been there.  The sorrow over a failed adoption. . .yes.  The loss of a job. . .oh yeah.  The perils of family who doesn’t understand. . .um yep.  Disease, illness, loss, torn relationships. . .been there. . .done that. . .and yes, it felt alone.  But God. . .oh, yes. . .I’m throwing that back in all of our faces again and again.  But God!  Yes, we need relationships as God intended.  Yes, the Lord wants and gives the desires of our hearts.  But this broken world leaves us empty always wanting to fill and we can stand in the alone without being lonely.

Sometimes God sets you apart, or gives the season of alone to free you up to be with Him.  To seek His Face. . .to turn to Him and be filled with him and him alone.

When drifting in the bog of lonely or suffering a season of ALONE. . .cry out to the only one that can fill you.  The only one who understands what it is like to truly be alone and be forsaken.

therock.1

“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.  Let me dwell in your tent forever!  Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!  Selah

-Psalm 61:1-4 

Tis the Season. . .

“Jake, if you’re alive, wiggle your toes.”  The foot that emerged from my burrito wrapped teenager extended from the thick blue comforter to reveal five wiggly piggies.  “Awesome!” I thought.  He’s alive. . .it’s gonna be a great day!

Yes, some days, this is my standard as a mother.  There once was a time when I would pat myself on the back for simply feeding my children three meals a day.

That moment in my life was busy, stressful and rather than trying to accomplish it all and go insane, I decided to embrace the season and ride it out.

Seasons…we often forget the importance of the changing from one into the other.  How our stages and struggles in life mold us into the beings we were created to be.

But How do we get through the hard season carrying joy inside our hearts instead of enduring
without hope?  How do we relax and enjoy the good seasons without the worry of the impending hard- looming around the
corner?

1. We know that each Season comes from God.

And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth
kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to
them that know understanding: Daniel 2:21
 

When we understand this detail and embrace that God is sovereign; and the complete authority on each season of life.  We can turn to Him; and rather than simply endure, we know there is a purpose to our seasons of suffering.

God blesses us with both the good and the hard.  We all feel the blessing of the good season, but the hard?

Some seasons are short-lived while others seem to be life lasting.  Illness, disability, death.  These seasons don’t always end with healing on this earth.  But understand. . .it is a season.  We live for life eternal.  Our time on this earth is a mere season.  The healing often comes when one enters the kingdom of Heaven.  Some suffering is over as one passes into life eternal with Christ.  For the bereaved family, your season of mourning is new.  And although you may never end your mourning, you can rest assured that your suffering through sorrow and tears can turn into hope and abundant joy as you grab on to God and let him lead you through to the next season. . .the next chapter in your life. 

2.  We have hope as we know Seasons are always changing. They come and go.  Yes. . .they GO!

“This
too shall pass”

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat,
and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Genesis 8:22 

When in the middle of a trial, stress, or plain exhaustion, it’s hard to listen to the advice that says, “it will get better.”  We
don’t know God’s timing and therefore riding out bad seasons seems endless.  We tend to even cringe during the good
seasons just waiting for another bad one to come by.

For instance. . .the Texas Summer.  I hate it!  Anything over 80 degrees is hot to me.  So, you can imagine how miserable I am at 116.  The past three years have been almost unbearable here on the Ranch.  We’ve endured serious drought and temperatures higher than normal during the hottest part of the summer.  And each year, it seems to last longer and longer.  Around mid August, as we’re watering cows, watching crops burn and trying to work around the heat of the day. . .it’s hard to imagine it will be over soon.  It seems endless, tiring and for the most part. . .discouraging.  Many cries go out to God during the summer
in Texas
.

Just when I think I cannot endure one more sizzling day. . .we get the first signs of relief.  The evening temperatures begin to drop.  The scalding sunlight is shortened, and then before we know it. . .we’re turning off the air conditioning and searching for sweaters.  Indeed, the changes happen, but it’s not always abrupt.  The Lord leads us from one season to another.  During those days of testing in a Texas summer, I cling to God.  My prayers are urgent, heart felt, honest and pleading.  I see my dependence on God and His mercy and Grace.

3. We know that each Season has a purpose. Both the good and the bad seasons of life.

We also have GREAT seasons of joy.  Seasons are not always suffering, but adjusting.

I remember my first year homeschooling the kids.  I was six months pregnant and was teaching fifth grade, first grade, and kindergarten.  I had Hyperemesis which is severe morning sickness that lasts the entire pregnancy and it’s effects can be quite serious.  This was a “season” in my life that wasn’t entirely suffering, but for me, letting go of my daily control over a life that
was so obviously out of my control.

This season in my life led to discouragement.  I hardly kept a properly cleaned house.  I lived in a fog because our nursing baby
would never sleep.  I found that I didn’t even have time for devotions.  My prayer life seemed more like an SOS.  I was so
very tired and felt like a failure in every aspect of my life.

And then the words I so longed to hear.  “This too shall pass.”  A matured mother of a friend just hugged me
and smiled as she quoted that simple phrase.  If I could just see that moment of my motherhood as a season.  A time when I didn’t need to get all the laundry done. . .a time when I could count on paper plates and accept the messy as momentary.  I was merely in a
season.  A very busy season with littles. . .littles that can wear you down.  No help nearby, it was a time to cling to God.

Cry out to Him for even what seemed to be the simplest of requests.  “Lord, please let me find clean underwear
today.” 

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven;

Ecclesiastes 3:1

The joyous season can just as easily be dreaded by those always looking over their shoulder for the bad to come.  Embrace this God given rest in your life.  Thank God for the ease of a season to enjoy Him and his goodness and Grace…always knowing that walking with God also means suffering with Him.  The hard will come.  And you will be just fine because it is God planned and He will guide you.

Right now, I am in a season of waiting on our Adoption.  Instead of concentrating on the actual wait and forcing myself into discouragement. . .I’m chosing to focus on God during this season.  Learn all I can as I know this is God breathed.  When you turn your focus on God, it’s amazing how far you fly from discouragement and are drawn into God’s great season of life.

The season of busy, the season of tired, the season of financially poor, struggling relationships, new beginnings, empty nests, new
adventures, chapter endings.  God designs and cares for each of these seasons.  Our job is to find Him in each one and cling to the Joy that comes from learning more about him and growing closer with each twist and turn.

And let us not be weary in
well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

-Galatians 6:9

The “HOW TO” of Homeschooling Multiple grade levels. . .

The number one Homeschooling question I get over and over again is “how do you teach five different grades at one time?”  Oh that’s an easy answer. . .I don’t!  I’ve been homeschooling for over seven years now and I must admit that during the first two years, each semester break, I would research local and even not so local schools.

I started my first year of homeschooling mimicking the traditional classroom.  Actual school desks, a blackboard, maps, number lines, and an alphabet serving as a wallpaper boarder of both print and cursive had overtaken my master bedroom. 

It’s very difficult for those of us who grew up in a traditional schooling environment to actually imagine that learning can be accomplished without being institutionalized.  But not only is it possible for a child to learn outside of the classroom it has been
proven that they actually will remember what they’ve learned better than those students in a traditional school.

Quality VS Quantity

The secret to accomplishing all you have on your homeschool schedule with multiple children is scheduling quality time and making use of resources on hand.

Although repetition is key to ingraining lessons on our children’s brains, it is not necessary to complete formal curricula lessons each and every day to drive in that repetitive ideal.

Curriculum: I use a modge podge approach in teaching.  I use My Father’s World as the umbrella of our curriculum.  This is a wonderful Charlotte Mason, one room schoolhouse approach that allows one mother to teach many children of different ages at one time without running back and forth between different historical periods, science experiments and geographical
maps.  There is one common core; and each child has a lesson book that helps them learn on their own level.  This next semester we will be returning to “Creation to the Greeks” for the second time.  And I love it!  My children study Greek and Latin and have learned to play Chess while traveling through the Bible and Apologetics.  Sounds hard?  Once you get the hang of it, it really isn’t.  It’s fun because they are interested in what they are reading and not just studying to take a test.  The other thing I love about My Father’s World is that I rarely have to purchase materials now since I bought them all during the first four years.  They are re-usable!!!

Math U See is our primary Math program.  Once you purchase the teachers manuals and DVD’s, you will only have the need to
purchase new lesson books with the next child that comes along.  Math U See uses a tactile approach and teaches math- building the next objective once each step is mastered.

Spelling U See
is a new Spelling program through the same creators of Math U See.  In the past I have used Spelling Power for our older children.

Handwriting without Tears has been excellent for our left handed children and those who hae naturally messy handwriting.

Using Your Resources:

Homeschoolers today have a wonderful resource in the Tablet and laptop.  For Christmas and Birthdays, we purchased IPad Mini’s that were already opened for a discount.  Downloading Applications to keep that repetition using fun games is a must for our family.  While at the doctor or riding in the car, our kids can use their devices to keep their lessons fresh in their minds.  This is a perfect tool for our Right-brained children.

Don’t have a tablet? You can still supplement through Netflix which offers a number of supporting videos for Science, History and Math.  By “supporting” I mean once you’ve introduced a topic. . .check out what movies/videos they have about that topic.  Watching it makes it come alive and things that are alive are remembered!

Not wanting to come up with your own lesson plans?  That’s ok, online help such as Easy Peasy is a great way to start without breaking the bank.

1. For the computer, IXL Math and Language Arts is a wonderful and not very expensive online tool that all of the children can use
on their days when I’m not one on one with them or on a day off.  They can also use the Application on their devices for practice tests. Each child has their individual tab that tracks their progress.

2. I also like using Geography, Grammar, History, and Science apps to drill concepts learned.

3. Check out Bestappsforkids.com for additional support such as “this is my body,” “slice fractions,” and “splash math.” I particularly like using the Ipad’s for Geography.  These 3-D maps are fun as well as informative.  If you own anything Microsoft, you can use the same app on 5 different devices.

Scheduling your week:

I have five children, grades 11, 7, 6, 3, and Kindergarten.  I also run a home based business here on the farm all along while maintaining my writing.   Add the usual household duties and you can see why there is a realistic need for a workable schedule.

I don’t teach one on one with all children every day.  That would be insane!  Instead, I like to have 2 quality days a week with all of our children introducing new lessons, concepts and answering questions and then schedule 2 days where they can study and review on their own using work book pages, reading stories, or using their electronic devices to make what we just learned interesting and come alive!

Here is how we tackle our weekly schedule.

The boys get one on one instruction on Monday’s and Fridays while the girls get one on one instruction on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  They tackle seat work and drills on alternate days.  Wednesdays are OFF!

The boys schedule
(grades 11, 7, and 6)

Mondays and Fridays
are dedicated to one on one teaching time with our boys.  This includes subjects such as: Language arts, Geography/History, Science, Math and for the oldest. . .an elective. During this time with the boys-The girls work on a few pages from workbooks
such as handwriting/spelling and then use applications on their Mini’s for other lessons.

Balance Seat work and actual teaching:

-I start off the week with History for the younger boys while the oldest is doing Science on the computer.  This gives me a chance to introduce a lesson to the younger ones while the oldest is reading.  History lessons include lots of reading, question/answer pages, and internet searches to gather detailed information.  In My Father’s World, Geography and History are all covered under the same set of papers.

-Then while the younger ones are answering History questions, I’ll explain the Science lesson or experiment to the oldest.  We use Apologetics for Science which includes a lot of reading.  For some of our children, they simply get lost in the mounds of papers.  So we have found the audio reading cd that comes with the Apologetic curriculum serves them better.

While Monday’s are dedicated to all History and Science; we take Fridays for all of our Language Arts.  I introduce a new lesson
to the younger ones while the oldest is engaged in his Literature reading.  It’s important that as they grow, the children learn how to comprehend what they’re reading and learn to do seat work on their own.  But on Monday and Fridays, I am right there to introduce and explain each lesson as well as answer questions on hand.  Our Language Arts consists of Spelling, Vocabulary, Writing, Reading/book reports, and Grammar.  We also use Thursday’s as Math drill days.  Each one uses the Math U See website’s drilling tab to constantly review math facts.

Tuesday and Thursday:

-These days are dedicated to one on one instruction time with the girls.  The girls’ curriculum from My Father’s World is independent from the boys.  Because they are in the stages of learning to read, write, and study, I spend more time with them on their days.  I’ll start the oldest girl on her lesson and then while she’s completing her assignment, I’ll switch over to the youngest.  We balance reading, writing, Math, spelling, and Science.  History will come later.  Right now, our History is the Bible.

So what are the children doing on their OFF days?

Good question.  No matter what the day, we start off each day in the living room. . .usually in jammies, doing a Bible study and prayer time.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are Math days for the boys.  They do their Math assignment and then complete whatever reading/writing assignment I have given them the day prior.  Then on Thursday’s they add Math drills.

Many of you may be concerned that the children only seem to study subjects once or twice a week.  Subjects such as Science and History.   Whatever concept they are learning on Monday, they will review all week long using applications on their devices.
This drills in the lesson and they retain much more than someone who has spent all week answering questions and reading lessons.

For our children with ADD tendencies- we have learned to keep lessons short and break often.  Our actual schooling hours are from 9am till 2pm.  That is five hours of studying with a few small breaks in between.  Lunch is usually taken during an elective course or while I’m reading aloud the book of the week.

We take off on Wednesdays!!!

We only school four days a week.  We do not have to waste time:

-getting all dressed up for school, pack a lunch, eat a fast breakfast, and commute to school.

-home room time and time wasted getting everyone to settle down in the classroom.

-standing, waiting, walking in lines.

-Wait on others to get the concept before moving on

-studying for standardized tests

-taking standardized tests!

We do more in our
four days than most do in an entire week!
 Wednesday’s off means the children can sleep in while I have my weekly quiet time.  I
can catch up on any lesson plans needed to get me through to the next Wednesday without sacrificing my weekend with the family.
Having a break in the middle of the week also means I can schedule any errands or doctor’s appointments without breaking into our study time.

We love this schedule of learning and it has faired better than our usual conquer every subject every day.  Having supporting applications, websites, video’s and online drills allows our children to be constantly learning even if I am not available for one on one instruction.  They know what to expect and they know what I expect from them.  The consistency keeps us on track and keeps me from feeling overwhelmed that we did not cover a particular subject each and every day.

Happy Learning!

“When you smell smoke. . .look for chicken”

“What do you do when you smell smoke?”  This was just one of many routine questions our Pediatrician asked our children during their annual check up appointment.  He just wanted our children to understand basic safety as part of his care.  So, along with questions like “what do you do if your clothes catch on fire?” and “what do you do first when you get in the car?” he asked about what do you do when you smell smoke in the house?

Our 13 yr old son in his sarcastic state answered, “Look for chicken!”  Sarcastic but true.  It’s not a secret in our home that I tend to
put things in the oven and walk away in effort to multi task- leaving many frozen dinners, bacon, open-faced sandwiches and. . .oh yeah. . .chicken subject to be burned.  I do believe my children have never had pizza from the freezer without it being slightly burnt.  “Maybe they’ll think that’s just the way freezer food tastes?”  I use to think to myself.  But, clearly at this doctor’s visit. . .I was
made aware that my children were very aware that food should not be burned.  They were missin’ out.

I just smiled and internally rolled my eyes at our son’s response.  He’s sarcastic and painfully honest.  That’s Jacob.  That’s how the good Lord made this sweet child of mine.  And after waiting for him for almost four years. . .I’m thankful for every little sarcastic breath.  Well, almost.  There are times I’ll say, “not now, Jake.”  He knows when to back off.  He is unlike our other four children.  I
think people. . .most importantly, parents, forget this key feature in God’s creations.
  God created you individually. . .YOU!  In families we tend resemble each other in both actions and looks, however, there is only one you.  And there is no one like you.

There is only one Jacob Lamgo. . .and he is not like my husband or myself or even my other children.   And that is what puts me in awe of our Heavenly Father.  He places each of these little people in my life and although I did not expect what I got, I admit I got much more than I could have ever dreamed.

I am raising five children with five very different purposes in life.  All uniquely designed by God to further His Kingdom.  This purpose differs greatly from one child to the other.  I think this design and purpose sometimes gets detoured in our minds when a child turns out different than the picture we created in our minds well before their birth.

That moment for me started early on in my parenting.  About 10 seconds to be exact.  It was a warm July evening in Colorado- in the hallway of a hospital during a tornado when God let me know that my life and the lives of my children were His and my plans didn’t always match up with His plans.  Our oldest was born that night premature, blue and not breathing.  His little face was lifted up to mine just before they rushed him off to the NICU.  He looked like a tiny little bird that had fallen from the nest.  Skinny, blue, and barely alive he differed greatly from the expected chubby, pink cheeked bundle I had envisioned.  He was Andrew. . .and there is none like him.

I tried to mold that little man into what I desired him to be.  He became more than I could have possibly imagined and for that, I am truly grateful the Lord had His way and my vision faded.  I think we try so hard to create the children we want and not the children they were born to be. . .so much in fact that we are faced with labels, depression, and even suicide because society and even parents state that they are not what we expected or envisioned.

Today is our son, Matthew’s 12th birthday.  He is precious and I cannot wait to see the journey God has for him.  It took our own journey to understand just how precious these little ones would be and how loving them means leading them back to God and letting them go.  Letting go of the future we had in mind, the personality we envisioned, and embracing their natural talents and gifts from God instead of trying to live or relive our own childhoods in a matter we wished but never lived.

Not every child must be a ballerina, soccer player, or straight A student.  Why does this bother so many parents?  I think it’s their own set of ideals they battle within that makes them force the life they deem ideal for their children.

For me, as I stood at the casket of our second child, William, my eyes were forced open into a new reality of “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.”  Words from my Heavenly father reminding me that the children given to me while on this earth are His. . .not mine. . .and He does whatever He pleases.  Who am I to stand in His way?  Who am I to argue with His design?

Embrace the individuality in your littles.  Embrace their talents, gifts and even those things we translate as a challenge but God created as His perfect design.  When the fork in the road changes your course, your dreams, your desires…your way…you get to release your grip, open your eyes and thank God that you have been given this job for a little while and let His will direct you.  It is the best parenting tool I have been handed over the years.  It is the only tool you’ll need.

I don’t measure our children’s success against other children or even my own ideals.  Because there is none like them.  They are five separate individual lives walking a path laid by God and on a journey to their eternal Home.

So when one child answer’s the question, “what do you do when you smell smoke in the house?”  You understand that there is not just one correct answer, but perspective.  For us. . .we look for the burnt chicken.

3 Simple Tips to keep your House full of Kids CLEAN

With five kids, a dog business, and one always dirt-covered Cowboy Husband. . .it’s hard to keep a clean house.  We have a saying in our house, “One MOMMY!”  I taught it long ago back when we had just three kiddos.  It means, there is just one mommy and I can’t do everything, be everything, or be everywhere at one time.  Our children have learned to take turns, pitch in and most importantly. . .to have patience!  They have also learned that team work is the best way to clear up our schedule so we can have more mommy time, more play time, and more down time.  

With a large family comes a large mess!  If we all pitch in. . .it gets done faster!  I’ve learned many tips by trial and error, and other momma’s who have been there and done just that. . .raised a house full of kids.  My disclaimer. . .we have had many periods in our busy life that have left us with a messy home for the record books.  During those last months of pregnancy, illness, busy schedule or simply feeling down, I have let my house go.  The only way to feel successful during those stages was to watch an episode of Hoarders.  Remember, we all go through seasons.  Do NOT let the stress of needing to maintain a perfect home wear you down.  Everyone. . .I repeat. . .Everyone has had these moments and everyone has had that moment in life when you just pray someone doesn’t visit unexpectedly.
These are my top 3 tips on how to keep things picked up on a daily basis to ultimately avoid the pile up mess.
1.  Grab a Condiment and Go!
  This one is from my neighbor who raised 5 boys on her own.  We homeschool, which means we have three mealtime opportunities to mess up our kitchen.  The rule stands. . .everyone is responsible for cleaning up their area at the table!  You made the mess. . .you clean it up.  After each mealtime, before we excuse ourselves from the table, everyone is required to grab just one condiment or extra item from the table and put it away along with their own plate, cup and silverware.  Each person takes their plate, scrapes it off and places it in the dishwasher.  For our family, we use paper plates most of the time.  So our kids just throw their plate in the trash.  We also keep our Clorox wipes on the kitchen table lazy susan.  Each child is required to grab a wipe and clean their area before leaving the table.  When mealtime is over the table is spotless and everything is put away.  After dinner, I put away the leftovers, place the cookware in the dishwasher and turn it on.  Then I’m off to the living room to cuddle with the family on the sofa.  I do not stay in the kitchen and work after mealtimes.  I just don’t!
 
2. Every Man- For- Himself Laundry
  Let me emphasize that we have 7, that’s S-E-V-E-N people in our family.  And with daily farm chores, you can only imagine the laundry we pile up.  I hate laundry!  There, I said it!  Now before everyone tells me how to better organize my laundry room, laundry sorting and folding techniques. . .let me remind you that we have S-E-V-E-N. . . that’s “7” people in the family and over the past 18 yrs of being a parent, I’ve tried everything.  What works for one family may not work for the other.  I have no problem sorting, loading the washer, transferring to the dryer and back into a basket.  It’s the folding and putting away that prompts me to re-start the dryer 2 and 3 times before emptying into that basket.  Yes?  Sound familiar?  See, I’m not alone am I?
So we have 7 days in the week and 7 people in the family.  Hmmmm. . .how do we work this out. . .A few important SUB points . . .
 
Each person has a color coded laundry basket in their room.  A tall circular basket is for dirty laundry.  A coordinating rectangular basket is for clean laundry.  Mom-white, Dad-black, Andrew-red, Jacob-Blue, Matthew-Green, Melissa and Jessica-Purple.  Bathroom laundry is in a wicker basket.  You dirty your clothes and put them in the tall basket!  check!
Next, we assigned everyone a day for THEIR laundry.  Monday is ME plus any towels, sheets, and misc.  Tuesday is Matthew, Wednesday is Melissa and Jessica, Thursday is Andrew, Friday is Jacob and Saturday is Daddy!  Sunday is usually my day off or reserved for emergency washing!  Yep, we get emergency laundry.
TEACH everyone how to do laundry!!!  I grew up doing laundry every Saturday.  From the time I could walk, I was gathering, sorting, or folding laundry.  If they can walk. . .they can do laundry.  (Just remember to keep laundry soaps, dryer sheets, etc up and out of reach of the little ones.)  Each person learns what can be washed, dried and what needs to be separated.  We do this by giving everyone a “special” small basket in the closet for “specially washed” items.  If it can’t be washed together, dried, or must be dry cleaned. . .they learn and put it in this basket.  Mom helps with this basket.  Everything else gets washed together!  YES, together!
Wash, Rinse, Repeat!  Well, almost.  On your laundry day- you load the contents from the basket in the washer. . .add soap. . .press the buttons.  Simple!  Then you transfer to the dryer. . .even more simple. . .then. . .wait for it. . .wait for it. . .you remove the contents from the dryer and transfer those clothes to your basket!!!  Yay!!!!  Almost done.  Next, the chore for that day (yes, the kiddos have chores too) is to fold the contents of the basket and put them away.  Then the next week you do it all over again!
Lower your standards!  This is a huge one. . .my kids fold their own clothes.  Which means, we have nice piles and sloppy piles.  It gets better with time and instruction.  But I will take a sloppily folded pile of clean clothes over a laundry room piled high with baskets of clean laundry that ultimately ends up back on the dirty floor ready to wash all over again.
                  
3. Divide the house into ZONES and Conquer!
I actually started this one back when I had three boys and one little girl on the way.  There were periods after her arrival when we had help. . .but ultimately, this zone-style cleaning has kept me sane!
My house is divided into 4 zones.  The layout of our home when you enter the front door is the main living room/dining room/ patio room all in one view.  This is zone 1.  Zone 2 is the wing with the children’s rooms and Bathroom.  Zone 3 is our Kitchen, hallway that splits off into the laundry room and pantry. &
nbsp;Because the kitchen has most of the tile in the home, we choose this day to mop all the tile.  Then the 4th zone is our Master bedroom, game room and guest bathroom.
– We tackle weekly chores by spending 4 days of 15 minute clean ups of these areas.  With 7 people, we can get it done in 15 minutes.  With a smaller family, you may need to divide into more zones.  Just keep it to 15 minutes or you’ll lose the consistency and soon burn out.
-Each Zone has a basket of cleaning essentials specific for that zone.  Let’s take Zone 1.  The kids are assigned areas in that zone and know what cleaning tools we use for that zone.  We have a cleaning basket with Pledge, duster for high items, dusting rag, glass cleaner, scentsy refills, trash bags and replacement light bulbs.  We also bring an empty basket for misplaced items not belonging to that particular zone.
 **Our order is the same no matter where the zone: pick up trash first,  then any dishes or kitchen items, next gather any laundry/blankets/pillows, put toys and games where they belong.  That is the “pick up” stage.  Then we dust, shine, vacuum, replace any light bulbs, scentsy refills, or trash bags and we’re done!  Yes, it takes just 15 minutes when each person is assigned a chore and they have learned to do it well.  We set a timer and quit when it rings.
**We clean zone 1 on Monday’s.  Zone 2 on Tuesdays.  Wednesdays are off.  Thursday’s we tackle zone 3 and Fridays we tackle zone 4.  Saturday and Sunday’s we do NOT clean unless we are doing a project or have had to bump a day for a schedule conflict on the calendar.
Our Home is well lived in. . .and we like it that way!  But we also need to make sure our guests can differentiate between the house and the barn.  So, we’ve adopted a few of these daily techniques and have found them useful for our particular family!  Find what works for you and stick to it!  Make it yours and embrace the “mess” that comes with family.