Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Wants

I want this.  I want that.  I don't want that anymore, but I really want this.

Were your holiday's filled with children who couldn't make up their minds?  I finished my holiday shopping before December even started.  It's what I do.  I don't like the end of the year being a burden on the pocketbook.

We have a rule.  October 1st begins "Don't buy anything for yourself" days.  Anything hinted at or looked at longingly beginning on this day is fair game for gift giving.  Dear HUsband screwed up this year about bought something he though was innocuous but I had bought him a better version for his early december birthday.  I made a big deal out of it for 2 reasons.  First, no fair ruining my present idea.  Second, it is a rule for a reason.

A few days later I bought a 4 loaf baking pan for myself.  Apparently the girls paid too much attention because the next week they wanted to spend their money on something they just couldn't live without.  Luckily for me it was not something already purchased and waiting to be given.  So, they also got to break the rule.

Next year:  The Rule is The Rule for a reason.

During this time of marketing nightmares, our children learn the wrong lesson.  I am trying to decrease the "I want" lesson and focus on the "what can I give to someone else" lesson.  It probably did not help that this year they shopped for each other and dad via the computer.

Don't worry, I learned my lesson.  Next year, I will brave the Christmas decorations out in October and Christmas songs blaring through the store speakers in November to try to teach my children that Honoring our Ancestors comes first, then Thankful for our Blessing, and finally Generousity toward our Neighbors.

At no point in our holidays is I must have this because the marketing campaigns said I need it.  Easier said than done, but one day when I teach the real meaning of Christmas and the Santa torch is put away, I will have the Christmas I want.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Room Cleaning and Donating

Often I get tired of the state of my children's rooms.  Just today, I took every toy that Sugar owned that was not in the right place and piled it in the middle of her room.  Ginger and I then helped her sort things to their correct homes. The entire time I stressed that she didn't have to keep it if it was too hard to put away after it was played with.  We made a donation pile for things that she no longer wanted and a trash pile of things that didn't rate high enough for a home.

I have done this on several occasions. My children know what is expected of them and have gotten much better about putting things in their homes.  They still are not 100% accurate and things clutter the closet floor like normal.  But when Ginger sees me gut Sugar's room like we did today she takes it upon herself to straighten up at least a little more.

Ginger has been warned that her room is coming soon.

My children also are used to purging their stuff to make room for incoming holiday gifts.  We talk about who might get the stuff they no longer want and how it is time they let someone else love their dolls and toys for a while.

When I told the girls to come help in Sugar's room, Ginger said, "Oh, yeah, it is time we do this again.  It is almost Christmas."  So we did.  I was unaware it had so easily become a tradition.  I was also pleasantly surprised when it only took 15 mins.

Now one of their rooms is clean enough for cartwheels.  (Ginger tested it out for me. Repeatedly)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Get a Job!

As many of you know, my children have recently started earning money to help pay for a trip they planned for next summer.  They are selling baked goods and art and doing fairly well.

I'm using this as a lesson in money management and the value of time and the dollar.  Yes, as a homeschool teacher I like to get my value out of every activity.

The girls have recently gotten jobs.  Actually, each week they pick a different job.  They have been Chefs, Musicians, and Meteorologists so far.

I do not believe in paying a child for chores.  Chores are something you do because you are a member of the household and need to pull your own weight and help keep clean what you mess up.  So the job idea was a way to pay them an allowance for actually doing something above and beyond contributing to the family sanity.

As a chef, Sugar decorated her own apron.  Ginger decorated an apron and has started her own cook book.  She already helps cook a meal each week.

The week they were meteorologist they compared the weather for the same day but for 5 different years.

Being a musician for a week helped Ginger learning to listen and separate out specific sounds from her favorite songs.  Husband is thinking about buying her a guitar for her birthday, so expect more musician job skills to be learned.

The girls get paid the same day husband does.  They each get their age in dollars twice a month.  They get to put half of their earnings in their piggy banks and the other half they put in the bank.  Ginger fills out her own deposit slips.  We are keeping a bank book at home so they can balance it and see how much they are saving.

I have dreams that my children will never overdraft an account and that they will be pros at saving for that car they are likely to want in the future.

I wonder what career they will try on next week.  I wish it would be museum curators, they need to organize their rooms better.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Learning Patience

Some things take a long time.  That is a fact.  It is a hard one to learn and one of the ones we need to teach children at a young age.  

Sitting and waiting is boring.  Sometimes we have to wait for Nurses, or for a movie to start or for our meal to arrive.

Books take time to read, some more than others.  Games take time to play.  Food takes time to cook.  Some times a very long time.

What better way to teach a lesson like this than with a cool treat at the end to reward our patience?  

We have attempted rock candy several times and never had it work out well because we tried to rush it.  It takes time to stir the sugar into the water.  You have to stir and add more sugar, stir and add more sugar. It seems endless to me and I am no longer a child.  Then you have to boil it for longer still.  And just when you are finished playing with the scalding sugar solution it is time to pour it into a flat dish and wait for DAYS.  It is an excruciating process for a 4 year old.  

Neither child wanted to continue to stir.  The first 5 mins was fine.  After that it was all me.  I almost quit.  I'm not the one who wanted the sugar crystals, after all.

When we were finished on the stove we poured it into flat dishes to let it sit.  Each day the children would break the surface crystals only to find more watery ones.  The children eventually lost interest in breaking the crystals.  I tired of, "Can we eat it yet?"

I wasn't looking forward to the sugar rush in the first place, so we almost gave up again.

Finally, one morning the girls broke the sugar crystals and there was no more water that needed to evaporate.  This was it.  The moment that took us 7 days to get to.  Sugar Rush Day.

The children were ecstatic.  I was surprised they made it that far.  Persistence and a nice payoff at the finish line and all things are possible, even for a 4 year old.