1. How do you cope with 4 children? We now know of so many families with 7 8 9 10 children – but the amazing things is I had never heard of modern families with more than 4 children until about 8 years ago. 3 used to seem BIG. I understand why people ask this question. I struggled to cope with one – I struggled to find time to shower, to make lunch and supper and to do anything other than look after baby when there was the first little one in our lives. My answer is – you learn to cope one at a time – first you learn to cope with 1, then 2 then 3 then 4 etc. I take my hat off to parents of twins and triplets but even then – you grow and you learn to cope! It gets easier as your family grows and as you grow and learn from all the amazing parents who have gone before. That would be the other part of my answer: learn all you can from those whom you admire who have gone before. God gives us His amazing grace and His strength when we are weak. It’s not meant to be easy – but it’s so rewarding.
2. What is the gap between your adopted son and your youngest daughter? It’s 8 months. We found out about 2 days before our adopted son was born that I was pregnant and we were so excited. We knew without a doubt that we wanted our adopted son and that he was born to be part of our family. God created him with this in mind. It was wonderful to be pregnant before he came so that nobody could say he was our “second choice”. Oh, and yes, it was hectic! The 8 month gap meant 2 babies with different needs at the same time – many, many dirty nappies and lots of getting up at night. My hubby was wonderful and he got up for our son while I got up for our daughter. They were just far enough apart to need different food and drink at different stages which was challenging too. It was also wonderful though because they could entertain each other and be the “little ones” together.
3. How do you keep your children quiet in the church service? (we don’t send our children to ‘children’s church’)
- We don’t only want our children to be ‘quiet in church’ but we want them to be active participants and to enjoy learning from God’s Word so we train them at home – we have Family Bible Time each day. They learn to sing, to memorize scripture and to listen to Daddy teaching from the Bible.
- We sit near the front – less distractions and closer to the action
- We don’t EVER take them to play at the back – that is not an option.
- We have a bag of swag… gorgeous “quiet books” my Mom made for the two littlies (no books or pictures that detract from the sermon / focus at church), a piece of paper to draw on, the older 2 have notebooks to write and draw in or sometimes a picture to colour. Sometimes they write key words from the sermons and make tally marks to help them learn to listen. Our goal is for them to learn to participate more and more.
- If I am desperate and really struggling with the little ones, I will pull out a dummy / blanket or a few nuts to nibble.
- We are still a work in progress on this one and we always try not to be a distraction to those around us.
It helps so much to have a pastor who is happy to have the children in church with us (but doesn’t talk down to them or give them watered down versions of the gospel like we believe children’s church often does).
4. How do you find time to make meals, homeschool and clean your house?
- Being a wife and mom are my priority. Then homeschooling comes next. I DO struggle with time for making food and cleaning as – but I feel that its okay to struggle and grow in this and we are living the way we believe God has called us to.
- I involve the children as much as possible in whatever I am doing and although this slows me down (not something I adapt easily to) it has endless value in their lives and characters.
- I try to alternate having an easy quick to cook meal e.g. steamed vegetables and grilled fish / with a meal that I have prepared over the weekend and frozen. Being organised and planning my menus in advance helps – I get this right about half the time but its improving. I also like to do one or two steps towards a big meal each day so that its easier on the day to complete.
- I clean little bits whenever I can grab a moment. See point no 5.
5. When do you clean your house?
- I do one big thing in chores time each morning in addition to starting lunch, helping the little ones, washing some dishes, etc. Big things include: cleaning a bathroom, vacuuming the bedrooms, etc.
- We all help with a big clean on Saturday mornings for an hour or so. We all have our different jobs and work together as a team. The children are all still very young but do make a great contribution (under supervision).
- Many things don’t get done but that’s just the season we are in – the same goes for the garden – but that okay because seasons change and we are doing our best.
6. Will you homeschool all the way or just for lower grades?
We will homeschool all the way. Its our whole way of life and is not just a “substitute” for school for a few years. We don’t believe the fallacy that you can’t homeschool a high school student effectively – we believe it can be far more effective. God has given us a wonderful vision for our children and for our homeschool and we are working hard to that end.
7. What curriculum do you use?
At the moment we use a combination of many (the best of each for us right now):
- Rod And Staff for Social Studies
- Bob Jones Maths
- Christian Liberty Press for Phonics and Heritage Studies and some Preschool Activities
- Common Sense Press – Red Book, Yellow Book, etc. for English Language Arts
- Sonlight for Science and some Read-Alouds
- Vision Forum to supplement History and Science
- Gutenberg for some Read-Alouds and History.
8. What happens when your children want to go to university?
- There are options: exams to be taken at the end of school that can be prepared for in the last few years of schooling, either for the SA environment or international exams. There are courses of study that can be taken from home as an extension of the homeschool environment.
- Although we both went to university we have come to see that the environment that we were in is not the best as far as Godly living, and that a university degree is often not necessary for a career. We are raising our sons to be the breadwinners so that their wives can have the freedom to raise and nurture their children full time, and preparing our daughters to be wives and mothers who do not need a career to stimulate them but rather recognise the purpose and blessing of motherhood that I did not know when I was young. That does not mean that they wont want to pursue learning – they will be able to do this from wherever they are in life not necessarily from University.
- We love learning and are raising our children to love learning, and that doesn’t stop after school or university.
9. How do you fit in grocery shopping?
I do bulk shopping once a month on a weekend or online for organic meat etc. and then twice a week I go to the grocery store as we eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables – I go on a Saturday and once midweek when my hubby has his hour of science experiments with our children (a great blessing
10. Do you use a schedule?
Yes! I never used to enjoy schedules but I have come to value the concept hugely and even enjoy it. I was first introduced to the concept by Teri Maxwell in Managers Of Their Homes – our scheduling has grown and changed. I love the way it keeps us all on track, helps me to harness my heart and to focus my time. It also helps us to fit in everything we want to be doing! Also when I am feeling tired or run down its so much easier just to do the next thing on the schedule than to have to think of the next thing to do! Our schedule is computerized and I revise and reprint it monthly making small changes but leaving the big rocks in place. This has helped us to tweak things to what works and also change things according to the season of life and the year that we are in.
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13 v 34
TEN THINGS We Love About ‘Read-Aloud’ Lounge Time
TEN THINGS We No Longer Value and What Has Replaced Them
TEN THINGS about Family Fun Night
TEN THINGS “I Do Notice, Mommy”
TEN THINGS about Geography with Little Ones
TEN THINGS To Do with Edible Seeds
TEN THINGS to Help You in the Kitchen
TEN THINGS About My Days