Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Did you know that our family has lived at or below poverty level for US standards for years? And yet we have never gone hungry and have an abundance of clothes (no matter how I feel picking out a church  outfit on Saturday night!). Not only that but our home has always been filled with beautiful things that we love and our children have always had way TOO MANY toys! Despite that fact they always want more. They are always bored. And I'm always tripping on toys and nagging them to clean up. 

Then I read a very interesting article I found on Pinterest. You can read it here: 

So I decided to finally do something about the great toy trap our kids had fallen into, and on Saturday I sorted all of their toys and boxed almost all of them up according to their type. Role play/dress up went into one box, cars into another, action figures another, and so on. I found all the pieces to those little play sets and gave them their own individual bag or box. Then I stacked all the boxes neatly into the closet and told the kids they had to have permission to get anything out of a box. Their room looked like a very different place! Plus instead if buying a new one, I ended up being able to remove a bookshelf which had previously been cluttered with toys and use it for our school materials. 

So have they been bored out of their minds? Have I already given in to their pleas to open every single box? No and no. If fact they have only asked for one thing out of a box, and I was able to very easily take out that one thing for them to play with. Then they used it in a creative way for several  HOURS. They were not distracted by the rest of their stuff; they finally used their brains to really play

I had placed all of the books in an easily accessible place and what do you know? Ryland and Piper begged me to read book after book Sunday night. 

Last night Ryland got out some of the few toys I had actually left out (I ran out of boxes, lol). He got so quiet that I went to check on him and found him playing "cowboys and family" with our Little People play sets. Later he sat for another hour just building with simple blocks. I hated to drag him away from his play so that he could get a bath. 

Then this morning the kids got creative without toys. They grabbed my easel clips, some paint brushes, and some sticks then went on a hunt for bad guys and dinosaurs with their new guns. 

I love seeing the wheels in their head turning. I love seeing them catch bugs--we currently have a pet caterpillar and grasshopper--and play in the dirt. I love seeing races across the yard and hearing raucous laughter erupt. I also really love not risking life and limb to walk across their floor and not becoming angry with them for having a messy room. I'm hopeful that having fewer toys will be conducive to this vision I have for my family. So far it seems to be working!

Now to work on my unnecessary attachment to MY clutter! Maybe if I clean out my closet I'll be more content with my clothes? = )

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Higher Intelligence?

Today Jathan created some phases of the moon cards. I was going to review with him by calling out the name of the phase and him picking up the corresponding card. "Let's play a harder game," he said. "You don't say it, I'll just pick one." 

"You want me to just think of one and you try and guess what I'm thinking?" I asked.

"Yeah," he said. 

"Okay," I told him, "I will concentrate on one moon phase and you guess which one I'm thinking of."

I then focused on picturing one particular moon phase and repeated its name in my head. Guess what? He guessed each one correctly? Coincidence? Maybe. But it was cool at the time! 

Just don't think too loud around him just in case.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Nature Study

Lately I've been intrigued by the Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling. There are many things I could say about it but for now I only want to mention how lately we've delighted in the nature study it encourages. Jathan is forever a boy after my own heart--we share many thoughts and interests including exploration, and it has been wonderful seeing him enjoy learning. Both Jathan and Keeleigh have nature journals and are beginning to sketch and label their observations. Today while Keeleigh was at a friends house the younger kids and I went outside to explore the backyard; we each took a camera. Here are a few pictures of things that caught my eye.