People Say We Monkey Around

I just created a super wonderful chore chart and put it into action this morning. It may or may not inspire the crew to get their chores done, but it sure is adorable. (Ravelry project page here. Because I knit and crocheted elements of it)

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The monkeys were knit following this pattern and the vines were a spur of the moment crochet experiment that actually worked. I used wool felt for the leaves and flowers and I watercolor painted a poster board for the background.

IMGP8820The idea is to have the monkeys climb up the vine (there are seven leaves, one for each day of the week) as each days’ chores are accomplished. The envelopes hold the chore cards – the left envelope is the chore to be done, the right is for when the chore is complete. When a monkey reaches the top of the vine, that kid has earned his reward (Sunday is “movie day”). There are a few other little rules, like what happens when you miss a day, and how to earn extra climbing, but that is the basic run down.

IMGP8819The only problem that I have so far is that everyone wants to have their monkey to play with. So, today I will be knitting some more of these cuties just for play. They are so quick, take the tiniest amount of yarn, and make my kids extraordinarily happy! I confess, they make me happy, too. I think I want a purple one.

 

 

The Wisdom of Mrs. Jo

Each evening we all sit down together and read a chapter of some book. Currently we are a few chapters from completing “Little Men” by Louisa May Alcott, and we are loving every chapter.

Some books that we read are educational, some uplifting, some humerous. This one is inspirational… at least it is for me.

Mrs Jo Bhaer and her husband, Fritz, run a boarding school for boys and the book chronicles the antics and adventures that occur where a group of rowdy yet well meaning boys (and a couple of girls) reside. I love how Mrs. Jo responds to the situations that arise. I love her creativity in discipline, her sense of humor, and her kindness. But what I find most inspiring is her approach to schooling.

The book doesn’t go into it too much, as a run down of the boys’ curriculum would be dry reading indeed, but the glimpses are inspired. Take the chapter that we read last night, for example, entitled “Compositions”. Each child was called upon to report on something that they had observed during the week. One boy had forgotten to prepare and read a letter that he had written to his grandmother, one child had observed moles and reported on what he could remember, and one boy had caught a small owl and shared all that he had learned about it. Each child was encouraged at his/her own level, whether that was to write notes or just recite from memory, and the atmosphere was one of laughter, acceptance, and fun. In a time before TV this was a highlight of their week, a time to learn, laugh, and be together, sharing with each other the richness that they had observed in the world around them.

So, in the spirit of Mrs. Jo, I sent all of my kids outside this morning on a mission. Find something interesting. Watch it, touch it, learn about it. Later today I will help them write out what they observed. Maybe the older ones will get online and expand their understanding. Then, tonight they can share it with the rest of us.

That is far better schooling than the dry workbook pages that we struggled through this morning.

Thanks, Mrs. Jo!

My Day In Numbers, A Countdown

10

phrases that I repeat over and over and over and over and over. (That would be, in no particular order, “Please speak kindly to your sister”, “Just say ‘yes, Mama’ and obey”, “Put the baby down”, “Stop running down the stairs like that”, “Ahh! You just gave me a heart attack”, “No, we don’t flush (fill in the blank) down the toilet”, “Who didn’t flush the toilet?”, “Close the front door”, “I know you are hungry, but you just ate 10 minutes ago”, and (my personal favorite), “WHY?!?”)

9

moments that I wished that I was spinning, followed by getting out the wheel, spinning for 20 seconds, and then remembering why I wait till they go to bed to spin, putting the wheel away, dealing with whatever issue tore me away from spinning and gazing longingly at spinning wheel.

8

“Read it again, Mama!”s that I acquiesced to  before I finally said, “No, I read it enough times today”.

spills to clean up.

6

little people vying for my time, attention, and love.

5

school subjects to cover while I still have their time, attention, and love.

4

phone calls ignored.

3

meals planned, prepared, served, eaten, and cleaned up.

2

minutes to myself. Barely.

1

bedtime routine executed with all diligence and speed on my part, but not really on theirs…

0

times I regretted any of it.