More realistic: My bookshelves have never been all dust-free at the same time, and possibly they have never been dust-free.
Quickest? Give each of seven children a mismatched sock to put on one hand, show them how to go through the bookcases from top to bottom and left to right- lifting a handful of books up a few inches, wiping off the top of the books and bottom of the shelf beneath those books, setting them down and moving over and doing the next batch. Ideally, we work around a room, stop at the end of a reasonable space of time, and then pick up where we left off the next time we dust. You know, the following spring.
Also: Vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment.
I have known people who buy something like these bamboo Roll Up Window Blinds to attach to the front of their bookcases to help reduce dust.
Q for the q & a: How much silliness do you allow from a kindergartener at school time? Things like intentionally answering incorrectly to be funny? I’m not sure if it is her that needs to be more disciplined or me needing to be more patient… Or some of both.
Oh, dear. We have a lot of laughter during our school day. My son is a natural born class clown, and his sister eggs him on. So I asked my three youngest children for help answering this question.
Pip, 24, grinned at her brother and then at me, and said, “It depends on how witty the silliness is.”
The boy, 15, struck a very cheesey model pose and said in a faux deep and sultry voice, “It depends on how handsome the student is.”
“That means none, then, at least from you,” said Pip, and she started tickling him. He was sitting on her lap at the time, which is silliness itself, as he is 6’1″ and very long limbed, and she is 5’2″ and has the shortest limbs in the family.
The 17 year old came through and I asked her- she said, “It depends on your mood.”
As you see, I don’t think I can be of much help with this one.
Favorite books for girls ages 6-8?
These are not all going to be books that every little girl in that age group will be able to read or will love, but they are all books that most of our girls or I read and loved in that age group. I list in no special order these favorites:
The Courage of Sarah Noble, fairly easy to read, great story.
The Hundred Dresses, pretty easy to read, love the story.
Strawberry Girl and other Lenski titles
Betsy-Tacy (Betsy-Tacy Books), and other books by the same author (as the series progresses, Betsy, Tacy, and their friend Tib grow up and eventually get married, so I would wait on the older books)
Dandelion Cottage- Oh, I am so excited that you asked this question, because it means I just found out that this long favorite little girls’ book at my house is now FREE for Kindle. I hadn’t checked in a while, but the last time I did, it wasn’t available online. I love this- it is so sweet!
The Moffats, and most of the other books in this series.
A Bear Called Paddington, and others.
The Plain Princess, yes, this is rare and hard to find and so overpriced, but I have loved this tale since I read it as a little girl and it’s a keeper. Watch for it at library sales or thrift stores.
IVY COTTAGE (Biscuit, Buttons & Pickles) my girls loved this one, and I enjoyed reading it to them.
Baby Island, on one level, it’s a total fairy tale about the joys of raising babies (some girls are ship-wrecked on an island with four babies they have to take care of until rescue arrives, a baby loving girl’s own Robinson Crusoe, but in just a few chapters. On another level, it’s, well, still just a total fairy tale about pre-teen girls raising babies until their mothers can come to get them. But great fun.
The Family Under the Bridge- and others by the same author.
Little House in the Big Woods, of course.
No Flying in the House- so glad it’s back in print.
Also look at years 0-2 or 3 at AmblesideOnline.org, exp the free reading selections.
How to handle chores and what to do when they aren’t done.
Don’t expect what you don’t inspect. This is one of the most important things I have learned as a parent.
When it isn’t done, there should be consequences- no fun stuff until the chores are done.
But also make sure what you’re asking is reasonable.
What do you do when you’re just plain burned out? Crying teething baby, screaming toddler, sassy 6 year old and preteen… I’m just lost, barely getting through the days, counting down the years
Oh, honey. I’m so sorry. This is hard, and I hope your husband is being involved and supportive, but if he’s not, I don’t know what to say.
All the advice I could offer only sounds trite and sloganistic when you’re in that slough of despair (or is it despondence?). Take your vitamins, get plenty of sunshine, exercise, eat right, read your Bible every day, especially Psalms, just put one foot in front of the other, and get through this hour, and then the next one. See? It all sounds trite and actually, I know those things can be very, very, very hard. I had a year where I read through Psalms 20 times, just over, and over, and over.
Find what you need to put a smile on your face, and try to do that, at least once in a while. One of the most helpful things I did one very, very bad period of time was move all the school books to my bedroom, and that’s where we did school. The next most helpful thing was to tell my kids that they were not allowed to say anything critical until they had first said five nice things. I tried to follow that rule, too.
I wish it was easy to hit the reset button and just start from scratch, but it’s not.
how do you manage to keep school done, kids fed relatively healthily, house neat, and laundry done at the same time? Currently, I’m pregnant, but this is a problem all the time
I don’t. I know people who claim they do, but….. I generally don’t have their energy levels, or, the more I get to know them, the more it turns out that we don’t really have the same standards for what those things mean after all, or I get to know them and find that they do not value hospitality or spontaneity as much as our family does, or I get to know them and find that they think five books each is more than enough (and I think 9 thousand is only a little over the top), or I think their kids are actually kind of, well, brats. I learn they don’t cook the way I do. Etc. It’s not that it’s a bad thing to only make exactly five different recipes all month long (or whatever), but that’s not what my family does, and often when we are comparing our selves to others who we think are getting ‘it all’ done- we’re comparing our worst to their best.
And laundry done? Look, you never get that done, unless you’re nudists, because people insist on wearing clothes.
There are things you can do to help, but the best approaches will vary based on you and your kids and husband and what works this year may not work next year. Pick and choose:
Lower your standards. I know cleanies who gnash their teeth over this advice, but I am a perfectionist, and my standards were ‘If my window sills are not clean enough to do surgery on them, they aren’t clean, and if I can’t get them that clean, I won’t start.’
Simplify- get rid of stuff, including clothes. Get rid of busy work and focus on meaningful work for school, the work of the mind (not workbooks, not busy work, not messy, time consuming unit studies).
More shortcuts, especially when you are overwhelmed
Don’t miss what the other four moms have to say: