Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Building Projects Work for Us

I'm linking up with Our Busy Homeschool again this week for Sharing What Works.

I spent awhile thinking that this week I'd be sharing that bribing works, however, it seems that building projects works for us too. Don't worry I'll post about bribing our kids next week (I'll have more "data" on it anyway by then lol). 

Some of you know that the home we moved into back in May needs re-modeling. And you may have seem my previous post about remodeling our kitchen and nope, it is not 100% completed yet since we haven't found that exact paint color we want in a price we're willing to pay. We've replaced a door, worked on the roof, and done a few other odds and ends so far. On a limited budget there is only so much that one can do at a time.

My husband and I have also been sleeping in the living room on the couch bed (with our mattress not the couch bed mattress) since May. We both have sore backs and restless nights because of this. There was no privacy because of course the children wanted in the living room even in the middle of the night. This week we all pitched in helping Daddy build the new bed frame for our room. Tuesday night was the first night we were able to sleep in our own room with the door shut in the dark. Thank God (and hubby).

When I say we all pitched in I do mean all of us, including Peanut. She handed Daddy screws, helped hold up boards, and supervised all of us. Mommy and Daddy both used the power tools and both of the Cracker Jacks helped out with everything from screws, to holding, to leveling, and measuring. It is true that many hands makes light work. Daddy didn't put his plans on paper, they were all in his head, so we just followed his lead and did what he said (that's one of the rules we have around here when it comes to things involving power tools, electrical, and vehicle maintenance). 

The whole construction process took us two days or so. The bed is so tall that the posts are over Peanut's head and even Daddy (6'2'') can't reach the floor with his feet when sitting on the mattress. Involving them in this process not only made sure that they knew how important it was to us that we get in our own room, but it also gave them valuable life skills. Cooperation, instruction following, team work, tool usage, and more. We also spoke a lot about privacy and why everyone needs it. 

We gave them all jobs that we knew they could handle safely, taught them about eye safety when a saw is operating, and explained why it's important to listen to the "Foreman" of a construction site. You'll notice there are no pictures of us sawing or using other tools because it's not safe to distract people with flash cameras while they're handling tools. 

Have you ever tried to do a construction process with children under foot? If you have you know just how problematic this can be. If not, then you'll just have to trust me. If you don't give the kiddos something to do then they will bother you, they'll get under your feet, ask a bazillion questions, complain that they're hungry and bored, and generally annoy you ... all that distraction can (and has) lead to accidents with power tools. So, the next time find some way that they can "help" or barring that some way that they can be involved or close by but safe. I know a friend of mine who's one year old wore ear muffs and played in her playpen on the other side of the room, with toys that she hadn't seen before, while her parents installed new wood floors in their home. They were close enough to help her if she needed it but she was distracted enough not to bother them too much. (Her ear muffs helped with the noise pollution that comes with construction of any kind.)

Since the parents are now in their own room (YAY!) on the other side of the house from the kiddos we purchased a couple of decorative night lights so that if Peanut needed us she could find us. Her vision problems are pretty bad and getting worse every year, without her glasses she mainly just sees blurs, those two little lights help her more than you or I can really know. She tried a walk through Tuesday night, while Mommy watched, without her glasses. Satisfied that she could do it she gave me a quick kiss and headed off to bed. Last night she reminded me to turn on the lights before going to bed. We're considering purchasing a baby monitor used because there are some nights she's disoriented when she wakes up with a migraine and she'll just holler for us ... we can't hear her from our bedroom even if we leave the door open ... we've tested it. In the mean time ECJ and YCJ are pretty good about coming and getting us if Peanut wakes up (they did this sometimes before we could get out of the bed while we were sleeping in the living room) and we're both up very late most nights so before we go to sleep we check on all of the children.

I often forget just how many things my children can learn from pure experience. I get caught up with the book learning and handwriting practice, swim lessons and other stuff to simply stop and look around at everything they're learning every day just from doing. A good friend of mine (@ Learning Life with 3 Sons ) reminded me of all sorts of wonderful things that are going on in my home, she gave me a lot of ideas just the other night on things I could post here about. I owe her a lot, love her bunches, and thank her for the inspiration when writer's block had me down. This post is owed to one of her ideas and to a couple of you readers who are friends with me on Facebook who asked about posted pictures of my new bed. I love you all.

** For those wondering if we're going to put some kind of finishing on all that wood ... well, we just don't know yet. We're not sure if we just want to seal it and keep it looking natural, or stain it and seal it, or simply paint it. I'll share a picture once we do decide in some future post but I don't know when.

I'm very honored to have been nominated for the Best New Homeschool Blog category in this year's Homeschool Blog Awards. Voting is from now (back at Nov. 4) through Nov. 18. You can vote once a day in every category on each of your devices that can access the internet. Please use the link in this paragraph to go and vote, even if it's not for me ;-) .

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  1. Chrystal,
    I'm one that tends to shy away from kids helping in construction type projects so your post is a great reminder to me. I know they can help safely and learn. I know they want to help. Sometimes I just want something to get done I think I will be checking with my husband to see what his upcoming projects are around the house and yard for winter to plan ahead on involving the kids. Thank you for linking up!

    1. Thanks for providing the place to link up! Until we moved here I was really worried about allowing the kids to help with this kind of thing. It quickly became apparent that if I wanted any peace while we were doing a project that the kiddos were going to have to be involved somehow. Sometimes the project does take just a little longer than we thought it would because the kids are helping but the aggravation level being so much less is worth it. :-)

  2. Chrystal,

    yeah, sometimes it's just easier to do things yourself. With the kids, everything takes4X as long. With that said, I think it's really important that both boys and girls learn how to fix a sink, change a lightbulb - you know the basic things that professionals charge $150 an hour to do. We have to learn to be self reliant - I think it's so important. You don't want them to grow up always having to call a plumber to snake out their sink.


    Great for you, and thank you so much for sharing this on the homeschool link up!