It is a challenge raising six kids that are only four years apart from each other. Each phase has challenges of its own and requires ingenuity, creativity and patience. Changing diapers and keeping little tots safe in the house was different from the challenge of schooling and chores. I have recently reestablished a strategy that I used when they were young, and it has transformed the way our house is running.
When they were small I lived by the "divide and conquer" method. Setting two at various stations (a coloring table, a dress up room, a painting station, playdough, free play...) kept them occupied. We switched every 1/2 hour. That was about as long as their little attention spans could last. I don't know when I stopped doing this, but I have rediscovered it and "divide and conquer" has once again transformed our once chaotic lifestyle into an orderly and productive home.
The stations have changed: they are now chores, school and free time. Not only do I have time to instruct the two doing school, but the one in leadership doing the chores has had to become a better leader as they are responsible for getting their partner to follow in completing their chore in a timely manner, and I don't spend NEARLY the time settling arguments and counting heads to make sure no one is getting into mischief. No longer do I have to drag the ones away from some project they had begun, because they understand from the beginning they get 1/2 an hour, like everyone else.
The chore list is preset, and the pair with the dishes always has chore first so the kitchen is ready for lunch. Free time has to be quiet or in the back yard in order to not disturb chores and school.
We always begin with Bible reading or studying for AWANAS, taking the time to set the wind at our backs. I have set my jaw to persevere, set times, and set sights on how long and how what will be done, and set out each day. So far it has been a happy new year...