Monday, October 29, 2012

Home Apprenticeship {Mindful Mothering Mondays}

"I could never homeschool.  That's awesome that you do, though."

We're in the waiting room at ballet, watching our pint-sized ballerinas through the window.  I reluctantly lift my eyes from Dinah's porte de bras to meet her gaze.

"Oh I'm sure you could.  It's not much different than regular parenting, really."

She's not readily convinced, shakes her head and gestures.

"No, no, no.  With the kid's home all day?  I could never get anything done."


It's Sunday and I'm washing up the last of the dishes.  Cake baking in the oven, bread dough tucked snugly into pans, vegetables and macaroni and cheese waiting in the fridge for their turn to be cooked for our weekly family meal.

Outside, the hum of the mower and I see my 9 year old walk past the window, throwing the bulk of his thin 9 year old frame against the weight of it.  Behind him walks his Dad, my husband, just a few steps.  Close enough to step in to correct and instruct, far enough to let his son learn on his own.

My toddler comes running in from outside and I set him up with a dishcloth to dry the pots and pans for me. He's quiet and content on his little stool, occasionally looking up and asking me if he's doing a good job.  I apply praise liberally and his face is all light and smiles.

It gets me thinking of that conversation last week at the studio.  How does one get anything done with five kids in the home all day every day?  To be sure, some things can be quite a mess.  But the basics?  They get done.  Laundry, groceries, meals, schooling, all happens just fine.  Maybe a bit more hectic than if they weren't here, but I wonder if that's a bad thing.

In the past 200 or so years, it seems we've forgotten how to "get anything done" with children around.  Certainly some people still have it figured out.  Drive out in Amish country and you'll see a Father plowing his field - with 2 or 3 youngsters tagging along and helping.  Regular families used to be able to do that, too - incorporate their children into the daily running of their homes and lives.  Children learned by watching and working alongside their parents - important skills.  Parents didn't view their children's presence as being burdensome or exasperating, but rather another aspect of the job - training the next generation to work.

These days, it's easier to turn on a video for the kids while you are making dinner, or do all the chores yourself because it's more efficient and orderly that way.  But perhaps this is robbing our children of something very important?  

Homeschooled or schooled, it doesn't matter.  Incorporating children into real life begins with the home life and how we allow them to apprentice along side us, yes, even if it means a bit of a mess in the kitchen, or laundry not folded exactly right.  Perhaps his mowing isn't in perfect straight lines, but it certainly never will be if he isn't given the opportunity to try.  We also need to get away from viewing "work" as a dirty word and something to save our children from.  Teach little ones to love work by allowing them to help when they are little and still want to - and raise up a crop of hardworking adults who get the job done.

It's a lesson I'm still learning when I'd rather just buzz through these 3 loads a day and not be bothered teaching the 5 year old how to fold Daddy's shirts.  Or when I really just want to get these loaves in the oven and not let him help me knead.  But I know it's all a part of the job - a very important part.  Perhaps the most important part.

Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper (Proverbs 13:4 NLT).

How are you apprenticing your kids?


{It's Mindful Mothering Mondays, a day to take a deep breath and write out your mothering journey, whatever form it takes. A day to link up for encouragement from others who are in this same phase of life. A day of writing out the trials and triumphs and what you're learning right where you are, right now.

You might post recent struggles or thoughts. Maybe just a picture or a quote. Or maybe you'll just come here and read the links that others post. Whatever form your participation takes, this is a day for you.
We are all in this, together. Together, we can encourage and build one another up, be honest with our shortcomings and strengthened by community to keep fighting the good fight.

I chose Mondays because what Mama doesn't need a little encouragement on a Monday? As such, I'll have the link up ready to go on Sunday night for you to begin submitting your links.

I hope you'll meet with me each Monday! Here's what to do ~

Link up your post below. Remember to put the link to the exact post you want to link, and not just your blog url. Include in your post a link back here so others who want to join in can find us! And visit some other Mamas who have linked up.

Post the community graphic within your post, so people who are reading your Mindful Mothering post can come back here and find the rest of us!

Invite the writers of your favorite blogs to join in!

Share this meme with others on facebook and twitter. This community is for all moms, and the more that participate, the more we will be able to enjoy!!}

Grab the graphic here:

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or follow me by email at the top right hand of the screen to have future posts sent to you. 



  1. O mY! Such good words!
    I was just talking to my husband about this new generational thinking of "saving our kids from WORK" It's awful!
    On another yet simular note:
    I had two mothers say TO ME yesterday "I would never have FIVE kids I could never get anything done & we would never be able to go on all the vacations we go on" I have five kids...strange that people think its okay to say these things, but thats besides the point...I agree with you, sometimes it is hard to get it all done...but the basics get done and I wouldnt trade my 5 kids for more vacations or luxury any day!
    Life is supposed to be "good hard work!"

    1. Thank you for your comment, Rebecca! Work is an important aspect of life that our kids need to succeed, for sure! Keep up the good work!

  2. i grew up in a family of 6 homeschooled kids and--sinful me--i always sort of looked down on these moms who were exhausted and desperate with only one or two kids. i have eaten my humble pie: i am that exhausted, desperate mother. i have two boys 1 and 2, and a baby on the way. little boys are hard! the 2-year-old has finally gotten to the age where he can help with little tasks, though, and it is good for him--and me. and he loves it.
    thanks for your words. :)

    1. Those years with only little ones are so very hard! Hang in there, it really does get better! And blessings on you pregnancy!

  3. Another Rebecca here wanting to send a big thank you for this post. You always speak right to the heart of what I am dealing with. It is amazing your wisdom and maturity. Truly beyond your years. You inspire me to do better, everyday. Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much for that encouragement!

  4. Yes, yes, yes, I totally agree with you. In fact today my little man took part in the vacuuming of the house, the pizza dough making for dinner, a baking session and drying the dishes. He loves to help, it does mean it takes a little longer, but having him by my side is worth it. Thanks again for your wise words.


Thank you so much for stopping by! I love hearing from you! While you're here, don't forget to click "subscribe"!