One of my online students happens also to be the mother of eight. How does she manage to feed them, school them, and prepare them to accompany her while she exercises?
Here’s how in her own words:
“This is the precursor to getting my sons to go on long runs with me. The little boys run laps through the backyard. They are supposed to do 10 laps, but I basically keep them going for 10 to 15 minutes while I get breakfast ready. Then they come in and alternate doing pushups and sit ups. They are always so grateful for whatever I make for breakfast. (This morning was 22 fried eggs and a dozen toasted English muffins). As a result, they are generally calmer, more able to study and need less correction throughout the day. Our oldest son "taught" us this when he was five. He told me, "You can send me out to run some laps now or I'm just going to need to be disciplined later!" It’s amazing how much better boys do if learning is somehow paired with sweat and muscle burn!”
By her own admission, she cannot claim to be super-creative naturally. One of the most helpful habits she has developed to assist her as a parent is to read autobiographies. Arnold Pent in his book Ten P’s in a Pod discussed how he and his brothers ran a lot in their youth and how that helped them become close as brothers. Moreover, being tired out physically assisted them later on in life as a help/preventative for combating the temptation of sexual sin. My student, who had run cross-country while in school, enjoyed running, so she utilized all she had learned so as to ready her sons to join her on long runs.
Experienced homeschooling moms do not try to transform their energetic little boys into being little girls, the way that public education does. By keeping their eyes on the goal of producing godly men who will rise up to the challenges our world faces, these keepers at home, like my student, are using creative ways to glorify God in all they do. What’s more, they are staking a claim for the future!