Raising a large family is hard work. So why have a large family? For some, having a large family is a religious choice. While for others it’s a cultural decision. But for us, it’s been a calling that God placed in our hearts since the beginning of our relationship.
Do you want a large family? Many of you have asked, “how do you do it all?” I’ll let you in on a little secret…I don’t do it all. So how do we both work full-time jobs, pastor a church, and homeschool our children? Before I give you some #ParentingTips for raising a large family, let me tell you a little story:
One day in a faraway land, in the beautiful mountains of Virginia, a young Prince charming fell madly in love with a Princess. Before long, they were joined in marriage and God blessed them with a baby girl. And then another little girl, and before long the Princess had six beautiful healthy children. But with little ones in diapers, homeschooling, and housework the Princess began to feel overwhelmed. But neither the Prince or the Princess had any idea what they could do with their little growing family.
Years passed and God sent the Prince and Princess to another country. They returned home to their castle with four more children. Suddenly, the Princess knew that things had to change. She and her handsome Prince came up with a plan.
Let me begin by sharing our monthly chore list, followed by some explanations.
February-Captain: Caleb - the Captain of the “ship” is ultimately responsible to make sure all chores are completed in a timely manner and as expected.
Daily-Everyone: make own bed, keep own bedroom clean and organized, make own breakfast
Caleb's Monthly Chore List:
clean boy’s bathroom 2 times a week
vacuum basement weekly (boys living space)
breakfast dishes and kitchen clean up
sweep all wood floors daily
Artur's Monthly Chore List:
sweep and mop the kitchen and sunroom every Friday morning
start a load of towels in the morning
keep laundry room organized and clean
take out the garbage daily and weekly to the road
Vlad's Monthly Chore List:
sweep and mop kitchen and sunroom every Monday evening
wash dinner pots and pans nightly
walk dogs in the morning
keep porches and yard cleaned up
lunch clean up and dishes
Victoria's Monthly Chore List:
feed and water all farm animals (Peyton to help)
keep school room straightened up
help with dinner prep
sweep kitchen floor after dinner
Anna's Monthly Chore List:
clean girls’ bathroom two times weekly
clean out the van weekly
fold and put away the towels daily
dust the living room weekly and keep it clean up nightly
Peyton's Monthly Chore List:
keep sunroom cleaned up
help boys with yard and garbage
collect chicken eggs daily
feed and water the dogs and cats
set the dinner table
I change the Captain and the chores each month. This allows the children to learn to do a job and to learn to do it well. At the end of the month, after chores are completed and checked for the last time, they hand the chore over to another child.
During the month the Captain is ultimately responsible. If I noticed that the floor is dirty I go directly to the Captain. The Captain will address the issue with the child who the floor was assigned to. That person must complete the chore according to the Captain’s expectation.
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If not done correctly, the Captain will complete the chore. It’s tough being at the top! Dad does surprise ship inspections…taking the chore list and the Captain along with him. Since we rotate Captains they all learn responsibility, accountability, and submission.
How we manage all of the laundry!
A large family brings that subject to a whole different level. I assign one person to start a load of towels in the morning. After that, the children are assigned a laundry day in which they wash, dry, and fold their own clothes. Anna, Victoria and Peyton put their laundry in together, with Victoria operating the washer, Anna the dryer, and Peyton unloading. Team work at its finest!
About every 6 weeks we have to call a “workday.” With this large family we need to do our daily maintenance, but also some deep cleaning or yard work every now and then. As for cooking, the teens are taking turns helping me each day. My boys love to cook! We have also instilled a buddy system where each older teen is assigned a younger child to encourage, train, and assist when needed.
How do we cultivate an atmosphere of love?
We encourage kind words and good manners at all times. So how do we do that?
We Teach our Boys to Put Women and Children First
We eat buffet style most of the time. My husband requires that the girls and I dip our food first. He has explained to our boys that as men they need to make sure that the woman and children are a priority, even before their own needs.
My boys show preference to the girls, opening doors, carrying in groceries, and even helping Elizabeth with her car. My husband feels strongly that this is good husband training.
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We Teach our Girls to be Godly Wives
My boys treat the girls very well like a princess should be treated. But we also ask our girls to be respectful and honor their brothers.
There are times that we ask them to serve the boys dessert, obey their brothers when left in charge, and speak to them with a soft voice. We are training them to be Godly wives.
We assign them a Pray Partner
Let me explain: we have some children who live in our home, while others are married or off at college. So each child is assigned a person to pray for, send encouraging text messages, and reach out to in love.
For example, Artur is assigned to Jesse this month. I often asked him, “how’s your buddy doing?” This system encourages our children to think of others.
Character Training in the morning.
We LOVE LOVE LOVE the character booklets from the Institute of Basic Life Principles. They are simple, and yet we learn so much. Each character trait is explained by giving an example with using an animal. Just today we had a dozen deer run through our field.
Peyton was so excited as he watched from the kitchen windows. Later, he said, “Gram, those deer must have heard something and it scared them.” Me, “Yes, you are probably right Peyton.” Peyton, “I know because deer are attentive-they “give ear” remember? YES! In our study of Attentiveness, we learned about how deer listen and that we should “give ear” to God’s commandments (Deuteronomy 30:10).
He remembered! As we studied this character trait for the month of January we read the story of Daniel in the Bible. Our February character trait is decisiveness and we are learning about hawks and Esther in the Bible. Oh, how I wish I had found this stuff earlier in my parenting years!
Are you still thinking of raising a large #family? Remember, it may be hard work but many hands make the work light.
Work together, pray together, and play together.
Raising and training our large family takes work. It's not always easy. It can be very exhausting at times. We have learned through trial and error and a system that works well. Feeling frustrated? Give it a try! Let us know how your tribe is doing.
Are you raising a large family? Do you have any tips for raising lots of kids? Let us know in the comments below!
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