Two years ago we moved into a new house. It’s twice the size of our old house, but the laundry room is a bit smaller. Don’t get me started on it. The original house plan of the bigger house had the laundry machines in a closet. A closet! A six bedroom house and they thought all the laundry needs could be covered in a closet barely large enough to fit a washer and dryer. Ha. We had to wall off part of hallway and put in a door in order to at least get a little room to hold laundry baskets and the cats’ litter box.
About six months ago I started noticing that the laundry room was really dusty. There was dust on the back wall. There was a wire shelf over the machines and everything on the shelf was covered in dust as well. Now, if there is one chore in the world that I truly, deeply hate, it’s dusting. Don’t ask me why. I’d rather clean a toilet than dust a shelf. So, not wanting to deal with the problem, I just ignored it.
Oddly enough, it didn’t go away.
(I’m still waiting for the day that I ignore a problem hoping it fixes itself—and it does!)
I assumed that since the laundry room was smaller than our old one, it would naturally get more dusty. Also, we used to keep the door open to our old laundry room for the cats, but we put a cat door in our new one, so the door can stay shut and the dog can’t eat all the cat food. That had to be the reason for the excess dust.
Months went by. I’d run a load through and think, “Man, it’s dusty in here.” Since I have about 3 loads of laundry to do a day, that’s a lot of thinking about dust and not doing anything about it.
My plan of ignoring the problem was going great until my husband noticed the dust. He mentioned it to me, and I promised I would clean the laundry room. I know. I’m an amazing wife.
I took a Swiffer duster into the laundry room, prepared to do battle with the forces of entropy and noticed something right away. The lint hose to the back of the dryer was not attached to the dryer.
So, for however many months this had been going on, the dryer had been shooting lint into the laundry room. Three loads a day worth of lint.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had to clean accumulated lint off the walls and tiles of a laundry room, but it’s not easy. And the whole time I was working I was thanking God that our house had not caught fire. According to Google, dryers are responsible for 34% of all house fires.
You better believe that I check the back of the dryer each time I run a load now. That little bit of dust that I didn’t want to bother with could have turned into a massive and potentially deadly problem.
The same is true for other things in our lives. The things we don’t want to deal with or face, the little issues we hope will just go away, the relationships that we ignore, hoping they magically improve on their own, all of these things can turn into huge disasters down the road. Far better to spend the time now to face and fix the problem than to spend 2 hours scrubbing a tile floor while continuously sneezing.
So go check your dryer hose. It could save your life.
And no, I still haven’t dusted the stuff on the shelf yet.
I’ll get around to it.
Growing up, writing, in my family, seemed to come as easily as breathing. My brother and sisters and I were all avid readers and had no problem putting our thoughts down into words. In college, as a music major, I had a job proofing essays for the football team. Wow. It was my first time coming face to face with the realization that everyone in the world does not love writing as much as I do.
I was thinking about this the other day as my 4th grade son worked on an essay for science class. I was trying to come up with my next blog post and the thought hit me, I could write about writing! But no, was my first thought, everyone already knows how to write. That’s when I remembered my time proofing essays. So, maybe not everyone knows how to write and maybe not everyone thinks it’s easy to teach.
Before you start thinking I’m full of myself and extremely arrogant, let me hasten to add, I also have a sneaky suspicion that everyone might not be awful at math and science like I am. There might be people out there who don’t have to look up in the answer key in order to explain a math problem to their child, or settle for watching science experiments on Youtube because theirs always fail. If there are such extraordinary genius parents in the world, they should obviously be writing blog posts about how to be better at those things for me to read!
Back to the basics. Before your child even writes his first 5 paragraph essay, he will write a paragraph or maybe even two paragraphs! This doesn’t need to be a frightening thing. I know that when I say to one of my children, “Write a paragraph,” the first response is always weeping and wailing about the impossibility and extreme time consumingness of the project. But it doesn’t have to be hard. When we broke down our paragraphs into steps it became so amazingly simple that my son actually said, “That wasn’t so bad, Mom.”
High praise indeed.
Step One: Choose a topic. In our case we had the assignment of picking a celestial being to write about. My son chose Pluto. I’d love to tell you that we went to the library and checked out a selection of books about Pluto in order to prepare for our two paragraphs. That would be my recommendation to other people. In my case, with a medically fragile, oxygen dependent child, and 7 others hooligans who are well aware that Mom can’t yell at them in a library, I went a different path. Back to our old buddy Youtube. (No judgment here if you have an only child and still can’t find time to make it to the library. I just feel like if I have a good sounding excuse I should use it.)
We watched several children’s science programs on Pluto and took notes. Every time they mentioned a fact I had my son write it down. He started to do this in complete sentence form, which, while it made my writing heart happy to see, was way too time consuming. I showed him how to jot down just enough to remind himself of what he wanted to write.
It looked like this:
Step two: I had him decide what his two paragraphs were going to be about. He decided that paragraph one was going to be about What Pluto was, and paragraph two was going to be about Where Pluto was. We then divided up all the facts into those two columns. What and Where.
Step three: he wrote a topic sentence to begin each of the paragraphs. I explained, for the umpteenth time, that a topic sentence begins a paragraph and covers what the paragraph is about. Every sentence in the paragraph should go along with the topic.
At that point, we were running a bit short on time. It was almost lunch time, I had to feed the baby, make lunch for everyone else, get the house cleaned up, and fold at least a couple baskets of laundry before the physical therapist arrived to work with the baby. (See? All good excuses) So, I suggested that my son dictate to me and I would write down the paper. This might seem a bit like cheating, but for kids who have a harder time forming the letters on the page then forming the words in their mind, this can be a good teaching tool. Penmanship and spelling are great, but if you can’t get past worrying about them it will be difficult to make your words flow together.
My son used the topic sentence we had written and then looked at the facts we had written under each paragraph heading. He linked the facts together in ways that made sense and told me what to write. We then moved on to paragraph two and repeated the process.
Voila! A two paragraph report on Pluto that didn’t require tears, threats, or an insane amount of time:
Hopefully, writing comes easily for your children and you hand out 10 page essay assignments to your 2nd graders without a qualm, but if not, maybe this has given you a few hints and get you started to writing fun!
You know that family that shows up to church in the 15 passenger van? The one that homeschools? Ever wondered how they make it through the day or wished you could be a fly on the wall of their house? Well, I'm inviting you in. I'm 36 and I ride herd on 8 children (oldest is 12), 3 cats, 2 bearded dragons, and one puppy. It's loud, chaotic, and imperfect. Welcome to Life in the Big House!