An Interview with Elizabeth Curry of Ordinary Time
I am a homemaker and mother to 9. I started blogging as a way to document our first adoption and in the process discovered a love of writing and mentoring. I hope, through my blog, to encourage other women in their calling of mothering and homemaking. It is also a great way to keep my parents (who live 2000 miles away) up to date with what their grandchildren are up to. Our children range in age from 18 down to 2 year old twins, with 5 girls and 4 boys. The girls’ side will increase when we bring home our 9 year old daughter from China in the spring.
Tell us more about your journey with adoption.
Adopting was something I have always been interested in doing, but after our fifth child was born, my husband and I decided that if we were ever going to adopt we needed to get going. Our first son joined our family at the age of 3 1/2 from Vietnam. It was a very difficult transition for all of us. Adopting my son has made me a better parent and strengthened my faith in ways I couldn’t have imagined when we first started out. I am pleased to say that my son is doing quite well, and we went on to adopt another son from Vietnam two years later. Adopting has profoundly changed my life and family. It has enlarged our vision of what “family” looks like and made us realize that, with God’s help, we are capable of far more than we ever dreamed.
With so many children, how do you manage to homeschool them all?
Homeschooling this many is actually more manageable than one would expect. My oldest is away at college, so I only have 5 who are grade school age with 1 preschooler and 2 toddlers. The two oldest are pretty self-sufficient. We create a schedule and plan of study for them at the beginning of the year, and they both take responsibility for getting it done. I am available to answer questions and we have a time scheduled each week for me to check in with them. I start each day by spending time with my little ones. We do preschool-type activities together… singing songs, reading books, coloring, bead stringing, etc. They are content then to play in the room while I work with the rest. My middle kids each work on their math and English lessons while I’m playing with the little ones. When I am done, I check their work and spend some time doing individual work with whoever needs it. The last part of the morning is spent doing unit studies. These are the lessons we do all together. I use a single topic as an umbrella for the other areas of study. For instance, this fall we are studying lighthouses. We have done activities which cover science, creative writing, poetry, art, history, and geography. Homeschooling is a very efficient system, and for the most part we are done with our lessons by lunchtime.
What are some of your favorite brands and where do you purchase those products?
I’m not sure I can answer that. I have absolutely no brand loyalty and buy very little at retail prices. Clothing is either hand-me-downs, from the thrift store, or something I’ve made. Groceries are bought in bulk when possible (from a local farmer), from Aldi which has no brands, or from a local independent grocery store. Household goods are whatever happens to be on sale.
Are there any sites or blogs you could recommend to other moms?
Depends on what they are looking for. For homeschooling, Heart of the Matter (http://heartofthematteronline.com/ ) is a great site with a lot of different articles about homeschooling. Some of my favorite large adoptive family homeschooling blogs are A Bushel and a Peck (http://www.onethankfulmom.com/ ), Owlhaven (http://www.owlhaven.net/ ), His Hands His Feet Today (http://hishandshisfeettoday.blogspot.com/) and A Baker’s Dozen (http://bakersdozen.typepad.com/a_bakerss_dozen_daily_lif/ )
What are your top five tips for moms?
- Be the grown-up. Sometimes being a mother means making tough decisions that will be unpopular with your children. It is often inconvenient to remove the child from the store or playground, but often one afternoon’s inconvenience will make for a much more pleasant family life in the long run.
- Have dinner together. Having dinner together has been shown in study after study to be one of the single greatest contributing factors to well-adjusted children. It has been the thing that our family looks forward to each day and the thing my daughter most misses about being at college.
- Turn-off the TV (computer, iPad, phone) and spend real time together. All these electronics provide a false sense of connectedness which is eventually unfulfilling. It is far better to spend the time reading together, playing a game, or taking a walk.
- Don’t over schedule. It’s just not true that filling your child’s day with back-to-back activities will create a fulfilled child. More likely it will create a stressed one. Children need to time pursue their own activities, to sit and think, to learn how to fill their time. It is OK for children to have free time!
- Be joyful. I know you’ve all heard it before, but it is really true that your children grow up faster than can be imagined… even if some hours seem to drag on into eternity. Take joy in your children now. What type of memory do you want your children to have of you? It’s OK if the house isn’t always picked-up or if it doesn’t look like a glossy magazine. Stop and appreciate what you have now… and remember to smile!