Thank you for all the questions!! Answering them should be fun.
I too, like the idea of doing a 'typical day in the life of' type post. I'll try to snap some pictures through out a day and try to give a real life perspective for you. :O)
Shelby asked quite a few questions (Yay!)...so I'll just start right in from the beginning.
My girls are constantly "ransacking" toys in the basement, which is where I have all their play toys not in rooms or other parts of the house. How do you keep your house from getting tore up?
Short answer: I don't.
I'm just going to tell you that if you dropped by unannounced, I'd open the door and you'd see toys, school books, games, etc. I think with little kids it's bound to happen. I'm a pretty laid back person so this kind of thing just doesn't stress me out. I'm fortunate to have married a guy who likes things clean, he keeps my messy tendencies in check. :O) A couple of times a day we do clean-up, with the major one being right before hubs comes home from work. The kids split up into groups of two and we tackle zones (kitchen/dining/living room). Now, all that said....we also do not own massive amounts of toys. When we moved from Washington to Illinois we pared down...like WAY down. It really taught me that we can live without so much. Kids will still play and be happy. We've accumulated back 'stuff' but I try really hard to make sure that we get rid of things on a regular basis. (Also, if we plan to have you over we make sure it's clean...I'm not that slobby!)
How do you do the grocery store with all 9?
Well, sometimes you do what you gotta do. It's not the ideal scenario in my mind. Sometimes I try to arrange to go when Ian's here in the evening, but I really dislike using family time for errands. Practically speaking though, I push/pull two carts. One that holds the little kiddos and one for food. I try to shop at places that also have the carts that hold the most kids ;) (Sam's club is great!)
What time do they go to bed and get up in the morning?
From the very first child until now, bedtime has always started at 7:00 p.m. For the ones 6 & under that means, lights out, time to sleep. The older ones are allowed to read quietly on their beds for a bit and occasionally they are allowed to stay up and spend some time with their daddy. That happens mostly on nights when he's come home later from work. This saves my sanity because they ALL get up at 6:30 when daddy's alarm goes off, which is fine by me because I'm one of those weird people who happens to like mornings.
Potty training a stubborn child?
Consistency & patience. Keep at it. It's not fun but one day they will get it, I promise. (a 'lil bribery sometimes helps too....)
How many more children do you guys want and have you always wanted a lot?
This is a topic I could get all 'up on my soapbox' about the why we or anybody choose to have a lot of kids...but I'll refrain. Shortly after we had our first we found out we were expecting our second. I can honestly say we hadn't really even discussed the 'how many' question until then. We knew we wanted children (plural) but when we sat down and talked about it we realized that we just liked having kids. Each time after another one was born we kinda had the 'are we done now' talk and each time it's been...nope. Sadly I think back and see that we may have had a legalistic perspective but at some point that's just changed into a genuine belief that kids truly are a blessing. I love my kids and I'd love to have more of them...how many more? I'm not sure.
When you make meals do you have any really picky eaters? I have always read and heard to make one meal and that is it, if they don't eat then wait until the next meal time?
Yes....ME! I've always been a pretty picky eater and I blame my parents (HA! Not really...). A few of my kids are picky, but I try not to cater to that. All the kids know the slogan “you get what you get and you don't throw a fit”. I only make one meal and if they choose not to eat it then yes, they wait to eat until the next meal. With that said though, I make pretty kid friendly food. You won't see me struggling to get my kids to eat eggplant parmesan because, I just wouldn't make it. They eat vegetables like corn, green beans, carrots, or salad right alongside something like spaghetti. Basically, if I wouldn't eat it I don't make it so I'm probably not the one you want to use as an example. :O)
By the end of the day do you ever feel like just getting out by yourself?
Shocking as it may seem...no. Do I ever wish I could go to the bathroom without someone barging in...yes! Take a shower in peace? Yes! But, I don't really like to be alone. (Maybe I need counseling?) My husband actually teases me about this. :P
When you home school what do the little's do?
My days generally go one of two ways:
Follow a schedule -or- fly by the seat of your pants.
On a scheduled day the little ones get paired up with an older sibling. They rotate throughout the day so that I can have a block of one on one time with each of the school age kids. Then during the little ones nap time in the afternoon we do our group subjects science & history at a nice leisurely pace.
On a fly by the seat of your pants day all of the work they can do independently gets done while the littles are just up and playing (and possibly ransacking the house). Then the bulk of the work gets done during nap time in the afternoon, with me teaching all different levels around the table at the same time at less of a leisurely pace. Obviously the days we stick to a schedule are more ideal! If you are curious what our schedule looks like I'd be willing to email it to you (it's a little too big to put on here.)
Renata asked: How do you do it all with your beautiful big family? (thank you BTW!)
This one's easy. …. lots of prayer and coffee!
Handy hints on home schooling many...?
The best advice I can think of here is to pick your battles & choose curriculum wisely. If somethings just not working, ditch it. Don't struggle through it just because you paid money for it, your time and sanity is worth more. Have little ones? Curriculum that requires a lot of prep work or is very teacher intensive might just not be the most suitable at this phase in life. I prefer things that are just pick up and run with it types. Also, like I mentioned above sticking to a schedule can really make a difference. Even if your schedule is broad 2 hour slots of time it's better than none at all. Most people already have a routine they follow (wake up times, meal times, naps etc) just expand from there. I highly recommend the book Managers of their homes. Whether you have one child or fifteen I believe there is something you could learn from it.
Okay, I'm going to stop there for today. I'll post a part two soon!