Recently a friend and I were chatting about when we were first exposed to well-managed, godly large families. For me, it was 1993 and I had just one baby boy. I was listening to a tape by a homeschooling mother of eight and could hardly believe what I was hearing. This mother was organized, efficient, and joyful.
In 1995 I met a friend who at the time was expecting her fifth. I remember the first time I had lunch at her home. The children liked each other, there was a joyful and relaxed atmosphere, and they actually helped without complaint. I remember driving away thinking, "I want a family like that."
I learned a lot from these women and others God graciously brought into my life. But I have learned something more by living this life of managing a large homeschooling family: jobs don't always get done the way I want them to.
Did you catch that? Because I think it's important that those of you who are just starting to walk this path understand what I didn't: often children don't do a job the way or to the standard at which I would. Or you would.
So when you read that my 13-year-old is cleaning the kitchen or that my 11-year-old is winterizing the kitchen garden, realize that they aren't doing it perfectly. They are still learning, still developing skills, still needing mom and dad to check their work and sometimes still needing to go back and re-do the job entirely.
Don't let it frustrate you. Your job is as trainer, and although I highly, highly value the help my children give me, I still need to mop floors, clean toilets, and iron. If my standard was child-sized, I probably wouldn't have to do those things. But my goal is to raise adults, not children.