Quit yelling at the kids to come to dinner or start their homeschool work! Get an old fashioned school bell to gather everyone together and save your voice!
For many years I dreamed of a big ole dinner bell outside my back door that I would use to call everyone in from the field for meals. They would hear the call of my bell for miles around and come running for my delectable casseroles and pies and a tall drink of fresh water from the well.
But, guess what –
I don’t live on a farm. My kids are never more than 50 feet from my back door. And it’s not the 1800’s.
But then I realized I actually DID have a reason to need a bell.
While visiting a friend’s house – in the city – I was intrigued to discover she had a bell. Whenever she needed to gather her 5 kids in one place, she rang her little school bell and they all came running.
And my mind began to churn with all the bell-ringing possibilities!
Tired of calling the kids from downstairs to come to meals? Ring the bell.
Tired of trying to gather them all up for chores? Ring the bell.
Tired of yelling to the far reaches of the house to bring everyone together for school?
Ring the bell.
So, I searched high and low for a dinner/school/everyone-get-in-here bell and finally found exactly what I was looking for – an old fashioned school bell!
It was just sitting there in an antique mall in Branson, MO begging me to snatch it up and put it on my homeschool mom desk…that is, if I had one. Actually, it resides in the kitchen near the stove.
Don’t want to search antique malls in Branson? Here’s one from Amazon!
And before you start having visions of a militant Captain VonTrapp whistle drill with me assigning a ring to each child and then watching them march into the room, let me assure you it’s more like Pavlov’s dog. A quick 3-5 rings of the bell and they come a’runnin’!
In fact, even our dog has figured out the bell means food and he ought to join us in case the toddler drops something yummy! Apparently, classical conditioning works!
Here’s a real life example:
Quite often dinner time hits while my children are watching an afternoon movie or having personal computer/device time. Some of the kids are upstairs, some are downstairs, some are on the main level. In other words, they are “out in the fields” – to use my dinner bell from the 1800’s analogy!
For more on how we manage our television and computer time read:
How to Set Screen Time Limits When You Homeschool
All I need to do is ring the bell, and they come in from the “fields” straight to the kitchen where we pray and then I serve up some yummy victuals. It’s my city-fied dream come true!
Here’s another example:
Often the kids are scattered all throughout the house playing or getting ready for the day when it’s time for school. Again…all I have to do is ring the bell and they all come running.
I don’t have to search every nook and cranny and holler at the top of my lungs because every single child in this household has been trained (for over a decade now!) to come when the bell rings to find out what’s going on.
(Honestly, most often it’s food, so when it isn’t, they are sorely disappointed!)
Have I convinced you of your need for a school bell yet?
Good! Here are more ideas…
What you should look for in a School Bell:
- A bell that is compact.
- The ring needs to be loud enough everyone will hear it.
- You want a ring that doesn’t hurt your ears – since you will be closest to it when it rings.
- A bell that is sturdy. (Ours is an antique, but well made and has served us well for over 10 years!)
- Chuckwagon Triangle
- Cast iron kitchen bell
- Wooden Clappers
If you have a few Alexa Echo Dots strategically placed around the house, you can send out a general announcement on all of them that it’s time for school or dinner! (Definitely not 1800’s style!)
Looking for more Large Family ideas?
Check out my Large Family page!
This post was previously published in March 2010.