We try and have a routine in our house and yet every so often I say to the kids, time to tweak the routine. They groan! I explained to them tonight why this happens. I have these goals for our family and whenever you have goals you need to periodically assess how you are going and tweak things to keep on track. This is what happens in our family.
Our goal for our children is that they become self-motivated life long learners, that they are equipped for life (whatever it is God has install for them), that they have a love for God and a heart for other people. I believe strongly in giving our children plenty of time to be creative/productive, and plenty of opportunity to ponder/think/reflect. And yet so often our days get crammed with lesson plans and formal lessons. The two (my goals and our reality) don’t fit well together and certainly don’t produce the results we want to see in our children.
So tonight, after having thought this over for a few days, we are having a tweak!
Josh and Jess need very little to be adjusted from their academic studies. Our goal will be that they finish their required studies by lunch time. After lunch they will have productive free time (a term we coined many years ago when the idea of “free” time made self-centered, bored children!) As our children have grown older they have taken on other commitments such as working for pay; these things will also happen in the afternoon.
Nomi and Daniel face the biggest tweak! I want to spend longer with my home-maker duties and I would prefer to do this in the morning. Nomi and Daniel need more training in household matters so we will spend an extra hour or so with them either working with me, or outside giving me space to work by myself. They will then start with Bible study, then 3 R’s and then a general knowledge/read aloud time. My goal is for them to complete their formal studies by lunch time too.
After lunch routine for Nomi and Daniel will be a little more streamlined, but with the idea of giving them more choice. After lunch we will all do ½ hour of chores and then the younger two will be in their rooms. My expectation will be that they read/listen for ½ hour and then have quiet activity for ½ hour. During this time I will be in the office, a time where I will hope for no interruptions, even from the older two. Between 2.30 and 3.30 my plan is, for the days that we are at home, that this will be a creative hour where I am available to help anyone who has need. If everyone is happily occupied then I will pull out a creative project as well. After 3.30 the children will continue with productive free time till 5.00 though I will be busy elsewhere in the house.
One of my fondest memories, or favourites times, of life in our house is when we are all in the family room busily doing our own projects. There maybe music playing or an audio story being played or there may be gentle banter but rarely total quiet. We are together and yet not necessarily relating to each other. I love the atmosphere of peace and creativity during these times. This has not happened much lately – it is one of the goals that need to be put back on track – hence the tweak!