In keeping with the wisdom that I need to nurture a more grateful heart-attitude, here are some things that are working for us this school year, courtesy of the Holy Spirit and specific giftings my husband and I have been amply supplied with:
Morning Routine: The majority of our family members seem to operate more functionally on a predetermined schedule and routine. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, just predictable. With the exception of Thursday mornings (because bedtime is pushed 30 minutes later the night before to accommodate Bible club), we all get up at the same time, do the same chores, eat at the same time, and walk out the door fairly amiably every morning. It’s taken a few weeks to work out the kinks, but the commencement of our day is orderly.
Check Your Boards! After three days of haranguing the kids to comb hair, brush teeth, find their books, feed the dog, tie their shoes, and, and, and….I bought them each a small write on/wipe off dry erase board. Every night for three solid weeks, I re-wrote exactly what they were supposed to accomplish in the morning. The older ones had more chores, the younger ones began working on becoming more self-sufficient. Worked like a charm. I could calmly say, “Check your boards,” while sipping my tea and reading my Bible instead of participating in the aforementioned chaos. They loved erasing their chores one at a time and quickly learned that they could squeeze in a few minutes of free time before school if they hustled through their lists.
Prep, Prep, Prep. I do like to plan, though I tend to over plan and drive hubs a bit crazy:) I’ve approached our homeschooling year (yes, we’ve got kids here, there and everywhere this year!) with a more relaxed attitude. I think that comes from experience and a heavier reliance on the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Any-hoo, I planned out Ruthie’s first grade curriculum roughly for the first semester and then in detail for the first six weeks. Now that we’re in week four, I will start working on the details of the next six weeks, adapting the overall plan to accommodate where she is ahead and struggling. I’ve also gone back to monthly menu planning which takes a lot of the stress out of meal times. I’m still praying about my approach to housekeeping duties…that one is proving to be pretty difficult to figure out, but I have faith God will guide those efforts as well.
Prayer Partner. I’ve tended to shy away from formalized homeschooling groups and even groups that consist mainly of moms with young children. For me personally (and please, if this works for you, don’t take offense), those type of groups tend to bring out the competitive nature in me as well as feelings of insecurities. Lots of comparing and contrasting has never been a healthy environment for me. But, the Lord has blessed me this year with another homeschool mom from our local church body who is teaching her kindergartener for the first time. It’s been so encouraging to listen to her requests and know that we are praying for each other. We’ve shared some ideas with each other, but I really feel like the Lord has protected us both by allowing us to simply share openly and without judgment our concerns and praises for our little learners. This has been such a blessing to me!
Book Reading Time. Though it isn’t a new concept in our home, we reinstated it after a summer hiatus from scheduled bedtime. The girls all get ready for bed and for the next day–choose clothing to wear, pack lunches, pack bags, etc–brush teeth and then take their favorite chapter book or an enormous pile of books to curl up with in bed. They have anywhere from 20-30 minutes of quiet reading before hubs and I go up to pray with them and tuck them in for the night. This has proven to make our evenings so peaceful. I think it’s a great habit to build into their lives as well!
So, that’s just a few of the things that are working well for us this year. There are others, really too many to list here.
God is good all the time….all the time God is good.
Thanks, Lord, for wisdom and giftings and for this tremendous family you’ve allowed me to mother and partner. Help me to be faithful. In Jesus’ name, Amen.