Share what works for your family
Today has gotten away from me and I still have a dental appointment ahead. Let’s use this entry to share about what is working in your family that relates to the five principles on Monday’s entry. Here they are again:
1. Enjoy them.
2. Take them seriously.
3. Make a flexible routine.
4. Touch them.
5. Have fun.
See if you can share something in as many of these categories as you can. I will share mine later this afternoon. The dialog here has been rich lately! Keep it going.
For us, having me read aloud good books as the center of our school day. The boys usually draw while I read, and when I shoot a quick questions at them, they get it right every time.
I love the living books we read in Sonlight especially. Most of the time we read them after lunch when the kids are a little tired and waiting for their “second wind” to come along and help them finish their other work. It’s the best part of our homeschooling day.
1. Enjoy them: This seems to be a pretty easy one to do, provided that we’re not too busy. When I feel like I have a certain spaciousness in our schedule, my mind naturally pays attention to what is interesting around me.
2. Take them seriously: A hallmark of my parenting philosophy. Their emotions are real. Their preferences are real.
3. Make a flexible routine: Just blogged about this yesterday. We have a rhythm, not a schedule. We homeschool in part because of the notion that humans aren’t learning robots and shouldn’t be required to learn at the same speed every day.
4. Touch them: Hold hands. Rub backs. Kiss them awake every morning.
5. Have fun: Absolutely. This is life’s big adventure, after all. Board games, hiking, just listening to them can make me howl with laughter-they’re really humourous kids.
I have lots of questions, not so many answers. Mostly, I want to know about the flexible routine. What does that look like? I take inspiration from Charlotte Mason and unschooling philosophies but really need help with the routine/schedule.
1. Enjoy them: Leave space in the daily schedule.
I find myself very aggravated with my kids if we’re having to hurry all the time. I’ve started planning to arrive places 10 minutes early, and the difference that has made in our days is remarkable.
2. Take them seriously: Sit on the couch together when discussing problems.
The couch-sitting-talk is the opposite of the hollering-at-them-from-the-kitchen-while-I-cook-the-chicken talk.
3. Flexible routine: Use the schedule as a starting place, not a law to be followed to the letter.
Some days we follow the schedule quite exactly, others we don’t. I think we’re all glad for that.
4. Touch them: We love our enormous, not-very-stylish sectional couch.
We have a couch big enough for us all to pile on there and be close (but not crammed) while we read. This has definitely promoted some cozy closeness in our school days.
5. Have fun: Leave time for fun.
When our days are packed, no one is having much fun together. Our best days as a family do not involve driving to several activities.
Take them seriously….. by listening. (Seems to be my montra to myself lately)
We belong to a writing group and have seen success and pride in the writing when it is planned to be read out loud to everyone in the group.
Personal bests as well as respect for each other have developed from both reading and listening.
Enjoy them: We spend a lot of time together and there are ample opportunities for talking, sharing, and laughing. I try not to act too militant about any one thing and try to focus on making things enjoyable. I know how short childhood is and don’t want to waste it.
Take them seriously: I try to listen to them. I try. I try to empathize with them and put myself in their shoes.
Touch them: I have AP’d my children from the beginning and there are lots of hugs and kisses shared throughout the day. I practiced extended breastfeeding, wore my kids in a sling, and shared a family bed. I love the fact that my dc are so openly affectionate. Today my 8 yo ds kissed me after I fixed the chain on his bike! I love snuggling with my kids and try to greet them every AM with a hug.
Have fun: We do try to make life and learning fun. We try to read books aloud that everyone enjoys. We tell each other funny jokes. We religiously adhere to “tea time” pretty much every day. We play outside. We vacation as a family. We try to avoid doing things because society says we “should” and we do things because we want to and it fit our values.
Lucy, I posted today’s blog about Flexible Routine. Reading your post here, I think you’ll really resonate with it.
The critical difference between a schedule and a routine is that a schedule is tied to clocks and dates whereas a routine is a rhythm that establishes habits and predictable activities.
Lizzy! I love your “ten minutes early” as it makes so much sense! My husband had a back-end version of this same principle: “Leave while they’re happy.” We don’t wait for everyone to melt down and then try to leave. We look for a moment when the rush of the event has ebbed, but everyone is still in a good mood. That’s when we make our way to the car or leave the park or exit the restaurant.