Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Moving In

I have tried at least fifty different ways to organize my homeschool day. Each new approach works beautifully for at least a month or two and then something changes and we are reworking the schedule. For now, we are in that amazing place when I think I've got it figured out. We're learning! We're enjoying each other! Things are actually flowing! It won't last BUT I thought I would share the approach with you and some of the great things that have happened since we made a tiny change.

We always start the day with a devotional and a song that teaches the kids a Bible verse. (I love Seeds Family Worship because the songs don't make my ears bleed and the kids like to dance to them.) After the dance party we meet back at the table and do a science experiment, read some history or maybe read some poetry. I will keep going until one of them gets antsy. Here's where the change comes in. Before, I would plow through this and set out their individual assignments. I would bounce back and forth between kindergarten and third grade questions and playdoh problems until my head started spinning. Now I send two off to play when they are sick of sitting at the kitchen table and keep the least antsy with me to do math and English work. Once that kid's work is done, I call the next one and the other two play together. It's helped me to really spend concentrated time on each lesson but it's had this other amazing benefit - They are connecting more with each other.

"What are you guys doing?" I asked playfully as I made my way upstairs. I had been listening to their giggling for over an hour as I finished school work with my five year old and I was curious. I found my oldest and youngest sprawled out on the boys' trundle bed with at least thirty stuffed animals, a suitcase, a mini chair and a side table.
"Do you want both of your big bears, Rosie?" my oldest asked.
"Ummm, yeah. Put them here," she said, pointing to the pillow she had apparently brought from her bedroom.
"What's going on, guys?" I asked.
"Rosie's moving in," my oldest informed me.
"Oh really? What brought that about?" I asked, trying to hide my smile.
"I wanna be with my boys!" Rosie replied with a hint of challenge in her voice.
"Well that sounds fun. Is this a permanent thing?"
"We're going to see how she does tonight," my oldest said seriously. He turned to Rosie, "You cannot talk all night, Rosie. We sleep in here and we won't be able to sleep if you are constantly talking."
"Okay, Luke! You got it!" she said and she bounced up and down on the mountain of stuffed animals.

She has held true to her promise and has slept in their room the past two nights. She has fallen asleep later and woken up earlier but there has also been a lot more laughter. When I asked how it's working out, the boys both admitted that she talks a bit more than they like but, "It's okay. She really wants to sleep in there." And that's one more reason I am so blessed to have such sweet children.

Homeschooling used to be all about academics for me but I'm beginning to see so many other beautiful gifts. The bond they are building will last a lifetime. They will always have each other and nothing can take away their memories.

How do your children connect? Take a minute to reflect on opportunities you may have to send them off the play without your interference. It may be one of the best gifts you can give them.

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