Yesterday I shared some of the changes and plans we have as we settle into the next season of our life which has a study focus. A big part of making our days work is that we all use our time productively. We have very little ‘free’ time in our days as I found when the kids were very little that the very word ‘free’ seemed to create an attitude of laziness and ‘whatever’! I prefer to use the words “Productive Free Time” as this tells the kids that
- They need to be productive
- They have the choice
Naomi doesn’t have a lot of time in the afternoons at the moment as she has a part in a local production of Oliver – so three afternoons a week she is at practice. Other afternoons she occupies herself with working for me for a couple of hours, she plays the piano or keeps busy with crafts and art.
Daniel though needed more help. I was inclined to give him short time slots using the headings: Reading, Screen, something for the Mind, Hands, Body and then a time where he could choose, as I know breaking up the afternoon like this has worked before. But he is growing up and he is developing passions so if he is working on those passions I don’t want to stop him just to move him onto another activity for the sake of our routine! We talked about the difference between being enthusiastic about what you are doing and being an energy giver versus being a drain, moping around and being an energy taker. So instead of breaking his afternoon into short time slots I have written a Productive Time list for him to choose from on the basis that he can keep his attitude right. His choices will be:
- Reading – any reading (Magazines, Recreational stories, Reading to learn)
- Screen time (1/2 hour a day – Wii, computer game or DVD)
- Spend time with siblings (Board games, Sport, Wii,)
- Hobbies (Writing stories, Animation, Lego)
- Projects – things we want to learn, do or make
- Power House (Sustainable Energy kit)
- Inventor Center (Kit)
- Knots (Kit)
- Volcano (Kit)
Though we have short listed these things, life often gives other opportunities and he will be able to talk to me about those things as they come up and we’ll either add it to the list or make room for it anyway.
Daniel and Nomi both spend 1-2 hours working for our family (they get paid for these few hours). Daniel mows the lawn, irons and cleans windows. Nomi irons, does extra housework or office work to help me catch up. I will also spend 1 hour a week with Daniel working through various projects mainly from the Contenders of the Faith book. Though I have earmarked the projects that need Peter’s input, there are plenty of projects that I can tackle with Daniel.
Friday afternoons are not included in any of these thoughts – we tend to go out and about a bit on Friday and it is a very flexible day. If we are home, the expectations will be the same, but more often than not we are doing things as a family.
I’ve written before about our afternoons and my goal of using our time wisely, or being productive. Over the years this has looked different for different seasons and different children but the goal remains the same. Here’s a few links: