Though I like to do things according to when I feel like it I have trained myself to see the value in routine.  I know I am most productive when I stick to my routine, when I have a pattern to my day, boundaries around myself.  It is the same for our children – there is a sense of security – they know where they are going when they have a routine.  So much of our children’s lives are out of their own hands that a routine gives them a sense of direction in their life.

 

On the other hand I have had to work with them, especially the older two, that there does need to be a sense of flexibility – plans do change and we need to roll with that.

 

Why has it been important to teach them this?  Early in their lives I taught them that there was a place for everything – this helped them learn their chores early – they knew where things went.  This was their routine – but if I wanted to move my cupboards around – no go!  They could not adapt to a new place for anything not even after Christmas when you had to find new homes for new toys.  I even remember trying to teach Josh that a used Tissue does not go back where you got it from!!  That was hard work.  Then there is a people element – if a family member gets sick plans do have to change and the rest of the family need to be gracious and loving and caring in that new situation.  Making plans with other people – plans change and our children need to be flexible – gracious in those changes.

 

Even today, Joshua’s personality would prefer not to deal with change.  In teaching him that he needs to consider the preciousness of others when plans change, as well as showing him that there is a submission issue in flexibility he now has some tools on which to hang his responses when facing change.  This is a life skill.

 

But overall children do their best when they know what is happening or going to happen.  I have established a pattern of letting the children know as soon as I know when plans change.   I call a family meeting – kids come running from everywhere – and I announce “Change of Plans”.  Change of Plans could mean anything from “Drop everything we are going visiting this afternoon”, to “Now is a good time to discuss our Reading Journals” or even “We need to stop our study and go and do this for Daddy”.

 

I have tried many methods of keeping the children informed of the variations from our regular routine – especially ones that I may know about from the beginning of the day.   Most methods have created more paper floating around on desks and a fair bit of time on my behalf getting these papers ready every day or every week.  Consequently, I never keep such a system going.

 

Just recently I have come across a method that is working really well.  It has a two-fold purpose –

  1. To tell the kids what is expected of them today (This is particularly for Daniel as he is not remembering the order of our days).
  2. To make quick alterations to our day.  This also includes any assignments that may not be routine – like a lifestyle opportunity that comes our way.

 

My day is divided into blocks of time and I have a general name given to each block.

8.30-10.30 – Discipleship studies

10.30- 11.30 – Discipline studies

11.30 – 12.30 – Discussion studies

1.30 – 2.30 – Read Aloud or Family projects

2.30– 3.30 – Discretionary studies / projects 

 

Now this is only a rough outline as it varies according to the children’s ages and outside commitments we have on certain days.

 

I have created a blank chart showing these divisions with a column for each of us (Myself and the four children).  I then laminated the chart.  Every morning I check my diary, my weekly study plan, and write down the plan for today.  Of course, should this change, say at morning teatime, it is quick and easy to make a change.  I use a magnet clip to hang it from either the fridge in the kitchen or the white board in the family room, depending on where we are spending most of the day that day.

 

I have reduced the chart here.  This is working because it is flexible, it is clear what the children need to do.  The older children are aware of my labels for our day and as they see the changes in activities they are starting to see a correlation with lifestyle activities – things that happen in our life without my planning an educational outcome – when these things happen they are seeing them as a part of their learning – a part of their life.

 

 

 

BELINDA

JOSHUA

JESSICA

NAOMI

DANIEL

830

 

 

1030

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1030

 

 

1130

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1130

 

 

1230

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1230

130

Lunch

Chores

130

 

230

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

230

 

330

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

330

 

500

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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