One of the things I mention in my “what worked well this year” list, and on my Assignment Sheet post, is family workshops – what are they?

During the year it dawned on me that Mondays are our best day because I’m all fired up and ready to go based on the prep I’ve done over the weekend. (Presuming that is that I got that prep done!) So I decided to use that energy and focus on the subjects that are important but often get left out because of lagging energy. I call them workshops because they are often interactive and I have to be there teaching as opposed to encouraging independent work. Depending on the subject depends on which child joins me for the lesson – sometimes we have all four, sometimes just the oldest two, or maybe three come together, occasionally I have one-on-one time as well. If a child is not involved in a workshop they work independently on their own studies. This year writing, creation science, money, Auslan and living math were our subjects for Workshop day.

Workshop subjects are also things that we study with other homeschool families either as a few families getting, which we do for Contenders of the Faith and Keepers of the Home every fortnight, or as a Homeschool Co-op which we do once a month. In the past we have done a unit study together with another family (Dinosaurs) which was short term or a public speaking course which was long term in that it lasted for a whole year.

The other style of workshops we have in our home is for creative projects. We’ve only done this a few times but it is something that I’d like to do more often now as the kids are older. We keep dinner early and simple such as a bowl of soup or we have a veggie platter so we can nibble throughout the evening. Our goal is to start on creative projects as early as we can and our fellowship is around our creative projects instead of the dinner table. Sometimes we listen to an audio story, sometimes we have background music and we talk on and off throughout the evening. Doing dinner this way means we can get a couple of hours of creativity happening and yet not be a late night.

I like the term workshop because it denotes a short season. As adults we would do a workshop on quilting for example and it isn’t like doing a course that lasts for the whole year – it is a short burst of commitment, to learn a specific skill and then we are left to practice that skill. That is the kind of idea behind my workshop subjects.

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