As I said in my newsletter on Saturday it feels like we are at the beginning of a new year – a fresh start with lots of changes from how things were before.  Some of those changes should have happened a while back, but sometimes it takes a while for parents to realise their kids are growing up and are in different places needing different things.

A few changes that are happening since we’ve been back

  • Family Devotions:  We were having family devotions at 8.00am 3-4 mornings a week.  Well, that was the plan but it wasn’t working very well.  If Pete was home he was well and truly involved in his work or project by that time, as was Josh with his studies.  Though they joined us it was tricky.  Peter and I have discussed the purpose of family devotions and decided that yes, it is still important to us but the time has to change.  We are now reading the scriptures together at the beginning of our evening meals.  This is working well, as we break into discussion often for the length of the meal – which has it’s own difficulties as we want to talk about other things as well!!  But it has been a good shift – but one we’ll have to work on for a while as we make this a new habit.
  • The flow on of no morning family devotions is that we have an extra half an hour for our morning routines giving the kids more time for their exercise and personal quiet times.  This will be a good thing.
  • Early Dinner:  Josh is taking Daniel into Taekwondo twice a week.  We were really not sure about this activity and how it would impact our family life as it is over dinner time (6.00-7.30pm twice a week)  With the cost of driving back and forth, we don’t just drop him off and come and pick him up.  A friend suggested having dinner early so we can still have some together time.  This has worked so well.  We are a little rushed, we have time for our Bible reading/discussion but no read aloud time.
  • While the boys are in town, the girls will pick up any chores that haven’t been done, and we are hoping to use our evening productively with craft and other projects.
  • Changing the chore roster:  We have always had 3 chore times (plus dinner dishes) – Morning chores, lunch chores and before dinner chores.  We have eliminated lunch chores from our daily practice.  Those chores need to be done at another chore time or everyone can catch up on Saturday.  The biggest impact here is that the kitchen may not always be as clean and tidy as I would like, but our afternoons are flowing better.  This idea is on trial – we’ll see how we go.

As for our academic, or intentional teaching, I am setting 4 week goals and seeing how we go from there instead of setting plans for a term.  For September our priorities will be:

  • Independent work:  different for each student but along the lines of – math, handwriting, piano, guitar and reading
  • Main project:  Digital photo album of our trip
  • Language Arts:  lessons on keeping a reading journal (how to take notes and ask questions)
  • Bible study and Character lessons
  • Art:
    • Read Aloud: 13 Art Mysteries Children Should Know, Angela Wenzel
    • Hands On: (Daniel) Dynamic Art Projects for Children, Denise M. Logan
    • Hands On: (Naomi – not confirmed yet)
  • Living Math:  Mathematicians are People, too
  • Critical Thinking: The Thinking Toolbox
  • Science:
    • God’s Design for Life (AiG) the Human Body
    • Read Aloud:  When Science Fails, John Hudson Tiner

Today we chose a selection of books for the kids reading list.  This is one thing that I find works best if kept fluid though I have tried setting it in stone at different times.  Different things take their interest and shape their choices and though I have some purpose to the books I’d like them to read my real concern is that they read a variety.

We also chose the next few Family Read Alouds (which we do over dessert).  We’ll kick start with “My Australian Story – Outback, the diary of Jimmy Porter”.

 

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