Hi there! ....
We have begun a creative project focus as the children spend the next four weeks preparing projects to enter into the local Agricultural Show Exhibition Pavilion. Our daily routine changes slightly with this focus. We will have a short period of study focus and then they will be free to work on their projects for the bulk of the day. The other thing we do is ‘workshops’ where we have finger food dinner – veggie platter, cheese and crackers or even a bowl of soup – and everyone keeps working as they graze. Having ‘workshops’ like this means we get extra creative time and yet bedtime remains the same!
Live life with your kids!
Create a Reminder Wall
We have been homeschooling for over 11 years now and one thing hasn’t changed: I have an aversion to my walls being turned into a school room display and I have resisted ABC friezes, grammar prompts, times tables posters and animal classification charts on my walls. In my eyes my walls are for the non-essentials – country dolls, quilts, embroideries and folk paintings! This may or may not be a good thing – but it is the way it is in my house!
But there is one thing that has slipped through this close guard – prompt sheets. That is, posters that remind me of the important things in life – the moral, the spiritual, the character issues, the commitments that we make. Just this week I was feeling a little overwhelmed at where things were at in our place and as I prayed and thought about it during the day the words “Visual Reminders” dropped into my mind. I knew this was something that needed to be revisited and refreshed in our house. So since I’ll be working on that over the weekend I thought I’d share this part of our life – how we use our walls to disciple our children.
In our house I have a variety of visual reminders (or prompt sheets)
- Character traits, and the key points to remember or work on
- Posters that illustrate a particular moral behaviour we are working on
- Routines and Rosters
- Spot reminders of to-do items (such as chore checklists/prompts)
- Bible Verses we want to memorise or be reminded of
Whether you are homeschooling or not, your walls can become a focus teaching place. I like to call this my “Reminder Wall”. This wall reminds me of the things that we need to be working on, things we need to keep in our hearts.
You shall write them [God’s Words]
on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Using my Reminder Wall
There are three main uses for this wall (or walls)
- As I walk past a word or image catches my eye and I am reminded of a thought, word or action that will help keep me, or the children, on track. This reminder can be in physical actions such as “am I doing the right thing right now”, or in the training of our children’s hearts.
- As a child needs instruction or correction, I take them to the wall and we read together the relevant wisdom (especially for older children)
- As I prepare to talk to a child, I refer to my prompts as they remind me of the words (definitions) and Scriptures that I have previously considered appropriate in the training of my child’s heart.
Make your own Reminder Wall
If you want something to serve as a reminder or prompt keep in mind you are making a poster not a flyer. A flyer is to be read carefully and it is a good way to collate lots of information (for example if you have just done a study on a particular character quality) but a poster is to be done in such a way that you glean understanding and are reminded at a glance. Here are some guidelines
- Have one clear purpose for your poster – make a series if you have to
- Keep your information short and to the point. If it is cluttered with too much information – your eye doesn’t focus on anything and the poster is ineffective. Keep it spacious and simple.
- Use no more than 2 fonts – one fancy and one straight/plain. Make sure it is easy to read at a glance. If necessary make subheadings bold so your eye can quickly travel the information.
- Use a light coloured background, so you can use Black as the font colour. This is both effective to the eye, but also economical to print.
- Graphics help tell the information so use graphics wisely. Make sure the graphic supports the text rather than taking over (unless the graphic tells the whole message!) A good alternative option is to make your graphic a watermark (faint print as your background) which gives good visual relief but allows you to focus on the print.
My posters are generally A4 in size – which isn’t big, but they are displayed in a family house, not a large classroom, or public room so the scale can be different. I have found A4 big enough but you may like to go larger – up to you!
I recommend that you either laminate your posters or use page protectors especially if you are using A4. If you preserve your poster you will find that you will use them again – we all know that many behavioural issues will keep reoccurring and our training needs to be revisited.
No Wall Space?
As I said, I am very protective of my wall space but I have found alternatives that work too.
- Cupboard doors - Our main Reminder Wall is in the Family Room, and uses 2 of the storage cupboard doors
- Fridge door – I always vowed nothing would ever go on my fridge door – then I became a mummy! I keep my Character First definition cards on my fridge and I refer to these regularly. They help me find the right words to encourage or instruct my children in specific character rather than in generalities.
- Bathroom Mirror – I haven’t done this (but my friend does) and I think I’m going to – use the bathroom mirror to leave a note for your family to ponder.
- Back of the toilet door – Now, I don’t know what is the right way to say that for my international readers but in Australia we often have significant posters/charts on the back of the door so when we use the ‘little room’ we have something of value to read!
- Dining room table – you can use laminated posters as placemats or you can have small prompt cards standing on your table or in a basket for you to refer to, even to use as conversation starters during a meal time.
I’ve got my posters, now what?
The number one factor that will make these posters into a Reminder Wall as opposed to clutter on your walls is - That you use them!
This is the point where we are at in our family – we have the posters and yet they have become such a part of the furniture, our eyes no longer ‘see’ them and our hearts are no longer prompted by them. I have been reminded of an important aspect of creating a reminder wall -
The need to change the posters every so often.
If these posters are effective then we will see change in our family – growth, and when we see this growth we need to move our training to another area in our children’s life. This means a different poster needs to go on the wall. Creating a poster can become a regular part of your preparation for training your children’s hearts – you see a new issue to deal with
- You study to know how to train in this area
- You make your training notes
- You make a new poster
- You begin your training of changing hearts
As I’ve said, making the poster and putting on your wall is the first step, the second is to use it. I start off by having a family time to discuss the issues at hand – to bring to our children’s attention what we need to be working on, why and how. We often put the poster up together at the end of this time. Then at times of correction or instruction we use the poster as a visual reminder of the truths that we want established in our lives.
Join me this week in making a visual reminder and creating a vibrant, purposeful and functioning Reminder Wall.
Share your Reminder Wall with other readers - you can even upload a picture of your poster.
This week I was talking about Toy Organisation and a few readers offered their tips as well. If you have found something works in your home – please share the tip! (follow the Toy Organisation link)
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Until next week
Living life with her kids in Australia!
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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter
I know homeschool mums are busy with lots to read, so I have divided my newsletter into four sections and you will receive one section a week; short but regular newsletters!
- Be a Deliberate Parent – Encouragement to continue in purposeful and intentional parenting.
- Family Life is a Resource for Education – Spotlights on a particular aspect of family life so we can see the natural opportunities available to us in educating our children.
- Character Education – Each month we focus on a different character trait – The newsletter will include application for Mums, as well as seeing character training opportunities in everyday life.
- A Homeschool Thought – Discussing homeschool issues
The newsletter will also keep you updated with all additions to