Back to Back Issues Page
Filling our Children's Days - Live life with your kids - Issue 109
July 10, 2009
Hi there! ....

This week: Over the last few weeks we have been intentionally working on recognising and encouraging each other in our different gifts and strengths. As the children grow older and they develop their own passions, interest and gifts it seems all too easy for each individual in the family to go their own way; not necessarily outside of the family but even within the family unit. Though everyone supports each other, and is kind to each other, and in a sense ‘there’ for each other, their main eye is on their own pursuit. It is ever so subtle. This week I have seen this completely turn around. This week the kids have put aside their projects to support or encourage someone else in their projects or efforts, they have asked questions and got involved in the other persons interests, and they have given their time for their siblings. We spend so much of our time so called together as a family that the need for this change was very subtle and yet because we spend that time together this was such a small correction/tweak but one that I believe will make lasting changes in their relationships as they grow into adulthood.

Live life with your kids!

Filling our Children’s Days

It is ‘easy’ to write up a schedule/routine for our children and yet is it real? Is it purposeful? Does real life overwhelm us and the plans that we make fly out the window. Being intentional is based on reality not on fanciful ideas so when we draw up our plans for the day we must take an honest look at what really needs to happen in our days.

As I look back over 16 years of parenting I came to realize that we have been doing the same thing – as far as scheduling / planning our days go – for at least 14 years. So from the time my oldest was a walking around toddler we have included the same scheduling structure day after day. Obviously the activities have changed, the length of focus time has changed as the children have grown older but the basic structure to my day has remained the same. Let me share it with you.

Relationship Time
Relationships come first in our household. There are two different aspects to relationships: the vertical, where each person in our family develops a personal relationship with God, and horizontal relationships where we relate to each other. Relationship skills that are learnt within the immediate family will come into play as the family interacts with other people and as the children get older and develop personal relationships outside of the family – these are all horizontal relationships.

There are several activities that allow me time to develop both the relationship with my children as well as teach them relationship skills:

Food time – yes, this time is also about nutrition but when our family was young we sat together three times a day and shared the meal time (these days we are together just for the evening meal). We can focus just on the food (and sometimes this is necessary) or we can focus on being together while we eat the food. I’m sure good company assists in digestion!

Family Time – during various times throughout the day I would plan time to be together as a family for the purpose of enjoying each other’s company. This also included “sibling time” where I planned for the kids to play together. Reading, playing games, talking, relaxing together – I would make sure we had a balance of these activities in our day.

Devotional Time – This is time set aside to grow our personal relationship with God – this is done as individuals and as a family.

The purpose of these times in our day is to develop our relationships and our relationship skills. As the children have grown older these things still happen on a daily regularity but they look different than when they were young.

Training Time
This is probably the time slot of our day that looks the most different as our children have grown but whether you homeschool or not this is a very important part of your day. Once you send your children to school, you are not so involved in this part of their day, but it still happens. There are three aspects of our life that give me the opportunity to specifically train our children.

Outside time – this is primarily to give their physical bodies opportunity to grow strong but it also encourages their imagination and relationships. When our children were young they played outside at least once a day, someteimes twice a day for an hour or so each block. This time was rarely closely supervised (I could see them out my windows) but there was always boundaries (rules) for them to play within. As our children got older this outside time begins to change and it looks more like physical exercise and/or sport. We have also encouraged the enjoyment of outdoors just as a wide space, fresh air and inspiration from nature. The principle is that they have an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and to look after their physical bodies.

Focus time – This is where we would get together and I would teach them a specific skill. One child needed to be taught how to play, or you may teach them to sit still within the boundaries of a mat, and as they grow older this focus time grows with them; mat time, table time, sit time eventually moving into school or study time. Activities grow from a rattle, to a puzzle, to colouring in, to math books!

Individual time – this is about looking after and developing their inner-self. When they were little it included nap time, playpen time, which grew into rest time or room time and free time which grew into having time to develop personal interests and talents such as music, drama, craft or sport etc. The things that we teach and train our children in when they are little will reap the fruit when they are older.

Responsibilities Time
When the children were young they spent time with me while I carried out my responsibilities – this may have been going to town, doing the housework or watering the veggie garden. As they spent time beside me, they would eventually want to be my ‘helper’ and they would be given a small aspect of the task that was at hand. Eg while cleaning the bathroom they would wipe down the cupboard doors or empty the bin. These tasks would increase as their abilities increased, eventually resulting in them being able to do the task by themselves. This means that the family works together to look after our possessions. As the children grow older they also need to learn to look after their time and money which are also areas of responsibility.

So when you next plan your day, planning your routine, don’t fill the timeslots with random activities – thinking that you should do this, or should do that. Stop and think - what are the best activities to help me have relationship time, training time and responsibilities time. These are the activities that should fill your day.

Website Updates

Do you read my blog? Belinda's Notes is where I jot my thoughts throughout the week and share things happening in our family. You are welcome to visit!

Heart Focus Parenting - Heart Focus parenting helps parents keep their attention on their children's heart for God instead of external behaivours.

Have you just subscribed to Live life with your Kids?
You can read back issues here.

My Sitemap is a quick reference to all you will find on Lifestyle-Homeschool. I encourage you to have a browse around!

If there are any new additions throughout the week, they will be posted at the Lifestyle Homeschool Blog

Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

Contact me: If you have any comments, questions or content ideas I'd love to hear from you. Make your comment here.

Know somebody who'd like to read this? We really hope that you've enjoyed reading this newsletter. If you think your friends might be interested in taking a look, please feel free to forward it to them.

Haven't subscribed yet? If you're reading this on the recommendation of a friend and would like to receive all the future editions, you can Subscribe here for free

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 Lifestyle-Homeschool

Back to Back Issues Page