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Learning in the Car - Live life with your kids - Issue 121
October 02, 2009
|Hi there! ....
This week we tweaked our routine but as it often happens all my plans fell in a heap the moment we got guinea pigs! But as you would expect life provides a wonderful treasure trove of learning opportunities. Nomi and Daniel made a good attempt at making a snake proof cage for them. Daniel made a shelter that they love. I have enjoyed seeing Nomi and Daniel working together like this. Though the cage needs some extra work on it by Peter they learnt a lot by giving it a shot themselves.
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Live life with your kids!
Learning in the Car
Even when we try and reduce our busyness and stay at home more we still find ourselves in the car often. This time can be wasted time or it can be used to our fullest advantage.
When Peter and I were engaged I had yet to meet his folks so we took an all day drive up to the family farm. One of the things I remember about that trip is the amount of talking we did – and that isn’t unique to us, that is what engaged couples do. The thing that took me by surprise though is that we talked a lot about farming. It was on this trip and many others over the years that followed, that I learnt about soil erosion and how that affects a farmer, I learnt about good grass, bad grass, fat cows and their breeding cycles, bull control, good country/poor country, planting & harvesting seasons and so forth. I learnt the things that Peter was passionate about.
We have this opportunity with our children every day that we get in the car and yet our eyes are so often on the destination, on the chores that we need to accomplish that we miss the relationship building opportunities, we miss the discipleship moments.
Over the years we have used travelling time, be it a short 15minute run to town or an hours drive to visit friend, or a day’s travelling as we drive to the city, we have used this time to train our children and to build memories.
Another situation we often enforce (even now with older children) is complete silence as we drive home. This is like Room Time, or rest time. We get so overwhelmed (or hyped up) or we become so tired while we are out and about that sometimes we just need time to ourselves. The car is as good a room as any. If we were home, they would be in their bedrooms, so we just use the car as a room. This also works when we are out and about and they need to ‘find’ their self control. They go to the car – it offers privacy and space to do some thinking.
There is so much we can do in the area of training our children while we travel – we can question our children to see what they know and understand, we can tell stories that have a lesson to learn, we can paint scenarios for them to consider, we can practice the things we are learning.
One of our favourite things to do is to see pictures in the clouds. We only have clouds in the sky for the ‘wet season’ which is on its way now so we are back again enjoying this activity together.
I like to ask one child to talk about something he is reading. Though it is a good time for me to catch up with his thinking it is also good for all the children to listen and ask questions. It is an opportunity to be together as a family, and show interest in each other’s interests and learning.
If we are heading into town to do town chores then it is a good opportunity to talk to the children about that aspect of life. We may talk about banking, the building industry, services versus providers, the fireman, the postman, the baker. The children need to understand how all these things fit together, how Daddy’s money fits into the picture, how technology has made our life easier (harder?). They need to be aware of the decisions processes that go on in our head, how we compare one company to another, how we organise our way around town, how we prioritise things. As we discuss what is going on in our head, it opens up all sorts of conversations with our children.
Our children always, always, take a book with them when we go anywhere. This has been helpful for the times I get caught up either in a shop, or with someone I meet in the street. The children can use their time wisely by reading.
When we head out of town, driving to Darwin for our holidays, we always play a particular CD. We play one CD leaving town, and then just down the track we play another CD. Always! This is tradition! We reverse the order of these two CD’s on our return trip. Music plays a big part in us enjoying our travel.
One of the things that we do, is encourage photography so if someone sees a great shot then we stop. I always tell the story that my Grandma used to say “Oh, that would have made a lovely picture” 10 minutes after we had passed by. It drove my dad nuts! So we have decided to say it then and there and the driver, if possible, will stop.
Talking and shared experiences are the building blocks in getting to know people. We need to get to know our children, and our children need to get to know us.
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Until next week
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