With students having to rise before dawn to prepare for school and not getting done with homework until close to bedtime, how are families to ensure that they spend adequate family time and time teaching them about the Lord Jesus Christ?
Below I have shared some techniques that I will use to ensure that our family does not loose the quality time that we’ve shared while home schooling.
Dinner will always be done prior to the children coming home. This way my attention won’t be divided at such a critical time of the day. By planning ahead to make myself available during the hours immediately following school I can provide time to listen to the events of their day and to nurture them physically.
We will also eliminate t.v. time during the week and replace it with family time. Whether it is a game night, reading together or preparing dessert together, three evenings a week will be spent doing something together as a family.
In place of after school activities, we will make plans to allow the children to participate in activities that are closely related. For example, for recreation all of the children can take swimming lessons at the YMCA versus participating on sports teams with various associations. This will prevent hectic schedules with multiple drop offs. This will also allow the children to remain close by sharing a common hobby.
To provide us the time to pray and read a bible verse from Proverbs each morning and night, we will pick out clothing once a week. One day a week the children and I will prepare a wardrobe for five days. So much time is wasted trying to find something to where at the last minute. The clothes will be hung in a special section of their closets. A plastic shopping bag will be draped over each hanger which will include clean socks and undergarments for each day. We will also pick out pj’s in the same manner so theirs no fishing around before bath time.
Rather than taking evening gym classes I will begin to take my classes in the mornings. This will give my toddler a chance to get out and interact with other children while at child care (included in my gym membership) and I won’t lose any family time with the kids.
One morning a week I will volunteer in each of the children’s classes. That way they are assured that I am and will be there if ever they need me. We haven’t quite worked out the kinks with my soon-to-be highschooler. She is worried that I will ruin her rep if I volunteer in her class. She admitted to being too embarrassed to accept my invitation to bring her a store bought lunch once a month. I’m talking Chik-Fil-A here. But she adamantly declined. We are really being patient with her regarding her options but ultimately I or her father will visit the school once a month, even if it is only to talk with her teachers.
Breakfast will also be pre-made in order to allow me more time to help them prepare in the mornings.
Saturday evenings will remain our Family Movie Night. Sunday’s we will worship together. And Sunday evenings will be the children’s day to socialize with peers during church activities, such as quizzing, bible studies and Christian social events.
Saturday, Sunday nights will still be official eat together as a family night at our house, but we may be adding Monday and Friday nights as well. We don’t normally have serious discussions at the dinner table but with the children being gone more they may look to these moments at the dinner table as an opportune time to bring up issues that are important to them. As a homeschool family we have had the luxury of being able to talk frequently throughout the day. But this will change once they return to school.
No life can ever be planned perfectly. Just when you think that you have things all planned out God comes in and takes you in a different direction. I make this list for my own benefit, because in the absence of a plan I see chaos. I make these plans for family time with our children so that my husband and I can continue to encourage them in the ways of the Lord. I admit that imparting the word of the Lord to my children wasn’t always a priority…at an earlier time in my life I didn’t even realize the importance of it. But now I know better, therefore I must do better. I want my children to remember that God is not just for Sunday but that he is for everyday. I make time for them so that I can encourage them with God’s promises until they are able to encourage themselves. And finally my hope is that they will encourage others by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
What does your schedule look like? Share some tips that have helped your family maintain family time and Christian development time as a priority.