You know as a parent that just when you think you had it all figured out, you didnt. We have unschooled the better part of 2009 and the kids have thrived just fine. This past 2 months have been extremely busy though and we haven't been able to pursue many interests in light of the holidays. I feel like my kids had become slaves to TV with all this wintry weather and even on the ocassional nice day, they would decline to go out to play because Hannah Montana was on next. They were CONSTANTLY fist fighting for their preferred shows as well. I knew they all were having some TV addiction, but I realized how bad it was when I took Wyatt to the Dr.s a few weeks back to discover he had gained 12 lbs in one month. I knew they had been inactive, but WOW. Kayla, Everett and Tanner all put on 5-7lbs themselves over the course of 1-2 months so I felt that we had to do something extreme to stop all the laying around. I dont feel Nate and I are preparing them properly for adulthood by entertaining all their fancies to watch television all day long. I have no idea the lasting effects on neural connections that so much TV could cause. So. We stopped TV watching. We have a cable contract until March and we will have it shut off completely then. We plan to replace it with a piano in our front room. For now, we will put the box in the front room once a week or so to watch an hour in the evening to unwind. This is our best effort to "wean" them before March when it is completely gone. We also bought them a trampoline, tons of games and outdoor play equipment to encourage them to do other fun things besides TV which they no longer have. In light of their boredness and some excellently balanced parenting(H. Clay Trumball's Hints on Child Training and Grace Based Discipline by Dr. Kimmel) and homeschooling(Charlotte Mason-own almost every book about her or by her) books I have been reading, I feel that regular school work has finally found a balanced place in our home. We wake up at 7 and I usually read our poem(a new one every few weeks) while everyone is making breakfast. Everyone is dressed and starting school by 7:30 at which time we take up our Bible reading and some days we draw a picture in our Bible Notebook or somedays we just discuss what we read. We are currently in NT, going through the Gospels. After that is reading from The Door in the Wall and Stories From American History(living book about American history). Of those they narrate what we read, ocassionaly writing or dictating for me. We also fill in our Century book timeline with any new readings from history. Next we do a quick, short picture study one day a week and Nature Notebooks another day. Lastly, we try and fit in a story from our fairy tales book and plan to start Plutarch's Lives soon for Hero Admiration. I want my kids to admire the good qualities in Heros from fairy tales, the Bible or real people. Finally we move on to math, reading, copywork from their Lesson Languages for Little ones series by Sandy Queen. After that the boys are done and Kayla finishes her geography also from Sandy Queen(Charlotte mason homeschool book supplier) and her and I are doing a Bible study together called A Virtuous Girl. Its wonderful. The last thing is her spelling, I casually look through her writing and pick a few misspelled words and she will write a silly story with those words spelled correctly or we might do some other fun activity with words that trouble her, but its all very casual as spelling mostly comes with age and lots of reading of good books. Anyhow, though this sounds like a ton, it is not. We usually finish by 9 or 9:30 and we are out the door to the gym as a family. Nate goes with us. We both decided to recommit to going because working out at home is boring us to pieces and its hard because of the littler kids. We hit the gym for about an hour and then we are back home and everyone tidy's up their rooms and goes out to play for a bit until lunch is made. After lunch, we have put a quiet hour in place in our home and we play the best classical music during this 1 hour. The baby and Kenna and even sometimes Tanner and myself nap on the couches while the bigger kids might read or play or do some quiet activity. Somedays they just stare at the walls listening to Beethoven in awe of how he made such beautiful music being deaf. After this quiet hour everyone is up and doing their jurisdiction which rotates weekly. Then its outside to feed animals and then dinner, baths, and bed. Our days are running much smoother and need for training or discipline has really dropped since putting in place a stricter routine. I don't call it training or discipline because I see my children as dogs, I most certainly do not and though I don't love those words, it is important for kids to know there are things he ought to do because he ought to do them and not because he loves them. A child should have a sense of duty for certain things as we adults do. It is our God Given job to raise our children to be dutiful and be trained in a way that others can see them as helpful, God loving spirits. The Bible has told us to "train up our child" so that when they are old, they will not depart from those teachings. Train and teach are virtually interchangable in child rearing. Now discipline has its place too. It is reserved for extreme cases, but children need to know parents are the final authority and certain things can't be tolerated even if it means some form of discipline to help the child stop a certain thing they should not be doing, though we always have to consider the broadest range of age appropriateness in our expectations. Our routine is posted in our home for all to see and they can easily anticipate what will happen next throughout the day. The best thing in our lives lately though is our new church. We found a beautiful, small Bible church 1 mile down the road that we decided to try(not sure why it never struck us before now). Anyhow, we have been going for about 1 month now and we love it. Its small, welcoming, strictly Bible based, aimed for a younger crowd, great worship, WONDERFUL kids program, very active in the community and in fellowship opportunities. We have a lunch brunch once a month for everyone to socialize after church and family night on wednesday nights for everyone to do a potluck style dinner and games and have a message. There are women's, men's and teen Bible study groups. Its really awesome. Christmas Eve service was beautiful and I felt real gratitude for having found it. Anyway, that is about all that is going on around here. Oh wait, did I mention Kenna hasn't nursed, wore daipers or drank from a bottle for 2 days now?? YAY! Okay off to help Nate clean up his horsey, she rolled in the mud and it dried on her:)
*****Its Febuary and I just wanted to update***** HAHA, that didnt last but a week I think. The schooling part that is. I just dont beleive in it. I tried though! The keeping of some basic principles and of course chores has lasted, though my kids still eat what they want and pretty much live in a very democratic home.