Here is the second of my updated posts, reflecting upon some of the nuts and bolts of home ed life. I hope it’s useful to those of you currently embarking on this journey, and is a fun, even nostalgic, read for the rest of us. What strikes me is how these patterns have stood us in good stead during the past year, when much of our external structures have been removed. We still have oven fish and chips on Tuesday, though without the music lessons; and pizza on a Friday night marks the beginning of the week end. It brings a smile to me to see how some of these established routines have adapted over time. Now the boys have a cider with their pizza and settle down for an evening playing dungeons and dragons on line with friends!
As the boys became teens, I began to pray that they would have “Issachar Eyes”. Issachar was the tribe of Israel who watched and interpreted the signs of the times. I think the Monday mornings we spent chatting about and praying for our nation have established foundations for many hearty and insightful conversations and debates now, as young adults. For this I’m very thankful.
In the same way that nature has a natural rhythm, I like to have some sort of order to our weeks. Some of this is planned for me, e.g. music lessons, clubs etc, and some I put into place. I’ve found that children often like the reassurance of a routine; they like to know what happens when, and associate certain activities…and even foods…with certain days. So, in addition to the external activities, we always have a family Bible study/discussion/prayer time on Sunday afternoon. This goes alongside a picnic tea, whether outside in the garden or, more frequently, inside in front of the fire. It usually entails constant interruptions with sibling squabbles, spilt food and fidgety littlies….but the important thing is that we do it. I’ve found giving the girls worksheets to colour in, whilst we have a more in in depth discussion with the boys, is helpful.
On Mondays, which is a day Lanky Dude is not in college, the boys and I spend some time looking at current issues and then praying for our nation. And on Friday, before he goes to college in the afternoon, we have a brunch and a short devotional time together. We used to read the Bible together and pray in the mornings, but obviously this needs to adapt as our children move on to education outside of the home. We all, including Dad, have a late breakfast of porridge (cooked deliciously by him) on a Saturday morning, and do some type of family devotion and discussion. At the moment we’re listening to an abridged version of “The Pilgrims Progress”, which leads to some great debates. Food wise…Rhythm Dude cooks on Wednesday, and we all have “oven food” (chips etc) on a Tuesday before music lessons. We also watch “Dads Army “while we eat. If we ever have chips on another day, Sparkly Eyes always asks for Dads Army and expects the lessons to follow! Saturday lunch is a meal I try to put a bit of effort into, as we’re all generally home and it’s our rest day.
These routines have developed and adapted over time and will continue to do so. And of course, we don’t have to stick rigidly to them. But, in a fast-paced world, I find it comforting to know there are some small things that seem to be reliably the same.