Lately I have been thinking a lot about how to balance structured and unstructured time throughout our days. There are so many things to fit in, including the homeschooling and times of rest and of course the housework, so how to make that happen? Balance. As I have mentioned before, my homeschooling technique / philosophy is quite eclectic - we do use curriculum and offer our children instruction and resources in many key learning areas....... but then I also try to be child-led in my approach, running on their interests and ideas and desires for learning, and certainly teaching at their pace. I also give / expect several hours of independent creative play for the children every day. This all requires a careful balance, and one which I am really working on!
The first half of first term this year I ran a fairly structured morning and a free afternoon. The second half of the term was different.... more unstructured, no television on weekdays to inhibit the creative flow of my children's learning through play, etc.
The term I am trying something new again. I am bringing back the television in the mornings only - just a half hour for the boys to give me a concentrated block of time with Saraya where we're guaranteed no interruptions, and it is Playschool which I trust and appreciate for it's own educational value for the littlest ones. I am also incorporating a time of physical activity every day for us all as I am sick of just not fitting exercise into my routine! I am feeling stiff and old and with 30 right around the corner... well, I have to make it happen! ;) So now we all exercise together. Generally the kids do lots of running around / exploring outdoors anyway, and I'm on my feet most of the day ....... but now we are adding stretches first thing in the morning after chores and free time - gets the brain working and loosens us up! - and then a walk together after lunch. We did this for the first time today and it was great. I turned it into a nature walk for a project I'll share below. Great way to burn off the after-lunch boost my kids seem to get, before their rest and reading times.
So. Exercise every day. Start every day with prayer. A phonics lesson for Elijah each day, as he is begging me for them. Handwriting, Literacy, Math and one other subject for Saraya's formal lessons daily. Read aloud our chapter book (currently Little Men- almost finished!) every day through morning tea break. Saraya to do her independent work early in the morning while I am doing other chores. A craft activity on the afternoons we are not going out anywhere. Oh, and try to go to bed earlier (for me). They are the changes I have made for this term!!
Now, our walk. As we were getting our boots on it starting teeming down with rain. :(
So we waited on the verandah and watched the puddles form and the drains overflow, and soon the rain passed. Turned out it was a good thing, as our walk was suddenly much more interesting than it would have been on dry ground!
Saraya took a photo of me and my boys, all set to go
Saraya spotted a field of funny goats watching us and they had her in stitches!
our long country road
ankle-deep in a natural waterfall created by the heavy rainfall
and here is the craft project - Nature Suncatchers with their collections!
unfortunately the sun is being elusive this afternoon, so we may have to wait until tomorrow to see them light up.....
and a collage activity for fun
And after what I feel has been a pretty well balanced day, my kinder were happy to set off outside for some creative play in the fresh air. Which has given me time to blog. Which makes me happy. :)
Anyway, the balance is what we're all seeking I suppose! Nice to feel today that I'm stepping in the right direction for our family.