Thursday, October 6, 2011

**Lesson Planning, and Planning for Mom’s Devotion time

"Scheduling" is on everyone's minds these days, it seems~ From coordinating "After school" classes, practices, games, and competitions, dentist and doctor appointments, to maintaining a daily schedule, lesson plans, and in the middle of it all, fitting in time for Mom with God.

Thankfully, there are many options, the trick being to find the one that works for you~for now....

Let talk about “Mom-Time” Devotions first, because that is a key to making the days productive and flow well.

First~ we need to figure out WHAT we’re doing devotion-wise, whether it’s reading through the Bible in a certain number of days, or certain Books of the Bible, or Topics…  doing a book study(Like Raising a Daughter After God’s Own Heart By Elizabeth George  (Read my review), a devotional like Our Daily Bread, or Days of Praise, or attending a Community Bible Study or Fellowship Bible Study.

There are different seasons and times when our devotions may be short, and others when they are real “Digging into Scripture” times. Something to remember: don’t compare yourself to others~ we are all in different seasons, and none of us have the same family make-up, so what works for one will not work for others~ so if Our Daily Bread is all you can manage on a daily basis right now, well~ That's OK! So is listening to Scripture in song. Oh, and let's not forget~ there is the option of audio bible~

Once the "What" is taken care of we need to figure out the WHEN of our devotions.

  • In our house, there is a devotional Bible in the Bathroom, because, well, we HOPE that the bathroom is one place that we won’t be interrupted (HAH! Wish that were true, but it does work for DH who gets up WAY before anyone else is awake). I like to keep a copy of either Daily Bread or Days of Praise up there as well.
  • Waking up1/2 hour earlier than your kids, or going to bed ½ later is an option. Clearly, morning is ideal for "Starting the day off right", but evening might work better for your schedule and your family. That's OK!
  • Making a mid-day “Quiet-time” (BOB-Time = Books On Bed) mandatory~ so that you have that time for yourself as well as everyone else.
  • Incorporating YOUR devotions in with your children’s devotions~ Reading and exploring the Bible can be a sweet time together, and if that’s all that you have time for, hey, it's all GOOD.
Some resources that were mentioned~
  • Grapevine Studies~These Studies use stick-figuring to walk through the Bible. I used the New and Old Testament Overviews with my kids and our Japanese Exchange student a couple of summers ago. The stick-figuring is drawn out for you, the teacher, and is very easy to model for the kids. Loved this! (You can read my review of the program here). You can find Samples here.
  • Seeds Family Worship (Music)  You can listen online to some of this music, which is scripture set to music. 
  • Marilyn Boyer from The Learning Parent was also mentioned by a number of moms at the meeting as a good resource. 
  • Community Bible Study   (Check for local courses~ there are 4 within a 25 mile radius of my home, so there is a good chance that there is one local to you) Many locations offer concurrent children's classes, including homeschool-age classes up through junior high.
  • A few other books recommended~ to help with "tying the heartstrings", and working WITH your children to help them achieve their best. Not exactly "Devotional" in nature, but helpful in understanding our children as we segue the topic into scheduling lessons for our children.
Give Them Grace
The Way They Learn

Life in a Minor Key

One more slightly off-topic note here. We talked about the importance of "Touch" in being able to "Read" our children~ to maintain physical contact (Hugs, pats on the head/shoulder, squeeze, a kiss on the cheek, or caress across the brow) even on into their teen and adult years. I personally melt a little when I see a teenage boy put his arms around his moms's shoulders and lean in when listening to a sermon in church, or at a concert, or really, wherever... there is just something so sweet and connected in that motion.
"Touch"/"Human contact" is essential for normal growth. An example would be those children who come from Eastern European Orphanages weighing almost nothing, but who begin to thrive when given not only proper medical care(especially for the severely malnourished), but the proper emotional care. The specific case I referred to was a sweet girl, Carrington, whose adoption was final this spring. Here is a post on her blog to show you the miracle that occurred for Carrington. She was 3 years old and weighed only 11 pounds~ gained 8 pounds in her first 4 months here.(If you, or anyone you know, are considering adoption, I hope that you would consider one of the sweeties listed on Reece's Rainbow~)

Alright~ back on topic now ;)
Scheduling and/or Lesson Planning

I have played with many things over the years. I started with a simple grid that had a space for each day and one extra for "notes" (a 2x3 grid with big spaces). I listed what I wanted to accomplish each day, and then marked it off when I got to it(not necessarily on the day it was scheduled). At the end of the week, I decided if some of the things that we didn't get to were things I needed to move to the next week, or if it was something I could just drop (This was Kindergarten/1st grade for one child, so there was a lot of flexibility).

After awhile (once I added a second child to the schedule), I decided that I needed to get a handle on how long things took, and how to reasonably fit them in, so I created a "Time-block" schedule on a grid.

Now that I have a younger child in addition to the two olders, I have gone away from my "Time-schedule", and have returned to more or less a list of what needs to be done each week. I use Bright Ideas Press' basic schedule from Illuminations, tweaked for my family.

Bright Ideas Press has their schedule available in their samples for Illuminations  so you can see what I'm talking about. 

Free Printables/Do-It-Yourself Options~
  • Donna Young has a bunch of forms that are very helpful.
  • The Home School Mom has a number of planning items
  • Notebook-Style~ write your list for the day on each page, with specific notes(lessons in the math and science texts for each child, etc...)~ cross off what gets done, move what wasn't completed to the next page for tomorrow.(My friend Heather W., Planner Extraordinaire, has some great "Organization" posts... this is one of my favorites
  • Workbox Style~ laminated charts with velcro dots for the various chores and lessons~ with a place to put them when they have been finished. Here's a good blog with some great pictures and explanations to get you started. :)
  • Chore or Lesson "Packets" ~ a clear "pocket" that fits index cards~ each lesson or chore placed in order in the pocket~ as they are completed, the card gets moved to the back.
  • Regular “Teacher Planner” from Staples
  • I have one friend who uses a blog as her "Assignment book" for her high-school age son. This is pretty cool! 
~Paid Planners~
If creating your own is more work than you want to undertake, OR you want to make sure you don't miss a detail, then an already created planner may be the thing for you.
  • TOS has a behemoth of a planner~this is MUCH more than simply a lesson planner~ it includes home organization, menus and recipes, lists and, well.... a huge amount of information~ over 800 pages worth! There are also separate Student Planners if you like to have individualized planners for your children.
  • The Well Planned Day~ I know some friends online who have used this planner and love it~ it is lovely to look at. :)(Take a peek here)
  • Managers Of Their Homes
So, you see, there are LOTS of Options! This is one of those things~ one method may work for most people most of the time, another may work for some people some of the time, but no one method will work for all the people all the time, so take YOUR time, try a few out, and see what works best for you and your children. Keep in mind that you may need to try a few styles, and that you may even need to USE a few styles. You might have a child who is motivated by a list, and checking things off, and another child who works best seeing the concrete evidence of work "moving" which is evident in either index card or workbox methods.



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