Jon and I are always looking for ways to be more engaging as teachers and more effective as time managers. During this school year, we have experienced several new realities, personally and collectively, which have impacted our work and home school schedules. As such, towards the end of the year, we were on information overload. And we knew a change needed to occur.
Since we both have untraditional work schedules (Wed.-Sun.), but also share the home schooling responsibilities of our kids, our home school week is a bit creative. We school Tuesday-Saturday (catch up day) and observe Mondays as our Family Sabbath. On this day, there’s no school, no work, but plenty of rest, reflection and recreation. After a bit of discussion, we made a simple adjustment in our home school routine.
The changes we made were small, but significant. We decided, parents would no longer teach every subject, everyday. On Tuesdays, Jon would teach a complete week’s worth of Science and Geography (book work, field trips, experiments, etc.) Leaving Language Arts (Grammar, Writing, Spelling & Literature) for me to teach Wednesday-Friday. At the beginning of each week, the kids were given an assignment sheet which listed items for which they were solely responsible. In addition to their daily chores, they were responsible for reading, math, and music practice. Parents were available, if needed. But now, the kids had the responsibility for execution and completion.
In the first week alone, the transformation was significant! To our surprise, the kids welcomed the additional responsibility and appreciated the opportunity to earn extras for a job well done (i.e. screen time, special date with parents, etc.) In addition, since Mom and Dad weren’t teaching every subject, everyday, we felt as if we had more “bandwidth”. This afforded us the opportunity to further and more fully investigate interesting topics or to spend additional time in areas that required closer attention or extra practice for one or both of our students.
But we soon discovered this change wasn’t merely about home schooling. It reached far beyond our classroom into every sphere and facet of our family’s lives. Having kids who are 9-years-old and 11-years-old, we are quiet aware that we are entering a new season of parenting. We are smack-dab in the middle of the Tween Years, soon to be embarking on the Teen Years and then, it’s LAUNCH TIME, BABY.
It is our desire to raise our kids to be problem-solvers, risk-takers and comfortable thinking and living outside-of-the-box. We have no desire to raise kids who only know the correct outward response. Or who do the right thing out of fear of doing the wrong thing or of being different. Or who continue to do things simply because that’s they way they’ve always been done. Nope! We desire to train our children to do the right thing because they know in their hearts that’s what needs to be done. And, sometimes, doing the right thing means making changes. Even if they are uncomfortable, unpopular, or uncharted territory.
It’s our desire to create an environment of love and trust, which is grounded in the Word, that brings about heart change. This is real change. Living and learning, relating and responding, from the inside out. To do this, we have to let go of some control, share the responsibility, broaden the boundaries, and give our children freedom to make some of the decisions and even a few mistakes.
As parents, it’s our desire to be in the trenches with our children, working together to bring about heart and life change. So when they find themselves in a particular situation, relationship or conflict, they don’t just ‘do the right thing’ because that’s what’s expected of them. They do the right thing because it’s the godly thing to do.
In all areas of our lives, even in our role as parents, we want to be open to accessing and adjusting. Willing to make the needed changes. Even mid-course, if necessary. If not, we risk stagnation and death. And to always be about growing and developing, learning and transforming. Never settling for status quo. Or fearing change, but facing it head-on.
Never be afraid to make necessary changes that are within your ability and control to make. For even a seemingly small change can bring about significant transformation.