Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

03 July 2009

School's Out

Today is the last day of term and two weeks of school holidays stretches out before me. During the last round of holidays I had some thoughts on how to do school holidays well. (well, things to to remember in order to do them better!) So, here are my thoughts. But please note that this is what suits me – I'm not being directive.

1. Of first importance for me is to maintain starting the day by reading the Bible and praying. I let this slip badly last holidays in favour of staying in bed a bit longer in the mornings. Staying in bed for longer has a short term benefit - that has usually worn off by morning tea time. Starting the day in God's Word and praying for the family has an eternal benefit and better sets the tone for the day.

2. In the early days of settling in have a few structured, at-home activities planned such as cooking, craft or particular games to play and set aside plenty of time to be with the children while they do these activities. This helps facilitate getting the children to remember how to be together again, if that is required. I also think having a couple of fresh, structured, parent-directed activities up your sleeve for the end of the holidays when it is becoming clear that every one is ready for school to start again is also useful.
3. No friends over to play for the first few days until everyone is used to each other again and has learned how to share the space, the toys and the parents again.

4. School holidays - not the time to attempt spring cleaning. Keep housework to a bare minimum – the children are just going to mess it all up anyway with their holiday projects and games. Not doing housework allows for more time with the children.
5. The pattern of out in the morning and home in the afternoon seems to work well.

6. Going away for some of the time is always good. And make sure about three quarters of the packing is stuff for the children – games, sports equipment, DVDs, diversions of all kinds, favourite blankie, favourite soft toy. The happier the children, the happier the parents.

7. Not too much screen time (except if mummy is going crazy and needs respite!)

8. Cubby houses! Outside, inside, in a different room every day with different furniture, blankets and so on. Endless fun creating them and endless fun playing with the same toys in a different setting. And a cool place to eat snacks and lunch!

9. An hour after lunch devoted to quiet time – naps, quiet play in one's room, quiet reading – self generated, quiet activity in one's own space for children and for mummy! And as the children get older me thinks this should be devoted to reading…but mine are not quite old enough for this. (I'm shooting for the ideal here. I don't necessarily manage it!)

10. For me, no blogging during the holidays. This makes concentrating on the family easier and provides me with some clear time to think about what I might write about next term.

And so I will be back around about the 20th July. Have a great couple of weeks whether this time finds you at work or at play.

Love Meredith xxx


Sharon said...

We are doing #5 with the three older kids going to King's Club in the first week. The cubby houses idea sounds very good as well. We have a few spare blankets hanging around at the moment.

Have a great holiday with your kids.

~ Sharon

Meredith said...

Thanks Sharon. We have Holiday Bible Club during the first week too (King's Club is a great name!!) so we have that routine built into our first week too.

Happy holidays.

Sharon said...

It doesn't clash with your #3, to not have friends over, too much? I am wondering how they will settle into playing together when they are actually out somewhere else and probably in separate classes. I know it took some time last holidays, after Joshua went to school for the first time.

King's Club isn't run by our church, although it would be great if they could do something like that in future years (we are looking at employing a FT Children's Worker next year). It - and the name, I guess - belongs to NBBC, if you can work out the acronym from your knowledge of Perth churches.

~ Sharon

Meredith said...

Yes, the HBC does run into keeping a low profile in the first few days of the holidays. But that will be July for us every year, which we just have to work around. But the list itself remains a record for me (with the boys at this age and stage) for all holidays. Certainly there were school holidays last year when we had R's friends from school over way too soon and what disaster that was! Quite a scarring experience - hence that being so high up the list!!!

Happily, this holidays (and also April) things went much more smoothly than previous holidays. Maybe it is more just about being intentional about the time, thinking and praying about it before hand and being prepared instead of imagining that we would just ease into the "holiday life." (And I guess everyone is just a little bit older too.)

I've certainly been very inspired by your blog and also the homeschoolers you have in your favourite blogs list. Having spent nearly all my life in schools - myself at school then at uni and then as a teacher - I didn't really know much about homeschooling. But I know that my boys and our family life has benefitted greatly this year since my homeschooling education started through you and your links. It has provided me with another layer of thinking about how we raise our children to know, love and serve God. So thankyou for the encouragement to serve a little better.

God bless,
Meredith xx