As I’ve reflected over the last ten years of teaching my children, a few habits we have developed over time have come to mind that have helped our home to be a happy place of learning.
1. I rise before my children and have at least ½ hour to myself and I dress and make my bed first thing and greet each child with a ‘good morning’ and a smile. This doesn’t come natural for me because my dad was a night owl and I followed in his footsteps. The change was not easy, but has been very rewarding.
2. We have a general routine that gives my children a map for their day. They feel secure and happy knowing the day’s general plan and their duties.
3. Every afternoon I have one hour to myself. No interruptions allowed (unless a child is bleeding to death!). My children are required to be on their beds at this time reading or writing what they wish, but no noise allowed. We’ve done this since they were toddlers and call it Quiet Time.
4. I continue to educate myself as well as keep up a hobby. I consider this very important for ALL mothers.
5. I keep four books going at all times by my bedside and read ½ hour before bed, choosing whatever book I am in the mood for at the time. (fiction, spiritual, nonfiction and a child’s book I am proofreading)
6. I purpose not to yell and try to be pleasant when correcting, remaining firm, but kind. I am still learning to do this, but see the improvement and it makes everyone’s day go well since Mom sets the tone for the day. What a great and wonderful responsibility given to mothers!
7. The children play outside at least two hours a day whether they want to or not. We also sharply limit unattended playtime with other children. The TV is in our bedroom so is virtually unused except for news and the occasional carefully chosen video or DVD.
8. We eat supper together in the evenings and we speak of worthy subjects. Often the children narrate to Dad stories from the day’s lessons. It is a happy time.
9. We have a bedtime routine that includes mom or dad talking and praying with the children before bed and we make sure that they are not sad or angry while drifting off to sleep.
10. One evening a week is reserved for Family Fun Night -- even if it means saying ‘no’ to invitations elsewhere and one evening a week is Date Night for Mom and Dad -- even if it means staying at home and putting the children to bed early.
Lastly and most importantly, I have allowed myself to dream (or shall I say I have been given a vision?) and I’ve made all decisions in light of it, even when ridiculed. This has required the development of a thick skin. But history has shown us that anyone who blazed their own trail, who heard the beat of a different drummer and who challenged the status quo, faced similar obstacles --- They also changed the world.
one step at a time...