Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Most Important Things

There are three things that, I've discovered, are absolutely integral to our daily success. They are:
1 - The daily walk.
2 - Quiet time.
3 - Free time.

#1 - We try to always take our daily walk first thing right after breakfast. I load up the dogs, the Bearcub and Nightowl and we're off. At this point we can make it nearly a mile (Nightowl's legs get tired) at a slow pace. This walk really soothes our souls, wakes us up (we're not morning folks) and provides a good transition for our morning lesson. On a couple of occasions we've had to skip our walk - we could tell. Our moods were funny, our legs ached, and we felt itchy. We need it everyday.

#2 - I initiated quiet time after another homeschool mom noted that her kids were early readers because "I make them have an hour of quiet reading everyday." Interesting. I'm all for reading. I like quiet time. Viola! We take ours daily from 1:30-2:30 (give or take 30 minutes). Bearcub goes down for a nap. Nightowl gathers books, puzzles, and drawing supplies and heads for the bean bag in the playroom. She props up a pillow and grabs a blanket if it's chilly. During this time she gets a special quiet time drink - lemonade, hot tea, banana smoothy. I must make myself sit - no telephone, no email - and read or knit or nap. One whole hour. It rocks.

#3 - Despite the schedule I'm not a stickler and freetime is a most wonderful homeschooly thing. It's exactly that - we all do what we need to do. Play (Nightowl), throw and dump (Bearcub) or assorted chores (Me). Fabulous.

I'm finding that the kids really need these anchor points - even during weekends or holidays. These three things ground us and make our learning work. The ability to provide daily selfcare feels like a gift that I'm giving myself and my kids.

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