Thursday, June 7, 2007

Tip of the Day -- Something to Love, to Do, to Think About

Those who use Charlotte Mason's educational methods will recognize those three things from her writing.  She encouraged parents to be sure their children had these three things every day:

  • Something to Love

  • Something to Do

  • Something to Think About

As we enter into the summer months, it occurred to me that our days will go more smoothly this summer if I make sure my children have those three things each day.  Instead of wandering aimlessly through the summer, bickering when they get bored, they need direction.  This tip can help parents, regardless of their homeschool methods, or whether they homeschool at all.

Something to Love:  In our home, our children have each other to love, their parents, and two cats.  We are continually teaching them to love each other -- they need multiple reminders -- but they also need ideas and encouragement to serve each other, to show love in tangible ways.   One way to do that would be to assign Secret Service Agents as my friend Lynn does.  You can read about her family's tradition HERE.  They can also look outside the immediate family for someone to love.  Do you have neighbors, elderly church members, or a nursing home near you?  Can they show love through cards and letters, time or service to anyone outside the home?

Something to Do:  Despite a house full of games, books, art supplies, toys, and even educational movies, my children sometimes whine that they have nothing to do.   One way to help eliminate this is to give them the responsibility of daily chores, and the possibility of earning more chores for saying "I'm bored!"  Another way is to have an "I'm Bored List".  Our family has had one for several years, and Cindy shared her list last month as one of her Tips of the Day.  Fill your home with activities, educational toys and games, quality books, and art supplies.  Give your children daily chores.  Help them find a pen pal.  Plant a vegetable or flower garden.  Make a list of projects or activities for when they're bored. 
Something to Think About:
  If your children are reading quality books, then they will automatically have something to think about.  If you are doing family devotions with your children, they will have something to think about.  If you limit twaddle TV and supply some educational shows or videos, they will have something to think about.  If you are reading aloud to your children, they will have something to think about.  If you point out some of the interesting and amazing parts of God's Creation to them, they will have something to think about.  And when they are thinking, it will spill over into their free time.  You may find your kitchen wall lined with labeled drawings of the human skeleton, brain, tongue, and heart -- even though you didn't assign it.  You may hear them acting out a part of the Bible, or history, or of a story you read to them in the back yard.

So, as you prepare for summer, ask yourself if your children have each of these three things every day?  If an area is lacking ... what can you do to change that?  When the summer doldrums hit and the whining begins, examine these three areas again and hopefully you can stop the whining and bickering.  That's my plan for the summer, and the future.

April E.  (ElCloud Homeschool) is a Homeschool Mom of 6.  She has homeschooled for over 7 years, and enjoys sharing the things she's learned in her homeschool journey with others. 

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