Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Well-Oiled Wheel: In Praise of Multiple Meetings

Jennifer asked me recently to elaborate more on our "Morning Meetings" and our family meetings. First of all, the title of this post is kind of tongue in cheek.  We certainly don't have anything all figured out, but I do feel like both meetings have helped things become a little more organized and they've also helped me be more intentional about 1) organizing our time and 2) educating Annie.  I wanted to share a little more detail for those interested.

Family Meetings
Once a week (usually Sunday night) Peyton and I sit down after the kids are in bed and discuss "business".  First, we start by planning our week.  We get out Peyton's work schedule and fill that in on my planner.  Since Peyton has a job where is schedule isn't the same week to week, this has really helped me.  Then we fill in other obligations and things we have going on.  After that we pencil in projects, errands, and chores.  After we've got our agenda for the week, we look over our budget and plan our meals.  It just occurred to me, but I think it would be really neat to add a component of praying over our schedule and our finances each week.

Morning Meetings

We started these after I learned about them at a little homeschool workshop I attended.  Basically, it's just ten or twenty minutes of focused learning.  We spend a little time acquiring new knowledge and skills and a lot of time reviewing! We try to do it four days out of the week.

You can see the breakdown on this poster.  It's pretty self explanatory, but I'll share a little bit about each part of the Morning Meeting.

Opening Song: I pick one of the songs listed and we work on it each day for a week.  I usually play the song on the laptop.  I like Cyberhymnal.org a lot for this.
Prayers/Creeds: Right now, we're focusing on the Lord's Prayer.  We'll probably add the Apostle's Creed next once she's mastered the Lord's Prayer.
Catechism: This is a great tool for teaching children about God and their relationship to Him. The one we use was written by a professor at Wesley Biblical Seminary here in Jackson.  It would really be more appropriate for an older child and we may end up choosing to use another one, but I really like the focus of this one. Ann Peyton has learned the first question (Q: "Where do we learn how to love and obey God?" A: "In the Bible" and has almost got the second one down: Q: "What is the Bible?" A: "Sixty-six God-inspired books that teach us about God and how we can be holy as He is holy.")
 
 Personal Information:  This has been really fun.  We're working on learning everyone's (including grandparents, aunts, uncles, ect.) full name and occupation, how to spell her own name, and our address and phone number.  It's really cute to see her answer questions.  I need to video it!
Facts: I want her to memorize a quote each month and we're working on the days of the week.
Numbers: She's basically got this, but we're practicing counting objects up to ten.
Closing Song: For right now, we end with the Doxology.

We recently added this peice of furniture to our kitchen and the top drawer functions as our "homeschool command center".
 Obviously, as we get further along in this journey, we'll need to expand, but for now it's perfect.  I also use it as a place to keep "special" toys- puzzles and dry erase boards and things that AP has to do at the table so Graves won't get into ;)

I think this has been really beneficial and fun.  Even if you have no intention of homeschooling, I encourage you to modify this idea to fit the needs of your family and use it with your young children or even school aged children during the Summer months!

Having little routines in our day and week is hard sometimes when I know I need to get laundry going or when I just want to sit and watch some mindless TV, but it's also SO nice.  I feel like it's good for the children to have something predictable and for me to have the accountability of not just saying "we'll do school...at some point".  And I feel like the family meetings have helped Peyton and I get on the same page more, practically speaking, because we're not wondering what's going on or where our money went or what's for dinner (okay, we still wonder about that last one a good bit...I'm a work in progress).  Anyway, I think both have been super helpful and I'd like to try to develop more routine and structure in our days and in our lives.


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