Our Morning Devotional has taken a turn for the best.  We have ironed out the wrinkles and have developed a Routine that works!  Our mornings now consist of magic!
Picture courtesy of Jennifer Polivka
Picture-Mosaic Rock Art by Jennifer Polivka

Prepping for Breakfast

After the kids wake up, they all are responsible for their "First 5" in the morning before coming to the table for breakfast.  We have been shooting for a 7am wake up time - but everyone seems to be a little OFF after being ill these past few weeks.  The first to arrive gets to help me with breakfast and then set the table - a little perk/motivation to get up on time and to move quickly.

The children are developing quite a knack at properly setting the table and the younger ones are learning to problem solve by assessing the dishes/silverware needed for different types of foods being served.  I have found that by moving our dishes to one of the bottom cabinets has helped greatly in this...as they are more easily accessible and within their reach.  Oh, and did I mention that by choosing to rid our home of that nasty (yes, I do have a grudge against it) plastic wear the children have gained a greater respect and appreciation for the dishes we have since they are all now made out of glass (minus the modge-podge drawer of silverware - it's a work in progress).  It goes without saying, that the respect has been acquired by having the children wash everything by hand and not without mention, that our dishwasher is loving it's time off.

Morning Devotion (the Hinge)

After everyone cleans up their own dishes (rinse and stacked neatly beside the sink) we gather in the family room with our scriptures, marking pencil, journals, binders (that contain a time line, map, etc.) and bookmarks (that keep track of what we have read).  I have been meaning to put together some boxes for the children to have all these items in one place (another work in progress).

We have been studying the Book of Mormon by using this fantastic study guide I found online.  This mom has taken great time in preparing what we call a menu to feasting upon the Word of God and is done in a manner simple enough for a beginner yet very comprehensive.  She doesn't skimp on anything!  If you have been looking for a Book of Mormon Study Guide, you will definitely want to check this one out.

Chore Meeting

Starting our days off right with everyone's tummy and spirit full, our Chore Meeting goes by SO SMOOTHLY!  I'm not kidding...it's like MAGIC!  The children all jump at the opportunity to serve their family through household duties.  Dagyn says that "chores are more easier now" and that "we don't have to do a lot of chores".  Dyson is convinced that "it makes him stronger" by doing it this way.  Mind you, they are all doing at the very least, 4 chores a piece.  And we are talking about chores like:  washing the dishes by hand for a family of 9 (& that includes iron skillets!); picking up dog poop; sweeping AND mopping the floors; cleaning toilets; AND... they even do windows!  That includes the 4 & 2 year old too!  Perhaps they are right.  At any rate, they're not complaining and neither am I!

I don't take all the credit though.  We may have executed this chore system well but The Jeppson Plan is mainly responsible.  The Jeppson Plan is a "system designed to bring a child to the door of Scholar Phase and gracefully usher him in".   You can read more about how the Jeppson Family applies this (and many more great ideas) in the book, A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion.  But I dare say that we are reaping the benefits on this one.

Free Time

Free time is well earned around here.  What with everyone's hard work that they put forth, they deserve it! 

I thought that they would all just play during Free Time, but that's not the case at all.  They have mostly been asking to be taught (such things as: reading, arithmetic, sewing, cooking, drawing - just to name a few).  Then there are times of course that they do choose to just play.  But not just the sort of playing that most kids do.  We are talking...creative, imaginative play!  Play that requires them to think and develop their minds!  They don't ask to play video games or tinker with those electronic toys that entertain a child any longer.  They choose to play with toys that require them to think! 

(However, there has recently been the occasional request to watch a movie - since we recently signed up for Netflix (via the Wii).  And, I must say that streamlining movies when you have a household full of sick kids with the flu - and can't leave during the day to rent another one - sure does come in handy.)

In reading The Headgate, authors, Brian & Keri Tibbets go on to explain how to tell what Phase of Learning a child is in by what they choose to do during their "free time".  If a child chooses to play, they are in the Core Phase.  If a child chooses to learn, they are in the Love of Learning Phase.  And if they study...Scholar Phase.  (click here for a brief overview of The Phases of Learning)

Currently, we have a house mostly mixed with Core & Love of Learners.  So you will see a variety of learning and playing going on throughout the afternoons (i.e. Free Time) in our home.  However, this time will soon open up to a bunch of young Scholars.  And for this, I...Cannot...Wait!  It is something that I have dreamed about.
03/19/2011 8:09am

Sorry I didn't post on this earlier! I wanted to let you know that our home runs much in the same way! It was so fun to read this, made me smile really. We also only use glass plates (ours are ceramic) and my 2 year old sets the table. It's amazing how such small things make the day run so well!

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