Time for Summer Schedule Planning

One of my children asked me this week if they would be doing math over the summer. That question prompted me to begin praying about and planning our summer schedule. We have four more weeks of school left as I write this plus a week of standardized testing; then it is summer for us. What about you? Have you considered the use of a daily schedule during the summer? Since I am beginning to think about our summer schedule, I felt like it was time for me to encourage you to begin on yours!

I was amazed by the reports of several of the moms who tested our book on scheduling for homeschool families before it was printed. After they had been on their schedules for a school year, some decided not to make and use a summer schedule. Their feedback was that they would not make that choice again. Their summer had rushed away without getting to the activities they had wanted to accomplish, and there was a greater level of disharmony among the children.

Summer is perfect for catching up on organizational and cleaning projects that the school year does not allow time for. I schedule one hour a day for these kinds of projects, and I am always surprised and delighted at how much I can do during this hour through the course of the summer.

The temptation is to continue working on the project past the allotted hour. However, this then undermines the rest of my summer schedule because I will have other priorities scheduled for the rest of the day.

I keep a running list of projects I would like to get done during that organizational hour, prioritize it, and jump in when summer begins. I also like to look back over what I have done previous summers to help me know what to tackle this year.

This is my list right now, but I will come up with other projects as the summer progresses: pack away and label children’s winter clothes, box this year’s school books, create a school portfolio for each child, clean kitchen cupboards, clean and organize closets, put photos in albums, and plan 2000/2001 school schedule.

I will schedule Sarah, our eighteen-year-old daughter, to spend my organizational hour taking the younger children for a walk and playing with them. This way I will have fewer interruptions during that time, and the children will be getting some exercise. Because it is hot in Kansas in the summer, this hour is scheduled for right after breakfast before it becomes unbearably hot.

Planning for a summer schedule is a great time to pray about whether year-round schooling would benefit your family. This is one way to eliminate some of the time pressures faced during the school year. When you spend a couple of hours schooling each day through the summer, you free up that time through your normal school year. It also gives your children something constructive to do with their summer days and keeps their skills fresh. We have found that we can skip the first quarter of a math book when we move into it right after finishing the previous one, because that first part is all review. We purchased an art course for our children. I am going to look at my schedule and the materials to decide if I want to give a half hour a day to beginning this course. I will find it easier to prepare for it during the summer because I have more time available.

I will also be praying about how much school to continue through the summer. Usually I schedule math that will necessitate my involvement. I try to make the other school time self-instructional and self-correcting so that as much of my time is freed up in the summer as possible.

I want to spend more time playing with the children during the summer. I put this in my schedule as well because it gives me needed accountability. I am likely to find something I feel I need to do or want to do rather than go outside with the children–especially when it is hot!–if that time isn’t scheduled. When they are looking forward to it, I don’t want to disappoint them.

Summer is a perfect time to teach your children new chore skills. You can revise your chore schedule during this time, moving jobs from child to child, training them on new ones, and making sure they can do them well.

We want our summers to involve a change of pace. However, we don’t want to lose the direction, productivity, and peace the schedule lends to our home. Therefore, we simply pray about a summer schedule, seeking the Lord for His priorities for our summer days. Then we are ready to put together the summer schedule and look forward to what we can enjoy and accomplish.

Ephesians 5:16 and Colossians 4:5 both mention “redeeming the time.” May we see the productive possibilities for a summer schedule to help us in this important directive of “redeeming the time.” May I encourage you to consider a summer schedule if you have not used one before? If you already believe in the importance of a summer schedule, may I suggest you begin now to pray about and plan for the details of that schedule?

Overcoming Anger for Homeschool Dads – Part 2

Last month I shared how I have struggled with anger. Not fits of rage, yelling, or other demonstrations of anger usually considered forbidden for Christians, but at times a spirit of irritation was heard in my voice.

How I hate that tone. I had heard it for most of my childhood years, and now, as a parent, I had the same irritated tone. If something displeased me, I would have an edge on my voice that my family knew all too well.

Anger Should Not Be Accepted

Have you noticed that certain levels of anger seem to be acceptable in the church? Nearly any Sunday you can observe a parent “communicating” with their child. The face is tight, and the eyes are boring holes in the child. Even if you can’t hear the threatening tone, it is obvious the parent is not happy and is doing their best to evoke a change in the child’s behavior.

However, if a parent were to raise their voice at the child, it would generally be frowned upon, and others would feel they had “crossed the line.” That characterizes my experience with anger. As long as I avoided raising my voice, I could accept my response and not feel the need to confess it.

Last month after my Dad’s Corner, we received an e-mail from someone who said they had struggled with anger and that a message by Dr. S. M. Davis called Freedom from the Spirit of Anger had really helped them. We had listened to another message by Pastor S. M. Davis on anger, and it was excellent. Since we had heard the one, I felt no urgency in ordering it and listening to it. After all, I didn’t have a problem with anger, just an irritated tone.

The next week Teri and I were in Peoria, Illinois, giving workshops at the APACHE homeschool conference. Pastor Davis was also giving some workshops at the conference and had a table with audio and videotapes. It was wonderful; I was able to visit with him and purchase a number of resources.

Soon after Teri and I arrived home, I popped the audio called Freedom from the Spirit of Anger  into the player. Within fifteen minutes, God had broken my heart and convicted me that my “tone” was really a spirit of anger, and I knew it had to be dealt with. To my relief, Pastor Davis shared, during the remainder of the tape, how I could have victory. Isn’t the Lord Jesus so merciful? He will deal with sin in my life if I let Him. I have been rejoicing over finally having some relief from my spirit of anger. It is such a new experience for me. When something has been a way of life for years, a period of adjustment is necessary to overcome it. First, I’ve found that there are times when I am not aware of it. Then there are times when I’m correcting a child, and I’m not even sure how to speak to them. I feel like a child having to learn new behavior, but it is wonderful.

Today as I was pulling the van out of the garage, I had an opportunity to respond peacefully. Without thinking, one of the children picked up the garage door opener (yes, the opener is actually a closer as well) and pushed the button before we were all the way out of the garage. We managed to clear the door in time before it came down on the van, but it was close. Then, I began hearing a torrid of reasons why it wasn’t her fault. What makes it worse is, I have told the children never to pick the opener up while we are in the garage. I was trying to get her to stop and listen to me when I heard an angry tone in my voice. As soon as I recognized it, God gave me peace. I was able to calmly explain again, they are not to touch the “closer.” Later, she told her mother she thought I was really going to be angry and was surprised to find I wasn’t. Isn’t God good?

Unfortunately, I realize I have quite a long road ahead as I will have daily opportunities to yield my anger to the Lord. If He wants to get angry over something, then that is His business.

What about you? Have you been a “good Christian father” and attempted to control the angry outbursts and throttled your anger back to angry tones and searing looks? Praise God there is hope in the Lord Jesus. I will not attempt to share here what dear Brother Davis has done so powerfully.

Maybe I am the only one on the Corner list who has struggled with this. If not, you may be interested in knowing how to purchase a copy of the audio.

My spirit of anger had infected our family just as any father’s spirit of anger will infect his family. If a spirit of anger is a problem in your life, you might give them a call. May God bless and enable us to be the gentle, meek fathers He desires us to be.