Monday, October 4, 2010

Our first 'Sabbath Week'

Last week I was reading a really great homeschooling article in a magazine I just discovered call The Home Educating Family. It was called Sabbath Schooling, and I was curious, so I started to read it. I thought maybe it was going to give me some tips on how to help my family's Sundays be more meaningful...or something. However, it was on something totally different!! At first she talked about the Creation and how the Lord rested on the 7th day. Then she talked about seasons, and how we each need to identify what our 'season' or 'cycle' for learning is and let that guide the way we run our homes...NOT the schedule of the school system, other families, or anything else.

I remember the first time I learned about seasons...or at least the first time I really GOT seasons. I was listening to a LEMI call about SEASONS...WOW, was it a big eye opener. I was able to incorporate some of what I learned on that call into my life, but then to hear the topic again with a slightly different angle helped me understand it even more. To try and keep this short...I'll just quickly say that the gal writing the article talked about how for her, 'schooling' or if you are not homeschooling just doing your 'normal' stuff for six weeks was about all she could do without experiencing overwhelm. She modeled her schedule off of the 6 days of work 1 day of rest...however, instead she does 6 weeks of 'schooling' and on the 7th week she calls it here Sabbath week.

I don't know exactly what she does on her 7th week, but here is how that translated to me. On week 7 we have a Sabbath week...not a week of only vegging, playing, and basically being useless. A Sabbath week to me instantly meant a week full of a different type of focus. A focus on relationships, foundational things (like organizing, working on systems, re-evaluating everything, etc...), a week of reading, studying, learning, playing, and being together without the normal pressures of school (that doesn't mean we won't be learning during our Sabbath week)!!!

Today was Sabbath Week...DAY 1, and it was FANTASTIC!!! So what did we do?! TONS. (We only took two days off this summer for a family today Scott had already planned on taking a 'STAYcation' day, so he was even home which was a dream come true!!)


In September I took an online class all about [The Closet], which is a tool that everyone from a Grandma to a mom of small children can use to help create meaningful time with their family. It was really a great class, and I learned a TON!! I'll have to explain more of what The Closet is later, but basically I'm going to use it in the afternoon (so it can only be used in the afternoon...PERIOD). We'll have already completed our 'normal' school stuff, and will use it during our afternoon 'Structured Learning Time.' It will help us change gears, be 100% present with each other, learn a little more about something that interests us, do a project we've been putting off, play a game together, or do whatever else we find in the magical closet.

Anyway, I've known about the closet for YEARS, however, I never got around to actually creating my closet. After taking this online class, I felt inspired again to create my family's closet finally. The class ended two weeks ago, and I've spent those last two weeks thinking about what I wanted in it, how I was going to use it for my family, and how I was going to actually make time to get this all done.

Last week, when I decided to make this our first 'Sabbath Week,' I made a decision to spend time and create [The Closet]. I decided I wanted it in my school room, which meant I had to do a little re-arranging. It took most of the day today to actually get through the whole process (it takes me a while to really think, process, and create a new space). However, I finally figured out how to re-organize the room, re-structure our normal 'schooling days,' and finally put everything where I wanted it to go.


There were to many things on top of this low book, and it was always looking terribly cluttered.

This bookcase was filled with stuff...and most of it we never used. I decided to empty the bookcase, move the stuff I did use into better places, store away the stuff we aren't using, and use this in my room where I am desperately in need of a more book shelves. I'm SO EXCITED to move it in there tonight.

Wow, can you say messy and UNDER UTILIZED...the closet was basically empty except for junk.

I got this new bookcase a few months ago, but never really had spent time figuring out how to use it really well. That changed today. I made this bookcase our 'MORNING' BOOKCASE, which meant it contains most of our morning school items. I had to move things all around, to make this a functioning bookcase so I could create my Closet space (which will be my 'afternoon' bookcase). It may not look to spiffy to you in the photo...but its more about functionality than being super cute. Although, I always like it when I can accomplish both. It would be much more flattering to look at if I was able to replace those miss-matched plastic storage totes (which are holding all the books/materials for a certain subject we are studying) for nice brown baskets...but for now I am SO THRILLED to just have it all organized, and looking neat and tidy. I'm also feeling re-charged enough to start school tomorrow. :) (Even though we're not, because I have lots more SABBATH week activities planned.) Its amazing what a little 'foundational' time will do for you!!

I couldn't get a very good shot of the lens is a 50mm which isn't wide enough to really capture small spaces like a closet. I'd love to some day get a wider lens...some day. :) Anyway, hopefully you can kind of see how different my closet looks. I re-organized the entire school room, and as I did I looked for interesting things my kids hadn't read or done in a while. I pulled those items out and started to put them in the closet. Before I knew it the closet was jam I think I might actually have too much in my new closet.

Oh, and you can also see in this picture how the funky green bookcase is now completely EMPTY --- WOO-HOO!! Its getting moved out tonight. There are so many books in my bedroom that will be happy to have a shelf of their own to rest on. And I'll be happy not to have them laying around in piles anymore. :)

[Fall Bike Fix Up Day]

You are probably wondering why under Bike Fix Up Day there aren't any pictures of bikes. Well, here's the scoop. I went out with my camera to capture the crew working on the bikes (Jarom BTW was a rock star and knew how to fix everything). Anyway, I did take one lame picture of some bikes laying on the ground, but then I got totally distracted by Becca who had somehow stripped down to just her diaper, put on some bright pink boots, and was strutting around like she was the most fabulous thing there was. I couldn't stop I followed here around for 15 minutes, and took literally about 70 pictures of her. What a HOOT. Needless to say, I completely forgot why I had come outside, and after finishing up Becca's little photo shoot went inside. Thank goodness my lack of photos doesn't reflect the progress they made.

With the weather FINALLY cooling down, it was definitely time to tune up everyone's bikes. Bike tires were patched and switched, chains tightened, spider webs cleaned off, training wheels tightened, and everything got a little oil to boot. We are now officially ready for an Arizona Fall...bring it on, our bikes are READY!!

[Finish our Garden Boxes]

A few weeks ago the 4 oldest kids worked SUPER DUPER hard to each build a Square Foot Garden Box. Its a STINKING HOT, but they persevered and finished building the box, and treating the wood. Thank goodness today wasn't so fact it was PERFECT. With a determination to finish the job, Scott took the four oldest to home depot. A few hours later they came back with chicken wire (to put under the boxes to keep out the gofers), 3 watering cans, and lots of plants to plant.

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