I noticed several weeks ago that my children were sleeping longer on Monday than any other day of the week. At first I thought it may be because they needed rest following active weekends and busy schedules. After hearing little grumblings about school, and a few comments about Mondays being the least favorite day of the week, even the worst, I thought the issue should be discussed.
Sharing with my children over breakfast I asked questions such as, “I wonder why Monday is suddenly feeling like a bad day?” “Is it different from any of the other school days?” They gave many responses. Ultimately, no one wanted the weekend to end. “After all, the weekends are so short and the week is so long,” they said. They asked questions about reducing the school week and increasing the time off over the weekend. The older children had been most verbal about this, and the younger children followed in kind. In their minds, weekends were the fun time, and no one wanted to end a “fun time” by filling it up with work – studying, reading, writing, biology, latin, history, geography, astronomy, long division, multiplication, geometry…
Interestingly, I had recently been praying that God would help me be more flexible. The week prior I journaled about making the school week “fun.” I wanted to be creative, and not get stuck in a rut. I wanted to make the school days more enjoyable for us as a family. I want my children to work hard in school, but mostly I want them to see the majesty of God in their studies, to love learning, and enjoy being with their family…all the while having good attitudes and glorifying God in the process.
Monday mourning rolled around again. I decided we would get out of the house. I made breakfast a little earlier and brought everyone to the table. “Shall we go on a hike or head to the zoo?” Older children say hike, younger children say zoo. Hmmm. Zoo is closest, that became our determining factor. It was raining when we left home and by the time we arrived at the zoo the sun was shining and the sky overhead was blue and bright. It was great to be outdoors with the sun on our skin, moving our bodies, and starting the week off differently. We were home before noon. The children started their studies and were actually amazed that they could start after a morning outing and still complete everything by the afternoon.
The talk at home was how great the day was. And how we should do that more often. Several kids brought up the fact that they did not feel we had been going to the beach enough. I agreed, and threw out the statement that the next time we had a sunny day we would go to the beach.
I woke to the most beautiful sunrise. Before 9 am it was sunny and hot. The kids reminded me of what I said the day before. I was reluctant to have another fun outing. I thought to myself, “Seriously, two days in a row? I know I had been praying for flexibility and creativity – but, c’mon, really?” We soon were in the car, driving to the beach. After staying for 2 hours it was time to go. Long faces and two little ones with tears almost changed my mind to stay, but instead I tried to encourage. I reminded everyone that we live here in Hawai’i, and we can come to the beach another day. Again, we were back home before lunch and everyone LOVED this week so far and it was only Tuesday!
The following week Wednesday, a fellow homeschooler from our support group planned a morning at the park. I was asked if I would be going. My answer was “probably not.” After all, we had a busy week the week before. I had been flexible and creative with our schedule and our time. GUESS WHAT? We found ourselves at the park an hour later. We had a wonderful time enjoying the fellowship of other homeschooling families. Seeing Mama’s and their keiki really blessed us (Mahalo Hannah for organizing a great day!).
That Thursday I was planning to teach Astronomy to my middle children along with another family as we do each week. In the morning my teens were up early and asking if we could drive over to Hapuna Beach. This is their favorite spot on the island. They love the clear, light-blue water and the white sand. They love the waves that they can ride all day. I thought about it. I wanted to go…sort of…and then again I did not. It is a lot of work to pack up, make the drive, etc. I called the other mom about Astronomy and wondered what she thought about cancelling for the day. Since my husband was off island at a Pastor’s meeting and her husband was at work, we talked about travelling over there together. She sounded excited. I had half-hoped she would talk me out of it. I called my husband and he encouraged me to go. A couple of hours later we were packed up in my van – all TWELVE of us. Two Mam’s and 10 keiki. It was a wonderful, sunny, gorgeous, busy day and we all enjoyed ourselves. We agreed to plan another adventure soon.
These days marked great memories in the minds of my children. They enjoyed themselves, and it helped to change their thinking about their school weeks. Rather than mourning the school week, they enjoyed! I may not always be able to keep up with this kind of schedule, I want to be open and ready to be flexible. I may not be able to keep up with this kind of schedule or outings, on a real regular basis. it really was a great week. My children were amazed that they could still complete all their work while still having a lot of flexibility.
Thank you Lord for answering my prayers. Thank you Lord that you care about the details of our lives (Psalm 37), and you have transformed our Monday Mournings back to Monday Mornings! Over and over again you surprise me. I love you, Lord!