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Tot-school | Week 24 | Letter YApril 9, 2017

This past week’s tot-school
…was deliberately sparse

After a weeks pause we got back to tot-school light this week. We were childminding an extra little one every morning so rather than focus on just the letter we did morning activities and then I added in a letter Y activity if the afternoon allowed. With 2 little boys to entertain having a hands on activity most days set up was a real treat. Our walls became adorned with their artwork and I’m already stockpiling ideas for the week after next when we do it again.

Letter Y was a trial though. I found it difficult to get excited about and most of the ‘usual’ words just didn’t seem to work. While I made up the set for yogurt and yo-yo I failed to find a yo-yo for us to play with so none of that material got used. Yacht – he calls it a boat, Yellow – not an object, Yam – it’s called a sweet potato, Yarn – that’s called wool, Yak – really, he’d not have a clue! I drew a large Y n the floor on Monday and he immediately identified it correctly, I concluded sometimes we try too hard.

The pack I’ve made is available for download at the end of the post.

This weeks read more questions:

It was lovely to do so many hands on activities with another child

I’d hoped to do yogurt painting but with so many messy things each moring I couldn’t face it in the afternoons

I’ve chosen not to include pictures of the other little boy, it’s not my place to make the decision for his parents and even if it limits my pictures I’d feel unsure without express permission for each and every photo.

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Serving in stillness (rest)March 30, 2017

This weeks theme is rest and it’s something I’ve actually found myself ahead of the ball on for once. I’m fighting for alone time but I’ve found a rhythm that, at least for the while, seems to leave me less exhausted and more excited than daunted about work.

I’ve let go of my expectations as I recognise what to invest in, it’s given me permission to trust God is still working when I’m not. Invest…these’s that word again, my word for the year seeping into my everyday. This process of investing may conjure up visions of building ones pile, or digging the earth and tending the saplings, but in practice it’s turned out to be much more about pruning. Perhaps you can grow beautiful roses in the dense jungle but they will be more appreciated and easier to tend in well pruned flowerbeds. And that’s where rest comes in, because last year I was trying to do so much and feeling so much personal disappointment as my to do list grew ever longer.

So my days are now in a pattern that build in rest and work and time to be open to the day. Zeljko often goes off to work at a friends house and I tend Adam alone for the later part of the morning. We play, I may get space to browse my phone or sort some laundry but it’s not what that time is for. Today we painted with bubbles in the dirt, tomorrow we may build a Duplo house to be saved from fire or go explore the canal and pick dandelions. After we’ve eaten a light lunch and I’ve sat the 30-45 minutes in a darkened room Adam is (fingers crossed) asleep.

Last year at this point I’d go rushing into the thousands of jobs I’d mentally been listing all morning, but no longer. It’s not healthy for me and I’ve no chance of finishing them even if I exhaust myself – I would have ended up resentfully picking up my toddler when he wakes, while realising how much was left wanting. Instead I use this precious ‘me’ time to listen to the daily meditation and a light workout on the wii. 20 minutes later I make a cuppa and settle at the computer for work. I know that limits my time, but I’m mentally, physically and spiritually prepared. In the houses stillness as I work I can pause to mediate over the words I listened to and if I need to stop. Memories and prayer needs and whispers of recognition seep through. Even though it’s such a short sprint I usually get enough done that it’s only print outs and excitement which draws me back to continue or tweak later in the day. It focuses me, the toys can be collected between games later, the washing up while Adam watches Bing, the vaccume may wake him anyhow, they are not the priority and so they sit abandoned.

After nap is tot-school, if we do it, then our evenings are family time – to cook a meal or watch tv, see friends, wander to the shops, city or soft play place. As spring makes it’s rapid journey on the way to summer, outdoors beacons us more. If I’d known my days would be so relaxed I’d have felt guilty for I know the funding that upholds my work, but slowly I’m coming to realise there is service in the stillness too, witness in the time to spare and everyday duties, work of the heart. Service does not need to be continuous to be effective, but reliable and regular and continuing. We place an artificial bridge between serving and action. We forget there is serving in our personal care, and not just in the cheesy ‘your body is a temple’ way. Rest is a commandment and a discipline, Sabbath is not just a day but a practice of living. Equally action can be a distraction, it can leave our heads so busy and bodies so weary we are unable to hear the still small voice, unable to meet the need when a friend asks us to come, unable to serve those nearest to us fully. Next week we’ll get to say yes to a friend who needs a someone to look after their son each morning, perhaps we’ll go see the newest parents in our friendship circle or God will surprise us with something unexpected… it’s quite exciting giving God empty space to fill.

Linking up with Velvet Ashes where the theme this week is Rest

Tot-school | Week 23 | Letter XMarch 25, 2017

This past week’s tot-school
…was deliberately sparse

The sun has arrived and we are taking full advantage. Every morning we go out either for a walk or just to play in the backyard space. The afternoons have been often outside too and all that wonderful fresh air and vitamin D means that tot-school was pushed to the edges. We started tot-school in September when the heat was still with us and before the cold of Autumn descended, it’s taken us though the cold and miserable months well but I’m well aware it’s success has correlated with a lack of time outdoors. Now as we near the end of the alphabet I’m deliberately easing up on the table time activities in favour of exploring dandelions and blossom, the way a torch hits a dark pavement, the swift shadows of birds overhead, and all the everyday worldly wonders.

The letter X was the perfect week for this. While Adam knew what a Xylophone was it doesn’t actually use the phonetic sound which didn’t really help. An X-ray was a foreign concept so I made a special x-ray craft slider for us to explore. Rather than choose non objects we stuck with just the four words, using fox and box for the phonetic sound.

The pack I’ve made is available for download at the end of the post.

This weeks read more questions:

I loved taking a leisurely view, X isn’t a very common letter and so I felt no guilt in doing the bare bones, if you’ll forgive the pun!

The fox craft was printed but when I looked at it I realised it really was going to be far too tough, I think that one will have a remake for our next round through the alphabet.

I’m not sure what the weeks will bring but after Z, in a couple of weeks, we’ll probably change how and possibly when we do tot-school.

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