I had the opportunity to attend a homeschool conference this past weekend, by the Maxwell family, from www.titus2.com. One of the biggest things I came away with was examining how I spend my “discretionary time”. That is the time in between all the ‘major’ things throughout my day. The time we have between dinner and bedtime. The time between picking Jesse up from school and sitting down for dinner. In the morning after Jesse leaves for school, but before I start school with Joshua. It’s amazing how much “free time” I really have throughout my day.

They challenged us to chart how we use the hours in our day. Some of the common areas are: sleep, school, work, church/ministry related activities, television, computer, and quality time with the children…the differs for each individual person and family, but you’d probably be surprised how little time you actually spend with your children. Not just in the same room or house with them, but quality time with communication.

Next they challenged us to evaluate how the use of our time effects our children’s hearts (or you and your spouse’s hearts if you don’t have children). When you are sitting in front of a television or a computer (um, like I am right now), are you building relationship with anyone? Are you cultivating your appetite for the Lord? Are you allowing moral sewage to seep into your heart, your mind, and your family thinking you’re just relaxing in front of the TV? How often do we complain about not having enough hours in the day? Yet how often do we choose to plop in front of the computer for an hour or in front of the TV for two or three hours after the kids go to bed? I’ve mentioned many times how I’d love to read more and have more time for ‘my projects’ like sewing, or exercising. Yet, when I look at how much time I waste throughout my day, I’m challenged to make a proactive change in order to do what is best for my family, especially my children and my relationship with my husband. It’s SO nice and easy and convenient to turn the TV on for the boys when Jesse gets home from school and Owen goes down for a nap. But how would their behavior toward eachother and toward me change if instead of turning on the TV or computer, I sat down and played a few games with them or read them a book? After the games, I would need to start supper. That would be the perfect time for them to color, do puzzles, playdoh, play outside, help me in the kitchen, or continue playing games together. I don’t want to raise children who are only content if they are being “entertained” yet I already see an appetite for that in each of them. That scares and disappoints me. I can change that very quickly by making a few difficult decisions and comitting to stick with it.

I challenge you to a FULL ‘screen fast’ for the next seven days. That means NO television, NO video games, and NO computer. I am going to set the timer for ten minutes each morning while Joshua does his math work so I can check my email, but I will turn the computer off as soon as the timer goes off. This is important because of communication with our foster agency and my duties as Nursery Director at church. No facebook, no blogging, no games for the kids (even educational ones), and no computer for my husband once he gets home from work. As a homeschooling family, I often feel like Josh is ‘out of the loop’ in regards to our school work because he is gone all day. We are going to take advantage of our evening time after dinner. This will be the time in which Josh reads the Bible to the boys and gives them the opportunity to tell him what they’re doing in school. Once the boys are in bed, I’ll finish up my housework, and we’ll have the rest of the night to read, talk, or whatever. 🙂 Imagine that; COMMUNICATION! I’m really looking forward to seeing the difference in my children, my marriage, and my family as this week progresses. I’m going to journal a little everyday so I can write a post on the results next week. If you accept this challenge, please comment on next week’s post so I can hear the results you experienced in your home! Good luck!