Friday, November 30, 2012

Of fitness, fine tuning, and family {Weekly Wrap-up 11/30/2012}

a post by Jenni {aka Mom}
(I'm part of this week's Weekly Wrap-Up over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers! Click over to check out all the other posts, full of tips and tidbits that work in real life.)

I’ve found that life is very much a cycle of adjustment, balance, and repetitively pulling oneself and one’s family back on track. Can anyone relate?


We made it to two out of three of our scheduled gym days this week, a first after the last few weeks of illness. The boys were thrilled; they’ve been bugging me to go for some time. One of our local fitness centers is wonderfully kid-friendly, and I’m able to take my children (over age 8) with me anywhere on the cardio floor. They have designated wrist bands and equipment that they’re allowed to use. There are many other opportunities available to us there, that I’ll have to share with you sometime (I'd really like to write a review and maybe snap some pics there...we shall see). Anyway, we have a place to get in the habit of regular exercise together, and it’s wonderful! It fits our family’s needs and lifestyle so much better than trying to squeeze in gym time for me plus sports/other physical activities for each child. It also gets the boys into the habit of making the time to keep fit now, which means it will be way easier for them to maintain when they’re grown (most people don't maintain involvement in sports once they finish high school or college - but many do make a habit of regular exercise outdoors or at a gym).

On a personal note - I didn’t regress from our time off!! I only began running for exercise a couple months ago, and I was surprised to improve as much as I have. I was really, really worried that after 3 weeks off and holiday feasting I’d be in a world of hurt this week. But, praise God, today I ran the same interval workout I’d run the last time before our lapse and it went really well! What an encouragement!

fine tuning

One of the activities the boys and I do to help with their auditory processing is a program called Fine Tuning. It includes two types of exercises at levels of increasing difficulty. 

In the first type of exercise a grid of numbers is given to the child, and the teacher reads a series of instructions, one at a time, without repeating them. These instructions direct the child to draw lines between certain numbers, circle certain numbers, etc. Once all the instructions have been completed, a picture is revealed.

The second type of exercise is my boys’ favorite. The child is given a table that looks a lot like a blank multiplication table. Down the left hand column is the alphabet, and across the top row are sequential numerals. Again, directions are given one at a time without being repeated, this time telling the student to write a letter in a certain box (i.e. in square B-4 write an “L”). At the end of the directions, a saying or message is revealed.

It’s sometimes fun to allow one of the children to read the instructions to the others, and this week the boys tried a new twist. They wrote out their own phrase on a blank grid, and then gave their brothers directives in order to reveal their custom phrase.

This, and other activities, have really helped them to pay closer attention to what they’re being told. It’s been nice to include all three boys in the exercise, and not isolate the “one” with the “problem”, if that make sense. Sticking together for “therapy exercises” really helps the boys to view them in a positive light.


Between moving this summer, being sick several times since (welcome to the neighborhood! yeesh…), and being just plain busy, our long standing tradition of Family Night had gotten pretty minimal. Part of it is my own fault - I can kind of justify not spending an entire focused evening with the family when I’m with all or most of the family all the time anyway, and when I have so much work that needs to be done. Not that I skip out altogether, I just sometimes opt out of part of it and catch up dishes or laundry or paperwork instead. Well, “justified” or not, it’s not okay. Non-school focused family time is way more important than those things! 

So Hubbie and I had a talk this week, and decided we need to prioritize Family Night again. There are many driving forces behind our Family Night tradition - one of them is the desire for closeness as a family even after the boys are grown. The Boyer family is one great example of this. Their grown kids who still live nearby bring their families back home for family night! Neither I nor my husband have any such opportunity with our parents, and we’d love to give the gift of closeness to our children. I can’t expect them to take their busy evening to spend with family once a week, if I won’t consistently give mine.

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