Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My Afternoon Experiment

It always sounds, even to my ears, like nothing but excuses when I say that I have trouble doing my daily Bible reading.   But, in the mornings, my brain isn't even working and I forget everything I've ready and studied by noon.   In the evenings, I'm often at work or spending rare time with my hubby.   Then, in the afternoons, when my brain is fully functional, I have kids that I need to concentrate on and a house I have to clean.  For years, I've tried various times and places for my daily time with God.  But, I just couldn't find something that worked.  This often left me spiritually dry and in need of Him.

How I am finding time to spend in God's Word in the midst of my busy life...

However, I think I may finally have found a solution.  I'm calling it my "Afternoon Experiment" because, I can't honestly call it a success after so short a time.  Hopefully, it will soon become routine and will allow me to spend more time reading the Word of God and learning about Him.

This new routine involves two things: A time of concentrated cleaning and an afternoon quiet time.

Concentrated Cleaning

After lunch or after school (whichever comes last), we have been having "concentrated cleaning" where the kids and I spend 30 minutes doing nothing but cleaning.  We work fast and don't allow distractions.  I have been amazed at how much gets done in that short amount of time when we really put our minds to it!  Now, I'm not saying that I don't have to clean at all the rest of the day, but it lets us tackles a lot of the work at once.

Some of the chores we do during this time that can all be done in 30 minutes or less (if it takes less time, we move on to something else):
I may eventually make an actual schedule so that I know everything is getting done on a regular basis.  But, I'm not ready for that.  Hey, if this really works out, maybe we won't have to do such superficial cleaning and we'll really be able to tackle deep cleaning projects!  But, for now, that isn't my goal

You might be wondering what in the world this has to do with reading my Bible.  Well, by taking the time to concentrate on cleaning and get a lot done in a short amount of time, I have more free time in which to read the Word - and that is my real goal with concentrated cleaning time.  Before, if I tried to sit down and have a quiet time, I would often feel pulled to do this, or do that.  Now, I know that my cleaning is out of the way and I can feel free to sit quietly and not be distracted.

Afternoon Quiet Time

This is my reward for the concentrated cleaning!  A nice, quiet, calm time that I can focus on God and what He has to tell me from His word.  It is also a great time for the kids to calm down, relax, and have some personal time.  

I have to admit, the idea wasn't mine.  It came from Tricia over at Hodgepodge.  But, I knew that it was just what we needed!

The first hurdle in implementing it was telling the kids they needed to go into separate rooms and not play together.  As twins, they are almost never without a playmate.  But, they quickly became used to it and now they enjoy the time alone.  The next thing we are working on is making sure they have everything they need - something we having quiet mastered, yet.

I gave the kids a few ideas for things they could do and the lsit is growing as we go.  Here's what we've come up with so far:
  • Read their Bibles/pray
  • Play with toys quietly
  • Practice instruments in the family room (away from everyone else)
  • Read
  • Listen to music
  • Listen to a story on their iPods
  • Draw
  • Write a story
  • Write a letter or make a card
  • Make paper airplanes
  • Nap
writing homeschool afternoon quiet time independent work Bub writing a book about a rocket during afternoon quiet time
Sis writing about holidays during afternoon quiet time

writing homeschool afternoon quiet time independent work
Bub writing a book about a rocket blaster during afternoon quiet time
So far, the time apart and being calm and relaxed seems to have helped with out late afternoon bickering.  I think they were honestly just getting sick of each other by the time 5:00 rolled around.  Then, when Daddy got home, they were cranky and not very fun to be around.  But, by having this time to calm down, be alone, and recharge, they are much more pleasant!

The best part, for me, is that this gives me time to read my Bible and pray.  I've know that this was much needed in my life for a long time.  But, ever since watching Be Still by Lisa Chan I've been seriously convicted in this area.

Then, at the True Woman '12 Conference, I heard Priscilla Shirer teach the 5 P's of Bible study.   I desperately wanted to give it a try and really delve into the Word.  That is what really made me decided to give Afternoon Quiet time a chance.  The video below is for Priscilla Shirer's Bible study "Seed" which I have not watched or read (although I'd like to!).  However, she describes the 5 P's to give you an idea of how it works.

I've started with the book of John and I'm still in the first chapter.  I'm taking it slow and really digesting each verse.  I've been able to really concentrate because I am full awake (unlike in the mornings) and positioned so that I can be alone and free of distractions (unlike the evenings).  This hasn't happened since I had kids!

So, that is my new afternoon experiment!  So far, I am loving the results!  Do you have an afternoon quiet time?  What sorts of ideas do you provide for you kids to do?

I'm linking up over at Teaching What is Good and Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.


  1. I love the 5 "p"s of Bible study by Shirer. I've been working through her book "Can We Talk?" Also, I usually do my bible study time in the morning, but I didn't get it in today 'til this afternoon and really liked it.

    1. CZ, I just recently became aware of Priscilla at the True Woman '12 Conference, but now I am on the hunt for more of her stuff to read and/or watch. I've always wanted to do my study in the morning so I can start my day off with the Word, but my fuzzy mind just doesn't want to cooperate! Afternoon is working much better for me!

  2. Getting a schedule that works FOR YOU is so important, isn't it? I've used various schedules at various times in our lives when the one we had wasn't working any more. Flexibility at our different stages of life is key.

    I love the 5 'p's! Thanks so much for linking this up this week.

    1. Thanks, Kate! I'm glad I was able to find that video. They did have the whole breakout session up on the TW site, but it disappeared sometime in the last week or so.

      I'm learning to be more flexible and realize that what works for someone else might not be what works best for me!