Life being life, I often find that things get in the way of ‘life’. This being said, our family have recently rekindled a tradition that we have used in the past to our great satisfaction. We have done this in the hope that through doing it, we will bring back accountability and keep on target with not only our goals for the children’s learning, but for life itself.
So with this in mind, last week we had our first Family Meeting for 2012. It involved all of us sitting around the dinning table, a notebook, pen and note taker (this just happened to be me- mama). We always make the Family Meetings official with minutes being documented. This then helps us work toward resolving any problem areas brought forward during the meeting, ensure we fulfill any needed tasks and base future decisions on the agreed goals we have as a family.
Our Family meetings also give each of us an opportunity to talk without being interrupted and teaches the children how to put their point of view forward and also to listen and respect others. It is a time for us to discuss our achievements, hopes, dreams, fears and concerns. It is also a time for the children to showcase their learning for Tata as he is not always able to see what they have been up to on a daily basis.
Our Family meetings provide us with a time to communicate with each other, value everyone’s input and also reflect on the journey we have all travelled together and on our own.
The children enjoy our family meetings as much as we do and are great at remembering what was discussed at the last meeting and what needs to be done. Each meeting helps us keep on target with what we wish to achieve and in what time frame.
Our family meetings are held fortnightly, they involve food, fun and a supportive atmosphere. At each meeting once we reflect on the last meeting, discuss issues arising, put forward ideas etc for achieving by the next meeting, the children then show case their learning for us all. They bring out any work they wish to share with us and talk about what they have done over the last fortnight in the learning journey. For me I have a fortnightly report written for each child. This is read and tabled for everyone to enjoy. It details the children’s learning journey from my perspective – giving attention to their achievements, struggles and overall performance and any memorable moments. The reports are typed up and include photographs. Once this has been read, the report is then filed into their own personal folders. I have one for each child and keep certificates, photos reports, etc in them.
These reports are a great way to ensure that Tata is completely involved and up to date with the children’s learning, strengths and weaknesses. They also serve as a wonderful tool to reflect back on as years go by.
Most of all, our family meetings bring us together as a family. Plus as the children grow, we hope that they will serve us as a great place for the children to bring to our attention their growing needs, concerns and achievements. Providing them with an already established way to communicate with us, any hard to talk about concerns, issues or worries they may have. Knowing that we will listen, work towards a resolution and support them through what ever it may be….