Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins
Creating a homeschool lifestyle that works for our family involves a lot of things I didn’t expect at first.
For example? One of the most important things for keeping our days running smoothly is not lesson planning. It’s not even meal planning, though that would probably be wise.
The most important thing for keeping our family sane is REST.
By “rest” I do mean sleep, but I also just mean reserving some time for being unproductive on purpose.
Without rest, the kids get overwhelmed and easily distracted. Without rest, all our tempers get a little short. We end up bickering about nothing and everything. Without rest, I turn into a cranky mama-robot of doom, cycling joylessly through chores and tasks and appointments. (Just me?)
So rest is important.
Rest is also hard. I continue to be terrible at it, even with lots of practice. The best solution I’ve found is to build regular times of rest into our schedule, whether I think we’re going to need them or not. (We will. We will need them.)
We all have a daily quiet time, so our ears can rest.
The kids go to bed before I do in the evening, so my brain can rest.
And on Friday nights, the kids know to expect a Family Movie Night so we can all take a break and rest together.
After dinner on Friday nights, there are no chores, no work, and no early bedtimes. We all pile onto a too-small couch and let our imaginations wander together.
And because I am a nerdy bookish mama (with a nerdy bookish husband and some nerdy bookish offspring), we think the best movies are the ones pulled from the pages of our favorite books.
If you need to plan an evening of rest with a movie, try one of these.
You knew I was going to say Harry Potter, didn’t you? You did. We watch these as we finish reading the books aloud. (So far, just books one and two.)
Winnie the Pooh
Mary Poppins is long (over two hours!) but my kids dance like chimney-sweeps for days afterwards. I feel like that’s worth the time investment.
Anne of Green Gables
We like the older miniseries. If a rainy Friday comes along, the kids can talk me into a whole movie day with this.
The Big Friendly Giant is so silly, so fun, and yes, a little bit scary. (Well, not the BFG himself. He’s not scary. It’s the OTHER giants that cause all the trouble.)
James & the Giant Peach
Like all movies from Roald Dahl books, we find that James and the Giant Peach works best for school-aged kids. It’s kinda scary for the little-littles.
Charlie & the Chocolate Factory
I want to live in a chocolate factory, please.
If you haven’t read this part-novel, part-graphic-novel, do! And then fire up the movie version.
Though (oops!) we didn’t read the book until after watching the movie.
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
The magic and wonder of Narnia, come to life.
Bridge to Terabithia
Fantasy and reality and tragedy and resilience are all wrapped up together in this one. (Did I mention the tragedy?) Do check out the book first so you know what to expect before watching the movie.
Ronja the Robber’s Daughter
This series of short animated episodes is from the book by Astrid Lindgren, who also wrote Pippi Longstocking. It’s free on Amazon Prime right now, too.
And of course we always want to read the book along with watching the movie, so this is a two-for-one education and entertainment situation!
What other book-to-movie adaptations would you recommend? And how do you get REST onto your calendar? I need your suggestions!
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Originally posted on July 20, 2017.