Work before play
Horse, steer, and dog interaction
Awesome field trips!
Ever heard that old saying, "An idle mind is a devil's workshop?" There's something to that!
Over the years, we've learned that teen and pre-teen boys were created with a lot of energy, and need a structured environment to help them manage that energy well. During the week, our days go something like this:
In the mornings, a house parent wakes the guys up. They get out of bed, get dressed, take care of their hygiene needs, make their beds, and come down for breakfast. After we eat, the boys each do whatever chore they have been assigned for that time - cleaning up the kitchen, feeding the steers, watering the horse, cleaning the restroom, etc. Once chores are completed, the boys go to the classroom where we have a word of prayer and read a chapter from the Bible before beginning our school day.
During the school day, we take two 10-minute breaks, and a lunch period (with another chore following lunch). When school is over, the guys have approximately 30 minutes of fun (together) time - that can be playing board games, playing ball outside, working out, interacting with the animals (we have an older horse, two young steers, and a black lab), etc. Fun-time is followed up by 45 minutes to an hour of manual labor (which varies by season).
After manual labor, there will be 15 minutes of quiet time - time where boys can do something that does not involve talking or noise... they can write letters, pray, read their Bibles or other clean books of their choosing, work puzzles, etc. We'll have dinner after quiet time, and follow that up with some after-dinner clean-up. If all of the school work for the day is done, and the chores and manual labor have been performed as assigned, the boys will have 90 minutes of fun (together) time.
After that, we'll do some exercises - push-ups/sit-ups, jumping jacks, running in place, etc... then it'll be time to start getting showers and getting bedtime clothes on. Once the boys are in their beds, we will do a nightly devotion and pray together one last time before lights out. (There are times when we will have to deviate from this schedule - for example, to go grocery shopping, attend church, go on field trips, etc)
Check out these photos of some of the boys we've worked with
If there's one thing boys look forward to, it's the weekends!
As we're sure they do in your home, our Saturday schedules tend to vary from week to week. When things have been going smoothly, we like to take the boys away from the ranch to go hiking, sledding, exploring, etc! We've been known to take them to dinosaur and prison museums, plays, rodeos, and demolition derbies. Sometimes, we've been known to have a lazy-day Saturday where we all sleep in, watch some good clean movies while eating popcorn and sipping hot chocolate, and throw in a board game here or there. Other times, we go over to the church to do some cleaning or maintenance, or do a little bit of extra work around the ranch. One thing's for sure... the boys want to be caught up on their school work by Saturday so they can do something that doesn't involve holding pencils in their hands!
On Sundays, the boys go to church with us both in the mornings and evenings - at one of the sweetest, most family-oriented churches a person could ever imagine! That's not to say there's not strong, toe-stomping, convicting preaching - there's plenty of that as well! The guys dress up for church - dress pants, dress shirts, neck ties (not clip-ons either), and either sports coats or complete suits! And they carry a King James Bible with them... and use it both in and out of church services! They are free to share prayer requests and testimonies, and will be given opportunities to sing specials! Our church loves young people!