|Vintage 80’s support group. That’s my Dad on the far right.|
|Vintage 80’s End-of-the-Year Banquet. I’m the blond-headed girl in the back row.|
- you eat fast food more than once a week
- you haven’t read a book in months
- you never get enough sleep
- your little ones never get a nap
- you consistently cancel plans, break commitments
- you homeschool in your “spare time”
- your house is never clean and heaven forbid anyone would come knock on your door
We teach discontent. Always seeking entertainment and opportunities outside the home teach children that they must continually be “doing something,” and that means going somewhere. It sets a trend, forms habits, and molds their thinking.
We spend more money than we need to. Consider the amount of money spent for classes, supplies, uniforms, gas, babysitting, and eating out that happens when a family is on the go every day. For many, this amount climbs up into the hundreds each month. Could your family use a “raise?”
Family time suffers. Family time is at risk among homeschoolers in this age, just as much as it is among public schoolers. “Van time” is not the same. Sitting around the dinner table, having conversation with eye contact, working together on a recipe, playing with little ones; these are all the natural result of living at home.
Time with Dad suffers. If you have activities that take place in the evening, you are likely missing out on a very precious resource: Dad. If your husband works a typical full-time job, there are such limited precious hours with him that they must be held almost sacred. Children need both parents every day. And Moms, YOU need time with your husband.
Actual “school” suffers. Do you laugh and say we “car-school?” More importantly, is this the homeschool you envisioned when you began? Are your children really learning?
I speak from experience, not judgment. When I had just three kids, little by little I began to get us involved in “great experiences.” Each activity by itself seemed harmless. In fact, they were fun! But I suddenly realized that some weeks we were busy 4-5 days out of the week, we were using LOTS of gas, and my homemaking was suffering.
We dropped everything but our co-op. This was freeing and peaceful. We had time for the park, company, naps (!), and school. This picking-up and dropping of activities has happened twice in the last few years, and each time we reduce, we are happier.
So how do you know what to choose and what NOT to choose?
- Which activities are WONDERFUL and which ones are GOOD. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” -Ephesians 5:15-17
- What IS God’s will for your family? If you are overstressed, overworked, and over budget you may need to consider that you have stepped out of His plan for you.
- Whole-family activities. Many, many families are opting for one activity for the entire family (sports, music, robotics, etc.).
- Your husband’s opinion. Has your husband already told you what he desires for the family? Have you resisted him? Do you trust him as the head of the household? I have found over and over again that when I respect my husband’s wishes (even against my own) our family is blessed.
- Will teachers come to YOU? If you look, you will find instructors who will come to your home for music lessons and so much more. Think outside the box and find a way to expose your children to new opportunities at home. Think: agriculture, shooting sports, handcrafts, etc.
- Just saying NO. Sometimes we choose activities out of guilt: as parents, church members, or homeschool support group members. Don’t let God’s desires for you be drowned in the voices of well-meaning friends.
- You are not everyone else. Your family size, interests, budget, and circumstances are all unique, and your lifestyle should be, as well. You will never be the Duggars, because you are NOT the Duggars. Seek God’s plan for YOUR family. Don’t try to be as “accomplished” as your BFF or that homeschool family at church. Accomplish what God has for YOU.
- Are you or your children able to SERVE? I have not only experienced a lack of help from “busy” friends and family, I have also witnessed it in person and read about it online. Homeschool moms and their kids are so busy being “enriched” that they cannot commit to helping a family with sickness, or caring for children for a few hours (or days) for a family in need. This is heartbreaking.
Consider your goal, your priorities. WHY are you doing this? What is your purpose in parenting, and homeschooling?
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