A very close friend of mine recently told me all of the classes that she signed her children up for. My friend home schools and is a mother who loves and craves to be at home. But I think it is the world around her that challenges those ideas and makes her feel like her children need all these extra classes. Her girls are in dance class, they take piano lessons each week. She also is part of a home school co-op where they can take extra classes. Usually she signs them up for 2 classes there. This time she signed them up for 5 extra classes. The classes sound amazing (science, art, gym, choir, karate, American girl, etc) and she is thinking about putting them into gymnastics that they did a couple of years ago. She is also is part of 2 playgroups. (and field trips)
I have to admit that it sounds like I am not doing very much for my kids compared to that class load. Leah will take dance again this year. I asked Jonah if he wanted to take karate or something else but he does not (why push when he just turned 5 yesterday?) They both will have piano lessons. But after that…that is it. We belong to a church where we will part of a small group on Wednesday nights which is another commitment that gets us out of the house and “socialization”. So compared to my dear friend, our extras seems like we will be home all the time. So what will we do with all of our time?
This will be my first year having 2 kids in my homeschool! (We actually have already started this summer). We plan on doing more read alouds, having Bible time after dinner with dad, art projects once a week (if I do not put it in the schedule I do not find the time to do this), I also have cooking with mom time on the schedule. Normal life appointments (we all see a chiropractor now, my midwife appts, dentist, etc fill in the time too).
My friend is already getting nervous that she is overbooked. I have never stuck in my nose in her business like this before, but I wanted to give her my thoughts. I told her to take them or leave them, but I really saw a few things to think about with so many extra activities for the girls.
1. Our number one goal in parenting is to bring our children up with God. I want our children to know Him, know His word, praise Him, have a relationship with Him, know about salvation. Going to church once is a week is an awesome time, but 2 hours out of 168 is not much time on learning about God. I want it to be part of our everyday lives. I just read “In a hundred years from now it will not matter if my sons were truck drivers or astronauts, what matters is that they are in heaven with me and their mom.”
2. I have a problem wanting to give my kids “things” and opportunities. I think most parents want the best for their children. But is giving them all these extra classes really the best? I am not sure. I think sometimes it could create a very “me” centered” attitude instead of a servant attitude. If we constantly “give” to our children and do not have time for them to learn how to serve others (nursing home, neighbor, children in hospital) then are we doing what God designed us to do? I have to admit that I have not done a very good job of this in the past. But I really strive to have time in our schedule to serve others. If I am constantly serving my kids or getting them to one class from the next; will I have time to do this?
3. Do your kids really need “socialization”? I think the answer to this question is yes, but I do not think you have to go much outside the house to get this. I know I might not share the same perspective on this as many, but here is what believe. If your children can grow up learning to get along and become friends with their siblings, then they will be set for many of life’s socialization. If you live with a brother or sister (most of the time sharing a room, bathroom, toys, etc) and can become friends and get along most of the time than you have learned skills that will be so valuable later in life. If you can respect your elders and interact with children and adults of all ages what more do you need? I do have my children playing with other children whom I know and trust but it is not out of a necessity; but because they want to have those interactions. I laugh when people question homeschooling because they think that homeschool children are not socialized. When our children enter their adult years are they ever surrounded with all of the same age adults in the workplace or other places?
4. I know for myself that the more I am away from home the less peace I feel. I need to be home taking care of my kids, the home, and myself. In my ideal day I want the house to be somewhat picked up (I am shooting for this because most days it does not happen), have a nice dinner for my husband and family, and not to feel so rushed or stressed. The kids ask to be able to have more play time; they crave the down time just as much as I do. Usually they start acting out because we are too busy; and that is not fair to them; even for the price of “fun” or classes.
I love my friend and will stand by with whatever decision she makes. God chose her to be the mother of these precious ones, and if she is seeking His council first above this world than I know that she will make the best decision for them. It might not be the same as my decisions, but that is what is so awesome about friendships. We continue to learn from one another in this area and lift one another up!
Trusting in Jesus,