by Katie Julius
Busyness has become a badge of honor in our society today. How full can I fill my calendar? Maybe we are choosing activities to ensure our children have a well-rounded childhood, or maybe we want them to have access to as many opportunities as possible. Maybe we feel pressured to provide the perfectly memorable experiences for every holiday or the escape we feel we need as parents. Whatever the content of our busyness, the typical modern family’s schedule is jam packed.
Of course, our motivation as parents is a place of love. But, is this level of busyness really loving them best? Is this really what our families need?
This overscheduled mania often spills over into our homeschool lives as well. Many families today are part of multiple communities, sometimes even one for each day of the week. Sure, each activity offers something different. One has really great field trips. One has the perfect makeup of kids who match the age and gender of our own. One has the perfect extracurriculars, and one has that advanced math class that we just know will finally simplify our lives.
However, we have to ask ourselves an important question: Is being part of all of these different groups allowing us to connect authentically with any one of them? Is the time away from our home worth what we’re receiving from the group? Are we adding an unreasonable amount of stress to our family in exchange for one more activity that may or may not be worth the trade?
Perhaps it is a little bit of guilt. Maybe it’s the nostalgia of remembering the experiences I had as a child in school and not wanting my kid to miss out on those important moments. Whatever the reason, busyness is a tangible challenge our family has struggled with in our home school. We’ve learned to cut back and say “no” to more and more each year, but around this season, I always find myself asking, “Why did we commit to so many activities?” I crave the days that we’re all just home together with nothing on the calendar, but it seems those days are increasingly few and far between.
When we decided that we were going to homeschool, I had grand visions of what that would look like. In my early years, my dream homeschool very closely resembled a traditional classroom setting–the only difference was the environment: we were sitting around the dining room table instead of an elementary school classroom. Today, instead of giving my learners the freedom and flexibility that build up the foundational beauty of homeschooling, I often find myself squeezing in the essentials between activities and not allowing nearly enough time for organic learning through exploring, adventuring, and reading as a family.
The Lord has been frequently bringing two verses to mind through various people and avenues, and we know we need to pay attention when that happens!
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Psalm 34:8 (NIV)
Be still. Know that I am God. Taste and see. The Lord is good. We can’t fulfill these objectives if we are constantly on the go. Let’s allow ourselves the time and space to do this, not just in our personal lives, but in the lives of our families and in our homeschool environments. While outside activities certainly play a role in the shaping and sharpening of our families, we must always work to maintain a healthy balance. For some of us, maybe it’s time to put a little more “home” back into homeschooling.