I recently read yet another newspaper article on how homeschooling is on the rise and is becoming more main stream. Homeschooling has changed a lot in the last twenty-five years. We’re no longer ashamed to tell people that we homeschool our children like our parents were. But not only is homeschooling growing, so is the homeschool industry. Companies that provide goods and services for homeschoolers just seem to pop out of the woodwork. This has turned into a blessing and a curse.
Not only is there a plethora of homeschooling curriculums and online opportunities, there are local opportunities for homeschoolers in many localities that could turn a homeschool mom into a bus driver without her even knowing it. There are music lessons, art classes, swim lessons, gymnastics, team sports, drama classes, coops, Pathfinders, or Boy or Girl Scouts, church activities, homeschool support groups, even my local school district has a building and staff just dedicated to offering classes to homeschoolers. So many good things that we wouldn’t want our kids to miss out on, right?
Well, I would like to propose that it is important to keep the “home” in homeschooling. While there are so many great opportunities to have our children involved in, we are responsible to prioritize. If we try to have our children involved in every outside activity that strikes our fancy or theirs, two problems will arise. Number one, our children will not have time to keep up with the basics that need to be covered in their homeschooling, because they will be overwhelmed by the time constraints of everything else. Number two, as moms or dads, we will just plain lose our sanity. If you don’t believe me on that one, try it for a while.
I do believe in giving our children opportunities. It’s just that we must prioritize these opportunities. Try to limit outside of the home activities to one day a week and try to incorporate all the errands in that day too. There is a lot of work involved in getting kids into the car. At our house, when we leave on our day out, we have to have the diaper bag packed, all of the library books gathered up, musical instruments and music ready to go, shopping list written down, shoes, coats, and water bottles found, teeth brushed and hair combed and faces washed (yes, I have to check on that before we go). I’m always marveling at how long it takes us to get into the car and go. Now just imagine the family that goes through that routine every day. It doesn’t leave time for much else.
Besides the stress that constant outside activity adds to the parents, it also adds stress to the children, which in turn is counterproductive in their education. “The more quiet and simple the life of the child, the more favorable it will be to both physical and mental development.” Ministry of Healing, p. 381. Home is where we can provide such an atmosphere. Home is the best place for children to be. Isn’t that one of the reason why we chose to homeschool? So let’s put the “home” back in “homeschooling”.