It’s Sign Up Time! Deciding on Worthwhile Activities for Your Family

Since it’s getting close to the beginning of the school year, most homeschool activity coordinators are getting people to sign up for their activities.

I know that it is a natural thing to start these sign-ups at the beginning of the year, but part of me wishes that these sign ups could be put off until September.

Most experienced homeschooling parents agree that every year is different, and you really don’t know how the year will go until 2 or 3 weeks into the school year. It’s so hard for me to make a commitment in August when by September my life could be so chaotic that I won’t want to add to my insanity.

We are a long way from the days when homeschooling parents worried about their bored, lonely children sitting at home and considered putting them into school just to give them friends and fun experiences. In many communities, homeschoolers have to carefully choose from an array of homeschool-friendly activities to avoid burnout, both emotionally and financially.

Many homeschoolers, excited by the enriching opportunities available to their kids end up over-committed. It’s easy to do, especially when you consider that many homeschool families have more than 2 kids, and when you homeschool, you will probably have to provide transportation to each event yourself.

Right now is the time to decide how much extra activity your family can handle. You don’t want to sign up for and pay deposits on activities that you won’t be able to follow through upon. Nor do you want to end up each week exhausted, stressed, and irritable every weekend and week night.

Here are some tips to help you evaluate your activity level for your kids.

  • Remember that homeschooling is supposed to bring your family together. If your family is going in 12 different directions every day, how are you going to provide for family closeness?
  • It is unfair to ask a child to regularly try to do his schoolwork in a car or on the sidelines at some kind of practice for a sibling. Of course, it sometimes happens that way. But don’t set your kids up for struggles when you don’t have to. Allow plenty of time in your schedule for your children to complete their schoolwork. Keep in mind that older kids will need more time to finish their more difficult work.
  • How is your energy level? Your neighbor down the road may be 10 years younger than you or only have one child. Of course, she will have more enthusiasm for extra stuff. Some people can get by on 6 hours of sleep, while others need 8 or 9. It’s not a contest to see who can cram in the most activity in a day. Accurately assess your energy level and consider it when making plans for the year.
  • If you have toddlers or infants, please consider this as a season for sticking a little closer to home. In just a couple years, they will be able to run around with the big kids, but be patient in the mean time.
  • Are there friends nearby who can help with driving and picking up from activities? How far do you live from these events? Is gas money and wear and tear on the car going to make it worthwhile?
  • Can your big kids help with chores? Do they do this regularly without arguments? If so, you will have more time to run around town. If your oldest is still fairly young, you may want to limit your out of the house recurring commitments until they are able to help lift your load of household chores.
  • Provide margin for your life. I encourage families to plan for one day each week when they don’t plan on leaving the house at all. This will give you the margin that you need to take a sick child to the doctor, invite a lonely friend to your home, or just to sit, rest and enjoy your family. Life happens and having at least one open day on the calendar will let you weather the struggles of life with more grace.

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