Family First

Family_FirstOn Monday, there is an event my little kids could participate in. Tuesday the high schoolers have an event. Friday is club day, but the kids each have their own activities. And, to top it off, Saturday is a Mom’s event. Wow… If I’m not careful, I’m going to get pulled in twenty different directions and our family is going to spend more time apart than we are together.

Over the past several years – especially as our children have gotten older and more spread out in grade – I’ve noticed a growing trend. Instead of homeschooling activities being family focused, we are being separated. But, wait. I thought homeschooling was supposed to remove such boundaries, allowing us to spend time together as a family; establishing family bonds?

I want to be very careful. I only have so much time in a day. I want to choose activities which bring our family closer together and meet our family’s needs. If there are activities which allow all of us to spend time with friends, then I am going to choose those activities over ones which only allow one child to socialize. If I can choose events which permit the family to be present, this will win out over ‘single-serve’ events.

Does this mean my teens never have an opportunity to socialize with others? Of course not! It does mean we are very careful about how many activities they participate in and which venues are available to them.

As we spend a great deal of time together as a family, with other families, this helps our children become more social. They learn to be friends with children younger and older than themselves. When we spend time together as a group, this does not prevent our teens from socializing with one another – they are free to have their own bowling lane and visit together – it helps them understand true fellowship and socialization.

Since becoming an adult, I’ve found my friends are rarely my own age. Most of my friends are either several years younger, or older, than myself. Why would I expect different for my kids? By keeping our activities family friendly and family oriented I am not preventing my children from developing deeper friendships, but widening their pool of socialization.

Family activities allows us to get to know families as a whole. I want to know my children’s friends and their parents. I want our families to become closer, making for lifelong relationships.

Why settle for parceling out our family time when we could be enjoying the benefit of family centered activities?

🔔Time to Chime In: Do you find your family being pulled in too many directions? How do you limit those events, keeping the focus on family?

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5 thoughts on “Family First

  1. I think it’s a struggle no matter what. I only have one child. So I don’t have to worry about how his activities affect siblings’ schedules. But aged events can still be hard. As most homeschoolers recognize, each child is different. At just over 7.5 years old, my son is ready for and in need of activities geared towards older kids. Around here the activities are often labelled for preschool to 7 and the next age group starts at 8. As a rule follower, it’s difficult for me to push for his acceptance into older groups. So activity planning is a challenge. We also are blessed with a very active homeschool community. So it’s easy to plan outings all week long and never spend time at home. Sometimes, I have to remind myself to lay off or I’ll go nuts trying to fit it all in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is an excellent point! What if, instead of focusing on age or grade, we focused on a child’s skill? And, our children were able to participate based on whether or not they could manage the activity. What would that look like?

      (Pretty good, I’d think!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We are together as a family all the time. My kids have also been allowed to pursue their own passions and interests – even when it is sometimes taxing for me as I transport them around. One thing that holds us together as a family is tha

    Liked by 1 person

    • (Finishing my thought) we always support each other. So it is a family activity to go to the swim meet, rock band gig, or community theater play – to support the family member that is participating. I also find that my kids do not need “family” activities to find friends – they find friends with similar interest, of all ages. When my 16 year old was in Les Miserable – he spent hours and found friends of all ages – his grandparents age down to his baby sisters age – they all had similar interest and passion. I do not find individual activities as pulling us apart, but teaching us how to appreciate the differences in each other and making us stronger as a family and stronger as individuals.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think what builds your family unity is being supportive of one another and seeking ways to participate in each others lives.

        Have you ever come across activities which didn’t permit outside involvement (e.g. an outing which only your teen was allowed to attend)? Do you participate in these often and/or find those beneficial to your family?

        While family activities are certainly not necessary for building friendships, we have found it easier to do so through this method, as we can meet several needs at once. It is true our kids make friends through many other venues, but each venue meets only one child’s needs, while group activities usually benefit everyone in the family.

        Thank you for sharing your perspective and experience! We’ve loved hearing your thoughts on this.

        Like

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