On 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?