The Sanity of Friendship

Have you ever had one of those days when you just needed someone to talk to? Someone who would understand and sympathize; offer great advice and pray with you? Life can often be rushed. Between cleaning house, doing laundry, fixing meals, animal care, child care, ministry, and add homeschooling on top of that… life can get downright crazy! Talking to a good friend helps to keep life in balance and sanity intact.

Talking helps me to unwind, reevaluate my standing, and gain perspective from an outside source. It helps to know someone who will tell you the truth no matter what; who will give it to you straight, but with love.

I have been blessed with a few women in my life to whom I can talk about anything. Whether or not we both homeschool, there is no subject that is taboo. We can talk about marriage, children, our walks with the Lord, our fears, our doubts, and our struggles. There is no harsh condemnation, just constructive criticism. There is no pressure, just honest advice. There are no such things as “too many details” or “getting to the point”; the point is the relationship.

It is great to have a friend who will take your side. It is even better to have someone who will tell you when you are wrong. It is lovely to have a friend agree, but equally valuable when they offer a different viewpoint. Someone who can be real with you and let you be real in return.

A friend is a friend, no matter the distance or the differences. You are friends not because you are exactly alike, but because you each bring something different to the table. You are a better person because they are in your life.

I have been blessed with a few women I can truly call friends. I pray that as my children grow, they will see how much those friendships mean and develop some of their own.

I pray that you have such a friend. If not, I pray the Lord would bring them into your life and, while you are waiting, you would be that friend to someone else. Who knows where the Lord will lead?

“Oil and perfume make the heart glad, So a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend.”
~ Proverbs 27:9

We’d love to know… How do your friends help you remain sane?

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Why “Hanging Out” Isn’t an Option

Why_Hanging_Out_Isn't_an_OptionI find great pleasure in watching my children interact with their friends. It is a beautiful thing to see their relationships bloom. We enjoy having others over to play, bake, or do some learning. We also enjoy special outings together. If there is one thing we don’t allow our children to do, it is to simply “hang out”.

When our children were very little we read a parenting book which helped shape the guidelines in our home. One of the many things discussed was the dangers of allowing young adults to “hang out”. Children were highly encouraged to have friends and to be involved in activities, but hanging out wasn’t an option.

What is the purpose in this seemingly ridiculous rule? Idleness leads to trouble. When children have no activity upon which to focus their attention, they are more apt to get into mischief.

Now, I don’t mean to imply I manage all my children’s time or force them into planned activities. What I do mean is that I keep a careful eye on them, helpfully suggesting ideas when things come to a lull.

My children usually know how to keep themselves, and guests, well entertained. However, should there be moments of indecision, that is where we come in. We try to make sure several fun options are available and accessible for just such times. Even when our children have no desire to play, there are plenty of wholesome topics upon which they can focus their attention. Our children very much enjoy getting together with others who share their affection for books and writing. It’s a blessing to occasionally find our kids deep in prayer over one another, encouraging friends and ministering.

The primary goal isn’t for them to always be “busy”, but rather to have a purpose in their activity and discussions. Where there is purposeful fellowship, edification is sure to abound and problems are less likely to arise.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,”
~ Hebrews 10:24

Your Turn!: What is your children’s favorite activity when friends come to call?

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Locked in a Closet

Friends and "Family"If you’ve ever come across the numerous blog posts written by ex-homeschooled kids, you will notice a trend. Generally speaking, the complaint lies in socialization. It seems they did not have enough friends, go on enough outings, or have the privilege of attending prom. To their way of thinking, they might as well have been locked in a closet.

While we’ve discussed the silly myth of socialization among homeschooled children, it does seem there is a certain percentage of children who are not enjoying enough interaction with other people.

As a parent who truly does want my children to enjoy meaningful friendships and have lifelong relationships, how then do I go about the act of socialization? I think there are numerous ways in which this can be accomplished:

  • Church
  • Sports
  • Co-ops
  • Family
  • Fellowship with Friends
  • Ministry Opportunities

I am sure the list could go on; however, I doubt it is necessary. To be honest, I believe opportunity is not the issue. There are more than enough venues to offer socialization if one simply makes an effort. Perhaps the problem lies somewhere deeper… a lack of relationship with our children.

As parents, it is our responsibility to pay attention to our children; to understand their needs and provide for them. If my children are expressing a desire for interaction and fellowship, it would behoove me to listen and help them in this area of development.

Is this going to mean a little more work for me? Possibly. Will this mean I might taxi people around a little bit? Perhaps. Is it worth the effort? Absolutely!

Through careful study of my children, I can begin to encourage and help forge those relationships which would be of benefit. With an observant eye, I want to offer plenty of opportunities for my littles to meet new people and build lasting friendships.

It doesn’t take a public school to socialize a child. It does take an involved parent with a heart to meet their children’s needs and guide them into meaningful fellowship.

Time to Chime In: How do you teach your children the fine art of socialization? Which venue has best met that need?

Mom’s Night Out

Our PSP is really awesome about putting together events which bring the entire family together. They ensure we have plenty of opportunity to get to know one another and grow in our relationships. Valentines

This Saturday evening the mothers chose to spend their night out with the young ladies in our fellowship. We spent a fun night being encouraged in our homeschooling and lifting each other up in our words.

I hope everyone who attended was blessed!

 

Mom’s Night In?

Instead of going out for our quarterly Mom’s Night, we decided to crash in one of our homes and enjoy some fellowship.

We started the night off with some amazing food (the baklava was astounding), a short Bible study, shared some ideas on how to overcome difficult subjects to teach, and finally ended up watching a neat film.

I had never seen any of Louie Giglio‘s films before, but I found this one particularly interesting. In How Great Is Our God, Louie talks a great deal about the vastness of the universe and the seemingly insignificance of our planet. He then proceeds to share that even though we are miniscule in comparison to the rest of creation, it is for us and us alone God sent His Son.

I appreciated both Louie’s presentation and the educational portions of his lecture. I found it inspiring and awesome.

It was a very relaxing evening, spent with some very lovely ladies. I pray they were blessed as much as I.

Dad’s Night Out

About an hour ago, my hubby walked out the door to go spend some time with his buddies. Once every quarter our homeschool dads have a guys’ night out, spending time in fellowship and prayer.

It is such a blessing to know that these guys are dedicated to the needs of their family and their friends. They take the time to do a devotion, share a meal, and encourage one another.

My husband is constantly telling me how much these guys are a blessing. He appreciates knowing that he is not the only one struggling to make time for everything and balance all that life hands him. He likes knowing that these guys are praying for him and vice-versa.

It is such a pleasure for me to know that my guy has a group of buddies that are willing to spend time together, lifting each other’s needs before the Lord.

Who does your husband go to for encouragement and fellowship?

Dad’s Night Out

The Man Behind the LenseMy husband joined the men in our homeschool group for a Dad’s Night Out, last night. He was supposed to take pictures of the event, but apparently he was having so much fun, he forgot! (Rrrrrr…..)

Oh, well! It is a blessing to know that my guy was able to enjoy his evening and that they were having such a good time. He really doesn’t get many opportunities to just hang out with his friends and fellowship.

While they do have games available for them, it seems they generally spend the evening talking and eating. They always intend to get to the games, but never quite make it.

This is one of the reasons that we love our homeschool PSP so much. Most groups are mom centered and hardly make a point of including the fathers. Our group has a male principal, has several men that lead important areas of the group, and highly encourages all of the dads’ participation in all activities.

We are so blessed to have this group and to enjoy their friendship. I hope all of the other dads had as much fun as my husband did!

Does your homeschool group encourage the participation of its fathers? How so?

Game’s On!

One of the things we enjoy about our homeschool support group, is that it feels like family! Most support groups consist of just the younger kids and the mommies. Good luck getting high school kids to want to hang around and the dads are often not encouraged to participate. Not so, with our group!

Last night was our first game night of the year and it was a blast! We had games, fellowship, and loads of good desserts! The ladies took on the guys in a game of Guesstures and won!!

Battle PlansThe guys did a great job, but they were defeated by the ladies!

Showing Off

One of the dad’s showing us how it’s done!

It looks like this...

Our principal giving us some tips on how to play the game.

sWho Me?Some of the ladies enjoying some cake and fellowship!

Games

The large stack of games, some of which got played and some of which didn’t.

So soft

The bonus round for me was receiving this awesome blanket! One of the ladies had made it and didn’t know what to do with it?! So, she gave it to me!

Ah… I will be loving on this blanket for quite a while.

Play Things

The bonus round for my kiddos was receiving a large bag of marble track. My husband is excited to spend part of this evening setting this up with our son and watching him have a blast!

Oooo… the hours of fun this bag is going to give! We can’t wait!

All together, the night was spectacular. We had a great time visiting with our friends and relaxing. We love getting together with these guys; it is always a good time!

Do you have game nights with your homeschool friends? What is your favorite game to play as a group?