Thursday, January 10, 2008

Paring Down Outside Activities Even More!

As November came to a close and as the start of December, our fall scheduled outside activities and classes began finishing up. One by one, activities ended, leaving new empty slots in the family calendar.

That was perfect as we were burning out of some of the activities. Some of the content of the activities we had enough of. Some of the people we were with we needed a break from. We needed a change.

We also needed room to start Christmas holiday prep.

We must have been running ourselves too ragged and our immune systems must have been down as in December both kids had a typical winter sickness. My older son additionally had a new case of Lyme Disease, a new case right at the end of November. And I had three illnesses in December!

Between the sicknesses and the Christmas prep we took a break from full-tilt homeschooling lessons at home. We had some very joyful relaxed moments together, more of a laid back unschooling type of atmosphere where the kids were coming up with educational projects that I myself would not have initiated them to do in the middle of busy Christmas prep. That was a good thing.

On some days, the days when we were more or less forced to stay home indoors because one or more of us was sick, we were reminded of how nice it is to wake up and not have to run to an appointment. I was reminded of how much can get done in a day when it does not involve leaving the house and doing errands or going to appointments. Because we weren’t going anywhere, I was letting them dive into projects, such as difficult baking projects and science experiments. It was great!

I decided that even though compared to my friends (families who homeschool and families who use school), we are doing not as many outside events; we still should be doing less. My pursuit of the perfect balance and an attempt being over-scheduled continues, because even in December I realized that it was time to sign up for spring events! I could not even just concentrate on Christmas, I still had to spend time thinking about spring outside classes and events!

Last week my kids asked for a break from the church’s children’s choir. Other than the couple of months of summer break my children have been in the choir for 14 months. That means right now, that they must be woken up at 7:45 am on a Sunday to get ready to get to choir on time. I have been happy to see them ministering through song to the public and the congregation who attends their performances at the Christmas pageant and the spring musical. But guess what? I agreed they could drop it. We could all use a break from that early rising.

They will continue attending religious education classes but at least those are at a time that allows the three of us to sleep later on Sunday’s.

My older son wants to earn a few more Webelos pins before he crosses over to Boy Scouts in March. We need to work on those last few at home. So we need to do that with our time. My younger son has a couple of achievements he needs to do which can be done only with family. We still have at least one Cub Scout activity per week and my husband and I are still volunteering each as Den Leaders. That is good and enough.

Due to it being winter we have no outdoor homeschool park day.

My kids are both asking to return to the outdoor science class. Their schedule is not conducive to my gasoline budget nor is it good timing, for the late fall and winter class, so they’re not doing that. They must wait until spring. Sorry boys. But I got them on the pre-registration list.

And I have my eyes peeled for when Yale University announces that they are taking registration for the free crew lessons that are held in June and July.

It feels great to have so few outside classes!

We’re coming up to a season of a lot of birthdays for family and friends. Our weekends have already begun booking up for these celebrations. Family obligations play a part here. (Today I am waiting to hear when my nephew’s party will be held; we have two other invitations waiting for a response for what I am pretty sure will be a direct conflict.)

The opportunities continue to present themselves. Yesterday a homeschooling mom asked if my two boys wanted to join a production of a play run by homeschooling parents. I declined. One child is not interested. The other would be, but I don’t want the schedule fuller and I also worry about a personality clash between that son and the son of the parents running the program. I have no energy to manage that (there has been a problem in the past and my solution is just to try to avoid being around them).

My older son was asked to be in a book club that will meet only four or five times and will begin in April. It includes a play time after. And he really likes some of the kids in that group, so we’ll give it a try.

This week my older son starts an online electronics course. That entails weekly lessons and weekly tests to study for and take online.

I feel so relieved to be doing less outside activities.

Since our formal lessons for homeschooling in the fall were interrupted by deaths and sicknesses, we’re off schedule. I am so happy to have free time now to buckle down and do our homeschooling lessons at home without pressure of having to run out the door to some appointment.


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