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Back to Homeschool: Keeping the HOME in Homeschool


As many of you know, I was a homeschool kid in the 80's. You know: back when it was weird. You wouldn't recognize it today. There were no co-ops, sports teams, or troops. Just Mom, kids, books, and an occasional support group meeting. Oh, and field trips to the dentist and the fire department.
Vintage 80's support group. That's my Dad on the far right.

Vintage 80's End-of-the-Year Banquet. I'm the blond-headed girl in the back row.
So what did we DO all the time?
We actually had school at home!

 Fast forward to the 21st century, and the options for extra-curricular activities are actually dizzying. A homeschool family could literally sign up for so many things, that they are never home.
Oh, wait. Did I just describe YOU?


What if you didn't have those classes, groups, and sports? What if you didn't live in your car? What if you had "free time?" Can you imagine???

 Now, don't get me wrong. I am not downing activities. They have some wonderful benefits. I don't need to tell you what those are, because no doubt you have your own list.

But at what cost?

You know you’re too busy when:

 When you committed to this homeschool journey, did you envision lots of children learning quietly around the kitchen table? Or piles of laundry, tired children, and a stressed-out Mom? Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30).

Is your lifestyle easy and light, or are you tired, broke, and overwhelmed? Are you getting enough rest to preserve your health and your sanity? Are you children getting enough rest? Do your babies take regular naps? Do your children have a chance to get bored? Boredom leads to creativity!

 When we get into a lifestyle of busyness several things happen:
  1. We teach discontent. Always seeking entertainment and opportunities outside the home teach children that they must continually be "doing something," and that means going somewhere. It sets a trend, forms habits, and molds their thinking.
  2. We spend more money than we need to. Consider the amount of money spent for classes, supplies, uniforms, gas, babysitting, and eating out that happens when a family is on the go every day. For many, this amount climbs up into the hundreds each month. Could your family use a "raise?"
  3. Family time suffers. Family time is at risk among homeschoolers in this age, just as much as it is among public schoolers. "Van time" is not the same. Sitting around the dinner table, having conversation with eye contact, working together on a recipe, playing with little ones; these are all the natural result of living at home.
  4. Time with Dad suffers. If you have activities that take place in the evening, you are likely missing out on a very precious resource: Dad. If your husband works a typical full-time job, there are such limited precious hours with him that they must be held almost sacred. Children need both parents every day. And Moms, YOU need time with your husband.
  5. Actual "school" suffers. Do you laugh and say we "car-school?" More importantly, is this the homeschool you envisioned when you began? Are your children really learning?
I speak from experience, not judgment. When I had just three kids, little by little I began to get us involved in "great experiences." Each activity by itself seemed harmless. In fact, they were fun! But I suddenly realized that some weeks we were busy 4-5 days out of the week, we were using LOTS of gas, and my homemaking was suffering.

We dropped everything but our co-op. This was freeing and peaceful. We had time for the park, company, naps (!), and school. This picking-up and dropping of activities has happened twice in the last few years, and each time we reduce, we are happier.

So how do you know what to choose and what NOT to choose?


Consider your goal, your priorities. WHY are you doing this? What is your purpose in parenting, and homeschooling?

Want more encouragement on this topic?

·         The Homeschool Classroom has a very encouraging article about keeping on track and evaluating your extracurricular activities

·         Heart Matters lays this topic out well and with conviction

·         Raising Olives talks about why outside classes aren’t even necessary and how to be available for ministry (see #4)

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