One thing I’ve discovered in 36 years of homeschooling is that to effectively homeschool, you have to be home! Sounds simple, but honestly there are SO many good opportunities to involve your kids in that it’s hard to accomplish.
I found it really hard in the early years to say no to people. There are so many ministries to be involved in, athletic events for kids to participate in, group sports, multiple lessons, classes to be taken, etc. The list is endless.
I found it necessary to constantly evaluate. Is this opportunity a distraction from my priorities or my kid’s priorities. Busyness is normal in our culture, but it’s possible to be too busy to think properly.
I want my kids to have opportunities, but too many opportunities clutters up their life and thinking. God’s Word is number one priority and maybe the easiest thing to put on the back burner if we are not vigilant about it. NOTHING is more important than our relationship with the Lord. We must cultivate it, though. We have to take time to have a quiet heart before the Lord and develop our relationship with Him.
If we insist on getting our kids to all their extracurricular activities but fudge on spending time in the Word, it communicates volumes to them.
Kids are incredibly creative, and honestly, they don’t always need some organized activity to learn. Sometimes they actually learn more through curiosity, experimentation, and trial and error. Busyness can actually be detrimental to learning.
I’m not saying don’t involve your kids in anything, but be picky! Watch and see who God has made your child to be and if he needs some involvement in an organized activity, fine, but limit the time you are away from home. (and if you have multiple kids like I did, you have to limit even more.)
Just practice being an alert parent. If you try letting your child participate in something, but honestly see that it’s a distraction to him from priorities, discontinue it. If you only have one or two children and feel they need more interaction with other kids, get creative. You can design fun opportunities for your child to experience sharing and getting along with others without committing hours of their time to organized activities; or maybe choose one activity that really benefits them.
As I look back on my experience with my 14 kids, I see that they really got creative in thinking of ways to spend their time. I feel they really were not deprived, but actually aided in choosing things that contributed to who God had created them to be.
By being forced to practice creativity as very young children, they carried that over to their teen years and then their adult lives. It kind of forced them to think outside of the box and not to only do things the way everyone else did, but look for creative alternatives.
For instance, some of the things my older kids chose were: being involved in political parties and running for office at an early age, owning their own business as teens and starting a savings account, apprenticing on a farm to learn life-long skills, saving to buy a house debt-free, working at church and learning multiple skills from a handy-man, taking work-related missions trips, investing in serving others and looking for ways to be a blessing to many.