How do you feel about them? And, how many days of the week do you schedule outside commitments, i.e. sports, gymnastics, co-ops, outsourced classes, etc.? Do you feel you don't have enough and want to do more *or* did you overcommit and want to scale back? I have this dilemma every year, and I would love to hear how others handle the issue. Thanks!
Outside commitments...(20 posts) (11 voices)
Only 1 - 2 days per week, and I still feel I need to scale back! I did listen to a message on time management from Vision Forum that has helped me to see how it is too much. I am not getting all of my housework and meal planning, etc. done before going to do these fun extras. For us it is home school group, field trips, and play dates or special library programs. But we are gone most of the day and then no household chores get done. So this cd says to cancel if you don't have your home in order first. It was more about setting priorities (a "budget") with our time. I hate to cancel if I have given my word to someone and I hate to disappoint the kids, so I have to schedule less, and make sure to budget my time to have the home in order before going out to these outside commitments. She (on the cd) did give "permission" to back out of the commitment when it comes to meeting your family's needs. Your family's needs come first before the outside commitments. HTH.
Currently, we only have two outside activities that we are committed to, and even those are kind of loose. Drop in skating lessons and a very small handicrafts co-op that we just started last week. Only five little girls (grade 5 down to preK), very small and very fun. Tomorrow is my day and my house is a wreck. Obviously I need the CD you mentioned, Sarah!
Anyway, we usually keep it to only two or three activities at a time (we had swimming end the week before skating began so that worked well) and I try to schedule them either a) all the same day or b) spread out with at least two days between so we have at least three or four good, focused days at home each week without the distraction of schedules and loading up all our stuff.
It will be interesting to see what tips others have.
Twenty-Four Hours Is All You Get
There is a link here for free pdf worksheets which may be helpful to you. Although it was not a professional recording, it was a good message from a home school mom. (I bought it on a sale.) I have listened to it several times.
I try to have at least one or two outside things to do. It is not easy though, but I feel that it's good for my kids and me to get out a little with others. What helps to keep things going smoothly is to prepare the night before. I take an extra 20 minutes or so and do a couple of the next day's chores, as well as prepare the lunch sandwiches, and dinner prep (if the meat needs thawing).
Doing the above saves me time and stress for the following day. And my house stays in shape better too. :)
I'll share my views, but I want to preface this with:
Remember we are all in different seasons and situations despite the fact that we have homeschooling in common. We all have different goals, priorities, and God directed focuses.
For me, less is more. I'm expecting baby #7, who is coming with special needs. My other 6 children are young, ages 10, 7, 5, 4, 2, and 11mos. Home is the center and focus of our life on purpose. If an activity outside the home can be done as a family we will consider it, but we do not split everyone up into different activities separately.
Our regular activities are:
Book club biweekly - I started this with a few other families, it is expected that families participate, no dropping off a child/children. The moms all have jobs. One of our meetings that month is focused on picture books, one is focused on a chapter book that we've all read aloud to our own children that month. The children range in age from 13 down to infant, there are currently 3 families regularly participating with 15 children between us for now.
That's it. My oldest takes piano IN Our Home, and the younger ones will do the same when ready.
We also don't do things like:
- sleepovers. We will do family sleepovers (aka. campouts), but only with the whole family involved.
- one child going to a birthday party. We all go or none of us do.
Here is a post from several months ago that discusses how lots of us feel/handle this:
This is one thing I am so back and forth on... I have 4 kids, and due to their ages (not to mention interests) it's hard to do things as a whole group when it comes to sports, etc. Even if they did the same thing, they may not be meeting at the same time because they'd be in different groups according to age/ability. BUT I also like them to do *something* outside of the house. I don't want them to depend solely on me as their teacher--I like them to learn to take authority from others who can teach them things I can't. (Of course I'm there watching, etc. so it's not like I'm just handing them over to strangers without supervision. Mostly it's homeschool related activities with people who share my values, etc.)
So right now I'm trying to limit it to one activity per child, but my youngest doesn't have any. (3.5) But right now we only have 2 things going on. My 2nd grader just joined cub scouts that meets once a week. My 12 yr old is playing basketball on a homeschool athletic team and she practices roughly 3 times a week (we've been skipping about one a week mostly due to gas since it's not super close to home.) My son just finished cross country with a homeschool team as well, so he's done with that now. He'll be starting up track in the winter/spring. Oh he also does a class at our homeschool bookstore one hour a week. My oldest is in high school so his activities take priority because they are counting as credits. if there is a conflict, his almost always takes priority. And most of what we do is in the evenings so it doesn't interfere with school time. Am I busy? Yes, sometimes probably too busy, but I've decided with 4 kids I'm not ever NOT going to be busy, so we may as well do some things they are interested in. lol And if my husband shares in the transportation aspect of getting them back and forth, it's managable.
We limit our commitments, too, but we do allow each child an activity. DD10 and ds7 both take piano lessons and dd4 has an occasional music class. DD's lesson is outside of the house while ds's teacher comes to us. This is part of our kids' education and we do not consider it an extra.
DD10 loves horses and has a goal of barrel racing at a high level eventually. She rides 1-2 times per week.
DS7 is a born athlete as was evident at age 3. He plays baseball and when it's not bball season he plays golf. He's too young to know if it will go anywhere and that isn't the most important to us. It is an obvious gifting and bent.
Each family is different, but we've chosen to nurture their gifts and bents and to support one another in those efforts. While we don't want daily activities out of the house, we are very content with our schedule.
We also participate in a CM co-op that I lead 1 day/week. It meets 3 weeks per month.
Our family is pretty much in line with Tritan's. We are expecting Baby 8IGHT this February, and we have learned over the past few years that less is more.
That being said, my children are a bit older...14.5, 11.5, 9, 7, 4, 3, and 2. My oldest volunteers in our Children's Library 2 hours per week, and my 2nd oldest goes to Knitting Club 1 hour per week. Both of them (and myself) were taking an Irish Dancing Class, but it was proving to be a waste of time (instructor was waaay late a few weeks ago, and I ended up babysitting her children once out on the playground), so we've cut that out, and are now going to use that time for Family Nature Walks.
The girls (who are the oldest 2), just stopped taking Ballet this fall. Before, it was each of them going 3 hours per week, and our oldest was also teacher-assisting 1 hour per week! And then, when it was Oct - Dec...there was Nutcracker for many, many extra hours on top...and almost every night! It took a toll on them and our family. Fatigue, family separation, and DH and I were EXPECTED to help out/volunteer as much as possible (even though we were paying an arm and a leg for it all!) The 4 of us decided it was in everyone's best interest to stop it. I thought they would be miserable, but they're doing great, and have found the time for other things like baking, volunteering at the library, knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching, reading, drawing, painting, watching movies, etc.
My oldest son (9) played baseball spring 2010, but we decided not to play this past spring, and instead play as a family in the yard all summer. We've had some pretty good times, And he's improved tremendously over the year. We are undecided about whether he will play or not next spring. It's about a 3 hour commitment per week, with 7 other tag-alongs to keep occupied. But he LOVES it, and we LOVE watching him, so it's hard. (He also did Cub Scouts in 2009-2010, but the troop was so unorganized that we decided not to continue, he's been fine with it)
All the other children (age 7 and under) have never done anything, and we plan to kind of stick to a "10 years old" rule, as long as the activity is feasible (time wise and financially)
As far as other commitments...we don't COMMIT to anything. No co-op, No lessons, No play groups, No Book Clubs. When we have it together, and can go to Family Storytime, we do. When we get invited to a Family Field Trip and can go, we do. But that's about it. Large families don't get invited to too many dinners or parties, etc :)
Here is an article I read back in 2007 that really got me thinking,
..off to check out the other link!
Okay Kathi, I had to laugh as I read this line:
"Large families don't get invited to too many dinners or parties"
You're so right! LOL. I've found that stepping out of my comfort zone to invite others to do a dinner or party works best. It's still hard (out of my comfort zone to invite others in) and that makes me think others may have the same problem compounded by not feeling up to adding in a big family. Who knows?
Hm - my dad had a habit of inviting a family home from church every Sunday (large families included.) We had families with 7 or 8 kids over... families that was a single person, etc.
When his house burned down, the church sure pitched in assistance.... and he was busy inviting families - to THEIR home (and he would cook), each Sunday...
Cool tradition, but not one I feel able to keep up.
Suzukimom - sounds like you grew up in an area with lots of larger than average families??
Here where we live (I've lived here my whole life) our family with 6 going on 7 kids is the largest around. I know one family who had their 6th a few months ago (they homeschool and we're good friends), but other than them the next largest families have 4 children tops. We're considered a novelty/oddity here. However, having been out visiting my sister across the country this month, we were not a novelty, we fit right in to her area, so I think different places can have their own 'mini-culture' of what is a normal or a large family.
We're in the large family category also, where home is at the center. Our eight children are thirteen and under, with baby 9 expected in January. We also do things as a family. Church and a small orchestra are the only things we are involved in regularly outside of the home. Four of our children play in the orchestra, and we attend rehearsals bi-weekly.
We did try a homeschool gym day last month, which was fun for the kids, but is not likely to become a regular part of our lifestyle. Mostly we go biking, trampolining, hiking, tobogganing together, or kick a soccer ball in the yard. We live on a quarter section, so this works well for us.
Tristan & Kathi - We don't get invited to many dinners either!
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