Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Other Stuff

The first week we began homeschooling I remember standing in the middle of my living room blinking at the clock.

There is no way we are done. How can we already be done? It's only 11:30 in the morning!!!

But we were done. And that was my first taste of freedom. Schooling one kid (or even a few) simply does not take all day. There was time to play. There was time to do housework. There was time to run errands.

There was time for other stuff.

My older daughter went to public school and private school. I know how much time it can take out of a family's week. I also remember being hostage to the preschool calendar on my refrigerator. I must run to the store at 10:00 at night because she is supposed to bring a WHITE SNACK tomorrow. I must do laundry after she goes to bed because tomorrow is RED DAY and her red shirt is dirty.

So we were loving the freedom last year...our first year. I continued to walk around and blink in disbelief. We have the whole park to ourselves? We can go to the museum while everyone else is at school? We can have school in the backyard? We can do "reading" on the couch?

For a former public school teacher and former public school kiddo--the freedom was so much fun!

And yet, academics have eaten up too much of my time. Too much of my thoughts and concerns have been focused on "the subjects." I feel the need to do math, reading, spelling, writing, science, history (NOT social studies--that was news to me!), etc. The subjects have been keeping me too busy. If you place too stringent of expectations on yourself or your child, you can lose that freedom in a hurry.

And folks, there is other stuff I want to teach my girls.

I've been thinking a lot lately about manners. We must have time for fancy dinners and tea parties so they can practice being young ladies.
There has to be time for cooking lessons. I want my daughters to know how to cook and cook quite well before they leave home.
There must be time for archery and bike riding and swimming and playing with sidewalk chalk and blowing bubbles and playing with play-doh and working puzzles and drawing and reading and all kinds of childhood pleasures.
There should be time for sewing lessons.

Oh there is so much I want to teach them!!!! May math and reading and science and all the other subjects never cause my children to miss an opportunity to learn something really exciting that they can use for the rest of their lives!

I know academics are important. They absolutely are. And maybe it's other things in our life that threaten to squeeze out that free time with our children. But it's time we cannot ever get back.

That's why this year I plan to make time for that other stuff. The stuff that I'm allowed to do because we homeschool. I guess I'm just saying that this year I want a little less attention on the "school" part and more emphasis on the "home."

So today I'm dreaming. I'm dreaming of all the things a mama and two little girls can spend their days doing. What's the "other stuff" you are going to make time for this year?


  1. Just found your site. Love your ideas. Especially about the manners and the home skills. I'm planning to introduce some "life lessons' to my oldest this year too. But I need to get some structure or it won't work out. (That's my lesson for the year - figuring out how to schedule things so they actually get done.)

  2. I do a lot of dreaming about these thing, too. However, we really don't get a lot of it in... farm stuff, piano lessons, some cooking lessons (great for boys, too, by the way) HOWEVER... this is really ridiculous, but I used to be a professional violinist and my oldest three want me to teach them vioin, viola, and cello- all VERY easy for me to teach, I have for years, and yet I have not found the time to. My oldes two are older than I feel a child should be before starting lessons, and yet...
    Well, it's an area I pray about a lot. (:
    I have dreams! Now I just need to make them a reality with HIS help.

  3. I'm happy for you. We, too, were enslaved to the public school calendar, and to all the things they wanted us to do. Both boys are graduated now, and it is a relief. Happy New Year. BTW, I am doing a series of posts from the 1964 book "Secrets of Loveliness" by Kay Thomas. It is listed under the "For Girls Only" label on my side bar. Maybe you will enjoy them. You have to scroll way down to get to the first one, because I have done several of them.

  4. Beautiful post. I love your thinking. Hope you and your girls have lots of bonding and fun as you implement each idea. Those are the things memories are made of. :-)

  5. Definitely cooking lessons this year. And organizational skills. Some kind of reward system for keeping their room clean. I'll think of something.

    Sewing? Notsomuch. Buttons, maybe. I'm needing to get out my "Training our Daughters to be Keepers at Home" curriculum. That should be good. :0)

  6. This post is motivating for me. Ron is letting us have one more week before we start school again, so I can get to a point where I can plan the subjects as well as "the other stuff."

    Sewing actually does come to mind for my daughter and me. :)

  7. Donlt be so constricted in the idea that only the girls should learn to sew. My 10 year old son sews a perfect 1/4" seam and is such a help to me in my quiltmaking. A homeschooling friend sent one of her boys to boarding school with her old sewing machine, he set up a business mending and sewing on patches.
    This is our 6th year of homeschooling and I still am amazed at how quickly we can finish the academic subjects, leaving plenty of time for field trips and fun activities.

  8. Oh I'm not constricted Kat. I just dont' have any sons! :)

  9. Brenda, I've been doing a lot of rethinking and revising on our homeschooling how-to's and what-to's, also. I posted about it on my blog this week for some accountability insurance in the blogosphere. I definitely want to make more time for sewing, crafts, projects, and homemaking skills. I'm also looking into some forms of missions or service work that the kids and I can do together. Any ideas?

  10. You know Butterfly Catcher, I was thinking that if we only scheduled one activitiy a week--that would be 52 different things we could do each year! That's a lot!
    When my dad had cancer I told myself that when my girls are big enough we are going to sew things and pass them out at the hospital. What a great ministry for the family to be involved in, sewing skills, helping cheer others up...I still think about that. I also think about old folks' homes but I want my children to be a bit older for that too.

  11. OH! I loved this blog post of yours! :)

    Have a blessed year. :)


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)