Sometimes when I tell people that we homeschool they assume that we stay home a lot because opportunities are not available for my children to get out. In the course of these conversations, not sending them into an institutional setting for eight hours a day is often equated with missed chances for social and personal development. Quite the opposite it true, at least for us. I am frequently running into a problem that many homeschoolers face: we commit to too many activities outside the home.
Take an average week at my house. My school-age boys have regular weekly activities that include: homeschool co-op or Blue Knights, Cub Scouts, gymnastics, Friday classes at the college, Sunday School, piano lessons, and baseball (Fall and Spring). Then throw in the extra activities that were offered to us this week: Cub Scout field trip to corn maze, Homeschool Nature Camp, Fall celebration and scarecrow stuffing, field trip to historical site, Halloween Parade, and sewing lessons. Add to that a couple of scheduled appointments around town to see various doctors, and you have our possible week.
Our first year homeschooling, we probably would have tried to do all the activities. I wouldn't have wanted them to miss out on anything. And we would have paid for it the following week with overly tired kids and having to work extra hard to make up for lost school work time. If there is something that four years of homeschooling has taught me, it is to know when to say no. So I did, and the kids went to one of the extra activities instead of all.
We homeschool. We choose to take on the responsibility of the education of our children. We teach them at home using the world as our classroom. By doing this my children spend their days exploring classic literature (Isaac is currently reading Alice in Wonderland, James is on The Strange Case of Dr. Jekll and Mr. Hyde), while also studying music and languages. We set our own schedule and curriculum. We are able to buy a Lego Physics set and use it for science. We are able to take off to Georgia for two weeks every November and leave the school books behind.
Learning to say no isn't always easy, but it is definitely necessary. Especially when so many wonderful experiences await the eager learner.