As we became a homeschooling family we dove headfirst and completely submerged ourselves in our new lifestyle. We joined all kinds of groups and signed up for extracurricular activities. I didn’t want my children to miss the social aspects of public school or be left out of opportunities to develop their talents. We soon found ourselves involved in dance lessons, play groups, book club, science classes, art classes, sports teams, guitar lessons, and the like. Just typing this list makes my head spin. Somehow we managed to keep our heads just above water.
One night my husband made a startling comment as we sat down to family dinner, “This is a novelty,” he remarked. I quickly realized that he was right. Family dinners had become few and far between, family home evening was even going by the wayside as I made justifications that we were getting plenty of family time, after all, we homeschool! Our weekends were filled with all kinds of activities and I was really starting to wear out.
My littlest kids were spending hours in the car each week as we sat in traffic to drop kids of at their “enriching” activities. After the third or fourth week in a row of relentless activity I had finally had enough. I now longer cared about looking like a flake or a quitter. I started weeding things out left and right to clear some space into our schedule. One by one I cancelled activities and I began to feel lighter. That next week, I had carved four free days into our schedule.
Suddenly, we had the gift of time! I made a point to have family dinner. I read an article posted recently on The Sentinel about making family home evening a priority. We held family home evening that week. Guess what? I was starting to find my center. I was amazed at how many enriching activities we could actually do at home when we were not sitting in traffic trying to get from one activity to another. I can’t believe I was almost robbed of one of the most precious gifts of homeschooling, simplicity.
The adversary wants us to be completely distracted. He wants us to be rushing from one activity to another so that we cannot hear the one resounding truth that we are enough. Our young children especially need their Mothers and they need family time at home to learn and to play and explore. Our children need us to really SEE and HEAR them. While I believe that it is important for kids to be involved in extracurricular activities so that they can socialize and develop their talents, these activities cannot replace that crucial time spent in the home. As homeschoolers, we are blessed to create our own schedules and choose our priorities for the most part. I am grateful for the wise counsel of former General Relief Society President, Julie B. Beck in the following quote:
Mothers Who Know Do Less
"Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world. Their goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord’s kingdom for the next 50 years. That is influence; that is power."
I hope to be able to guard and protect our most precious commodity – time. I hope to have the discipline to choose only the best things and the confidence that I am making the right decision not to choose it all.