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Extra Curricular Activities and the Family - Issue 146
April 09, 2010
|Hi there! ....
This week has been the first week of the school holidays for us though we prefer to call it a study break. I set up a different routine for these two weeks, you can read about it on my blog. The main idea is that we spend 1-2 hours a day on a focused study. Daniel and Nomi have both chosen a ‘delight’ subject – a topic that they wanted to learn about at this time. I find that when we have a little table time even during ‘days off’ everyone stays a little more focused and productive. Idle hands lead to trouble! (Ecc 10:18 – If a man is lazy, the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house leaks.)
Live life with your kids!
Extra Curricular Activities and the Family
Do you find yourself saying "I wish I was at home more"? There are seasons in our life that we are simply not at home. But we need to be aware of these seasons and make sure that we know why and that we are okay with that. It is all too easy to get swept up in a busy outside home life while our heart is missing the things that we do at home as a family.
One of the opportunities that we have as families (whether we are homeschooling or not) are ‘extacurricular activities’. Are they important?
According to Wikipedia, extracurricular activities are activities performed by students that fall outside the realm of the normal curriculum of school or university education. Initially extracurricular activities were extensions of a student’s particular studies or pursuits in life – they enhanced where the student was going. These days extracurricular activities are more about being seen to be social, being the best, doing what everyone else is doing – there is not much thought about the individual child’s purpose when deciding what to take on.
The thing that jumped out at me with that Wikipedia definition was “activities … .outside the realm of the normal curriculum”. Discipleship homeschooling takes into account the growth and development of the whole child – there is no outside the realm of normal curriculum. If the child needs to learn something that then becomes a part of our normal curriculum.
Because extracurricular activities are traditionally seen outside of school, they are activities that are run outside of school hours. Which has meant homeschoolers have taken to filling our afternoon hours with ‘extra curricular activities’ – filling our mornings and our afternoons with learning activity.
I think we need to seriously consider these activities and how they fit into our days:
I think this third point is the key - If these activities are indeed a part of the education and discipleship of our children they need to be seen as such, and not as extras. We cannot keep taking on activities, projects and learning opportunities – something has to give. We need to look at our whole day, not the morning for learning and the afternoon for extra curricular – our whole day is an opportunity to train our children. When we have this whole day approach we may not do ‘lessons’ in the morning because we are going to be doing ‘activities’ in the afternoon. We need to find this balance throughout the week.
Two other thoughts that have helped me find balance are:
We need to be honest about the effects of these activities on our family life.
The biggest cost to me is relationship building opportunities – when we are busy going from activity to activity, when kids are here and there we miss relationship building time. Sure, we are in the car together and you can use that time wisely, but most often or not we are quickly eating a snack, or still smarting from those sharp words while we rushed to be on time, or we are tired and just want to zone out. On the other hand when we balance our activities (our comings, goings and staying at home) we find ourselves fresh and invigorated, able to give to each other.
I’m not saying these activities aren’t worth it – but we must make conscious decisions about what we want for our family, not just be swept along by what everyone else is doing.
There are no updates this week but if you are starting out homeschooling, or are changing your perceptions you may enjoy some of these articles Starting out Discipleship Homeschool
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Until next week
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