After speaking during the homeschool webinar Tuesday, I know there were some questions that went unanswered. I have looked over the chat log from the class, and I'm going to take some time over the next few posts to answer some of those questions. Some of the questions I answered during the webinar, but I'd like to expand on them a bit, too. I'd love to hear comments from you guys about these topics as well!
1. How do you handle the pressures of people at church wanting you to volunteer during the school year?
What exactly makes people think that because we homeschool, then we must have all this extra time on our hands? Because, after all, we are at home all day! I don't know why that misconception exists, but it is exactly that--a misconception with a capital M!
There are some lessons in life that take me longer to learn than others--and this is one of them. Being the preacher's wife, combined with my natural inclincation to want to please people makes this difficult for me. But I have finally come to a point in life where I am very much at peace over Who it is I serve and live life for. If I make decisions prayerfully, based on what I feel God calling me to do, then I let the other pressures roll off my back. It is the Lord Jesus Christ whom I serve and will have to answer to someday. If I say "yes" to every volunteer opportunity that comes my way, then I will have to say to the Lord, yes, I did neglect my children in order to serve in the church. I don't think that is what God has in mind for us as moms.
After following the authority of God and then our husbands, I believe our calling as a mom is the next most important thing in our lives. Carrying that calling out may look differently in all of our lives, but it still remains the most important. And if I am being asked to head up this committee or teach this Sunday School class, and it leads to the detriment of my children, my answer needs to be "NO." I don't need to feel bad about saying no, because by saying no to that opportunity, I am saying yes to my children. That doesn't mean everyone in the church will understand. But at the end of the day, I need to lay my head on my pillow in peace, and if my decisions have been made based on what I perceive as God's will for my life, then I can feel good about that.
I'm sure you've all heard the quote that if the Devil can't make you bad, he'll make you busy. I truly believe that is one of Satan's strategies for getting us off course. If we have said yes too many times, and we are running every which way but loose, something is desperately out of order and we will not be effective in any of the areas we are attempting to juggle.
I believe we also have to keep in mind that we go through different seasons in life, and there may come a season when we CAN say yes to more of those opportunities that come our way.
2. Do you limit how many extra activities each child participates in?
Absolutely, YES! This is one area that can really get me going. I can't tell you how many times I heard this from parents this summer: "I thought things would slow down since it's summer, but it's only gotten busier!" Then to hear them tell of all they have going and how many activities each of their children is enrolled in for summer makes me utterly exhausted! I had to bite my tongue many times to not say, "It's your own fault for being that busy!!"
Mark and I are very much in agreement that our children do not need to be involved in every extracurricular activity under the sun. We believe our time together as a family is more important than how many activities they attend each week. Our son is extremely athletic, but we still have not enrolled him in any kind of organized sport and don't plan to anytime soon--simply because we don't think it's necessary, especially this early in the game (no pun intended!). Our family eats lunch AND dinner together 98% of the time, and I want to keep it that way. Statistics prove an abundance of benefits simply from your family eating dinner together every night. The more extracurricular activities you involve yourselves in, the more you are eating away at your time together (wow, I'm on a roll with these puns--and they are truly not intended! They just keep coming out!).
You ask about pressure from others? This is the area I get it in more than any other area. There is a member of our church that I come in contact with frequently because of this person's occupation. It has almost become comical (when it's not making me angry!) the comments I receive EVERY TIME I am in contact with this person when my children are present. There is always some kind of comment about what sport is Benjamin playing (none, outside of the front yard with his Daddy), or just how long do you plan to homeschool (forever, thank you), or don't you know homeschoolers are in for a rude awakening when they go off to college (are you kidding me???), etc. etc. etc. I have to laugh or else it makes me angry and makes me not want to be around this particular person. But once again, we feel we are following God's calling in the life of our family, and we are 100% at peace with the decisions we are making for our children--regardless of how unpopular those decisions may be with others. No, we don't do what "everyone else is doing", but God doesn't call us to make popular decisions or to follow the crowd for the sake of following the crowd.
More Q&A to follow!