How often are you home each week? Do you have plenty of time to be at home or are you running to co-op classes, lessons, and various other activity oriented obligations? By my own observation over the last seven years, our best homeschool days happen when we are home. Wow. That screams the obvious, doesn’t it? Yet, I believe the real success occurs when we have many uninterrupted days at home and that is much more difficult to achieve. To be able to relax and discover with our children, we need to have time on our side. We have to slow down. Regular, frequent days of being home, with no outside agenda, allows us the freedom to explore more in our school and in our kids' passions. We aren’t constantly in a “battle” to hit the 3Rs before we leave for dance class or baseball practice.
Aside from all the time it takes to drive from one activity to the next for four children, it costs money too! I'm always amazed at how much it does cost for one small session of activity. It's one of the reasons we started to look at how we could nurture an interest at home. Another reason is that it seems almost impossible to dabble these days. My kids might like to try something out and enjoy it, but not necessarily want to keep going semester after semester. But in order to explore more, you had to buy in to more. Ballet was great the first year, but then my daughter wanted to take jazz. But this studio (and others) would not allow jazz without also taking ballet. Yeah...I get it. I was a dancer and a competitive gymnast my whole young and young adult life. Your dancing skills improve when you learn ballet technique well and you use it as a base for other dance, etc. But here's the reality. She wanted to take jazz and try that out. She had no plans for a career in dance. She wasn't invested. She wanted to dabble. It seems that kids today must be all in for something or not at all. I ran into this frequently and I even spoke at length with the dance studio owner about it. She absolutely admitted that I was right- there was no room for the casual experience anymore. Not just soccer once or twice a week, to be competitive and like his peers, he must have at least three nights a week. It's a racket is what it is! Whatever happened to being a kid and trying things out? Anyway, this notion was so pervasive in the youth culture as our oldest kids were starting out with activities, we knew we had to take a step back and be creative about how we would give our kids experiences.
That is not to say we don't have our kids in outside activities, but they are carefully chosen and we guard our time and our wallets! Sometimes an outside activity is great for a short season and gives us ideas on how to work with our kids at home.
During the remainder of the 10 Days Series, I'll be sharing about children's passions and how we pour into them. Our two oldest are 13 and just about 12 and they have passions they are pursuing with great interest. I'll be sharing about our younger boys as well to give you an idea about how we are developing some passions early on with our kids.
First stop is our daughter's passion for sewing and all things creative. From Sewing School at a local shop to Sewing Camp in our home: After we discovered how much she loves to sew, we were introduced to a sewing cooperative nearby and one of the teacher's is a church friend of ours- newly retired and anxious to teach sewing. R11 took classes there for about a year and a half off and on, but the classes continued to rise in price and after a while, it made more sense to try sewing at home where we could step up the instruction at a lower cost. Finally, last summer, I decided to try a Sewing Camp one week at our home with some of her closest friends and their moms. It was a huge hit! And we've been meeting once a month all during the school year.
Sewing Camp was born and it has been great fun for all of us for only the cost of materials. It does require planning and hosting the monthly gatherings, but it's worth every moment. In addition to getting some friends together, we provide her with plenty of fabric, notions, doodads and blogs to try things out on her own. We also put together a little studio (in her postage stamp sized bedroom) for her birthday one year and it's her space for creating. About a year later she received her own sewing machine. And just recently, through the blessing of an online friend, she has added a serger! We pick it up today as a matter of fact!
|Often she will see a tutorial she wants to try- this one was taking a dress shirt and making a long shirt with a belt. But first, you had to make the shirt more narrow and reset the sleeve.|
|Not bad for a first time! Projects like these rarely happen if you are too busy to let it happen.|
|February's Sewing Camp project was a reverse applique heart tshirt.|
|Much harder than it looks says Rll! Cutting out the heart on the top layer without knicking the bottom one was tough!|
Boy has this post gotten too long! I'll share more about how we provide for sewing at home another day. For now think about your child's passion. How can you inspire them to learn and grow with it at home?
- What resources can you provide?
- What time can you set aside?
- What encouragement can you give?
Yesterday I talked briefly about fiercely protecting our time. It is a key factor when pouring into your child's passion. Fiercely protecting our time allows us to be more adventurous and it provides the time for us to invest in our children. Fiercely protecting that time allows us to go beyond the ordinary on a regular basis. It allows our children to play more and relax. We aren’t always in the car and on the go. Fiercely protecting our time means finding out what our kids are really passionate about and finding ways to feed that passion at home and as a part of their school day- not necessarily adding another “activity” to the many places we have to go. Or maybe it means cutting out the fat- the extras about which our children are not so passionate. Fiercely protecting our time sometimes means making unpopular choices. It means that sometimes the whispers from all the good things we could do get louder even as we try to silence them!
And in turn, this leaves us more time at home to explore the extraordinary. Enjoy the journey with your children. Passionately.
The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network.
You'll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivating curiosity, teaching with Legos, and much much more!