In this time of renewal between Easter and Ascension, in this time of planning for Fall for many homeschooling mothers, and in this time of evaluation for many parents as we all gear up for Summer (or Winter, if you are one of my dear Down Under readers!), I invite you to breathe and ask yourself this question: How often am I going out of my home?
- Is it every day and you have children under the age of seven?
- Is your home and your homeschooling and your parenting where you would like it to be?
- Could your time of lessons or classes or activities for your small children be better spent elsewhere at this point?
I understand if you are suffering from depression and really need that social connection and support of other mothers. I really do understand if you are extremely outgoing like me and just get filled up by being with other mothers and other people…I really do understand! I wrote a post about Social Isolation for Stay-At-Home mothers here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/02/24/social-isolation-for-stay-at-home-mothers/
But there has to be a balance, and if you are going out every day and if your under-seven child is involved in a plethora of activities, I just gently am nudging you to explore this. Boundaries are important, and showing and modeling for your child how to set boundaries and maintain them is REALLY important as they grow up into a world that will most likely have even more blurred lines between personal and professional lives due to increased technology.
I invite you to try to discern what really are the most essential things in your life, and how the time you spend reflects what is most meaningful to you. I am working on this right now, and it really is challenging me!
Particularly for the parents of very small under-aged five children, it is easy to get caught up in lessons, classes, and other things. The ages under five (and under seven and yes, even under age nine!), to me, is an excellent place to experience an unhurried concept of time. They will never have these days again! There will be so many other years for classes, for lessons and for other activities and for rushing about on a schedule (which is different than the flowing rhythm of being at home).
Many mothers I speak with somehow feel their children will be “behind” if they don’t enroll in a number of things, and they point to things like elite Olympic athletes who start training at the age of four or something. Actually, I like to point out that for a number of athletes, they started later or switched later from one sport to the sport that later became their Olympic sport. I also like to point out that if a four-year-old starts piano lessons, a seven or eight year old can typically catch up to where the four-year-old is in a matter of months because they are more mature and more coordinated. There is something to be said for developmental maturity and neural pathways being mature and ready…. I am sure many with disagree on this point, but I guess what I am trying to say is that all is not lost if you take a summer and have nowhere to be or take your children’s under-seven years and be HOME. That will probably provide a more lasting foundation than any one-hour class that you are rushing your child and younger children and babies out the door for!
For homeschooling mothers, especially for mothers new to homeschooling, it is easy to think that one’s child should be involved in this and in that for “socialization” and for those things that just seem harder to do at home. Many times we tend to forget that home has its own advantages.
So, today, I am just giving you that gentle nudge to look into your heart as you plan for Fall. Think about how many days out of the home are necessary. If your children are small, it may not be what you think. If your children are older, please do plan enough time to actually home school at home instead of trying to home school from your car. Unhurried “digestion” of academic material is so important.