Today we are going to talk about two very important things: the foundation of all rhythm in parenting and homeschooling, and then the biggest, fattest detractor and destroyer of rhythm.
The foundation has to be relationships, and the very first relationship is that of you to something higher than you. I am Christian, so the most important relationship for me to nurture before I can deal with others is my relationship to God. In the Christian walk, we think of doing this through reading the Bible daily, through prayer and through memorizing Scripture or writings of the early church fathers, and also through other means (going to church! having a spiritual mentor! fasting! obedience! sacrifice and service!)…But I think of the first three things as something I can do myself very quietly before everyone in the house is up and awake. Then this foundation of how I am and who I am after doing these things gets passed on into the very real way I deal with my spouse, my children, my neighbors and friends. Relationships are the foundation of all rhythm, of all parenting, of all homeschooling. Homeschooling is about family and love and joy. Connect to your Creator and then connect to your family. Plug into that love and share it.
The destroyer of homeschooling in general, and especially of parenting in the Early Years, is doing too much outside of the home. The biggest detractor in homeschooling is thinking we have to do every activity that comes along, or that we have to volunteer for everything in order to make it happen for our community, our family, our children. If your house and your homeschooling are running smoothly, then by all means volunteer.
I see this phenomenon especially for those families whose oldest children are in the first and second grades. These children are signed up for Every Good Thing. But sometimes you have to say “NO” even to things that are good. It is not hard to say “no” to things that are not good, much harder to say “no” to things that are good. Please just remember, it all does not have to be done this year. Many of the activities that I see children doing today were activities that we did not do until middle school in the past! There are many years, and the foundation of the early years and the grades is play and work.
Second of all, if you have multiple children, this schedule you are setting up around getting your older child to every activity is not going to be sustainable as your younger children come up and also want to get involved in things. So choose wisely, choose carefully, and do not let outside activities deter from your main objective: a peaceful home, a well-run homeschool, close and intimate family relationships.
If you are a volunteer-er, and I myself am familiar with this phenomenon, please remember to pray for what the timing should be in involvement of things outside your family. Teaching Sunday School, scouting, 4-H, helping to run a family business, doing this and doing that, are all wonderful, but please make sure you can handle homeschooling and homemaking first and foremost.
Think carefully how you will spend your time as you craft a beautiful rhythm for your family.