Cramming Your Calendar: When It's Too Much
One of the biggest concerns many homeschooling moms have is socialization. Even with the best
learning materials on hand, some moms worry constantly about whether their children are
spending enough time with other children.
Fortunately there are plenty of homeschool support groups across the country that offer mothers
plenty of opportunities to mix and mingle. Simply typing "home school support groups" in your
browser should bring up a sampling of what's out there. To find a group in your own immediate
area, you might want to add your city and state in the browser as well.
You may find, after having settled in comfortably with a good group, that you are eagerly saying
'yes" to every outing, club activity and field trips on the calendar. Keeping your calendar
crammed full of trips, activities, meetings and outings can often lead to a good case of burn out.
In our quest for a social life for our children, we forget that we, as mothers, need down time.
Having spent our first entire year of homeschooling on our own, I was ever so happy to find the
lovely people in our local home school group.
I signed my son and daughter up for everything and anything. They attended a club for children
ages 9 and up. The took part in twice monthly sports club meets that included baseball,
basketball, kickball and bowling. The first Friday of every month we joined in the monthly
family outings. They never missed a field trip, art class or science outing. Now keep in mind that
this group had most of its members on the Eastern end of the county we live in while we lived in
the Western end. So we're talking about trips and events that were minimum a half hour ride
from home. To sum it up, we spent at least 3 and sometimes 4 days a week in the car. When did
we get our school work done? Since we started at 8am we were often done by 1pm and most
activities took place after that time. Never before had I understood the meaning of that bumper
sticker "Mom's Taxi" than last year. Then I hit the brakes. I just had to. It was a bad case of burn
out and I was discouraged. "The other moms are doing it. Why am I falling apart?" I asked
myself. I suddenly found myself tired of car trips, tired of running out the door after a quick
lunch and resentful of the little time I had to do "anything else". I was ready to stop school work
several weeks before our ending date.
What happened next? Fortunately while at bowling one afternoon I was blessed to be sitting next
to a woman I had seen occasionally throughout the school year. I don't know how it started but I
found myself pouring out my woes to her. She patted my hand and said "I've been there myself."
she had been homeschooling for five years and shared her experience with me.
"It's simple," she said, "You're just doing too much. If you keep signing up and saying yes to
everything going on, you'll never feel better. It happens to a lot of moms. You need to know
when to say no and when too much is too much. Stop cramming the calendar full. Limit the
number of activities for each child and limit the number of days you want to be out and about."
A solution was as simple as that. That night I sat down with my children and explained my
problem to them. I explained that they could each take part in two activities during the school
year. I also explained that I would let them attend two outings per week. I expected that the other
three days would be home based. I had to keep up on the house, I needed to get my writing
assignments done and, most importantly, I needed some time just for me.
As we gear up for another school year, I am excited about what lies ahead. They'll be able to
enjoy scouting, playing with the marching band and I'll be able to march to a beat of my own.
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Christina Lorenzen is a full-time freelance writer specializing in parenting and health issues. With more than 125 articles published, she also offers her wisdom and experience to other writers by teaching writing workshops through local libraries, bookstores and online. In addition to this column, she is also a columnist for Connecting @ Home magazine. She can reached at email@example.com
Listen to an Interview About Homeschooling with Christine Lorensen