We often hear, “Your family is so fun!!!!” or “You guys do such fun stuff!” and my first response usually is, “Yeah, it seems that way from the photos we post on the blog or updates on Facebook. But we are just going along leading our life.” But the more I think about it, the more I see why people tell us that so often. It’s true that the flexibility of life that comes from not being tied to a school district schedule makes it easier for us to do interesting things. Above all that, my husband and I are intentional about the way we lead our life. It’s important to me to be making memories and spending time with our girls because all of life is about learning, not just a scheduled school time. I want all of the daily things of life to be woven into our girls’ memories so they can look back and know that the life we live now is important to us. I don’t want them to grow up thinking that life is going to start when they 1) become adults 2) go to college or 3) get married.
We make plans to go and do things as a family – we are deliberate. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I have found that if you don’t plan for the things you are going to do as a family, then time will get away from you. When you read studies about the amount of time the average person spends with her children having direct interaction, I think that we are an anomaly. We don’t let the girls watch unlimited tv or play video games all day. In fact my girls cheer when I say, “We are going to the downtown library!” We play games together, read, go on walks, do crafts, cook, and do puzzles. My husband built a playset in our backyard in February, and unless it has rained the girls have played outside every single day. Last week he built me a new garden, and our oldest daughter has helped me with the planting and watering and is so excited to see if the seeds she planted will be food soon.
We have memberships to the zoo and science and history museum and we make great use of them. I check out the days that other museums will be half price and we take our girls to look at famous artwork. I am on various email lists for local free or low-cost events going on in our city. For Halloween we dressed up as a family and went to ‘Boo at the Zoo’ and to visit friends. At Christmas time we attended a showing of ‘The Polar Express’ and we all dressed up in our pajamas.
So when I think of all the things I have listed, it does seem like we just have fun and goof off all day long, but it’s just not true. First of all, I don’t lose 40 hours a week with them going to a school or myself working full time hours plus a commute. Second, with the one on one attention I can give our girls, we can get a lot more school completed much faster than in a classroom setting. By the time my husband is done working for the day, we have long since finished and can have a relaxing evening together without rushing around. Third, we don’t over-schedule activities for the girls to be involved in. Both girls have 2 outside classes that they take each week and those do not cut into our family time.
I can’t tell you the number of times that people have said to me that they could never homeschool because they couldn’t stand to spend all day with their kids. I have no idea how to respond to those comments, so I tend to just laugh in an uncomfortable sort of way. We have children who pick at each other and dishes to wash. We have sick days and dirty clothes. We get tired and wish for quiet or a chance to sleep-in every now and then. We find toys and books spread out in every corner of the house. We have all the normal headaches and difficulties that come with parenting, but we also know that spending a lot of time leading and teaching our children is their best chance for being happy and successful at life. I don’t think we are doing something amazing or astounding; we are simply being intentional. But we really do have such a wonderful life, and I am eternally grateful for that and my ability to stay home with my girls.
Life is all about choices, and we have chosen a very intentional and deliberate life. How do you have intentional family time?