Are we running a long distance or is this the 50 yard dash?
Sometimes, I feel like I live live in a 24/7 version of the 50 yard dash! I’m running so fast my lungs are literally on fire and I can’t feel my legs anymore. My heart is pounding, there is a roar in my ears from the rush of blood. I am unaware of anything except the race, I’m falling behind…..I have to catch up! MOVE FASTER LEGS!! PUMP HARDER HEART!!! BREATHE LUNGS, BREATHE!!!! Then it happens, the inevitable, CRASH! Not just a crash, but a crash and burn……I am totaled….beyond repair….ready for the scrap heap.
I don’t understand how it happens, we start out walking along our homeschool path. We are like the tortoise; slow and steady wins the race. Pretty soon though, “ssssssssocialization” (that homeschool lie the devil told) begins to worry us, so what do we do? “Sign them up for a sport” we think…..yes thats it! So we sign up for the sport of the season and then pretty soon instead of walking/strolling down the homeschool path, we are at more of a power-walk pace. “Is 2 hours a week really enough?” begins to creep into our thoughts, “Ssssssssocialization isssss imporrrtant, the kidsssss aren’t gettttinng enough of it at hooome” Satan whispers . We sign them up for another sport, a music lesson; now we’re at a slow jog running to and fro to two sports and music lessons each week. “They still aren’t getting enough ssssssocialization, they need moooore, they will end up with no friends and be outcasts forever” he whispers again. What do we do? We sign up for something else! and then another and another and another until HOMESCHOOL is no longer at HOME…..EVER.
I am not at all implying that we homeschoolers should stay home all of the time, I’m simply saying….we shouldn’t have to go at a dead run in order to keep up with all of the social activities we have scheduled for our children to “make up” for them not being in school. Why do we feel that we must “make it up” in the first place? I’m not saying that some (very very very few…like 1 or 2) homeschoolers don’t overkill it with “bunker syndrome” , there are those who really do lock their children in the proverbial closet……sadly, this must be admitted. The truth is though, the great majority, of homeschoolers don’t! We have our children in public venues on a regular basis, they go shopping, they go to church, they take them on play dates, and in fact….homeschoolers DO have friends 🙂 contrary to popular anti-homeschooling beliefs. Truly, children who are homeschooled are, in general, more and better socialized than children who are confined to desks all day hidden away in the
prison , oops I meant public school.
Satan would love to convince you that your homeschooling efforts will cost your child in the long run. After all, if he cannot compel you to “sssssssssssocialize” them, there is very little room for him to slither his way into their minds…..there is no way to plant the seeds of doubt. I am not saying “don’t socialize”, I am saying choose carefully with whom your child does so. Satan comes but for 3 reasons; to kill, steal, and destroy. He comes to kill your joy, steal your peace, and destroy your faith. When he lies, he is simply speaking his native tongue….there is no truth in him. The problem is, if he cannot convince you to believe the lie directly he will do so indirectly. You may have great discernment of knowing when it is your flesh or satan tempting you to stop journeying down the road God has called you to; often, it is more difficult to discern this though when he is using a close friend, family member, or your pastor……yes that’s right….your pastor. I’m not saying MY pastor has ever spoken against homeschooling, but I do know of those who do and have. It’s a hard pill to swallow when someone you consider to be a spiritual mentor challenges you on the choice to homeschool, especially considering this person has had a much longer and often times much stronger walk than you have had yourself….that is after all why they are your mentor right? I know…..you would think that Satan couldn’t use your mentor….after all, they are in tight with God and they pray all the time, they’re spiritual giants in your eyes; not true just look at Peter.
Peter was the one Jesus directly ordained as the first minister of the church, and yet…..he told the Lord it was not so that he would be crucified, thus prompting the ” Get thee behind me Satan” chastisement. Peter also denied Christ the three times before the cock crowed. Satan is very good at using us Christians….so good that we don’t even recognize when he is using us because he “appears as an angel of light”. Let me encourage you then, since now we obviously know these things, not to be so easily swayed and worried about the “ssssssss” word.
Since I covered the lie….and I covered the truth; what isn’t and what is…..allow me now to cover what should be. Yes, your child does need to be among other children their own age, free to play without structure at times. Yes, being on teams will build sportsmanship, social skills, and team work concepts. Yes, musical lessons are wonderful, beautiful, and open the creative mind! Yes, co-op homeschooling can and is a wonderful tool! These are all wonderful. The key however, is “all things in moderation”.
You wouldn’t decide to paint your bedroom and then go buy every color of paint available then come home and splash it haphazardly all about your room on the walls, the floors, the ceiling and furniture! No! Never! You decide to paint your bedroom, you go to the store, look at swatches, perhaps you bring home a small sample of one or even two. You make a decision of whether one or both of those colors “fits” your space, and then you go back, make the purchase, come home and do the job.
Why then, do so many homeschoolers (myself included) decide that we need to get our kids “ssssssssocialized” and then proceed to do so by signing up for every lesson, co-op, sports team, play date, church play, vacation bible school, day camp, overnight camp, and every other imaginable social activity that one could become involved in…..all at one time!? This sends 2 messages; 1. You are insecure in your abilities as a homeschooler to socialize your child adequately. 2. It tells other people that homeschoolers are in fact poorly socialized….after all, if they were socially fine then why on Earth would their parents spend all that time and money running and chasing after “friends” for them through extra curricular activities…..homeschooling must really not be “enough”….just like they thought. In conclusion, since I myself am guilty, I am committing to only ONE musical lesson per week for each child and ONE sport per season for each. Gone are the days of leaving from the library reading buddy program, and running straight to competition cheer….followed by the next day’s piano and then basketball game……followed by the next days basketball practice and soccer practice…..followed by the next days children’s ministry activity……followed by the next days’ play date….and on and on…..it’s OVER. I am reclaiming my life and my purpose, and I encourage YOU to do the same. After all….I think we’ve more than proven that we do know how to socialize. 🙂