Since this is the beginning of a new school year, I figured I'd start back with the Friday meme for Heart of the Matter. This week's topic is : Extra Activities, Helping or Hindering?
This is now our 14th year of homeschooling, and three children have left the nest, leaving just the youngest two still at home. "A" is in 10th grade and "J" is in 5th. We have always had a full schedule of outside activities, and this year is no different. "A" plays on a homeschool volleyball team, sings in a homeschool choir, and is in a chemistry class that meets one morning a week. When volleyball season ends, she will most likely play on the homeschool basketball team, unless her feet continue to give her trouble, and will also serve as scorekeeper for the varsity boys basketball team which her dad coaches.
"J" plays rec league soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, and baseball in the spring. He just started piano lessons for the first time this fall, and one afternoon a week he goes to a friend's house for a science class. This fall he is also taking a once-a-week class on writing and bookmaking that I am teaching at the local homeschool bookstore / resource center.
In addition to those things, our family belongs to a Tapestry of Grace Co-op that meets for 5 hours every Friday. My husband is director of our local homeschool sports program and also coaches basketball. I am active in our homeschool support group as the newsletter editor, email loop moderator, and coordinator of Saturday morning discussion groups.
Although some of these activities, like choir or piano, are focused on an individual, other things, like sports, are activities we participate in as a family, in one way or another. The outside classes help provide academic accountability and fill a social need. We enjoy our level of activity for the most part, although the very rare occasion when a winter snow flurry shuts down all activity here in NC is a welcome respite for that day or two or three.
These activities enhance our family life, giving my children a wealth of experiences and opportunities to develop skills and talents that will provide enjoyment and possibly avenues for ministry in later years. The choice to participate in extra activities is a personal one that each family should weigh carefully. For some families, outside activities are disruptive. But for us, well-chosen outside activities are a blessing and a wonderful family-bonding experience.