Sunday, August 28, 2011

I Guess It's Fall

Even though the calendar and the weather both indicate it's still summer, the rest of the world is acting like it's fall. Since my kids don't go to school, and they tend to read, explore and learn year round, "back to school time" really doesn't change much.

OK, a few things change. No matter how much I resist it, the pace of life picks up right before the weather starts cooling down, and it signals the end of our wonderfully lazy summer.

The fliers and registrations and sign ups start coming in filling my email and actual mail boxes. All of the fun classes that I love to expose my kids to and they love to be involved in will start up again in a few weeks. We don't exactly live in an urban mecca, but somehow we are blessed with lots of options to choose from- drama, art, band, science classes, internships, dance, volunteer work, sports, horseback riding, geography club, book club,- the list of activities for this un-socialized homeschooling family goes on and on.

That's kind of a problem though- the list just keeps going. There are so many wonderful opportunities. They all require driving and time, and as fun as they all sound, every one of us in my house gets cranky and irritable when we are constantly on the run.

So, we have to choose. Since it's their life, I try to give my kids a lot of say in what we do. Sometimes I wonder if I give them too many choices though. Like me, when given way too many choices, they sometimes get that deer in headlights look- frozen in indecision and bordering on panic.I know how they feel because I feel the same way.

This year, we tried a rating system- looking at our options and rating them #1 being most important and so on. Then we looked at the calendar and tried to see what things would neatly line up for us. Since most activities are a good 30 minutes away from our home, it makes the most sense for us to try to a few things on the same day to make the drive more worth while.

But, we don't want too many things in one day or to have them too spread out or we would be pulling off 14 hour days on a regular basis. I know lots of kids do that, but it sounds really tiring and sucky to me so I'm trying to avoid it if at all possible for my family.

It's always tricky finding the balance. We're very social people, but we also like our down time. We do our best creative work and connect better as a family when we have down time. It's also when we just get together and play with friends, enjoy our home and explore the world. So, as beneficial as all of the activities are, at some point, I feel like they'd be damaging if we didn't keep some free time.

After a lot of thought and what feels like a few new wrinkles in my forehead, I think we have a plan of activities that we can all live with. We aren't going to do everything, but that's OK. We'll be doing plenty, and most importantly, we'll have a few free days every week to do whatever we please, which includes acting like it's still summer- no matter what the rest of the world says.