Friday, September 2, 2011

The Thangs We Don't Do

"Nuts" seems to be the most common assessment of our fall schedule, judging from the emails my friends sent.  I wholeheartedly agree.  Yet it's certainly not unique; most of my 40-something mom friends keep a similar calendar.

I strive for margin.  Those who know me know I'm an Owl-ish type at best with strong Eeyore tendencies on a bad day and Piglet-ish leanings during insecure times.  Stress makes me even more cantankerous than usual.  I want to be a Kanga, but so far the generous pouch up front is the closest I come most days.

My mom-to-many friends won't be surprised to learn that our schedule actually does represent what feels like a severe pruning to me.  If yesterday's post was The Thangs We Do, here is an incomplete summary of what we've chosen, not without some anguish, to forego.  These are only the activities that I actually gave serious thought to attending, not the 3 or 4 that come across my email every day that I dismiss out of hand:

Wonderful Beth Moore Bible Study led by our campus pastor's wife.

Small group involvement designed to further fellowship within the church.

Volunteering just "one hour, once a month" in the Sunday church kid's program.

Outstanding Community Bible Study with homeschool classes allowing all of us to be studying the same book of the Bible at the same time, each at their own level.

National Award Winning Homeschool Speech and Debate Team.

Additional Homeschool Co-op offering a Great Books curriculum.

Monday academic classes at yet another co-op.

No doubt excellent Critical Thinking club for high schoolers.

Homeschool Band.

Homeschool Skate, at least most weeks.  We strive to make it once a month or so.

Lark in the Park homeschool outings.

Talking on the phone.  There are two people I will regularly clear time for extended conversations with, but otherwise it is a luxury I've had to give up.  The beauty of email is that you can write it very early or very late.

This is why I have to laugh when my niece, who is young and teaches in the public schools, advocates that homeschooling must come under the authority of the public schools so that the community can have eyes on these home schooled kids.  I am quite certain my kids interact with at least as many adults in at least as varied settings on a weekly basis as public schooled kids.  While my evidence is anecdotal, I find this true of the vast majority of home educators I've met and it's been true over the decade plus and across the three states I've home educated in.

Things we forego without much anguish:

Made beds, at least mine, many days of the week.  If I can muster it, I tidy it up just before Mr. Wonderful returns from work.

Really clean bathrooms.  Clean enough has to be clean enough most of the time.  And when it's not clean enough, we call it a science experiment.

Dinners with more than five ingredients or taking more than 20 minutes to make.  Frankly, that would be the case no matter how clear our schedule.

Checking messages.  Can't get 'em on my cell phone and I forget to get 'em on the home phone.

Living like pigs.  Aforementioned foibles aside, it takes more time and energy to live like a pig because it's so hard to clean it up.  We have assigned daily chores and I would let school slide before I would let the kids' chores go.  While I won't agree with my beautiful niece that everything is relative, I do believe that is the case when it comes to housekeeping.  My "not a pigsty" standard, with five home educated kids here much of the time probably differs from the "not a pigsty" standard of homes without many kids or ones without folks in them much of the day.

I'd love to hear what others have chosen to set aside in order to accommodate the craziness of their own making!


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