Fourteen years ago my husband and I made the decision to homeschool. One of the main reasons we made this choice was because we wanted to have meaningful relationships with our children.
A Valued Commodity: Time
We know that in order to have the strong relationship we want with each of our children, and to nurture the strong relationship we want each child to have with his siblings means that we must create the time. Learning at home has offered us that valued commodity.
We spend hours together–before, during, and after our studies.
We’ve also tried to intentionally set aside time to just play with our children. Making this a priority has given us opportunities to watch our children’s different personalities all interacting within the family unit.
Photo by Loving Legacy Photography
Here are some ways we play together as a family:
1. Take weekend nature hikes.
When the weather is nice, we put on comfy shoes and explore. Sometimes we journal. Other times we photograph. Mostly we just enjoy the day together asking and answering questions. Sometimes we bring our identification books and magnifying glasses.
2. Cook a meal together.
We all like to pitch in and create a gourmet-ish meal. Sure, the kitchen gets crowded. But as long as I keep a good attitude and give everyone a job then spirits stay high.
No job is too small when making a meal together. Even the littles help crack eggs and set the table.
3. Play a board game.
Game night is a big hit around here. Our favorites vary from month to month. Sometimes I want to skip a game night because I’m exhausted, but after I press on it is always worth it.
The laughter that comes from playing games together is priceless.
4. Spend some mother/daughter time or father/son time.
We have “Sisters’ night” and “Man’s country” in our house every Monday evening.
The boys challenge each other to video game tournaments or Survivor-type dares. The girls paint nails, do handicrafts, write letters and watch chic flicks.
5. Do something creative together.
All of our children enjoy art so we started a family art night. We draw and make collages. We also critique each other’s work and host an occasional art show.
6. Do a project.
It doesn’t have to be a massive effort–just something that allows everyone to pitch in and add to the family’s quality of life. We’ve cleaned up the yard, painted rooms, and built a chicken coop.
When we work together, we make the most of everyone’s strengths. We feel accomplished and proud when the project is done.
Photo by Loving Legacy Photography
We are a close-knit family. The trees are now bearing fruit and it is sweet to the taste. We’ve always put family first, committing little to outside activities. Every evening is priceless, and we rarely give up more then one night a week for anything outside the home.
I don’t spend my time driving to multiple extracurricular activities–I would rather be capturing my children’s hearts at home. My time with them is more then most, yet so small compared to the rest of their lives.
My 13-year-old doesn’t hate me; he confides in me. My 11-year-old shares his dreams and asks me for advice. My eight-year-old….give him a few years and he’ll pull through! There’s always a work in progress, but he snuggles with me before bed, kisses my forehead and tells me he loves me.
What’s most important is that we’re together.
And when they leave home my hope is that the memories I’ve planted and the relationships that have been built will carry them securely into adulthood.
How does your family make time together a priority?