I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a stay-at-home introvert. I don’t like to go out. I don’t like shepherding children on outings. I don’t enjoy the stress of making sure my kids don’t kill themselves, kill other people, get kidnapped by serial killers, or, worse, make a scene in public. When I had five kids I quit taking them all to the grocery store. It was too much. When I had seven kids I was pretty sure I was never leaving the house again. What with Amazon Prime, Walmart.com, and Walmart Grocery Pickup there was no longer any reason to enter a store.
Sports teams? No way. That would require leaving the house with kids in tow for practices and then, horror, early Saturday morning games. Music lessons? Got that covered. Musiah is a virtual AI computer program that is teaching them to play and read music. Ballet? We did try that for one year with only 2 kids, but quickly decided it was not for us.
Now, while all this agoraphobia is going on, I am also feeling guilty that my kids are not getting to experience life as much as their peers. And then along comes child number eight. He’s got serious medical issues and requires about as much time and effort as the other seven kids put together, if not more. You’d think that this would drive me even further into hermit-ism. But surprisingly, it has freed me. I’ve realized how insanely easy it is to get seven normally developing kids out of the house! I wish I’d figured this out years ago. And as my adventurous spirit has been born our extracurricular activities have expanded.
My kids are no longer lonely housebound prisoners. My older boys take Brazilian Jiujitsu twice a week. Five of my kids are in our church’s AWANA program, while two others volunteer to teach AWANA groups. They do choir and youth group and have friends over to visit. And, wonder of wonders, I’ve found that there is time for me to do things too.
I now enjoy taking my two eldest daughters to Comic Conventions dressed up as cosplay characters. They use their creative and technological skills to create music videos of the conventions and practice social skills and maturity by interacting with fellow cosplayers. We’ve had sewing lessons while making costumes and tons of problem solving opportunities while taking a concept from imagination to real life.
My homeschooling world has expanded. I wish I had been more flexible years ago, but at least I am getting it now. Homeschooling should give us the freedom to pursue different interests and to have our kids interact with a wide variety of people and ages. I’ll never be interested in sports, but there are so many different extracurricular activities out there where our kids can learn and grow.
What kind of extracurricular activities do your kids do and what are they learning from them?
You know that family that shows up to church in the 15 passenger van? The one that homeschools? Ever wondered how they make it through the day or wished you could be a fly on the wall of their house? Well, I'm inviting you in. I'm 36 and I ride herd on 8 children (oldest is 12), 3 cats, 2 bearded dragons, and one puppy. It's loud, chaotic, and imperfect. Welcome to Life in the Big House!