Okay. So two years ago we lived in town, and I found that many days of homeschooling (and life) got thrown all out of whack running around doing errands, running from this to that. So we buckeled down and really focused on doing less. A year ago we moved out to our dream farm. We live out here, so it was easy to say we only go to town once a week, and if we don't do it that day, we just don't do it.
So once a week, the girls go to a homeschool enrichment from 9:30-2:30. They do clubs and classes and have a well rounded fantastic day. AND as a mom of 4 with number 5 on the way- this day has become HUGE for me. I still have two with me, but that is such a difference. While they are in enrichment I get all my town errands done.
We stopped doing gymnastics and extra sports as our farm grew. The kids are so in love with farming, with the cows and goats and garden and pigs and chickens and rabbits. They have their own business plans and are hook line and sinker into farming. They are like me now and do not really like going to town anymore. When our errands are done Wednesday we are all ready to RUN home to our little nook out here and get out of there. We do not miss the hustle and bustle of having to be somewhere every day. And we get soo soo much work done, soo sooo much work. The more work we do, the more work we are motivated to do. It is amazing how much we get done with our children. I did not even realize how much little people were capable of.
SO! The plan a couple years ago was to do less. To focus on family and do less. To enjoy our family, to be enriched by each other. To build our lives around each other. Okay, done. Wonderful.
We also do 4H, and we are in a few other homeschooling groups. We know a lot of homeschooling families. So, it is not for a lack of things to do. It is a choice to do them sparingly I guess.
Last weekend we were at one of these events we choose to do- it was great, wonderful fun for the kids. DH and I looked at each other and really had to question our choice to go simple and less. If once a week or twice was really enough for the kids. They have friends over here too, and go over to friends houses- just not every day.
I wanted to run back into one of my Joel Salatin books and reread his reassuring words about raising kiddos on the land this way. But instead I found myself looking over our budget thinking that if I sold some of the milk goats the kids could do gymnastics again. They have not asked, and if I did ask them, they would say no way to selling their milk goats to do something silly like gymnastics. I found myself calling their friends' mothers and setting up playdates for the week... and I found that we now have plans to be running somewhere every day this week again.
and I do not like that feeling- but I can not seem to find the balance
to give my children the homestead life is my dream, and we have it- but it comes with such commitment, there is no way in heck that you can run a homestead and manage a soccer schedule for the number of kids I have (three kids on three teams with three teams have three practices a week- all that are 45 minutes away)
I started another homeschool club for us to host, a hiking club. We really do have a lot of little 'once a month' things. I can commit to those, it is just the several times a week, every week sort of things that do not mesh well, and my cow does not compromise on getting fed. Like the kids say about chores "they just need to be done" .
I am babbling. the kids are so happy and are not complaining at all- I just worry that we are not enough. They have good friends that they look forward to seeing on a regular basis. They have some good adults in their lives that mentor and enrich them. Thanks for listening, I know I am talking in circles.
Sounds like you are suffering from a bit of FMS Syndrome: 'Fraid of Missing Something. What you need to make your peace with is not being able to do everything. Life is full of choices, and it's impossible to have them all. You have to choose between things. Live in town and you can't also live on a farm. Marry Jim and you can't marry Frank. Have five children and you can't also have an only child. There are many many wonderful ways to live, to be a family, to raise children. You just have to choose one and do it authentically, whole-heartedly.
We live a remote, rural life. There are trade-offs. We can step out our back door and be on mountain trails where we won't see another human being. It's safe and clean here. We drink water from a mountain spring, kids can play together without adult supervision. At night we can see the milky way. Our village is full of open-minded, self-sufficient types and artistic and environmental vibrancy. There's a robust tradition of activism and community service, into which children are welcome. The cost of living is low. People tend to commit to whatever they're part of for many years so there's a stability and persistence that is modelled.
But ... There's no gymnastics. No orchestra. No piano lessons. Few museums, arts performances. No homeschool co-op. No swimming pool. No astronomy club. No movie theatre. No softball league. We're a long way from an airport. Winters are long. The things we do choose to do require driving, lots of it.
We've chosen safety and commitment and connectedness to our home and our community over variety of opportunity. We've chosen a scant few pursuits to commit to over the long term rather than dabbling in numerous things. We've also chosen stability and local connectedness over the cosmopolitan result of extensive travel. There are things that appeal to me about urban life and about world travel. Both are really cool ways to raise children. But we can't raise our kids this way and also raise them that way.
Knowing my human tendency to exhibit periodic signs of FMS Syndrome, I've made an effort to blog regularly about the sort of things that are in the first half of your post. When I reach the "BUT" I stop writing. I go back and re-read all the good stuff I've written. I observe my kids, living in the moment without regrets. I listen when others express envy for our lifestyle. I know they have opportunities we don't have, but I selfishly keep my mind turned to what we have that they don't. I know my anxieties will remind me from time to time, sometimes painfully, about what we're missing. Sometimes I'll go so far as to work out a few compromises. But I put as much focus as I can on balancing those anxieties with gratitude for what we do have, with appreciation for the value of the overall themes of simplicity, balance, connectedness with which we're raising our kids.
Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up
oh my goodness, you hit the nail right on head
thank you for that perspective
I would not want the gymnastics or the soccer or any of that stuff, that is not what our goals are- I guess it is just that twinge of guilt or worry or something of if my kids will wish they had not missed out on all that stuff- but you are right, they are not complaining they are so happy.
I grew up on a farm, we never took vacations, we never did sports or music etc- and I do not regret not having had those experiences- I just wanted to get back to the farm and share that with the kids
You are right, when I worry about what the kids are missing, I should be looking for what they have
thank you for that - I need that (((hugs)))) thank you
I asked the kids about doing something over the weekend, they looked at me like I was crazy and said " but dad will be home- we should really work on some stuff around here"
glad they are loving it as much as I am
and I shouldn't worry when they are so joyful
Blech, that sounds terrible. And yes, close to impossible. My family would hate that, but I would never even consider all that driving for soccer a possibility unless I had a kid that was begging me to take soccer. Sounds like you need to just follow what the kids want to do and fill in the gaps with those little once a month things that you all enjoy. They sound busy enough as it is, if they are happy, why complicate things. Your farm sounds great! Congrats!
We have five children and there's no way that I would try to coordinate sports teams. Like you said, having multiple kids on different teams, at different places... it's too much.
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds 10yo dd 8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds
Thank you, you are right. The kids are so into their gardens and their animals and each other- they are not the ones lamenting over missing anything. And...I have let go of that guilt this week watching them build fort after fort and blaze their own trails into their wilderness here
thank you for helping and listening