Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm a slow learner

You know, every year I seem to have some sort of epiphany about the kids and how I am raising them. One year it was about all the stuff they were getting and not using. Another year it was about pushing them into peer activities that they were clearly not ready for. This year it is about doing all the stuff that school kids do - and not doing it anymore.

We have been to several over-hyped and over-rated Christmas functions already. Yes, the kids had fun. None of the activities broke the bank. Sure, it is interesting to see the kids in a setting where all the other kids are schooled and the parents have made themselves scarce. In the end though, it hasn't been worth it. Not the running around from place to place. Not the sugar highs that come with too many candy canes and sweet treats. Not the constraints it makes on our time.

Last week we saw Santa at the zoo and attended a community centre event with games and treats. Both were busy and crowded. Both were full of kids we didn't know. Both were not really worth repeating.

I wasn't thinking this year. Instead of stuff, I wanted the kids to have experiences. In the past, when Izzy was younger and we hadn't really sought out many other home schoolers, I wound up going to all sorts of crazy things. Events that usually cost a few bucks and where you would meet kids you were sure never to see. It made me feel like my kids were getting some *mainstream* experience that was otherwise lacking in their lives. Other kids get play-days at school or Christmas concerts. So we go to fun events filled with strangers to experience standing in line to wait for your turn to throw the bean bag or get a face painted.

Once again, I've learned a valuable lesson. It really is about quality time together - with family and with friends. It doesn't matter what everyone else is doing. It is not necessary to fill up every square on the calendar with experiences. Less truly is more.

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