The Socialization Question: “Stop and Smell the Roses!” – Part III

This final part of the series "The Socialization Question" speaks to those homeschoolers with some time already under their belts.  Once you develop a lifestyle of learning, so to speak, it can be really easy to become so involved in outside activities that it may seem you're never at home!  Of course, at this point, socialization is no longer the issue.  We usually become over-involved for 1 of 2 reasons.  We are so plugged-in to the community because we have either:

  • discovered lots of good educational programs and opportunities "out there", or
  • realized the character-building that occurs when our kids learn in "real life" settings.

But "too busy" is "too busy", no matter what the reason!

And it's not healthy for any of us.

So here are 5 steps to take if you find you need to somehow "stop and smell the roses" in your homeschool.

  • Formulate a vision - What do want most for your kids?  What kind of adult to you dream of them becoming?  This is a super activity to do with your spouse, and one you'll find yourself coming back to from time to time as the kids grow and change, and your understanding of their potential and giftings is stretched!
  • Set goals - Based on your vision, what big picture items need to or should happen this year?  These, of course, will change over time, but doing this will help to fulfill your vision and provide a framework for the next step.
  • Establish areas that "need work" - The four areas we seek to develop are educational, social, life skills and character-traits. Adapting a technique described by Diane Hopkins at Love to, I have a piece of paper divided into 4 sections for each of my children.  As activities come up, I consider how and if they fit into any of the goals and/or areas that we're working on.  If I have to work too hard to make it "fit" - we don't do it!
  • Decide on methods - You know best how your kids learn.  Armed with that information, and combining that with the vision, goals and areas from above... once again, if the "shoe" doesn't fit...
  • Consistently evaluate - Stephen Covey, author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" has a super time matrix that I adapted to homeschoolers.  His basic premise is that we need to analyze our activities in order to decide our priorities, and only then can we assess what we need to or should be doing each day. Very good stuff.

So by using the steps above, it should be fairly easy for you to assess your current activities and see what has to go.  Now that doesn't mean that you will never have busy days or seasons again!  Christmas, I suppose by its nature (in our society, at least),  is going to be busy.  You might have a wedding coming up in your family, or unexpected out-of-town know:  life happens.  But what these steps will help you with is smoothing out the day-to-day, so that you can concentrate on educating your kids, deepening your family relationships and staying sane.

Pat Fenner and her husband Paul have been homeschooling their five children for 14 years. You can visit Pat’s websites at and

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