In my last post, I may have made it sound like we sit around and do nothing most evenings. The truth is most of our evenings are devoted to something. They can be divided into these categories, some of which probably look a lot like your own:
We aren’t involved in a lot of outside school-related activities. We’ve done a few things over the years such as music lessons, book club and gym, art, science or nature classes. Now, we combine all the extra-curriculars by participating in a co-op. I have a great group of people for support and the kids get the opportunity to learn things I couldn’t teach at home in a classroom setting. This takes up one day a week, but it is worth it.
Individual Nights Off
When my husband is in for the evening, he’s usually content to stay in. He’s gone for most hours of the day, so he doesn’t usually need a night away. If he does go out for an evening, it’s usually to do some extra jobs, bless his heart! The rest of us are here most of the time during the day, so we have activities we like to do outside the home in the evening.
I usually try to limit myself to a weekly commitment if I’m going alone, and the kids’ activities are a monthly commitment. If all of us took a weekly commitment out, we would never see each other!
My daughter does youth group activities for her evenings out. My sons do chess club for theirs. I usually am involved in a ministry opportunity if I go out alone or I play tennis with friends or go out for coffee and time to think.
In our current stage of life, we try to have a monthly out-of-the-house date night for my husband and me. We rarely miss a month because my parents are so sweet as to give us free babysitting. We usually go out to dinner or go for a walk or shopping to a place we enjoy. It’s so nice to talk uninterrupted!
I am with our children more than a lot of moms because I homeschool. Someone estimated this gives me an extra 2 years with them. It seems like we would have lots of time for one-on-one, but the truth is our school days are as busy as any other kid’s or teacher’s. Your child probably doesn’t feel warmed because he got to spend quality time with his teacher doing math problems.
For this reason, both my husband and I try to take a child on a date with each of us once a quarter. We got a little behind in some of the quarters this year, but we are trying to make it up in this final quarter of the year. This usually includes shopping, going out for ice cream, playing mini golf or another special activity the child enjoys.
Since we homeschool, I don’t have the luxury of doing many errands during the day. That time is usually taken up with school. If we do run errands during the day, I have to shift school around or double up another day. As you might imagine, I try to limit them as much as possible.
I try to double up our grocery shopping on an evening my husband will be working late so we don’t miss spending time with him. If he doesn’t have to work late all week, I will sometimes leave the kids and do it alone. Any other shopping errands are done at the same time as grocery shopping as much as possible. It goes much faster that way, although we’ve come a long way from fits in the grocery store and potty accidents in the aisle. 🙂 However, even though my children are all school-aged now, 3 stores is the absolute limit and I try to keep it to 1 or 2 most weeks.
I avoid the doctor unless absolutely necessary. Usually if I have to go or take a child, my dear parents will come and sit with the kids so they can keep up their school work. Our eye doctor is open on Saturday mornings, so that is a blessing. Our dentist is just a few minutes away from our homeschool co-op, so I schedule visits two at a time and we go right after co-op while we’re out.
You might wonder what we could possibly cherish about a doctor visit. I try to just cherish the fact that I made it to an appointment and that the report was good. 🙂
We love to do most family nights at home playing games, cooking together or another activity everyone enjoys. However, we also do nature walks together, especially in the spring and fall. We have a few traditions around the holidays we do as a family as well. Sometimes we’ll do an “adventure” and do a fun activity and go out to eat or just do shopping and errands together. Some of our favorites this year have been a Civil War re-enactment, a historical play, playing laser tag, visiting some caverns, the Creation museum, a farm and the zoo.
While we may not cherish every part of these activities, most of them can be made into an enjoyable experience. We love being a family and being together most of the time. We cherish these times because we are making memories. We don’t know how long we’ll have these times, but we want to enjoy them while God blesses us with them.
Resources for Time Away From Home:
Most resources for this post would be local to my area. If you are interested in learning more about any of our activities and you know me in real life, you can e-mail me for resource details.