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Are you trying to decide on Christian afterschool activities for your little ones?
When we made the decision to homeschool, I wanted as many of my daughter’s extracurricular activities as possible to be with other Christian kids.
Preferably other homeschooled Christian kids.
To filter out as much worldliness as possible.
And so that my kids would have as many opportunities as possible to socialize with other kids who learn the same way that they do.
At home with mama.
But as my daughter got older and we wanted to let her try as many activities as we could to supplement homeschooling, it became clear that there just isn’t a Christian version of every single activity out there.
Not in New Jersey anyway.
So I knew we had to make some compromises to find what we were looking for.
And after stopping to think about what factors are most important to our family, we came up with a system that works for us.
Now when there is an activity we are interested in signing one of the kids up for, we run it through this 5 point checklist.
If it passes, then we sign up.
If not, we don’t.
Here are the 5 questions we cask when we’re considering a new team, club or class for our kids.
1. How interested is your child?
If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll say yes to just about anything you offer them the opportunity to try.
So we have learned that we have to dig a little deeper to find out just how interested our daughter is a new activity before signing her up.
If she’s just “meh” about something, we will generally pass it up at this stage.
Especially since there are so many more activities available as she gets older than there were just a few years ago.
This isn’t to say that we don’t occasionally sign her up for things she isn’t interested in.
But if neither the parents or the kids care too much, there’s no reason to try something just because everyone else seems to think you should.
2. Are you stretching your budget just to pack in more Christian Afterschool Activities?
Our daughter would love to take ice skating lessons.
And learn horseback riding.
To go with her karate and gymnastics classes.
Mama, I get the urge to give your kids as many opportunities to learn new things as possible.
Especially if you feel pressure from outside of your family to provide your kids with extra chances to “socialize” since you homeschool.
And if you have the extra money and you feel peace about spending it, go for it.
But listen, Mama.
God dies not want you to leave your family to work outside of the home so that your kids can learn Mandarin.
He just doesn’t.
So before signing up for something new, check your budget.
3. Do the uniforms require a compromise?
I’ll be the first to admit that the modesty standards I had in mind for my daughter for the first few years have changed.
And I don’t think that this is a salvation issue.
For our family, the general rule is that if we won’t want our kids (especially girls) wearing a particular style when they are teenagers then we don’t allow it now either.
Whatever your family’s standards are when it comes to dress, I urge you to maintain them when it comes to uniforms or costumes for sports or other activities as well.
Because if we’re not consistent then there leaves room to bend standards in other cases too.
I also like to look ahead to what my kids will be wearing if they continue pursuing a class into their teen years.
If the tutus for 7-year-olds are adorable at a dance school, but the outfits the high school girls are wearing leave nothing to the imagination, then I know that this is probably not something to pursue for our family.
4. When are practices?
It is really important to our family that we attend church regularly for a few reasons.
First, it’s a great way for the kids to fellowship with other Christian kids.
And second, I know that I regularly miss the mark trying to make disciples of my kids, so the examples and wisdom from church leadership and other members is essential in raising our kids up.
So the most important consideration for us when deciding whether to sign the kids up for a new activity is whether or not it will require attendance on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings (the two regular times out church meets).
If it does, we either don’t participate or we choose church attendance on the days that there is a conflict.
5. Did you follow the money trail?
In our family, we are passionately pro-life.
So when I found out how many benign-sounding organizations, including the Girl Scouts, funnel money to Planned Parenthood, I was floored.
Actually, I was grossed out, but it wasn’t as surprising to hear as I wish it had been.
Now I always do the best I can to check out where money from the organizations we support goes to.
If there are causes that are important to your family, I suggest you do the same due diligence for yourself.
Because there aren’t too many groups that aren’t supporting one cause or another.
Have You Tried An Annual Activity Audit?
It’s almost too easy to fill up your family’s schedule with sports, clubs and other activities for your kids.
So first, choose a time each year to start making decisions about what to take on in the next twelve months.
Then get together as a family and make a list of the activities your kids are currently participating in. And any that they are interested in trying or that you want to add to the mix.
Eliminate any that aren’t working well so far.
And then run each new idea through the 5 considerations we outlined above as well as any other factors that are important to you.
Once you’re done, decide what to enroll in one activity at a time, in order of priority, until your activity budget is accounted for.
Now there will be no surprises and no more decisions to make about what to do with the kids until the next year!
What about you, Mama? Which kid activities are the most important in your family?