I know what too much chaos for homeschool looks like, but what would be too much Homeschool Minimizing?
We started helping Andrew weed out activities in his life during the first year of high school. He had too much stuff on his plate. It was great in middle school, because he tried many new activities to find something he liked, but by the time he reached high school he knew what was his “thing”. During his freshman year, he cut out ballroom dance (his partner was becoming wishy-washy) and stuck with swimming. He kept his cello for another year and then settled on piano, now he is picking the cello back up because he misses it. He focused more on physics and let go of the chemistry. Dropped German and pursued French. Stuck with Boy Scouts, but dropped youth group; not that it was an either or, but the kids who were in the youth group were not being very kind to each other.
We let Andrew experiment with so many different experiences in middle school, and gradually I could see which ones just brought that sparkle to his eye and eagerness to pursue.
Emily is in middle school and trying all kinds of new experiences. I KNOW what too much is, and in elementary school she would love to try “too much.” She was so eager to try every experience of her friends, but usually only once. She knows what she wants to do at the deep level and is already cutting out the other activities in her life. I’m torn at letting her minimize her life so young, while also knowing that if she is to excel, this is the time.
Emily ADORES Andrew and we thought in the early years that she picked cello and swimming to tag along after him. At first he was put off with the pesty sister, but now he coaches and encourages her. Spending so many hours together, and LOTS of correction on my part, they reached a level of deep sibling friendship, a bond that will last a lifetime.
Emily is also a pianist and dancer. While I have been decluttering “stuff” from our house and “stuff” from our schedule, Emily has created this routine to maximize all the new free time. Independently she has become focused on getting her room decluttered so there is less to clean, created a backpack system to be ready to go on time, and set a schedule to alternate practices for maximum focus between dancing, swimming, cello, and piano.
This morning I watched her. Where did my little girl go? Who is this young lady with so much focus. I wanted more free time so that we could focus on passions and friendships, but what is too much focus? Anything good taken to an extreme can be too much. Too much dieting is not good (anorexia), too much exercise is also not good. Too much cleaning . . . too much studying . . . Can too much focus be a detriment?
This comes for a child that was accused of being ADHD by several teachers, only for us to find out that she had a vision problem and was moving her head all over the place to use the vision she had. Once she could see, after a year of several therapy sessions, she has become hyper focused. Is this bad?
Is this focus and passion hers? Or is my minimizing our “stuff” eliminating new choices for her middle school years. I’m struggling with watching her talent and enjoying my new streamline life.