The family unit is a true gift from God. Our current culture makes it mighty difficult to cultivate healthy family relationships. Families barely see each other long enough each day to have a conversation much less build lasting relationships with those who should matter most. Parents both work outside the home, children are sent away all day to school, and then evenings are filled with a myriad of activities for all members of the family. With these types of schedules its no wonder the family unit is struggling.
There’s a misconception these days, that extracurricular actives are necessary for raising well-rounded children. While children may be more adept to team work and nurturing a competitive nature; they’re missing out on key skills to thrive in marriage and parenting. We all know children learn best by what they see and experience first hand. When a child witnesses the daily interaction between their parents, they are gleaning valuable resources for when they establish their own families. The more the family is separate from each other the harder it is to create those valuable teaching moments.
We knew when we began having children that we wanted something different for our family, especially for our children. We wanted to pursue a home life that enabled us to develop close relationships with our children. It was our hearts desire to give them adequate training in maintaining healthy family relations. Relationships that would go so much deeper than just ‘folks who share a house’. We searched the scriptures and the wisdom of the few families we had encountered who were purposing to live counter-cultural to today’s norms. As we prayed and studied God’s word we realized there was so much more to choosing NOT to do extracurricular activities.
5 Reasons We Do NOT Do Extracurricular Activities
- We financially could not afford the high costs of extracurricular activities for a large family. The costs of equipment and materials required to do most extracurricular activities is very costly and not conducive to a modest single income.
- We wanted to eat our family dinners together every night. Eating meals together and sharing the events of our days is just something special we cherish and we don’t want them interrupted by practices, games, lessons, etc.
- We wanted to have family worship in the evenings. Teaching our children the word of God is the most important aspect in raising our children. To consistently join in family worship we knew we had to plan our evenings to where we were at home and not spread all over town in different directions.
- We didn’t want our children confused as to whom their authority belonged to. We are all ultimately accountable to Christ, but God places parents over their children. When we start adding in other adult authoritarian figures, confusion can easily become an issue. If a coach or instructor tells a child to do something that is against the parents teachings, the child is put in a difficult situation that could have been avoided.
- We didn’t want to undo the purposeful sheltering we were doing through homeschooling. We homeschool for many reasons, but one reason is to shelter our children from ungodly influences until they are more grounded in the faith to handle situations which are contrary to the teachings of Christ.
There are many defenses as to why children should participate in extracurricular activities, but for our family we believe there are far more negatives to separating our family in the evenings. We value the time we GET to spend together. We’ve found that simply replacing traditional extracurricular activities with intentional family adventures is sufficient in filling in the gaps of not doing sports and other lessons. We are a not against athletics, the arts, or other special interests that could fill our evenings. On the contrary we are a very active family and enjoy learning plenty of new and interesting recreational activities; we just prefer to keep our evenings as a special time for encouraging healthy family relationships.