An Atmosphere of Leisure

Homeschool children enjoying leisure time

A milestone birthday party, an anticipated performance, a treasured relative’s arrival. 

That long awaited, saved up for vacation. 

We enjoy the hustle and bustle of it all—the planning, the shopping, the excitement of getting everything ready! 

But have you noticed our children tend to become high maintenance during these times?  

Charlotte Mason tells us this is because, 

“Nerve storms in the nursery are the probable result of the mother’s little ebullition of nervous energy.” 

You see, our children catch our mood. 

But instead of the excitement and motivation all the festivities give us, our children often feel overwhelmed and unhappy.

Merrymaking for us feels like hullabaloo for them.

An Atmosphere of Hurry

Imagine you’ve filled your schedule with so many weekly activities that this nervous energy becomes the norm—the predominant atmosphere of your home. 

“Hurry up or we’ll be late! Where are your shoes?” we holler. “You haven’t finished that yet? We’ve got to go. Get in the car. NOW!” 

How do we keep this spirit of hurry from overtaking our home atmosphere? From robbing us of our precious homeschool hours? 

It’s simple.

We must guard our schedule. 

Simple, yes. Easy? Not quite.

I like to say, 

Guard your schedule, for from it flows the wellspring of your home atmosphere.

Guard Your Schedule

The truth is, there are so many wonderful and exciting opportunities for us as homeschoolers. And it’s not just that our children will benefit from these occasions. We benefit as well when we get to enjoy time with other homeschool moms. 

But before you add this great activity, or that fascinating class, consider how it will affect everything and everyone else in the household. 

Pray earnestly for guidance from the Holy Spirit. Don’t sign on the bottom line until you have  total peace and joy from the Lord concerning that addition to your weekly routine. 

This is true of curriculum as well. I remember feeling pressure for years to add Latin to our homeschool schedule and because of FOMO, the Latin program getting all the buzz at the curriculum fair made its way home with me from the convention one summer.

A spirit of heaviness descended.

Every time I looked at the unopened Latin book, I felt a sense of doom. A sense of failure as a homeschool mom. 

Every year, I would buy a new Latin curriculum in the hopes that it would take. It never took. That was because I was choosing to teach Latin (or not teach Latin as the case was) out of fear. 

I was listening to the words of man over seeking God’s leadership in my curriculum choices. 

This affected my attitude.

And my attitude affected our atmosphere

When I gave up the idea that children who learned Latin would be more successful in life, I felt free. And calm. 

And more confident.

Is there anything in your schedule right now that is a struggle because the decision to add it was not well thought through? Not well prayed through? 

Is there an activity or curriculum that’s causing stress and taking time away from your children engaging in something healthy for them? 

Charlotte Mason tells us, 

Leisure for themselves and a sense of leisure in those about them is …necessary to children’s well-being.”

When our schedule is jam packed with lots of activities and curriculum we feel pressured to teach, we fool ourselves into thinking we are doing right by our children. 

It feels like we are giving them more opportunities and more experiences. More knowledge for a better future. 

More, more, more!

Yet, if it comes at the cost of a sense of calm, a sense of leisure in our children and in us as parents, it is not helpful. It’s harmful.

And it’s not worth it.

Cultivate Leisure

Cultivating an atmosphere of leisure is choosing to say no. It’s choosing to seek the Lord before you add any curriculum, class, or activity to your child’s schedule. 

It’s taking time to look at how every addition will affect each person in the family. 

And though it’s often hard in the moment, when we say no to what is not God’s best for us, we find that our attitudes are better, our children are happier, and our home atmosphere is one that nurtures good things in our family. 

With more leisure, our children can find and pursue new interests and learn things on their own because they have time. 

They have space and freedom.

They have well-being.

Charlotte Mason captures this idea of leisure and atmosphere perfectly when she says,

“In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps the mother’s first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet growing time–spent for the most part in the fresh air.”

For more Charlotte Mason insight read here.