Logo Homeschool World ® Official Web Site of Practical Homeschooling Magazine Practical Homeschooling Magazine
Practical Homeschooling® :

Loosening Up

By Clay and Sally Clarkson
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #41, 2001.

Your family life may be run by schedules, and that's great, but summer is the time to loosen up.

   Pin It

Clay and Sally Clarkson

Let's talk personalities for a minute. You've probably noticed each of your children has one. And if your family is anything like ours, you've probably noticed there is a wide variety of personality in your children. One boy is building forts on the hill, one is building websites in the den, and one is building castles in his mind. One girl is playing Mommy in her bedroom, one is playing Juliet through the banister rails, and one is playing Olympic archer in the backyard. If all our children had the same personality, child-raising would be easy. But God doesn't want it to be easy . . . He wants it to be fun!

We've studied personality type for many years around our house. We all speak the language of one particular personality theory (MBTI) which has helped us, adults and children alike, understand and appreciate our God-designed differences. What I want you to see in this short column, though, is one small aspect of personality that can really help you find the fun that God wants you to have in child-raising. I can guarantee your children will remember it for the rest of their lives!

These are my own personality labels (no psycho-techie talk), but let's just say there are two kinds of people in the world - those who are "time" oriented, and those who are "experience" oriented. Those who orient to life based on time need predictability and order. They don't like surprises. Those who orient to life based on experience love surprises. They need to live with their options open.

My experience has been that most of us as active, in-control homeschooling parents feel the need to try to live an orderly, scheduled life. The pressure to get the school work completed, to go to lessons and classes, to keep the house straight, to get the chores done, and to fit a little recreation in there, too, drives us to live with a "time" orientation. Even if, as parents, we are "experience" oriented, life forces us, and our children, into the time mode.

Here's the problem. Younger children (14 and under) need a healthy dose of both kinds of orientation in order to help them differentiate what will become their own personality. They may exhibit signs of one or the other, but it takes both time and experience before they will decide as they come into young adulthood what they really are. But the problem is that they get a lot of emphasis on orienting to "time" in a homeschool, but not nearly enough emphasis on orienting to "experience." All year long you're "tying up loose ends," which is a time orientation. But you need to balance that with a liberal dose of "loosening up tied ends." You need to just experience life, not always control it.

And that's where summer comes in! It's the time to really flex those unused personality muscles of experience for the benefit of your children. If you are naturally experience-oriented, it'll be easy and you'll love it. If you're naturally time-oriented, it won't be as easy, and in fact it might be uncomfortable for you, but you'll love it even so. Here are a few suggestions for giving your children a summer of learning to enjoy the "experience" orientation.

GO AND STOP DAY Pile everyone into the car (or the homeschool bus) and just take out on the roads around your town. Whenever someone says, "Stop! I want to see that," you stop and experience that thing. Then you get back in the car and GO until there is another STOP. No preplanning or itinerary allowed.

FLASHLIGHT TAG Buy everyone a good flashlight and play flashlight tag some evening. Make up your own rules. Hiding behind bushes in the dark was a memorable experience for our kids (we paired younger children with older).

KIDS RULE DAY No, this is not kids "rebel" day, but just a day when you let your children set the agenda. Sit down in the morning and let them decide what the family will do, eat, talk about, and such. You're still in authority, but they're in control.

LARK & WHIM DAY "Is there anything you've ever wanted to do but just didn't feel you could?" Ask that question and see if it leads to a spontaneous experience. Let your imagination go and see where it leads.

MOVIE MARATHON If your house is like ours, watching a movie is a "big deal." A movie marathon would be totally out of character. But it would make a great memory. So get several of the best family movies, spread out the bedrolls, pop the corn, pour the soft drinks, and tube out. Your kids will think you're great.

GO FOR IT! We analyze everything to death around our house. Analysis-paralysis has kept us from boldly going where we've never gone before more than once. So, this summer, we'll talk about doing something outside our comfort zone that will open up new experiences - climbing a mountain, meeting someone famous, making a CD.

If you need permission to step outside the boundaries of your time-oriented life to explore some experiences, then go ahead . . . it's okay. Trying to keep all your loose ends tied up eventually just ties you up in knots. And your children get all knotted up in the process. So, for their sakes, use this summer to loosen up. Your children will be more balanced because of it, and you'll have more fun as a parent . . . just what God intended. You can't lose when you start to loose.

Was this article helpful to you?
Subscribe to Practical Homeschooling today, and you'll get this quality of information and encouragement five times per year, delivered to your door. To start, click on the link below that describes you:

USA Individual
USA Librarian (purchasing for a library)
Outside USA Individual
Outside USA Library

University of Nebraska High School University of Nebraska High School
Free Email Newsletter!
Sign up to receive our free email newsletter, and up to three special offers from homeschool providers every week.

Articles by Clay and Sally Clarkson

Putting the Home in Homeschooling

Trimming the Tree

Love Books... Use Computers

Math as a Metaphor for Life

Sow What?

Sow What? 2

For You Who Have Need of Endurance

Lost and Found: The Books of Those Who Have Gone Before Us

Eyes on the Future

Spiritual Meets Physical

Summer Better Than Other

The Meaning of Spiritual Freedom

A Question of Excellence

A Neighborly Christmas

A Life-Giving Mother Moment

Loosening Up

Back to Christian Homeschool

Keeping Peace at Home

There's More to Family

Worldly Wisdom vs. Wordly Wisdom

Putting on the Brakes

Popular Articles

Top Tips for Teaching Toddlers

The History of Public Education

Getting Organized Part 1 - Tips & Tricks

Advanced Math: Trig, PreCalc, and more!

Joyce Swann's Homeschool Tips

Phonics the Montessori Way

Who Needs the Prom?

Shakespeare Camp

What We Can Learn from the Homeschooled 2002 National Geography Bee Winners

Columbus and the Flat Earth...

Whole-Language Boondoggle

Start a Nature Notebook

A Homeschooler Wins the Heisman

How to Win the Geography Bee

The Charlotte Mason Approach to Poetry

Don't Give Up on Your Late Bloomers

Bears in the House

Combining Work and Homeschool

Give Yourself a "CLEP Scholarship"

The Gift of a Mentor

The Benefits of Cursive Writing

Critical Thinking and Logic

University Model Schools

Montessori Math

Saxon Math: Facts vs. Rumors

The Equal Sign - Symbol, Name, Meaning

How to "Bee" a Spelling Success

Montessori Language Arts at Home, Part 1

Top Jobs for the College Graduate

Laptop Homeschool

I Was an Accelerated Child

Narration Beats Tests

What Does My Preschooler Need to Know?

AP Courses At Home

The Charlotte Mason Method

Classical Education

Why the Internet will Never Replace Books

Art Appreciation the Charlotte Mason Way

Getting Organized Part 3

Myth of the Teenager

Patriarchy, Meet Matriarchy

Can Homeschoolers Participate In Public School Programs?

Getting Started in Homeschooling: The First Ten Steps

The Benefits of Debate

A Reason for Reading

Discover Your Child's Learning Style

Interview with John Taylor Gatto

Teach Your Children to Work

Teaching Blends

Character Matters for Kids

Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
Copyright ©1993-2021 Home Life, Inc.