Homeschooling is NOT your hobby

I hope I convinced you that homeschool mamas need hobbies. I convinced myself. Now I’m going to say something somewhat controversial.

I think your hobby should be something for you. I want to encourage you to choose something that isn’t just supportive of your vocation as a Homeschool Mom.

Homeschooling is NOT Your HobbyPin

I would love to see us pick hobbies that are not professional development centered.  I like to read about educational philosophy and think about better ways to make my homeschool work. I watch videos and webinars and help with Pam’s weekly FB Live broadcasts about just these things. I listen to podcasts. A lot.

I need to study how to plan, how to ask better questions, how to make the flow better. I need to explore the best resources and methods for instructing the children I have. I believe that’s part of my calling to be a Homeschooling Mother.  

That isn’t a hobby for me. That is work. A Profession. I think we need something different. Something active, or something creative. We need something separate.

I want to encourage you to choose a hobby that’s primary focus is not in service your family vocations. That isn’t to say that it can’t serve your family, but that service isn’t the only focus.  

A few example hobbies for moms

A friend of mine has gotten interested in photography. Yes, she takes a lot of photos of her children and homeschool day.  But she has gone the extra mile learning about light and layout and processing and improving her photographs for the sake of artistry – even to the point of taking pictures for others.  

Or, cake decorating. Another friend claims it as her only handicraft. She makes cakes for her children’s birthdays – of course – but she also helps with cakes for friends and family. She uses her hobby for serving others and expressing her artistic sense.

A third friend has recently taken up quilting. She already enjoys all kinds of creative endeavors and is incredibly talented.  She already sews. She has taught her children to sew.  She has been struggling with making seams and corners just so; with making blocks and piecing colors, so they come out how she imagines them.  She is working to improve her skill set and self-expression.

All of these ladies above? Homeschool moms.

They’re using their time and talents for their enjoyment, improvement, service, and artistry.  None of these hobbies are directly related to their vocations but enhance them.  

If your hobby – craft, mastery, interest – is for the purpose of raising and educating children, can it be extended when parenting is no longer a part of your day today? When your kids are grown and out of the house – maybe raising and educating their children?

Hobbies for the long haul

I would like us to consider a hobby that can be enjoyed for the long haul – that we can enjoy with our children now and without them later.  I would like to consider a hobby that is perhaps an adjunct to our general vocations – supportive but not directly related to those vocations.

I think it is good to have a hobby where you spend time that is not hyper-focused on your child(ren)’s needs.  It is good for them to have time when they aren’t the center of your world.  It is good for them to realize that you are a person in your own right and have needs of your own that are separate from them – but can include them, too.  

What do you enjoy doing that you could enhance? Do you enjoy cooking? Can you take a cooking class or work through an instructional cookbook? .Do you enjoy sewing? Can you pick up needlework? Do you like walking in the woods? Could you add geocaching or hiding your own clever caches?  

I would encourage you to think carefully about the kind of hobby that would serve first your needs and secondly the needs of your family.

Next time, let’s reflect on the hardest part of hobbies for a homeschool mama – carving out some time to work on a hobby.

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  • Heather says:

    This is so, so good!!! I’m excited to see your last post because it’s the hardest part of the puzzle. But even when I can’t pick up my camera everyday, I know I’ll come back to it.

    • Dawn Garrett says:

      Thanks 🙂 Time is definitely an issue for all of us! Part of your success, I think, is that “I know I’ll come back to it.” You’ve developed a passion for photography that won’t lapse long. <3

  • Kirsten says:

    I can’t always get out the bow & arrows, but I have been thinking recently how it is another tether to the past. In a way, it’s almost a handicraft. A skill that will be lost if we don’t continue to practice it.
    For me, archery is a way to refresh my brain by clearing it of distraction.

    Thanks for writing on hobbies Dawn! It’s fun to think about getting back to them, even when we have trouble making the time.

    • Dawn Garrett says:

      Hey Kirsten – You’re welcome. I was just thinking about the vast array of hobbies possible and the ways we can keep old skills and arts alive for future generations. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Alison says:

    One day, I sat in a parent class at the homeschool co-op we attended weekly. The mom leading our discussion asked us to describe a dream cruise, where we could learn about any topic we desired. I jumped into the conversation first, sharing how I would love a week-long cruise with workshops on refinishing furniture (a hobby of mine). The next two moms practically glowed while they shared their respective dreams of ballroom dance and nutritious cooking-themed cruises. But I think these hobby dreams started to make the group feel guilty, because the rest of the ideas were all homeschool-related. Thanks for your post; I think we all need the reminder to nourish ourselves. It’s good to remember our identity apart from the mom, wife & homeschooler. It’s taken me 8 years of homeschooling, and a lot of frazzled trial and error, to see that.

    • Dawn Garrett says:

      What fun ideas! I do love homeschool-related things, I hope I made that clear, but I love to see variety too!

  • Anna says:

    During our Christmas vacation, my mom’s good friend, whom I have known since childhood, asked me, “What are you doing for Anna?” I mumbled something about reading, but felt uncomfortable and a bit annoyed. But now you are asking me to consider the same thing…I think maybe it’s a sign. 😉

  • I think you’ve got something here. Though I do think that some kind of ‘professional development’ can be a hobby and a hobby can make you money sometimes, and (here’s where it lines up with you) you need some bit of variety in your life. You can’t always do educational philosophy all the time (even if I think I would love that!) and you can’t always do Lego all the time (yes, we are making money off a hobby!), having other things you enjoy gives you space to really flourish in those other areas. You’ve given me food for thought, Dawn, thank you!

  • Kimberly says:

    “I think it is good to have a hobby where you spend time that is not hyper-focused on your child(ren)’s needs. It is good for them to have time when they aren’t the center of your world. It is good for them to realize that you are a person in your own right and have needs of your own that are separate from them – but can include them, too. ”
    This is something I’ve become passionate about. We MUST remember that we are our own selves and while it is our job (and usually joy!) to serve our families it is not all we are here for.

  • Becca says:

    Hmm. Scrapbooking is a hobby of mine and I feel less quilty about because it is somewhat “productive”. I would love to get more into photography but don’t feel like I have the time… And I’m also taking a decorating class which is half hobby half job. (I mean as the keeper of my home making it pretty, functional, and comfy is part of my job.)

    • Dawn Garrett says:

      A hobby can absolutely be productive and artistic outlets are wonderful things! I just worked through a small photography email course that was an email a day for 7 days and would perhaps have been more helpful with other equipment but was about the right size for me right now. I’ll have to look for a smart-phone camera oriented course.

      And decorating theory is definitely a hobby. We have several ladies in our congregation who are generous with their time in helping ladies who aren’t strong in that arena with their homes. It can be used beyond your day-to-day life. Go, Becca!

  • Amanda says:

    I guess I look at hobbies a little differently. Since as long as I can remember, I have been involved in education–whether that we tutoring kids in high school, being a TA for college level classes or religious education at my parish during college, teaching professionally in public and private schools, and now as a homeschooling momma. Teaching is the thing that puts a fire in my belly. When my kids are grown and out of the house, I imagine I’ll be the mom who volunteers at the local co-ops, helping out those mommas who are in the trenches. Nothing rejuvenates me more than reading about educational philosophies, taking a class on the subject, participating in book clubs about these topics and so on. I don’t disagree that having something else outside of the realm of education can be a good thing (I enjoy hiking, writing, and sketching), but when push comes to shove and I have to prioritize my time, I will choose something related to education 99% of the time. You mentioned that you view this as work. I do not in most cases. I think in the end the point is that we have to do what fills our baskets so that when we show us on Monday morning to do this homeschooling gig, we have a full tank.

    • Dawn Garrett says:

      Amanda, You know I have similar loves as you – I have always had my hand in instruction in some way or another whether Sunday School or leading a Bible Study or Youth group. I’ll likely always have my hand in in some way or another – my MIL is even homeschooling my nephews part time!

      Did you read the first post in the series, too? I think it laid out my arguments for why we need hobbies. This one is giving it a finer tune – like going from analog to digital radio signal (are you old like me and remember when stations went from 98 FM to 97.9?).

      I’m not saying that this should be all-encompassing or even a ton of time, but your hiking, drawing, and writing I would call hobbies. Something that takes you beyond the material under instruction on offers a chance to have a seat at the banquet, too, rather than just serving it.

      • Amanda says:

        Yes, I read the first post and you did a great job laying it all out. 🙂 I do agree with what you are saying, for sure. I think it just boils down to the fact that I love education and I can’t foresee my life without having my hand in it in some way. Reading and researching and learning and being a student alongside my kids energizes me. So, it doesn’t feel like work, which is what you had mentioned previously in your post. I guess I feel like because I don’t view it as work, it feels like a hobby. But, yes, I know that God created us to be whole persons and life does exists outside of being a homeschooling mom, student and so on. So, ok…I’ll start sketching or hiking or writing more. Pinky swear! 🙂

  • Michelle says:

    Great points! I can see how easily it would become a hobby. When I saw myself drifting that way, it never dawned on me that it might be a hobby. Instead, I thought, “Wait. I spend a lot of time on this. There *has* to be a way to make money at it!” So I started a blog and a consultant business. 😉

  • Deb says:

    It can be very hard to find the time to do something just for yourself when you have six children with you 24/7. I do love cooking and experimenting with new recipes, so I found this was one thing I could do that actually served my family anyway.

    • Aleshia Harr says:

      I feel the same way. With so many kids in the house and I feel like I being pulled in many different directions. Finding, uh…making, the time for a personal hobby seems like a faraway pipe dream. I have often thought about what those hobbies might be. I have been at the this mothering/homeschooling thing for so long it is like I have lost who I am and what I like to do when no one is demanding my time. Sigh…trying to figure that part out is challenging.

  • Trish B says:

    A little late to the discussion but I do have hobbies; ones I really enjoy. I have to be careful though that they don’t take over everything else. I can easily get lost in them. :-). I spin yarn on a spinning wheel and I knit. I haven’t really been knitting what I spin yet but I find such joy and refreshment in doing both. Both allow me to get lost in my thoughts and yet come up with something concrete so as to not be a ‘waste of time’.

  • Sharon says:

    It’s so hard to find a good hobby for me. But I finally have. I love writing so I started a blog about faith. Maybe that counts. Right?

  • Kacie says:

    Not a hobby, but a form of self-care: lately I have been taking steps to improve my outward appearance (finally got a haircut after like 2 years), new clothing, trying new things to hone my personal style. Frivolous, OK. But it has nothing to do with homeschooling, and I feel like me and I’m having fun with it

  • Hannah says:

    That was really helpful to think about—thank you. I don’t think I have a hobby currently but need to dedicate some time to thinking what would be life giving at this season…

    • Dawn Garrett says:

      There’s a whole series here on the blog with ideas and interviews of homeschool moms and their hobbies. I hope you find something great!

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