Wednesday, January 27, 2016

M Is for Margin

Margin ~ The edge or border of something, a space or gap.

Through the years I have struggled with the concept of margin. Maintaining enough margin in our days to deal with the multitude of mini crises that come up has been something I have battled for years in our homeschool. We experienced an extreme change in our family almost two years ago. Our mentally ill daughter ran away and is now living in a mental health setting. It has taken us a long time to begin healing -- not only from her departure from our family, but also from the years and years of dangerous chaos we experienced living with her. In the past year the crises have abated quit a bit and we have truly begun to heal.

As we have started on the journey to healing we have been coming out of our somewhat isolated world. I am not sure calling our past world isolated is the correct term. Even at the height of our crisis-filled life, we maintained a busy dance schedule and a dozen or more doctor appointments each month. However, for years our lives revolved around home, dance and doctor offices. It was all I could do to maintain all of that, so I was not able to explore what else the world had to offer.

That brings me to the present. We are finding that our community is filled to the brim with opportunities. We live in an area with a large population of homeschoolers. In fact, we live in a county where 1 in 4 children are either homeschooled or attend a private school. Furthermore, we live in one of the states with the largest homeschool populations in the nation. So there is an abundance of homeschool activities. Then there are all of the non-homeschool activities that are open to us. There are so many choices and we must manage our time and financial resources! So I am back to struggling with margin. I need to keep enough space in our days to get a thorough at-home education, as well as make sure that all of our out-of-the-home activities are truly meaningful and relevant to our current needs. So as we enter this new season "where the world is our oyster," I am watching the margin and trying to avoid the edge of the "world of too much".

What we are currently doing ~ 
  • Weekly dance classes 7 hours a week for Anne
  • Weekly dance classes 3 hours a week for Dean
  • Tween Dance Showcase for both kids
  • Spring show of the Jungle Book for both kids
  • Bi-monthly youth group at church for Dean
  • Weekly guitar class for Dean
  • Weekly sign language class for Anne
  • Physical therapy for Dean ~ just a few more sessions, though
  • Weekly computer programming club for Dean
  • Monthly special needs support group dinner and class for all of us
  • Spring showcase at co-op
  • Lego club
  • Therapy to help Dean with sensory issues and social skills
What we are considering adding ~ 
  • Bell choir at church for both kids
  • An engineering class -- if I can make it so Dean only has to take that one class and not the entire day of co-op classes. 
How do you maintain margin in your lives? Is it easy or hard?

I am joining ~ 
Through the Calm and Through the Storm

Blessings, Dawn


  1. You did find a good M word! And oh goodness, that is quite a bit you have going on. But it all looks so enjoyable and they so deserve to pursue their interests.
    We struggle with margin in our homeschool too. Just a single outing in a day can wipe Amber of all her energy to where we can't get back into lessons. I'm slowly learning how to be her mom and teacher in this new phase of her life.

  2. It's so hard to find a balance for us and I only have Keilee!!! You have so much going on each month. But so many wonderful things too.

  3. I keep a large margin. The town we lived in last - for ten years - was very isolating, with almost no regular activities for the children and very few homeschoolers in our age range. Now we're surrounded by things to do, and people to do them with, and we are starting to step out more - but we've grown comfortable with our independence and it's been a slow process for us as well. I would jump at the hand bell opportunity though - those are so much fun!

  4. We struggle. We moved (almost 2 years ago) to a smaller town outside our normal hub of activity. I find it difficult to balance finding a niche and activities in our immediate community and spending time in the larger town with more opportunities and already made relationships. I also tend to run a ship that's a little too tight (or uptight as the case may be) and I need to schedule in more time for fun! Margin is a good word to consider...

  5. So interesting! We don't have margin per se but we do have very specific times of the day when the children do their activities. They know that during the day is school at home with me whilst at night it is activity time with Gary. It suits us well because I am such a major introvert whilst Gary is such a major extrovert. Staying in and schooling suits me well whilst going out and about for activities suits him very well!