Okay, I don't really mean extra-curricular, but I couldn't figure out a better concise way to talk about out-of-the-home-passionate-interests-that-take-up-a-lot-of time. If she were in school, they would be extra-curricular, but obviously she is not--and I don't consider them distinct from her other learning activities.
But the thing is, they do take up a lot of time.
Just over a year and a half ago, my almost 11-yo daughter started dancing. She loves it. She's good at it. It's clearly her "thing." We have a great studio and everything about the dancing experience is wonderful for her. She is currently dancing 5 days a week and starting in the fall she will be dancing 6 days a week, 2-5 hours/day (closer to 2-3 on most days).
The thing is, that's a lot of time spent dancing. And frankly, she can easily fill the rest of the time reading and playing and generally puttering. She currently does what I would consider some skills practice work (handwriting, math, and French) several times a week (this is a plan we worked out together), but other more involved/longer projects have more or less been squeezed out. Given the fact that my girl is a highly intellectual, thinking, exploring kind of kid, I want to make sure that the dance is not crowding out other important work, simply because we no longer have the same luxury of long uninterrupted days and weeks where all sorts of interesting things just emerge.
I would love the perspective of BTDT parents who have had a child so intensely involved in an outside activity--especially one that they are not likely to pursue as a career. Part of me wonders if the combination of these demands and my particular child's personality mean that we need more structure (she tends to like structure if we can strike the right balance, I think in part because she is likely on the ADHD spectrum and is very easily distracted). I am entirely committed to supporting the dancing she is doing--and consider it an important part of her education in a zillion ways!--but I also want to provide support for a wide spectrum of learning, to help all of her learn and grow. And I'm thinking that our more intense schedule means that we have to be more intentional about doing so.
I am of course planning on sitting down and talking with her about this--she and I regularly have discussions about homeschooling and her goals and how I can support them. I'm just trying to think this through first, and would love to hear the perspectives of families who have already walked this path.