So far dd has not taken any classes. She has ocassionally attended programs at the library, either one-off items or 4-part series, but nothing more than that. Sometimes we would sign up for something, then when the day came I would have to keep reminding her to get ready, tell her that we had to go because we signed up, and we could avoid signing up for the next one, etc etc.
Of course once we were there she loved it. Every time. I was always unsure whether I should be the one doing all this pushing or just give her one reminder and let her miss the event if she was not ready. Would this have helped her take more responsibility for attending the programs that she signed up for, and not signing up if she did not want to attend? Somehow maybe I felt that was more responsibility than she could handle so I kept taking it.
Now that she is 7 I am thinking I should move to the gentle reminder - but no pushing stage. Yesterday while at a friends house we saw this scene: It was time for the boy to go to his art class. He cried, "no, it is too boring, I dont want to go!"
Mom: "Since when?"
Boy - whimpers something
Mom: "Today I will talk to the teacher and ask her if there is something she can do that is more exciting."
Anyway, finally with some coaxing etc they go and according to my friend (the mom) he did indeed enjoy the class when he was there. Of course he did ... that is not a surprise. But I wondered what I would do in this situation. Once having signed up and paid I too would feel obligated to attend every class and therefore I would have to do this coaxing and reminding and shouldering the responsibility of getting there on time. Of course if once we got there, dd did not in fact enjoy it then I could consider quitting if after a fair chance things did not improve. But if she enjoyed it while, and if she improved her skills, then I would feel that it was worth my taking the responsibility.
Now is this age-dependent, and 7 is still too young? If so then at what age (roughly) would you expect your child to take responsibility - I am not saying that I would not remind her and help her get ready but I am saying that if she says, "I don't want to go" or does nothing to get ready, then I will let it go and let her miss the class. Second question, would you then refrain from signing up for classes until you reached that age, or gradually transition from one mode to the other?
He did go, but he wasn't refusing to go either--I wouldn't have made him go, but I did gently encourage him to go. In fact, for the last one we left the house early and had a drink at a tea-room first. Often, if he is at all releuctant about going anywhere, getting out of the house is the biggest hurdle. Once we do that, it's usually smooth sailing.
The reluctance is usually when it's a one-off activity that sounded good to him before, but not so much when it's time to go. We don't sign up for just anything and we don't overdo it either, so I know chances are good he will really like it and be really glad he went. I don't mind giving him a gentle nudge, but I know if I need to do that too often then he probably needs a break.
I am having this issue with my just turned 8 yr old.
She took gymnastics in the fall. She enjoyed it and never complained about going. Now it is time to sign up again, and she says she is not sure if she wants to go.
I have offerred 3 one-off events in the last couple of months that she declined: the movies, a museum trip and going to an animation screening (which I actually signed her up for).
The movie she said she did not want to go that day - fine
The museum she said "maybe" to
The animation festival which did include a section on Coraline - which she both loves but is a little scared by - she said "maybe".
Well, all of this things cost money and we live about an hours drive away from them - so maybe has not been a good enough answer. I want a "yes" if we are going to go.
In the last week or two she has started to complain "why didn't we go to the museum? the animation festival?" Uh, because you were not sure you wanted to!
I have experimented with letting her decide, but I think I am going to change game plans. Letting her decide has lead to us not going anywhere and her calling me on making suggestions but not doing them. Our lives can be a little dull if we do not do stuff.
I always do ask her if there is a good reason for not wanting to go - are the teacher or kids mean? boring? etc. If there is a good reason I will honour it. I am not going to drag anyone kicking and screaming anywhere - but if she just needs a little help moving out of a comfort zone or out of her rut, I will offer that encouragement.
Borrowing form the poster above, I might get her out of the house (if getting out of the house is the issue - she can be a homebody) and then once we are in car ask her if she would like to go to the museum, etc. Maybe getting out of the house is the issue.
I am going to bump this thread by responding to my own question :-)
I think that I have effectively done this - not signed up for real classes because dd hasnt asked for them. On the one hand I think I shoudl expose her to what is out there so that she is making an informed choice to go or not. On the other hand she is aware of all the variosu classes her friends attend so she could have asked if it really intrigued her.
So the only thing to worry about is - are we passing the prime age for starting fine arts, esp music, dance ... ?
I agree sooo much with the comment about getting out of the house. It is like pulling teeth around here! But that's not just for classes, that's EVERYTHING! Going to the park, playing outside, going to art class.....Mainly I think it's because the rest of the world requires shoes :)
Really though, transitions can be hard. For my kids, VERY hard! But that would mean we would leave the house about once per week. I don't know if this is unschooling kosher, but is it ok to say..."Mommy is going to spend an hour with your little brother doing something special while you get to go to class. Or you may...what? Go to grandmas house(whatever the other options are)...etc. KWIM? We have lives too. And it's okay for a kids to learn that things cost money. Sometimes it's a good buy, sometimes not. If the class itself is not so great...I say go with yours and your kids gut on that!
I recall my dd going for hs gym and swim and a hs art class at the Y.She thought the gym/swim was OK,but really disliked the art. I did not make her go to the art.After the gym/swim was over she said it was ok,but prefered free swim instead of a class. Now I just pay to get her into the Y and skip the class. I will not force attendence to a class,but I am less likely to sign them up for something if they will not attend-regardless of it costing or being free.
I don't like signing up and then not going unless I see a valid reason for not going. There are a lot of hsing classes we went too,like skating and ice skating, that were a joke. I think people just wanted to make a little extra cash during slow times,but they did not provide a decent lesson. Even the gym/swim was made difficult by the amount of kids in the class and the age range/experience levels.
Yeah the quality of the lessons isn't always that great. DS took a rollerskating class last summer and hated it almost immediately. I think he was off the rink within the first ten minutes. We went to the small practice rink and he could do his own thing while still seeing what they were doing in the lesson if he wanted to. By the end of the 5 weeks he was skating a lot better than all of the others in the class. Part of it, I think, was that he was the only one on rollerblades, but he also got to work at his own pace and very much wanted to be able to skate.
Anyway I didn't feel like the money was wasted at all. We still went each week and he had that hour to have the practice rink to himself and by the end he was skating around the big rink like he owned it.
I don't think there's a small window of opportunity if the interest isn't there. By that I mean if a child really wants to learn to play the piano, for instance, then I would say don't wait, try to find a way that will work for him/her to do so, but if the interest isn't there then they aren't missing anything. My son was the oldest in his swim class (he was 8) but he started swimming and was moved into another class on the 4th lesson. The rest of the kids stayed in the beginner class for the 12 weeks. So I don't think my son missed a magic window of being 4-6 years old to start swimming.
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