so if the whole socialization issue is a crock, why so many classes? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 52 Old 06-20-2007, 06:47 PM
 
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Ds does activities and classes because he wants to.

When he was younger I did have him in acting classes as his major outside activity. He didn't necessarily ask to do these classes, it was mostly just a way to meet other kids and have fun (really play oriented classes) where he could be appreciated for being who he is, rather than punished, like when he was in ps, for being excitable, imaginative and noisy.

As he reached his teens, he's a lot more interested in doing outside activities and will ask for and arrange for stuff himself. This summer he's doing football, and is looking forward to (hopefully) playing rugby, lacrosse and wrestling on a high school team (if the high school will allow an hs student to play.)

He got bored with the acting classes for a while, but now he's old enough to do the teen division courses and has been looking forward for a long time to doing an improv class and, maybe, auditioning for the improv troupe.

He wants to do sea cadets because they will teach him marksmanship (with bb guns, thankfully, this kid hurts himself walking!), they have cool summer camp opportunities, and he's very interested in military history/weapons/tactics.

At his age now, the outside activities are not so much about exposing him to new things, or keeping him busy, as about him pursuing his own interests and likes more deeply. There are a few things I would like him to study (a musical instrument, French) but he's not terribly interested, so there's no point in me spending the money on it at the moment.

One activity I always insisted on was swimming, since we live a block from a major river and several local kids have drowned in the past decade only a few blocks from here. Once ds got to the point where he felt competent and safe in the water, and had reached a fairly proficient swimming level, I let him drop the classes. He never really enjoyed them, but that was a safety thing.

He's done other activities throught the Y over the years, and has been able to discover what kinds of things he loves (really aggresive sports, stand up comedy) and what kinds of things that all his friends love but that he hates (soccer, scouting) and he's fine with that.

As other posters have touched on, when ds was in school, we didn't do any outside activities, because we didn't have time and he was too tired, so all the classes and stuff we've done since hsing have been because we finally have a chance to!
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#32 of 52 Old 06-20-2007, 07:06 PM
 
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btw for those of you with kiddos under 5, do they really ask for the classes? or do you just try to expose them to stuff? (my oldest is only 3 right now and I can't imgaine him asking to take any sort of specific class right now on his own) I picked suzuki because I have planned for both to take lessons since before they were conceived though! if they hate it I won't push it.

My DD (3.5) hasn't asked for any classes. I typically choose a class based on what I think might interest her. She had taken Music Together classes for over 2 yrs & I could see that she just wasn't enjoying it like she used to. So I asked her if she'd like to do music again or try gymnastics. She chose gymnastics & she loves it. In fact, she enjoys it so much I signed her up for the summer camp & she's thrilled. In a few weeks she'll start swimming. She didn't exactly come out & ask for swimminglessons but she did say "I wnat to swim out to the floating raft Mama." So we discussed what she'd need to do in order to be able to attain her goal & that would be swimming lessons.

That being said, I can see how when DS gets older & wants to do certain things we may have to scale back on some activities. At this age (3.5 & 20 mos) I think spontaneous playtime is what they need most, with a few hours here & there for classes. For us it certainly doesn't come anywhere close to overscheduling.

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#33 of 52 Old 06-20-2007, 07:22 PM
 
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I am exhausted reading about some folk's homeschool groups and outside activities. are they truly necessary? do you think some HS families overschedule their kids?


am I missing something here? if the whole socialization arguement is a crock why so many classes? I thought the point to HS was to school at HOME. does anyone NOT do any extra outside classes?
At the moment we're doing a lot because I'm trying to get to know people. I expect that once we're a bit more established, we'll rely less on organized activities. We only have one sports activity per kid this summer, but we're doing a lot of park day activities and field trips. I like to have something out of the house 2-4 days a week. I need at least one week day at home to do house stuff, but if we don't get out at least twice a week, my little extrovert goes a little nuts.

My kids don't need to spend time with other kids to learn social skills, but I do think some interaction with peers is important to help them practice their social skills. Besides, my kids LIKE playing with other kids, and stuff like home school groups help us find other kids who are around during the day.

You asked about what folks do with kids under the age of 5-- I liked to sign my kids up for something active and indoors while the weather is lousy (this used to be during the hot hot summer, now we've moved and it's during the LOOOOONG cold winter). My girls also took dance classes (love the little tutus!), and sunday school. Honestly, I don't think there's much social activity in these classes-- the kids only seem to interact with the teacher. I don't love the mommy&me classes, so I tend to wait till they're old enough for drop off classes. :

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#34 of 52 Old 06-20-2007, 07:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rainbowmoon View Post
btw for those of you with kiddos under 5, do they really ask for the classes? or do you just try to expose them to stuff? (my oldest is only 3 right now and I can't imgaine him asking to take any sort of specific class right now on his own) I picked suzuki because I have planned for both to take lessons since before they were conceived though! if they hate it I won't push it.
We didn't do any class type of things until DD1 was 3.75y. I was not ready then and had not planned on signing her up for anything, but then the neighbor girl started dance, and talked to DD1 about it. DD1 would watch her in her dance outfit get in the car and she asked to go to dance, and kept asking. So I signed her up and she LOVED it. And this is a child is is very reserved around strangers, she tends to hang back around me, this was the first time she had ever left me regularly. She very happily did dance all year and then performed in a recital in front of a packed crowd and asked me when she could take dance again.


She is 4.5 now and we have a packed summer full of activities, I only did a busy summer because we had been housebound all fall/winter/spring with DD2's health issues. We have swimming all summer, a 4 week gymnastics class, a 4 week Spanish class, 4 weeks of baseball, then homeschool group and also the summer reading program at the library we go to. : It has been really good for us, I can't and won't do this all the time though.

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#35 of 52 Old 06-20-2007, 08:42 PM
 
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are they truly necessary?
It depends on how you define *necessary.* I think that the things my kids are in are wonderful for them, but they could live without them.

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do you think some HS families overschedule their kids?
yes, esp. people who are new to homeschooling. Then they crash and burn, then they find their happy medium. The happy medium is different for different families.

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I don't see us doing many more classes until they are older and can choose for themselves.
Some of us have much older kids than you. My kids are 9 and 10. When they were under 5, I usually had them in 1 class per week. I picked something out that I thought they would enjoy. They did lots of little parks and rec classes on all sorts of topics from pottery to tap dancing. It was fun.

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if the whole socialization arguement is a crock why so many classes?
I find the notion that kids need to attend school to be socialized a crock. However, being around other people is a lot of fun. Far more fun when it is based on an acitivity that you want to be doing. We homeschool for the freedom.

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I am wondering is this is a Northeast/city thing? There is so much to do in places like NYC and other cities, I think we forget maybe other areas don't have as much to choose from?
We've lived all over, but never in NY. The city we were the most prone to overscheduling was Tucson AZ because there were just so many wonderful things to choose from! It was hard to say no because everything sounded like such good fun.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#36 of 52 Old 06-20-2007, 08:46 PM
 
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Because the kids want to. For DS it IS about socialization, he loves having *teammates* : but he also loves the sport (soccer). He wouldn't be happy on a very competitive team. He loves doing informal things with other kids too, like park days and such. For DD it's more about loving the sport and putting up with they drama She just loves to cheer and doesn't care if her squad comes in first or fifth. She also loves art and participates in something artsy every year.

I did sign them up for things when they were under 5, summer crafts for DD and tennis for DS. Although they didn't ask specifically, I always asked them if they wanted to do the activities and then figured we would bail if they hated it. They always enjoyed themselves and kept it up through the 6-8wk session, probably because I tried to pick something I felt they would really enjoy. Last year was the first year DS asked for something specific and it was *soccer, on a team, with a uniform and a score.* LOL!
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#37 of 52 Old 06-20-2007, 08:59 PM
 
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Your kids are only 2 and 3yo. Their social needs are WAY different than the social needs of an 11yo.

The point of homeschooling is to meet the child's needs without attending school- not to avoid socializing them.

The reason the "socialization" myth is just a myth is because kids don't need school to be social, and in fact the kind of socialiation kids get in school isn't always healthy.

DD2 attends about 6 HS events a month- some weeks we don't do any at all, other weeks we do 2 or 3. One week we almost did 4 but my car died and I couldn't get her there, and it worked out better anyway because the week was overwhelming. The local HS group tends to have 3 or 4 events every week. Basically, she signs up for those events (some classes, some just social) that interest her, and we skip the ones that don't interest her.

There's a huge difference between going to classes (with parents present) for 3 hours 2 or 3 days a week, and being in school 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, with one teacher "parenting" 25 kids.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#38 of 52 Old 06-20-2007, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post



We've lived all over, but never in NY. The city we were the most prone to overscheduling was Tucson AZ because there were just so many wonderful things to choose from! It was hard to say no because everything sounded like such good fun.
funny this is my region.

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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#39 of 52 Old 06-20-2007, 10:50 PM
 
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funny this is my region.
You are so lucky! It is a fabulous place to live and to homeschool!!!! Enjoy it!

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#40 of 52 Old 06-20-2007, 11:07 PM
 
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We've lived all over, but never in NY. The city we were the most prone to overscheduling was Tucson AZ because there were just so many wonderful things to choose from! It was hard to say no because everything sounded like such good fun.

I've lived in CA, but not AZ.

It's hard enough for my kiddies to pick and choose here in NE.

I wish wish wish that my kids wished to hang at home all summer. lol

It would be so much cheaper and easier. he he.
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#41 of 52 Old 06-20-2007, 11:23 PM
 
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if the whole socialization arguement is a crock why so many classes?
Because "socialization" is a totally different thing than "social interaction." Socialization, by definition, is adopting the values of those around you. That's definitely not for us. Social interaction OTOH is about having fun and spending time with friends.
Pet peeve...sorry, I'm anal like that. lol! :
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#42 of 52 Old 06-20-2007, 11:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Because "socialization" is a totally different thing than "social interaction." Socialization, by definition, is adopting the values of those around you. That's definitely not for us. Social interaction OTOH is about having fun and spending time with friends.
Pet peeve...sorry, I'm anal like that. lol! :

thanks I guess I've been confusing these in my mind :

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#43 of 52 Old 06-20-2007, 11:36 PM
 
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thanks I guess I've been confusing these in my mind :
lol! It comes from one too many times hearing the socialization comments from non-homeschoolers. I heard it again one day and got to thinking "Waaaaaaaaait one second...heck NO I don't want them 'socialized'!!!" lol!
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#44 of 52 Old 06-21-2007, 03:26 AM
 
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thanks for all the insight. I really appreciate it. maybe I am confusing the reason people do classes to the whole socialization arguement. need to think more about this!
I think you might well be. Honest mistake. My children love to take classes, be involved and do things all the time. They love variety and they love some routine, for instance, going to soccer class every week, knowing that on Fridays we go to homeschool group, etc. We often do MANY classes at once, but only because the children LOVE it and I think it's great for them to have as many varied experiences as is possible. I think it really makes for a much more well rounded person. I've had so many women tell me, for instance, that they were not sporty, but yet, they were never on any teams. I was very sporty, but not until I had tried numerous sports for years, then I started to actually be really good at them, but the goal was never to be an expert, but to have fun playing on teams or in solitary sports. I wish so much that I had been in some extracurricular art classes, fun things like pottery and oil painting and watercolor when I was a child, so that I would have seen myself as more artistic and just plain for the fun factor.

Classes for us are NEVER about the socialization or social interaction, even, though it is nice that the children occasionally get to have another adult teach them things, work with them, give them insight and show them others way of doing things, that neither I nor DH would have naturally suggested. And honestly, though my children have PLENTY of friends and tons of adquaintances, they have never once made a meaningful lasting relationship from a class. To me, good quality socialization and/or social interaction really requires spending much more time, meeting more people and being able to narrow it down and find those friends who you can really make that extra special bond with, beyond the superifical "it's fun to play with them", even though I think it's fantastic to be able to have fun with a wide variety of children, as well.

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Because it's not about socialization. When my kids take classes, it's because the class is about something they enjoy doing.

dm
Big time. And for me, to just experience and try things they would not have tried as much at home. Variety is the spice of life and my children love to go out and see the sights and experience new things.

We, as the consummate busy family, also have plenty of pajama days where we lounge around the house, play computer, read stories, even watch TV and movies, play with art supplies and just laze around, really, enjoying ourselves with no care in the world. I think that since we are not wasting time in "school", we have so much more time in all of our days for all the fun stuff, plenty of relaxation time (free time to play imaginatively, for instance) than any institutionally school time could ever have.

Also, my children run around and get WAY WAY WAY more exercise than their institutionally schooled counterparts. I tend to think that unschooling has added many, MANY years to their lives!!
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#45 of 52 Old 06-21-2007, 04:15 AM
 
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Under the age of 5, the only class my first son did was Music Together, and he really preferred jumping on the couch during class, so we didn't do that anymore.

For my second son, the only class he's done is parent/child gymnastics, which was really more just of an hour of open gym for him to play on the equipment while my older son took his class upstairs at the same time.

It will be interesting to see if my younger son likes taking classes as much as my older son does. I can't think of a single class ds1 has taken that he hasn't loved.
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#46 of 52 Old 06-21-2007, 04:40 AM
 
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I think how necessary classes and/or scheduled group outings are depends on the child and the family.

DS and I did a parent-child gym class when he was 3. It was not necessary but it was a good thing for me to be able to mention when people asked about school (we were in France then and school starts at age 3). And it did give DS some names to say when he was asked about his little friends. He picked two boys he played with and two girls that I guess he liked the looks of since he didn't play with them at the class and told everyone those were his friends.

BUT, we haven't done any classes since then besides an English class for kids that I ran for awhile. I really need to find the right one for DS because he is like a PP described her DS when he was younger: "excitable, imaginative and noisy". I need something that's really fun and not too strict (adults where I live tend to be stern with kids & I also suspect he could be negatively regarded because he doesn't go to school).

Most things around here seem to start at age 6 or 7 so we might wait it out another year and just continue with playgrounds, toy library, an occasional storytime, maybe try taking in a show at the Children's Theatre, etc. We do get out quite a bit. My DS is far from being sheltered and home-bound.

For my DS I think just putting him in any class for the social part of it would be a mistake. I don't think that's what other people are doing, though. I think many kids are really enjoying their activities but I think my DS will do better if he's just a little more mature before he starts structured classes, lessons or workshops. Unless I really end up finding something that feels right for the upcoming year.
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#47 of 52 Old 06-21-2007, 04:44 AM
 
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The classes my dd1 takes, are not for the socialization aspect; not unlike school, they don't get to talk all much during the class. The classes are because she wants to take the classes.
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#48 of 52 Old 06-21-2007, 05:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by rainbowmoon View Post
if the whole socialization arguement is a crock why so many classes?
Socialization is not why my kids do activities and classes. Definitely not! They're serious introverts and don't particularly enjoy group activities for the sake of group activities.

My kids do classes and activities for one or more of the following reasons:

(a) they can have access to materials and facilities that they couldn't otherwise eg. they took pottery classes because they wanted access to a wheel and kiln, they did gymnastics because you can't just 'play' on that dangerous equipment without some (lightly) structured professional supervision and guidance

(b) they are interested in becoming integrated, useful contributors to our community eg. they perform music at the nursing home with a group of fellow homeschoolers on a monthly basis, they belong to the volunteer group that maintains the community garden

(c) they get access to people they enjoy as mentors and to expertise and knowledge they wouldn't otherwise eg. my eldest really enjoys the company of a friend of ours, and enjoys watercolour painting, so when the friend, who is a painter, offered a watercolour class, she jumped at the opportunity to sign up; the mentor-like relationship has proved a very beneficial thing for my adolescent.

(d) some sorts of learning experiences are not possible on an individual basis eg. my kids love playing in an orchestra and in various chamber music ensembles, and two of them love playing soccer. It's hard to play Bach Orchestral Suites or develop your fullback skills without being part of a group.

For us our activities roster has nothing whatsoever to do with "learning social skills" or "socializing with agemates."

I have a four-year-old who is desperate to be involved in classes and activities; she asks all the time. That's because she has older siblings doing these things, she's along for the ride, they are her role models and everything they do looks so cool to her! But when my eldest was four? She didn't ask, and we didn't do any such scheduled activities.

Miranda

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#49 of 52 Old 06-21-2007, 12:38 PM
 
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My kids do classes and activities for one or more of the following reasons:

(a) they can have access to materials and facilities that they couldn't otherwise eg. they took pottery classes because they wanted access to a wheel and kiln, they did gymnastics because you can't just 'play' on that dangerous equipment without some (lightly) structured professional supervision and guidance...............................

(c) they get access to people they enjoy as mentors and to expertise and knowledge they wouldn't otherwise eg. my eldest really enjoys the company of a friend of ours, and enjoys watercolour painting, so when the friend, who is a painter, offered a watercolour class, she jumped at the opportunity to sign up; the mentor-like relationship has proved a very beneficial thing for my adolescent.

(d) some sorts of learning experiences are not possible on an individual basis eg. my kids love playing in an orchestra and in various chamber music ensembles, and two of them love playing soccer. It's hard to play Bach Orchestral Suites or develop your fullback skills without being part of a group.
These are reasons we do activities too, especially (d).

Sure DH could teach Ds *how* to play soccer, but how could he play it with no team? I am perfectly capable of teaching DD to cheer (captain of my high school squad thank you very much ) but then how could she actually do it without being on a squad?

I think the mentor thing is overlooked a lot too. I'm not to worried about it in my youngest, but I do feel that my 13yo really does benefit from having other adults play a significant part in her life and education. She has a great bond with both her cheer coaches and her art teacher and I think it's wonderful!

Oh, and I know DS only wanted to take gymnastics because of the tumble track LOL!
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#50 of 52 Old 06-21-2007, 01:13 PM
 
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"Socialization" is rather an ugly word to me, it sounds like what you have to do with puppies to help them be good dogs. "Socialization" sounds like an indroctrinization into society, which I guess in government schooling, it is. If you think in terms of "socializing" or "social time", it sounds more like what it is-- time spent in the company of others. 'Most everybody needs that! If you differentiate between socialization and socializing, the social activities of homeschoolers make more sense.

Homeschoolers tend to argue against the mandated socialization of public school-- the idea that kids need to spend the majority of their day sitting in a classroom with 20 other kids. But they generally don't deny that all kids want to socialize with others to some extent, whether they're introverted or extroverted.

I think the "classes and things" can be roughly divided into two categories: the actual skill-building classes/lessons, and more social activities: homeschooling groups, park days, etc. One of the things that appeals to me about homeschooling is that it frees up a lot more time to pursue the former; think about a 7y.o. sitting in P.S. for 7-8 hours and taking dance and piano lessons compared to a HS'd 7y.o. that is in "school" for probably less than 3 hours a day, plus no "commuting" back and forth to school. The second child has so much more time to spend doing anything, whether formal classes or climbing trees.

While some homeschoolers may indeed be "overscheduled" (which would be very hard to determine without knowing that child, IMO) they are more likely just taking advantage of the 'free' time that comes with homeschooling; time for the lessons/classes, time for practice, and time for decompression. I understand why homeschooling parents say that these classes aren't for "socialization", especially if they are private lessons with a teacher.

The second category is stuff that IS social, or for the purpose of socializing. Joining homeschooling groups, field trips, park days, low-key soccer teams, birthday parties... Is there any reason to assume that homeschooled kids don't need or want to socialize with other kids and just have fun? Homeschooling doesn't take place in a vaccuum, and it doesn't seem to take the whole day either. I intend to HS when I have kids, but that doesn't include cutting them off from society, including the society of kids their age.

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#51 of 52 Old 06-21-2007, 01:59 PM
 
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Like others, my kids are just following their interests.
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#52 of 52 Old 06-21-2007, 06:34 PM
 
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I was one of those privileged only children with parents who were high-achievers. For awhile going to five activities a week on top of school -- I know that was a lot in retrospect, but I definitely would have kept three of those activities. Now I still enjoy dancing, singing and swimming. I have a limit for each of my children: 3 different classes or practices a week -- no more. I'm also going to try to cluster them together since we're planning on taking Fridays off. We also have afternoons off so it shouldn't feel like overkill.
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