How many afterschool activities does your child do? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: How many extracurricular activities does you school-aged child do?
0 9 33.33%
1 9 33.33%
2 14 51.85%
3 5 18.52%
4 2 7.41%
5+ 2 7.41%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 27. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-25-2014, 06:02 PM
 
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We don't have to decide this yet with our family (DS is not yet 4), but I think about it a lot because I was over-scheduled as a child (with only one activity!) and I can already tell that DS is going to want to do more than I'll be comfortable letting him do.

I did competitive gymnastics as a kid. I was good at it, I liked it, and unfortunately the competitive track is really all that's available (then, at least). You do it for fun when you're three, then by the time you're five you pretty much either are good enough to prepare to compete by seven or you quit. So by default, doing gymnastics meant two hours after school four weekdays and three hours Saturday mornings, plus here-and-there private lessons when advised by coaches, and weekend meets during the season.

In school all day already means lots of time away from family, and adding gym meant family dinners didn't happen. Maybe once a week. My siblings all had their own stuff going on, we rarely crossed paths. I did enjoy gymnastics, but by the time I was a pre-teen I burned out. I was even homeschooled when I quit!

I know that's a more extreme scenario, but that's not what I want our family dynamic to be like. I don't want to be a chauffeur, I don't want to sacrifice the feeling of togetherness that comes from actually being together as a family.

That said, DS is crazy active (people have been telling us he'll be an athlete since he was 15 months old) and crazy extroverted, so I know we'll be navigating these waters soon enough. What I'm thinking right now is that the bottom line is family dinners, every night, will be sacrosanct (within reason - meaning, nothing will be scheduled that we know will interfere with it or make it stressful; here and there exceptions, obviously). I will also probably limit it to one sport per season and one art at a time. I know most activities aren't as insane as my gym schedule, so two "normal" things seem doable.


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Old 08-26-2014, 05:30 AM
 
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Each family must find the balance that works best for them...

One more point- overscheduling to one person may be underschduling to another. Individual perspective and personality play a pretty big role.
I couldn't agree more. That's why I said that it's not my place to judge. Just sharing the experience I encountered, where I was the one who had to manage the child. It was frightening. If this were my kid and knew this had happened, I would have been very frightened.

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I haven't heard any anecdotal stories of kids who are left home alone every afternoon with tv as their only activity. That was my childhood.
Me neither. But I know plenty of kids who I grew up with that did. It's a different world today, especially in the child-rearing sense.
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Old 08-26-2014, 07:21 AM
 
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When dd was younger she wanted more freeplay.

But as she grew older that changed.

We do a LOT of actives because dd is homeschooled now.

When she was in school we kinda worked her activities around school. These days we work school around dd's activities. She is involved in ten activities - one of which is community service too. All of them are once a week with one of them once or twice a month.

Looking back I could never have imagined dd in so many activities - but these are her Passion and it keeps depression away. They have completely changed her and brought out her best.

Until we first started our homeschool journey I did not realize how important other activities would be for her.

And that it could be something she wants to get a degree in.
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Old 08-26-2014, 08:33 AM
 
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I totally agree - "different strokes for different folks". Scattered, hectic families seem to be that way no matter the number of activities, IME. And, yea, listening to the child is the key here - not how many activities a family chooses.

I voted 3. DC does soccer in the fall (this time with school so it's just an extension of the day), she does a free theater program once/week that's a privilege that I'm happy to schlep her across town for, and last year she did a ceramics club through school. At the point in the year where all three overlap it can feel a little stretched, but, really, not much. DC and our family still have plenty of down-time and flexibility to be spontaneous. In fact, I'm thinking of asking DC if she wants to take music lessons in the winter if we can squeeze it in the budget.

We are a family who needs a delicate balance between stuff going on and time to be in the moment. DH and I function more equally as parents/partners when there's lots to do. Our kids seem to thrive on the extra routine that is required when there is school and activities to do. We like our down time on weekends and in the summer but look forward to a fall and spring with a relatively full schedule.

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Old 08-31-2014, 04:16 PM
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In regards to my 8 yr old, I marked two. I goofed though--it should be 3 or 4 depending on how you count things. She does soccer (spring/fall) which practices twice a week and has games on Saturdays. She does dance--this year will be twice a week. Last year it was once/week. She does piano, but it is in the morning once/week. She also does Sunday school (but on Wednesdays). We homeschool though so we don't have to juggle homework with afterschool activities. My older daughters also have activities. Dinner as a family is pretty rare, but lunch as a family is more common. :-)

Oh, forgot. She also does girl scouts (twice a month).

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Old 09-07-2014, 08:18 PM
 
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My pre-k little one does three activities after school right now. He goes to school all day (not half day) but still has energy to do more. He does some art and music at school already as well as a second language so those don't need much extra after school IMO yet. In addition to the three weekly activities (swimming, soccer, and yoga) we do special camps and mini classes to try out other things (gymnastics, karate, dance, music). In the past it was four or five weekly activities but we realized that schedule was just a bit too much for all of us. We like what we've got now because it leaves weekends free.

My theory is that he should try lots of things now when he's young to see what he likes and what he has natural talent for. And then as we figure that out, we'll cut it back to just one or two activities that he really shows strong interest or talent for.

If I had many children, we would not be doing so many activities. We would pick one or two and all the children would do the same thing. But since I only have the one I feel fine doing more with him.
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Old 09-07-2014, 09:24 PM
 
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Our 5 yr old DD is in all day kindergarten.
She will be doing one activity per week over the fall. A 45min ballet class on Saturday mornings.
Plus swimming with a parent once a week.

In the winter session we will put her in two activities.
Swimming lessons and skating lessons. Just because we want to reinforce swimming before summer comes up again. Plus we want her to know how to ice skate. We live in a place where ice skating is a common social activity for a kid.

In te summer she didn't do any extra activities. Just play at the park for 5-6 hours per day.

We plan to keep it to 1-2 activities at a time throughout her childhood.

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Old 09-08-2014, 05:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by marsupial-mom View Post
My theory is that he should try lots of things now when he's young to see what he likes and what he has natural talent for. And then as we figure that out, we'll cut it back to just one or two activities that he really shows strong interest or talent for.
I think this is a good way to go but want to mention that not all kids figure this out in early childhood. I have a bit of personal envy for people who managed to find somethings to focus and specialize in because I still haven't found that for myself. I'm observing my child and she has similar tendencies - a dabbler. Now, I am softer on myself because I understand its value through my child. <3 Dabblers are cool too.

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Old 09-09-2014, 09:37 AM
 
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I dont know if i mentioned this upthread or not, i posted a very long time ago, and this thread keeps popping up.

I am finding that its all in the timing. You can do alot more provided the timing is right. For eg, we try to limit afterschool to two days a week, and for those classes to be no earlier than 530. That way, my kids can come home, eat, relax briefly, then go to an after school that may be in itself relaxing (for eg, my 2 boys are doing a cooking class), followed by a swimming lesson. Then home to bed.
The next day, there is art, and dancing.

The rest of the week, nothing...time for homework/playdates, or plain old nothing. I often find i have the need to catch up on doing nothing at all.

Its very important in my book, that the kids eat a good meal before launching into afterschool activities. This gives them renewed energy, fuelled by good nutrition and calories. Activities done on a quasi empty stomach after a full school day is a very bad idea., but the norm for most.

So no activities at 4 for us, nothing earlier than 530, a 6pm start is even better.

I dont really care if they specialize or not. I like the idea of general exposure, but more importantly, i like the idea that the child is enjoying him/herself, and being enriched. I dont have their career propsects in mind.
(lucky for them, because they arent the best dancers in the world ;-)
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Old 09-09-2014, 02:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by meemee View Post
When dd was younger she wanted more freeplay.

But as she grew older that changed.

We do a LOT of actives because dd is homeschooled now.

When she was in school we kinda worked her activities around school. These days we work school around dd's activities. She is involved in ten activities - one of which is community service too. All of them are once a week with one of them once or twice a month.

Looking back I could never have imagined dd in so many activities - but these are her Passion and it keeps depression away. They have completely changed her and brought out her best.

Until we first started our homeschool journey I did not realize how important other activities would be for her.

And that it could be something she wants to get a degree in.
This is so great. I love that you work school around her activities rather than vice versa. That would ghave the be one of the main benefits of homeschooling.
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Old 09-10-2014, 08:00 AM
 
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This is so great. I love that you work school around her activities rather than vice versa. That would ghave the be one of the main benefits of homeschooling.
gosh. until we started hsing i had no idea how much school was 'killing' her. how much she needs the arts to balance out her interest in academics.

today all her studies are based around infectious diseases. her history project for middle ages is what were the diseases during that time and what did the rich people die of then (fascinating subject, and rich because they would have access to the best 'medical' care). her science project is researching why we dont hear of cancer of the heart. can the heart develop cancer?

however hsing IS a struggle. just to stay on task. and not enough social interaction - for the kind dd wants.

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Old 09-10-2014, 01:58 PM
 
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Actually, i enrolled both boys in art because i felt it would be relaxing and enriching for them. Last night, my ds1 said that doing art at the end of the day was the best part of his day. He was on a high after it, and couldnt stop talking!

I hear you on the challenges of homeschooling, im still in the thinking stages. I think we might try it for my older son when he gets to middle school...or possibly next year. He's 9 now.
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Old 09-10-2014, 05:23 PM
 
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ZERO

I want to see my children at some point during every day of the week. Throughout the years I have either home schooled or chosen private school but my children will not do anything that keeps them away from home and being around family. My 12 yr old did gymnastics for about six months last year for one hour per week and that was hard enough. I have a life too and I want to see my children in the evenings and not spend that time driving them around to events and practices and such. They can still grow up just fine not getting involved in all of that.

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