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09-10-2014 04:23 PM
mommy68 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.
09-10-2014 12:58 PM
contactmaya 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.
09-10-2014 07:00 AM
meemee
Quote:
Originally Posted by contactmaya View Post
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.
09-09-2014 01:41 PM
contactmaya
Quote:
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.
09-09-2014 08:37 AM
contactmaya 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 ;-)
09-08-2014 04:40 AM
IdentityCrisisMama
Quote:
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.
09-07-2014 08:24 PM
colsxjack 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.
09-07-2014 07:18 PM
marsupial-mom 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.
08-31-2014 03:16 PM
AAK 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).

Amy
08-26-2014 07:33 AM
IdentityCrisisMama 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.
08-26-2014 06:21 AM
meemee 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.
08-26-2014 04:30 AM
KimPossible129
Quote:
Originally Posted by KSLaura View Post


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.

Quote:
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.
08-25-2014 05:02 PM
luckiest 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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08-25-2014 09:01 AM
KSLaura
Quote:
Originally Posted by KimPossible129 View Post
and many of them just say yes as mommy says "sweetie, you want to go to dancing AND gymnastics, don't you?" And the kid just nods her head.

And conversly, there are children who have been asked to drop an activity or 2 and child begs to continue.

Each family must find the balance that works best for them. Kiddos having panic attacks probably indicates something needs to change.

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. The kids across the street is left to her own devices most days. She's expressed interest in other activities, but her mother won't take her, isn't home, and has no interest in kid activities.

One more point- overscheduling to one person may be underschduling to another. Individual perspective and personality play a pretty big role.
08-25-2014 07:36 AM
NiteNicole The reality is there is just no time in our evenings for extra activities and my daughter has been pretty clear that she already feels almost too busy. She is in violin at school, but practices at home. She does chorus before school. She's in gifted so the academics are challenging, and she has Girl Scouts every other Saturday. That's enough for me and she has been clear it's enough for her. I'm not going to drag her to gymnastics or softball when she doesn't even want to go. She makes every effort to get an hour swimming or otherwise playing outside every evening. It sounds like so little but she is very protective of that "turn my brain off and be silly" time.

I know so many over-scheduled kids and they seem miserable. I am sure some kids thrive in five activities but I don't actually KNOW any. I can understand being pretty devoted to one activity he or she loves or is especially good at, but I don't see the need for extra activities every single day after school as well as Saturdays. I do not understand cutting into sleep or homework for the sake of making sure he or she doesn't "miss out" on anything.

She does try different camps in the summer so if there were anything she LOVED, we might give it a try but so far she has been happy to do dance, karate, etc.
08-24-2014 03:20 PM
KimPossible129
Quote:
Originally Posted by KSLaura View Post
So... does anyone notice a correlation between introverts/limiting activities and extroverts/lots of activities?

Some people (both here and IRL) can't seem to imagine why anyone would want a hectic lifestyle with lots going on.
Actually, the correlation I've seen in real life is that the kids who are introverts are being thrown into multiple activities by their parents. But by and large, most people I know (introverts and extroverts) are over-scheduling their kids. Since I don't know any of you in real life, I can't agree or disagree with what's best for your children and families. I just know what I see in the real and "Facebook" world. It's really overkill for so many people I know.

I agree with the parent who stated that their child really needs to want to do it in order for her to say yes to it. I know at a young age, most kids cannot fully express what they want, and many of them just say yes as mommy says "sweetie, you want to go to dancing AND gymnastics, don't you?" And the kid just nods her head.

I was witness to a child have a full-on panic attack this summer. As the camp nurse, I ruled out anything physiological when she came in gasping for breath. After talking to her for great lengths (in an effort to distract her and calm her done), she basically told me what her life is like. You name the activity, she does it. And she is the best in everything she does. The amazing thing about it is, that she did not see a thing wrong with her lifestyle. But this was the night before she was going home for her session... Back to her wonderful, over-scheduled life.

As a mom of a child with anxiety (and recently added on depression), I'm learning the importance of the balance between structure and down-time. When my dd14 isn't doing anything, she is mopey, unmotivated and anxious about the things that are upcoming. When she's in her activity (musical theatre- drama and singing), she is happy. This is all she wants to do. It's hard to juggle more than one of these activities at a time (with money, my job, hw) so there are times when she has more downtime than she should. Since she's 14, she doesn't "play"; playing is internet/phone, and will eventually become 'hanging out' with HS coming.

I may think it, but I would never tell anyone how many or few things they should have their kids doing. I would just encourage them to listen and closely observe their children's level of comfort and interest in the activities. Don't do it for you (because it's what you always wanted to do as a kid), or for Facebook brag rights, or to keep up with the joneses. You may be putting so much pressure on your child. And they have no idea how to tell you, because they either cannot express it, or are afraid of disappointing you.
08-24-2014 07:54 AM
KSLaura So... does anyone notice a correlation between introverts/limiting activities and extroverts/lots of activities?

Some people (both here and IRL) can't seem to imagine why anyone would want a hectic lifestyle with lots going on.

My family THRIVES on this. All of us. We love being around people and being involved in lots of things. I can't imagine taking my kids home after school every night and just sitting at home. For some reason, that just doesn't seem appealing to me. I can see how introverts might appreciate it, though.

My third grader does 9 hours of gymnastics a week, the kinder does 3 hours a week. Older DD does 1 hour a week of ballet, 1 after school violin lesson per week, once a month girl scout meeting, and will likely perform in the Nutcracker again this year (1 hour a week practice till the show). Younger DD does 2 dance classes per week, and once a month girl scouts.

So, we go straight from school to gymnastics most afternoons. The kids start their homework at school, as soon as the bell rings. They usually have a good 10-15 minutes to work on it before I pick them up. They normally finish homework on the car ride to gymnastics. The kids play/chat with their friends before/after class and during breaks. I chat with the other adults while I watch my kiddos. Its usually my favorite part of the day. I take younger DD home after her class ends, and DH picks up older DD on his way home from work. We usually eat dinner at 7:30 or 8. Honestly, the biggest problem we have is coming up with quick/easy dinners and healthy, non-perishable afternoon snacks. We do a lot of crock pot meals.
08-24-2014 03:55 AM
P.J. My son is now four. When he was three I signed us up for a (pre-) swimming class (that we went to together). He really didn't like it and refused to participate in most of the games, songs and activities. So I decided from now on these extra-curricular activities have to be his idea and not mine. I can present him with ideas but I'm not signing him up unless he's into it. We don't have the money to throw away on courses he's not interested in. I do want him to learn to swim as soon as he's ready, which the instructor reckoned would be at five, so I'll encourage him to try again next year. But besides that I don't mind if he's not in after-preschool courses. He's at preschool from 9-3:30, 5 days/week which is more than enough activity and interaction for a four year old IMO. I think kids are too busy these days and I'm in no hurry to get mine on a tight schedule.
08-22-2014 06:54 PM
Nightwish I limit my kids' activities to two during school year and one in summer. Most of them take place on Saturdays - so evenings are relaxed, but our weekends are crazy.
NiteNicole, I'd rather my kids do arts or sports than homework. They study 6+ hours in school, no need for them to bring work at home. I don't bring work home, why should they?
08-22-2014 12:23 PM
Peony I seem to be in the minority, we do a lot of activities. There are many reasons for this. I was never allowed to do any sports, clubs, hobbies, etc... after school or on weekends as a child and always desperately wanted to do something, anything, besides sitting around the house. And my children thrive and even need their activities. We fell into this rather innocently. Signing up for one class here, one class there, it just snowballed after multiple interests, multiple children.

DD1 has had many interests over the years but now as a middle schooler has firmly decided on only two interests. She is both a competitive gymnast and a competitive snowboarder. We not only allow it obviously, but encourage it. She is severely dyslexic with an anxiety disorder. School is torture for her everyday, but sports is where she thrives. She throws her entire heart and soul into them. She trains many, many hours a week, has little free time, but refuses to give up anything.

As I've had more children, they have wanted to do their own thing. DD2 is 7 and in 2nd grade. She takes a tumbling class once a week, and then we drop into karate 2-4 nights a week as our schedule allows. She is starting to show her own signs of a struggle with anxiety but becomes so confident in karate. She is working on her purple belt and was asked to be part of a karate demonstration team over the summer. The training for that has been minimal. She is heavily into dance. I'm almost scared to say how many classes she is signed up for this fall, I'm not really sure anymore. It is a lot. She is on a little mini dance team for the first time this year as well. Her favorite is hip hop and break dancing but she loves her musical theater classes as well.

My only other child that is old enough to have his own after school schedule also has ASD and other issues. We use some activities like therapy. Ballet is amazing for his low tone legs. Gymnastics helps with his balance. Karate helps with his motor coordination and vocalization.

I guess in a nutshell, we don't just do sports just to keep busy. Sometimes they are therapy or better then some therapies for some kids. Gymnastics has helped DD1 so much that our local city called last week and asked to do a story on her and how far she has come.
08-22-2014 02:57 AM
Wild Lupine NiteNicole, how much homework do your kids get? Do you feel it is an age-appropriate amount? Mine get a packet for the week, which allows them to do it when it suits their schedules. They do their HW on afternoons they don't have activities.
08-21-2014 07:35 PM
limabean NiteNicole, what time does your DD get home from school? My kids get out at 2:30 (and 1:00 on Wednesdays), so although our sports nights are busy, they're not unmanageable.

DD's gymnastics is easy -- one hour every Saturday morning and that's it.

Now that DS is getting older, his baseball takes up more time -- usually 2 midweek practices and a Saturday game. The practices typically start at 5:00, so DH comes home a bit early from work and takes him. So between 2:30 and 5, DS does his homework, has a snack, plays, and then has a light dinner or another big snack right before practice. Practice goes until about 6:30, then he still has 2 hours before bed to shower, eat if he's hungry, and do whatever he wants.
08-21-2014 09:19 AM
NiteNicole I don't know how people manage after school activities. By the time my daughter gets off the bus, does her homework, eats, and showers, there is very little time for anything else like playing and kids need to just play sometimes. Every single moment of the day does not have to be productive. It sounds exhausting. Last year she broke down sobbing the second week of school because she said she felt like her brain never got to rest at all, all day long, so we moved her bedtime back by half an hour to get her ONE free HALF hour on week days. It's not even like she has tons of homework.

She does Scouts every other weekend and takes violin at school. She has to practice on weekends and "light" homework nights, and she does chorus before school one day a week. I thought about adding cheer on Friday nights and gymnastics during the week because she's been asking and I'm so glad I didn't. She is SO tired by 8.30 every night, I don't know how we'd fit in another hour (hour and a half including drive time) anywhere in the week. She'd hate it.

I'm not criticizing, its great that other people can manage all that, I just can't imagine how.
08-19-2014 06:07 PM
Melinda1980 A hectic life is not something I am comfortable with. Ive told my kids they can each choose one activity. So far only my DD (9) was playing soccer, which is practice one night a week then a game on Saturday. The new season starts in a few weeks and my DS (7) has decided to play also and will have the same schedule, tho his practices might be a different night. In the Spring I let DD do Glee also but it was only one day a week right after school for an hour so it really didnt impact our schedule at all.
08-15-2014 04:53 AM
meowmix Wow.. I came back to this thread because we are crazy and got busier. This fall:
DD1 is in horseback riding still, she will play soccer (2 practices and 1 game a week) and still has her business. She will also be in Odyssey of the Mind, I'm sure, because we love the program. And she plays viola at school.
DD2 will be in field hockey (2 practices and 1 game a week), girl scouts and also Odyssey of the Mind.
My homeschooled son will continue DJing (which takes up most of his free time), play soccer (2 practices and one game a week), he'e also in a homeschool book club this year and his studies will be more rigorous since he plans on going to high school at this time, so we want to keep up with the high school schedule.
My husband will be assistant coach for DD2 so that saves me some driving to practices since he will be there.
I plan on training my dog and taking her through agility so that will take up some of my time. And I'm hoping to pick up a class again to work on my degree at some point.

I don't know how we're going to juggle all these sports practices. I love kids' sports, though and am looking forward to our busy, crazy fall.
08-14-2014 04:26 PM
Tella just guitar classes after school
08-14-2014 09:33 AM
leahr DD9 Has been doing gymnastics and horseback riding for about 4 years. Only once a week for each. she just started the clarinet which is once a week lessons but practice everyday. This spring she did Softball and is starting soccer here in a couple of weeks. Softball was a lot 2 practices a week and 2 games that schedule had her doing something every night of the week. Soccer is only one practice and one game which should be easier. I know this is alot and more than most people would do but DD is good at all of it and likes to do it all I don't put any pressure on her except when she makes a commitment to some one else. If you join a team sport you have to finish the season but you don't have to sign up again next year.
05-23-2014 11:26 AM
pastamama

2nd grader: scouts and piano. He did 3 last year, he was in a boys choir as well, but 3 was just too much. 

kindergartener: 1, dance. She will start piano this summer and is doing gymnastics for summer instead of dance, but we will keep it to 2 for her in the fall. 

05-17-2014 08:25 PM
JudiAU

One or nothing. School and homework for school are enough. He likes a lot of down time for his interests (drawing/reading/fantasy play/etc.). I can't even imagine how kids handle the schedules I I hear about. My kids are even tv-free and still never have enough free time.

05-17-2014 12:39 PM
Skippy918 My kindergartner has been doing gymnastics for awhile and we just started a summer swim team. The swim team is sucking up a lot of my evenings and Saturday mornings, but he's loving it so far.
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