Sunday, August 07, 2005

Extracurricular Activities

As I'm planning for our next school year, I'm trying to figure out how much is too much, and how little too little, in terms of outside activities.


1) ongoing part-time job for 15-yo (at her Tae Kwon Do school)
2) possible Confirmation classes, if pastor approves (15-yo)
3) ongoing Tae Kwon Do lessons (15-yo and 13-yo)
4) teen service group (ditto)
5) Little Flowers girls' group (ditto)
6) piano lessons (for the 8-yo and 6-yo who haven't had them yet)
7) gym class (also for 8 and 6)
8) swimming lessons (ditto)
9) choral group for 6-yo (who loves to sing)

Too much.

So, the general question I want to pose here is: How do you decide? How many activities do you allow per child? If you have lots of children, do you cut out certain things altogether, or alternate years for kids? And if you have a smaller family, as I do, should you still set stringent limits on these sorts of things to have more time at home, or is it OK to allow the kids to get involved with whatever good activities they like, as long as you can manage it?

Do you set limits based on how long it takes to drive to the location, or how many times it meets each week? And what if you have an obviously gifted child who really would thrive in an extracurricular activity? (I don't, but I'm just wondering about those who do!)

So, feel free to offer the general guidelines that work for your family in choosing outside activities. I'd love to learn from those who also struggle with this -- or those who have it figured out!


shana said...

I have heard of some families that do not allow many extra-cirricular activities, and instead try to do as many things as a whole family as possible.

Personally, I haven't decided yet what we're going to do about extra-cirriculars. I am 'starting' homeschooling this year, however it will not be official until next year, when my son is required to be registered in first grade.

I would love to hear from anyone who has suggestions about homeschooling in general. I am having a difficult time with my son, who is 5. If he were in public school, I know that he would be immediately labeled with ADHD, and put on drugs. However, I believe that he just has a very different learning style, but I cannot seem to have any success getting him pinned down to learn to read. He just wants to play games, and even when I try to play games to teach him, he just wants to do his own thing. Any suggestions?

Love2Learn Mom said...

Love2Learn Mom said...
Many children are not ready to sit down and learn to read (or even begin to learn to read) at age 5. Spending some "floor time" playing with puzzles, building blocks and maybe picture cards wouldn't hurt. Casually introduce the idea of what sound the words on the cards start with. Building attention span in general is a good thing.

You might like to read up on some Montessori philosophy and learning ideas. Click here for some helpful articles

Nancy C. Brown said...

I know some families put a limit, like one or two outside activities per child (until they can drive) for example.
We just try to make a decision based on each child. Sometimes the activity you want them in isn't in the field they excel at, it is in the field they need more work in, or as a balance for some overage somewhere else.
I have just spent the whole summer with a 13 year old who was convinced that she was meant to dance this year, while her father and I thought she was really lucky to have had the chance to dance last year. She has finally accepted our decision (thank the Lord!) but not without a lot of tears. She can't earn the money herself, nor can she drive herself there.
Being in the music field myself, I would say on a practical level that 6 and 8 are too young to start music lessons. 9 is a great age. They have the concentration to handle the 1/2 hour lessons, and to practice. So, right there, I would eliminate that. (Music teachers have a saying, that you can start them at 4 or at 9, and by 10 they're all playing the same. So you can pay a lot and not go far in the early years. Unless you have a musical prodigy, then you could start earlier.)
I think it might be wise to sit down with a calendar, and look at a week, and see what you feel you could handle. Do this before you sign up for stuff! Talk it over with your husband, and pray.

Maureen Wittmann said...

One rule that I have about extracurriculars is that we don't do any before 2 p.m. I need to get our academics in the morning or they don't get done at all. I also try to choose activities that the whole family can do together. A lot of homeschool sports in our city are set up this way. Now, with that said, I now have teenagers and they do need to have some activities of their own. So we set up Teen Wednesdays. On alternating weeks they have Socrates Cafe, Writers' Club, and a reading club. However, the teens participate in activities along with their youngers such as archery.

2nd grade mom said...

>shana said...

>I would love to hear from anyone who has >suggestions about homeschooling in general. I >am having a difficult time with my son, who is 5. >If he were in public school, I know that he would >be immediately labeled with ADHD, and put on >drugs. However, I believe that he just has a very >different learning style, but I cannot seem to have >any success getting him pinned down to learn to >read. He just wants to play games, and even >when I try to play games to teach him, he just >wants to do his own thing. Any suggestions?

I recently went through this in the K year. I decided not to push the phonics and reading yet. She preferred to be read to. Keep reading to him a lot, with a large variety of interesting books (beginning readers are not very interesting) -- stories and non-fiction books about everything under the sun, let him choose books at the library. At ages 4 and 5, one of her favorites were the Magic Schoolbus Books.

Give him lots of hands-on activities and ones involving movement. I agree with Alicia about studying Montessori. I have been reading about it for a couple years and the ideas are very helpful for this type of learner -- especially the idea of following the child's interests.

Enroll him in sports (even more than one). It helps with the energy level and also with discipline -- learning to follow directions. He may begin to realize that If he listens and watches, he can learn new things. (Although there are many things to be learned by exploration too.)

If you keep reading to him a lot and he sees you reading all the time, he will have the desire to read, which will definitely help.