We just went through that very painful process that must be undergone every school year – choosing extra-curricular activities. When I was homeschooled there were few activities and resources available.
Nowadays there is so much out there for homeschoolers that we have a very hard time not overscheduling! Band? Dance? Martial arts? P.E.?
Sewing? Drama? Sports? Science activities? Art lessons? Yes to all of it! If only there was enough time and money to try everything. But, there is not. An overscheduled kid is one that misses out on the joys and wonders of childhood. There must be unstructured time to play and discover, particularly outdoors. So what is an ambitious parent to do?
Remember this: Good is the enemy of the best. There are many things that would be good for our kids. Our job is to sift through and find the best. Here are a few guidelines I use personally:
to an activity, a parent needs to enforce practice time and sit in on some lessons to make sure you are getting the most for your money.
We had to put off violin lessons for several years until we could pray for and find a reputable teacher that could come to the house for a reasonable price. My family knows that lots of driving is stressful for me, so that also limits options. Even though my girls are hilarious little actors, drama cannot be an every year activity because it consumes a great deal of time. We have had to take a hiatus from our beloved P.E. programs, Saints International, because the increased workload, as the girls increase in grade, does not leave us enough time to devote three hours a week to it.
We did choose sewing lessons because it is endlessly practical, and very cheap for me, since I open my living room to host our group lessons. Our girls play two instruments, so two lessons per week takes up most of the extra-curricular budget. We are continuing with dance for the
exercise. A note on dance: Dance teachers and studios should be chosen carefully, too. Look for healthy dancewear choices amongst the students and staff. Avoid studios where the girls dress and dance like grown women. Studies show that the over sexualization of young girls leads to body image issues and eating disorders. http://apa.org These are a few of the practical things that we have considered in this year’s schedule.
Empower yourself to say no to lots of good things that do not align with your intentional choices for your family, so that you can afford to say yes to those few excellent choices that will pay off in the end!
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