Monday, October 28, 2013

Balancing All the Extracurriculars


Horse Riding, Tap Dance, Swim Lessons, Chess Club, Basketball, Music Lessons ... the list can go on and on and on.  Add in some field-trips to pumpkin patches and museums (either with your local homeschool group or on your own).  Add in a casual social life, so you have a few playdates and birthday parties and so forth, and your life as a parent becomes a juggling act of running around all over town and spending more time in your car than you do at home.

I don't want to live like that.  I don't want to spend more time in my car than I do in my home.  And yet, I do want my kids to have some of it.  Some lessons, some social life, some field trip adventures.

We were trying to limit it to 2 extracurriculars per child.  Pick your two things you want to do - is chess club more important to you or is basketball?  But then things came up that I wanted them to stick with - music lessons can not just be started, stopped, and then started again because you wanted to try out a 6 week pottery class.  That isn't fair to the teacher and it's not a disciplined way to learn an instrument.  So we ended up with more than 2 activities per child.

And that rule wasn't helping me with field trips and play dates.  What is the right number there?  And is it fair to my kids to homeschool them and then deny them a chance to see their friends?

So I'm going to try something different.  Instead of putting limits on outside the home time, I'm going to lay out what I want to accomplish at home.  In other words, I'm starting with the positive vision of what I want rather than the negative vision of what I don't want.  I'm putting my time at home on my calendar.  How much time do we need for chores, schoolwork, family time, and resting?  I'm writing that all down on my calendar as though it were an appointment.  And then if there is space left on the calendar, it's fine to schedule all that other stuff in.  But at least I protected the time for what needed to be done at home.

How do you balance it all?  Share your ideas here!

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