One of the issues that homeschooling parents face is the dilemma over what extracurriculars to allow our children to participate. Sometimes things sound like fun, but then we get going and burn out halfway through the year because we are over-scheduled. I think the balance issue stems from the stigma that our children do not get enough socialization. For my family and most of my homeschooling friends, this is such a non-issue because we have so many things to choose from in way of co-ops, sports, and clubs that it is hard to figure out which ones our kids really want to choose.
My big kids are dancers. Sissy started at age 2 in a Mommy and Me class, and Bubby started at age five. Dance has a way of taking over our lives…especially in the late spring with pictures, costume fittings, and dress rehearsals leading up to recital. This year has been especially challenging because my kids are attending different dance studios. Each studio is excellent and provides the kids what they need right now. However, the initial scheduling was a bit tricky, and it sometimes makes for an extra cranky Miss Crankles. Luckily, the recitals took place on different weeks, and the nice thing for the big kids was that they got to sit in the audience and watch each other perform. However, in order to make it all work, we scaled back on a few clubs this year. They attended a homeschool theater class this year and started at a new co-op. Sissy took an extra homeschool combination dance class for the first part of the school year, and I enrolled Miss Crankles in a play class so that she didn’t get lost in the shadows of the big kids. I told the kids that to keep us from burning out, especially since we just moved and have still been exploring the area, I wanted to keep it to one activity per day. This worked rather well because we could fit our school work into the day easily and still have time to have playdates with friends or play at home or the park.
Getting through the last few weeks of recital rehearsals, pictures, and recital itself has been a challenge. Add the fact that I still have some anxiety issues probably didn’t help matters any. However, we all got through it. Crankles’ schedule was disrupted some, so we are taking this week to get her back on track and rest from everything. While co-op and some of the other activities are over for the summer, I am not eager to start scheduling things for the summer. The big kids will be taking some dance classes later in the summer, but for the rest of this month, we are taking the month off from activities to focus on being a family, catching up on schoolwork, and organizing the house a bit since we still haven’t finished going through everything from the move (yeah I know it has been 9 months).
The balance issue is a huge deal for me because I have been unbalanced in the past. I get caught up in the whole notion that I shouldn’t be idle. I have a hard time saying no, so I end up volunteering for things or letting the kids do this activity or that workshop. Before I know it, I am burned out, and so are the kids. One of the joys about homeschooling should be a focus on play time. Kids really need to be able to play. If I allow my kids or myself to get caught up in involvement in too many activities, then we don’t have time for play or to explore and imagine. This year that I have taken off from blogging, volunteering, party planning, and everything else has really shown me that I have been missing out on enjoying those activities with the kids. The past few years, I have been feeling old, and with good reason. I have been over-scheduled and not enjoying much of anything. I don’t want to be that unbalanced anymore, and I don’t want to push that lifestyle on the kids either. I want the kids to know that while we have responsibilities, we need to have balance to our lives and enjoy them.
So while I resist the urge to put the kids in lots of camps this summer and try not to let them overdo it with their activities during the rest of the year, I know that I am also allowing the kids to have time to be kids. Balance lets us be able to enjoy the activities in which we participate, and it gives us time to be able to focus on being a family and enjoy playtime and our studies too!