Thursday, October 9, 2008

rethinking our activities

Today was our gymnastics day... but we did not go.

As a homeschooler I fell into the trap of scheduling my kids for every activity they wanted to do... just because I could. We had our days free from a school schedule and our evenings free from homework. Why not fill our afternoons and evenings with activities that provided social opportunities? Well... because this type of schedule left no time for play. At least no time for play without having to cut a playdate short because we had a class to get to.

The kids asked to skip gymnastics again today.... so I figured it was time for a sit down talk. I asked them why they didn't want to go... they loved gymnastics and enjoyed their instructors. Why did they not want to go? They wanted to play, that's why.

We have been very fortunate to have made several friends here who homeschool and have time to play during the day. We have also been very fortunate to have made friends with several families who don't and would like to play in the afternoon/evening. In order to cultivate those friendships, we have got to have time to play. If a friend calls and wants to set up a playdate but we can't find a day that works because we have classes everyday... they'll stop calling. I'm finding that being available for our friends is definitely more important than many of the classes the kids are in.

So, after a discussion tonight with Jeff... going forward, each child will have one "special" activity and a music lesson. Right now Alex's special activity is swim and Clara's is dance. They will be allowed to choose one other activity that is convenient to the other's special activity to do once a week. For example, Alex does martial arts one day while Clara is in dance because it is just on the next block from her dance class and it runs at approximately the same time. Clara will also do swim class on one of Alex's swim days because her level was available at the same time.

So far this week we've had three playdates. Those hours spent playing had greater benefit than any of our miscellaneous activities we run around to. I can't even compare the hour and a half they would have spent in gymnastics to the 3 hours they spent outside with their friends riding their bikes and scooters.

We signed up for a lot of activities after moving here in order to make friends. But now that we have them... I think our focus should be keeping them.

Okay... sorry about that rambling... I just had an epiphany this afternoon and decided to share it! :-)

1 comment:

Tim and Kelly said...

Hello!

I just happened upon your blog and have been enjoying it. I like all your school descriptions and ideas. I am especially taken by the wonderful photography. I would love to be able to look through my camera and do so from a different perspective. Would you mind giving me advice on what camera to own? Also, what courses or books you would recommend on photography?

Thanks in advance for the help!!!

Keep up your blog, it is lovely and inspiring.

-Kelly