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« Unschooling Nurture | Main | Autumnal Anxiety »

August 20, 2007

Comments

Summer

I'm torn here. I've found several so fun activities for my oldest son that I've had to cut myself off at 2. And it's not that I want him to be in someone else's care, most of them are parent involved, it's that I want him to have as much fun as possible. And maybe some of it is making up for the "lost social activities" that he would ahve in school.

But on the other hand I've seen a lot paf parents who only interact with their kids during the car trip from one activity to the next. And I wonder how we got so far removed from kids that we not only lock them up all day in a seperate building and away from the world but then we take their free time and schedule them into neat little places with other kids and away from us even more.

Jan

I totally agree that kids are, in general, overscheduled. However, one thing I don't think was touched on in this post was the fact that all kids are different and this has a huge impact on what parents might have their kids involved in.

For example, my son is quite the extroverted type (like me). He's fives years old and unschooled and *enjoys* activities like soccer at the YMCA, art classes, and story time at the library. He loves to get out and join the homeschool group on field trips and meet friends for lunch. My little one is like this too--just like mommy.

So we do *something* five mornings a week--it might be a scheduled activity for him or her based on their interests or just running errands with mom. Then we come home for lazy afternoons...

So I guess my point is that I think whether or not a child is "overscheduled" really depends on two things: 1) whether or not the child is homeschooled or in school (meaning very little family time) and 2) whether or not the child is thriving with these activities.

In our situation, our children are homeschooled so if they have 1 or 2 activities in a day, it's no big deal. There's still time for plenty of swimming, reading together at home, watching TV, etc.. Now, if my children were in school, that would be a different story because there would be no "downtime" for them, and I think that's so important.

In fact, one of the main reasons I'm homeschooling is that I want my kids to be kids and have a childhood. I'm a former public school teacher who thinks school is too structured and doesn't allow children (in many cases) to be themselves.

So I think it comes down to the fact that all kids are different and some really *thrive* with lessons and activities--especially when they're not in school and they have 1 or two things a day and plenty of time to just hang out. That's what we do. I don't plan more than 2 things in a day (usually just one) outside the home. The rest of the time we're hanging out, so I think balance is the key.

JoVE

I don't think homeschoolers are necessarily more involved with their kids than other parents. Some folks use curricula, co-ops and the rest of it to try to ensure the outcome they want just like folks who send their kids to school try to find the best school, best after-school programs, etc.

The key, as I see it, is whether you are looking at the particular child and trying to mentor them to be who they can/want to be, including the relationship with you, or whether you have some external idea of what they are or should be and are trying to get them there. I think this fits with Jan's comment.

Robin

Love these points. Thank you for the reminder. At one point in our lives, I found myself comparing our lives and myself with other homeschoolers/moms. I became self-critical, self-doubtful, and questioned myself too much. I forgot the place we had come to in our lives that was good for us and tried to be and do more than or other than what made our lives right.

Jan

Yeah, you see, with kids' activities, they're in them because they expressed an interest. Right now David is taking music classes because he expressed an interest. It's the same with Tae Kwon Do. Loralei is doing a dance class (25 minutes a week) because she loves to dance and wanted to do a dance with her friend.

So I think it's different than when parents enroll their children in activities that they think they SHOULD be involved in.

We do soccer and basketball every year through the YMCA with David (at his request) and I'm saddened when I see parents forcing their crying kids onto the field.. I've even seen one parent threaten his 3 year old with physical punishment if he didn't get out there and "have fun" that instant. :(

Anyway, I just wanted to share that it really does depend on the child, their interests, their personality, etc.. and of course the talents of the parents involved. :) I don't know how to dance and am TRULY uncoordinated--otherwise I'd teach my children myself!

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