Make? No. Totally nonessential.
DD was doing ballet at 7. I started her in mommy and me “preballet” at about 18 months. NOT because I wanted her to be a superstar ballerina. Mainly because it would get us out of the house and give us something fun to do. She looooooved it. So we did that for a while (and also tried swimming and tumbling for fun too — our old town had inexpensive low pressure parks and rec classes in 8 week session). We tried storytime at the library but she was so bored. (It really wasn’t interesting.). The parks were empty during the day. We did go to babywearing meetings but we didn’t really live close enough for those to yield play dates for her. But ballet! It was just the thing.
When we moved here when DD was almost 5, we took some time off, but she was begging for ballet again, so we found a nice local studio that was good and not high pressure. She danced with them until she was 10 and got tired of ballet. At that point, we had four kids and money was right, so we didn’t do any EC other than trips and things with our homeschool group for a couple more years.
DD was 12, and DS1 was 9 when we started doing martial arts at a wonderful studio with homeschool classes. DS1 hadn’t done any ECs until then, but he’s a shyer sort of kid and didn’t like leaving my side. We debated signing DS2 up for them, as he was only 5, but personality-wise, he really wanted to, and since all three could go together in the same class, we signed him up. I would probably not have signed up a 5yo on his own. Maybe if he was asking. Totally not essential. Our current 6yo tried MA with the others when he was 4, but I don’t think he was really ready to be the youngest in a mixed age class, even with as lovely and gentle as our instructor is. He’s a quieter personality than DS2 though.
All that to say, it depends on the situation and the kid. I wouldn’t insist upon it, but I could see encouraging it in the right circumstance. But I would definitely not find it essential. There’s always time for kids to find their passions later. It might also depend on what was available. 8 week rec center classes to try something? I might strongly encourage those, and if we had them, I’d probably heavily suggest to my kids that they try some because kids don’t always know what’s out there. And with homeschooling, sometimes we have to be more intentional about exposing them to things outside of our experiences. How does a kid know he might have a passion for art, music, sports, math, etc. if his parents aren’t really into something? So sometimes we need to make a special point to spread a feast. But when we’re talking about expensive, heavy commitment activities — I think it’s okay not to do those things at 7.
(Does any of my rambling make sense? Lol.)
Edited by happypamama, 12 January 2018 - 12:07 PM.