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Feeling frustrated about extracurriculars


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That may sound judgmental or like I am trying to validate my own choices not to participate in the rat race. I don't mean it that way. While I like our schedule, I just get stressed when I am around some of these families because I start to think that I am holding my kids back. Then, I get home and think it through and realize I am doing what is best for us. But, the struggle still pops up at times.

 

I get it. I feel that too. I start worrying that we're not doing enough, or we're doing too much, or we're not doing the right activities, or....you know, right? We live in a community with too many GOOD choices, and it is hard to figure out when to say yes and when to say no.

 

When I compare what we're doing with our family priorities, we're right on track. That's where my thoughts needs to be, constantly. Am I meeting their needs?

 

Enjoy your friends for who they are, be content with your own choices, and move on, even though it's NOT easy to do that. :grouphug:

 

Cat

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It won't matter in 30 years what extracurricular activities your kids do now.

When they're 40 and married with kids and have a mortgage and bills to pay, who will care that they played soccer when they were ten? or that they took a gymnastics class? or that they had music lessons? Yes, some kids will make a career out of these things, but most won't. All that will matter at 40 is that they have a steady income. Extracurriculars are nice, but they just don't matter in the long run. If your child has a passion for something, you will know. There is no holding them back.

 

Continue to do what works for you. Your kids will be fine, and will be better off with a relaxed mom than a stressed out one.

 

I know I am late to the game but I completely disagree with this. There are many thing I did in my younger years that "didn't matter", but that I still have very fond memories of, sports being a big part of that. They matter a great deal to me and if my children are interested in them and I can provide them then I will. One of my biggest regrets as "adult with a steady income" is that I did not carry through with my music lessons as a child. Things like playing an instrument can be very enriching as an adult too. I wan't my children to be responsible adults, but I want them to live rich lives as well.

 

This is the first year that we have really done any extras. We are finding our stride and I find that the extracurricular activities motivate my children in ways that I could not. They enjoy them and we get what needs to get done, done.

 

Maybe your friends aren't doing what you think they should be doing academically, but isn't one of the reasons we homeschool because we don't want others telling us how we should be educating our children? If these families stress you out so much, maybe you need to reduce the amount of time you spend with them?

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I know many people that overdo it with extras for their younger children because they are afraid of missing a window of opportunity. My dd for example plays soccer. She started in 3rd grade which many people in my area considered late. Now, each year she has to try out for the travel team she plays on (even though it is rec, it is the only one in our town for her age bracket.) In the spring she tried out for this fall's U12 team and made it. There was a girl there who had never played before who tried out. She was fairly athletic but just didn't know how to play. After much consideration they let her on the team (park and rec really tries not to turn anyone away).

 

This girl has been practicing and playing but is lost and intimidated. They are way past the point of teaching the basics of the game so she needs to figure that aspect out for herself. She is behind on the learning curve and is considering quitting the team. I would be devistated if that were my dd. My dd loves soccer and would be heartbroken if she couldn't do what she loved to the fullest potential because of missed time.

 

Looking ahead, I know that the competition to make Middle School and High School teams is even more intense. But, soccer is the only thing my daughter does to this level of intensity. She also does Girl Scouts and dance but they fit in as needed.

 

I guess my point here is that many people do not want to have their children miss out on important developmental years so they sign them up for absolutely everything under the sun and see what clicks. It just has to also click for the family as well.

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First grader does piano, cello, Kumon, and Kodaly. I tend to think of it as only two "activities" though -- music and academics. We don't do sports or co-op or homeschool gym because I'm just not that kind of mother, ykwim? I'm not wild about doing _this_ much, what with our religious obligations and two younger kids and one due in less than two months.

 

Some people just have a lot more energy for being up-and-running than I do, and G-d bless 'em.

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OP here. I was not saying that the families are doing a poor job of educating their dc. I did say that I do MORE academics than they do. I know these people. They are my best friends and have been for over a decade. I mentored many of them when they started hsing, and they often still call on me for hsing advice. I KNOW how they school and I do more academically. I cover more subjects, go deeper, require more of my kids, and am more involved in their educations. I spend more of MY day in my school room than any other in the house. These moms don't do much one on one instruction with their kids. They do it differently and not how I would want to or in a way that would work for my kids, but they do educate.

 

What I said is that I don't see how they fit it in and I really don't. When I know their schedules down to what time they get up, wake their kids, and when they leave and return to their houses each day I just can't see where they fit academics in.

 

As for the whole point of this thread, I guess I just struggle with feeling the pull between "we are doing what works for us" and "am I being a bad, selfish mom because I don't like to run ten thousand directions at the same time?" As I said, I KNOW these families. I know that some are rarely home and practically live out of their cars. I know that some rarely have a family meal with the whole family and usually eat whatever mom has stuck in her purse or what is on the dollar menu at various fast food restaurants. I know that some do it to keep up with everyone else (and yes, I struggle with this). Others do it because they think their kids have to be the best at everything. While still others do it because they honestly feel incapable of giving their kids a good education while perhaps I am overly confident that I can. I wasn't speculating as to why "you" in particular do this. I am referring only to the families that I know and what I know are their reasons. And, I simply don't get it. I don't see that their sacrifices of family time and a peaceful environment are worth the rat race. I feel sorry for the exhausted babies and overstressed moms. And, some of the kids have told my kids that they hate some of the activities. I know sometimes they NEED it even if they hate it, but do they really HAVE TO learn to give an award winning oral presentation in middle school if that is not their bent? Do they HAVE TO be in an orchestra if they have no desire to play an instrument? Why? When it all boils down to it, in the case of some of the families I know, it is because they are trying to validate their decision to homeschool by having their dc succeed at everything.

 

That may sound judgmental or like I am trying to validate my own choices not to participate in the rat race. I don't mean it that way. While I like our schedule, I just get stressed when I am around some of these families because I start to think that I am holding my kids back. Then, I get home and think it through and realize I am doing what is best for us. But, the struggle still pops up at times.

right...you see what they cannot. You see the value of downtime, rest and calm.

 

So...

 

STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS!

 

comparisons lead to discontent in me. So I avoid it.

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right...you see what they cannot. You see the value of downtime, rest and calm.

 

So...

 

STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS!

 

comparisons lead to discontent in me. So I avoid it.

 

I would argue that what is necessary is to know the value of the right amount of downtime for your family, which may be quite different from what another family or another kid needs.

 

For what it's worth, despite his busy schedule, my son does have downtime, enough of it to be bored (which I believe is healthy). He loves his activities and finds they recharge him as much as or more than sitting around the house resting would.

 

And I, personally, find comparisons helpful sometimes, if only to clarify my own thinking about a challenge or an issue. ("Why do other moms seem to have enough energy to keep their houses so clean, and I can't? Am I just a failure? Am I lazy? Oh, wait, I see they aren't out of the house doing activities as often as we are. They have more time at home. Should we have more time at home? Is a cleaner house worth giving up activities for us? No? Cool. We'll stick with our approach for now, because it works for us.")

 

But, yes, beyond that point, comparisons can be very unhealthy and unhelpful.

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I think with homeschooling kids actually have a lot more time for extras. If my kids were in school they would have homework, longer days, etc. At home we get done stuff much more quickly and there is no need for school work in the evening at this point (AKA homework).

 

Exactly.

 

One of the reasons my son opted to continue homeschooling instead of going to the public school magnet program was that we explained how much less time he would have for the activities he loves if he were in school all day and doing homework at night.

 

And, therefore, one of the reasons I'm committed to making sure he has opportunities to do all of these activities is that I know how important they are to him and understand that he made this decision largely because we implied a promise he could continue.

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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I would argue that what is necessary is to know the value of the right amount of downtime for your family, which may be quite different from what another family or another kid needs.

 

yes, this is what I was trying to say. I begin to wilt if I am out of the house more than 2-3 times a week. But I have friends who wilt if they stay home too much.

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And, btw, dog training principles aren't far off from child rearing principles...so there's another application for the future.

 

Absolutely. With both of our children, my husband has been the one to teach them to spit stuff out on command (When they have put something in their mouth and we aren't sure what it is, etc). I can't even quite figure out how he did it. He tells me it is just like how they trained their dogs growing up. I am here as witness that It Works.

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Exactly.

 

One of the reasons my son opted to continue homeschooling instead of going to the public school magnet program was that we explained how much less time he would have for the activities he loves if he were in school all day and doing homework at night.

 

And, therefore, one of the reasons I'm committed to making sure he has opportunities to do all of these activities is that I know how important they are to him and understand that he made this decision largely because we implied a promise he could continue.

 

Exactly the same decision here. Ds was looking at taking 2 classes at a Classical Christian School this year. We decided no for the same reasons--and the fact that all the driving would make it hard for me to school Dd and fit in her activities too.

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I'm one of those parents who crams as many extracurriculars as I can into our time and budget. My kids love these things and it's absolutely necessary for my extroverted 11 year old living in a house of introverts. It exhausts me to be honest, but I'll keep doing it as much as I'm able. I do worry about burn out. I worry that it takes away from academics. But I would also worry if we were so focused on academics to the expense of a social life or development of other interests. So I guess there's no way to not worry about feeling inadequate in some way. I am fortunate that my kids are athletic. What sports families go through seems a little insane. I would do it if my kids were really into something but I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm glad they aren't gifted in that particular area. :) So at the moment, our weekends are totally free except for a few recitals and orchestra performances and perhaps the odd Tae Kwon Do testing.

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OP here. I was not saying that the families are doing a poor job of educating their dc. I did say that I do MORE academics than they do. I know these people. They are my best friends and have been for over a decade. I mentored many of them when they started hsing, and they often still call on me for hsing advice. I KNOW how they school and I do more academically. I cover more subjects, go deeper, require more of my kids, and am more involved in their educations. I spend more of MY day in my school room than any other in the house. These moms don't do much one on one instruction with their kids. They do it differently and not how I would want to or in a way that would work for my kids, but they do educate.

 

What I said is that I don't see how they fit it in and I really don't. When I know their schedules down to what time they get up, wake their kids, and when they leave and return to their houses each day I just can't see where they fit academics in.

 

As for the whole point of this thread, I guess I just struggle with feeling the pull between "we are doing what works for us" and "am I being a bad, selfish mom because I don't like to run ten thousand directions at the same time?" As I said, I KNOW these families. I know that some are rarely home and practically live out of their cars. I know that some rarely have a family meal with the whole family and usually eat whatever mom has stuck in her purse or what is on the dollar menu at various fast food restaurants. I know that some do it to keep up with everyone else (and yes, I struggle with this). Others do it because they think their kids have to be the best at everything. While still others do it because they honestly feel incapable of giving their kids a good education while perhaps I am overly confident that I can. I wasn't speculating as to why "you" in particular do this. I am referring only to the families that I know and what I know are their reasons. And, I simply don't get it. I don't see that their sacrifices of family time and a peaceful environment are worth the rat race. I feel sorry for the exhausted babies and overstressed moms. And, some of the kids have told my kids that they hate some of the activities. I know sometimes they NEED it even if they hate it, but do they really HAVE TO learn to give an award winning oral presentation in middle school if that is not their bent? Do they HAVE TO be in an orchestra if they have no desire to play an instrument? Why? When it all boils down to it, in the case of some of the families I know, it is because they are trying to validate their decision to homeschool by having their dc succeed at everything.

 

That may sound judgmental or like I am trying to validate my own choices not to participate in the rat race. I don't mean it that way. While I like our schedule, I just get stressed when I am around some of these families because I start to think that I am holding my kids back. Then, I get home and think it through and realize I am doing what is best for us. But, the struggle still pops up at times.

 

I get what you are saying. I thought the same when my Dc were younger. I still think some of what I see in certain families is overkill. Yes, I do think some of it is validating their decision to homeschool. I get stressed around some families that have an even more hectic schedule than ours, but I try to remind myself we are not all made the same. We all make choices. What we let influence our choices makes a difference.

 

I still think there are some value judgements in your post... "sacrifices of family time and a peaceful environment are worth the rat race" We are not all making those sacrifices. Some of us actually spend time together as a family at our extras (see my previous post). We are enjoying one another and building family memories at those extras. And, it is possible to participate in 4 extras and still have a peaceful environment. I'd also counter that it is even possible to stay home all the time and still live life as a rat race.

 

It does sound like you have a good idea of what works for your family and when you compare, you end up feeling validated in your choices. Some people don't. Just don't let those little doubts nag at you. And try to remember, that what you see in your friends' family, school, and extracurricular lives, doesn't necessarily have to apply to all families who do many extras. We all make choices. What we let influence our choices makes a difference. If fear of failure is the number one motive for those families, then it could be unhealthy. if the parents are monitoring and adjusting outside activities to fit appropriately within their educational philosophy and also allowing for their Dc's particular gifts, talents, and interests, while keeping an eye on finances--and I'll add family time--then that is a healthy approach....whether it results in the same decision made by other families or not.

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Absolutely. With both of our children, my husband has been the one to teach them to spit stuff out on command (When they have put something in their mouth and we aren't sure what it is, etc). I can't even quite figure out how he did it. He tells me it is just like how they trained their dogs growing up. I am here as witness that It Works.

 

:lol:This is a riot! Though not quite what I had in mind!

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This is how I see it:

 

Regular school kids are out of the house at a planned activity M-F from 8:30-2:30. Afternoons are free for play, family time, extra activities, homework, etc.

 

My kids have lots of time to play, have family time, do extra activities, and homework (since everything is homework) in the mornings. And in the afternoon, I like to keep us out of the house at planned activities.

 

IMO it basically evens out, except that I think my kids' planned activities are a lot more fun than 6 hours a day in a school building. :lol: We don't do any homeschooling meetups yet, because most seem to conflict with preschool dropoff and pickup for us (the field trip is 11-1, and I need to pick up DS at 11:30, for example) so we just do regular extracurriculars. DD does gymnastics, ballet, tap, soccer, and girl scouts, while DS does gymnastics and dance.

 

People homeschool for different reasons, and my reasons are purely academic, so it's a priority for me that my kids are out of the house every day doing something with with other children. This works for us, and it hasn't impacted our academics or our family time at all. This is unlikely to change as they get older, as DH doesn't get home from work long after dinner anyway, so our "family meal" is breakfast.

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