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Is this just nuts? Time management and extra curriculars


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I'm not sure how it happened. We just got back from guitar lessons, and I have a new keyboard/piano in my house. To top it off dd and her instructor were talking about her taking voice too.

 

So now if the schedule holds true we will have freshman year of high school M-F.

2 hours of dance lessons on Monday

1.25 hours of tai chi on Tuesday evening

2 hours of dance lessons on Wednesay

1- 1.5 hours of drama club on Thursday

1 hour guitar and piano lessons on Friday

 

I suppose she could take voice Tuesday afternoons.

 

Am I crazy for allowing this?

 

Oh, and there was some talk at the end of the dance year of having dd go to the other studio (2 hours round trip) for a 5th dance class which would have to be on a Tuesday afternoon. Then voice would have to go after guitar and piano. So there is potential for more crazy.

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So now if the schedule holds true we will have freshman year of high school M-F.

2 hours of dance lessons on Monday

1.25 hours of tai chi on Tuesday evening

2 hours of dance lessons on Wednesay

1- 1.5 hours of drama club on Thursday

1 hour guitar and piano lessons on Friday

 

 

dance lessons twice a week works out to about daily practise of 1hr on non-lessons day unless dance is for relaxation only.

guitar and piano also requires 30mins of practice time each per day for improvement.

Drama club would also need more time for practising for annual play and stuff.

Add in travelling time and it would be do-able but very tiring.

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Too much for a freshman. Her studies need to have #1 priority for a good foundation for high school. Besides, you want to cram as much into her brain now as possible before the crazy time starts with driver's ed, jobs, test prep, and college applications.

 

I would keep the current dance classes (if she really loves them), but not add in the new one.

I would drop the tai chi - she can watch videos for that at home, if she wants to continue.

Guitar, piano, vocal instruction are all good things, but three at once is too much. I would limit it to two. She needs time to practice so she can progress. It sounds like she just started piano anyway, right? Maybe this year she does guitar and piano, and next year she can reevaluate.

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2 hours of dance lessons on Monday

1.25 hours of tai chi on Tuesday evening

2 hours of dance lessons on Wednesay

1- 1.5 hours of drama club on Thursday

1 hour guitar and piano lessons on Friday

 

 

It does looks a tad much to me, but I can see a red thread, and the things are not completely unrelated. She is the one who wants to be a dancer, right? So dance is clearly the main focus. As a dancer, music instruction and drama tie directly into her interest. You can treat those very well as one multifaceted approach to a dancing/music theatre career.

 

What is her goal with the instruments? If she wants to develop proficiency, I would focus on one instrument. If it is just for fun and general exposure, fine.

 

The tai chi is a bit "extra". Why is she doing this? Is that valuable to her, or did it "just happen"?

 

For comparison, here are DD's extracurriculars:

choir -2 times per week, total of 3 hours per week

horseback riding - 3-4 times per week, 5+ hours total, more with shows

physics tutoring - one night per week, 2.5 hours (plus monthly training sessions and prep)

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Is her goal of being a dancer realistic? I'm only asking because I remember friends whose daughter was a dancer, and by high school she practically lived at the dance studio and was told that anything less wouldn't get her where she wanted to be. But I know that there are different types of dance and different careers within that as well. But I would set up a talk with her dance instructor(s) to get their input on what her high school years should/could look like. I'd also keep in mind that their opinion isn't impartial as they may gain financially from her lessons, but it's a place to start. Maybe some open ended questions like what school after high school would you recommend for my daughter?... See if they list schools with great dance departments - or something like that. I don't know enough about dance to know what questions to ask, but I'm sure someone else here would. : )

 

If she's really talented as a dancer and the performances and music all tie in with her goals, and they're realistic, then I'd be more flexible and allow her to try her interests as long as she kept up with the academics as well. My guess is that as others have mentioned, it will be too much with a college prep type of high school schedule, but a lot would depend on her own motivation and time management. Is she still 13 years old? If so, you can always give it a go next near, and if it proves to be too much, you can let her take two years to do the 9th grade work and let her sort out her priorities. She'd still be graduating at 18. I try not to set any limits, but I do try to keep a plan B or C in mind in case it's needed.

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Chucki,

 

Only you know if you are crazy for "allowing" this.

 

What are your dd's goals and what are your goals? If you can see the "red thread" as regentrude mentioned and each of these activities is a "must," nothing is too much of a financial stretch, no other child's needs go unmet, you aren't going crazy from driving 1000 miles a week, the house isn't falling down around your ears, your daughter has some time for friends and responsibilities and both yours and your dd's schoolwork gets done, then have at it. :D

 

You are the example that your children are learning from right now with regards to learning how to be a good steward of their time, money, and energy.

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I would make sure I was doing the best thing for her academic needs first, then focus on interests, then social outings. I would also reflect and make sure I wasn't trying to be involved in so much to make up for being in a more isolated location (not saying you are, but I'm in a small town with limited opportunities - we overcompensate the other way - with less activities).

 

Personally, I think being out of the house 5 days a week and trying to ramp up to high school level studies is not a good mix.

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It does looks a tad much to me, but I can see a red thread, and the things are not completely unrelated. She is the one who wants to be a dancer, right? So dance is clearly the main focus. As a dancer, music instruction and drama tie directly into her interest. You can treat those very well as one multifaceted approach to a dancing/music theatre career.

 

What is her goal with the instruments? If she wants to develop proficiency, I would focus on one instrument. If it is just for fun and general exposure, fine.

 

The tai chi is a bit "extra". Why is she doing this? Is that valuable to her, or did it "just happen"?

 

For comparison, here are DD's extracurriculars:

choir -2 times per week, total of 3 hours per week

horseback riding - 3-4 times per week, 5+ hours total, more with shows

physics tutoring - one night per week, 2.5 hours (plus monthly training sessions and prep)

Yes, dance is the main focus.

 

She has taken guitar for 2 years and knows everything her teacher can teach her about it. This is the only teacher in the area I'm comfortable with. So the piano will give her another instrument for music. The same teacher will be teaching her. They will go over any issues with guitar, play together for a bit then move on to piano for an actual lesson. I'm thinking we will be there 45-60 minutes. I would say for fun and general exposure.

 

The TaiChi is so etching we do as a family. We've been doing it almost 3 years now.

 

Dd would spend roughly the same amount of time on lessons and practice as your dd. I'm thinking the drive to the 5th lesson will be too much for me. Maybe not her, but for me that is a distinct possibility

 

Drama club has a few weekend intensive classes from September to December. Auditions are in January and the performance is in the end of may. So it would not start out super intense. .

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Chucki,

 

Only you know if you are crazy for "allowing" this.

 

What are your dd's goals and what are your goals? If you can see the "red thread" as regentrude mentioned and each of these activities is a "must," nothing is too much of a financial stretch, no other child's needs go unmet, you aren't going crazy from driving 1000 miles a week, the house isn't falling down around your ears, your daughter has some time for friends and responsibilities and both yours and your dd's schoolwork gets done, then have at it. :D

 

You are the example that your children are learning from right now with regards to learning how to be a good steward of their time, money, and energy.

 

Her goals are to major in performing arts with an emphasis in dance, and probably some education and business courses. Ultimately she wants to teach children to dance.

 

I don't know what the red thread is.

 

Surprisingly the music teacher isn't charging extra. The voice teacher and the 5th dance (which I'm leaning to not doing after thinking about it realistically.) would cost extra.

 

She is an only. It is just she and I all day long. I'm fairly sure we can do academics between 8a and 3p each weekday. It is just the two of us so I'm thinking we can get a lot accomplished.

 

I'd rather to teacher her to be productive than to sit around on her bum all day.

 

 

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Her goals are to major in performing arts with an emphasis in dance, and probably some education and business courses. Ultimately she wants to teach children to dance.

 

I don't know what the red thread is.

 

 

The red thread mentioned by regentrude is dance, music and drama. Her core in your extracurricular lists would be dance. Music and drama would support that core. Tai-Chi is both relaxation and an art form though I don't think the college admission would think of it as "art appreciation"

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Is her goal of being a dancer realistic?

 

 

It isn't so much a goal as who she is and what she does. She is a dancer. She may not ever dance with the NYCB, but she will dance. This is what she tells me. Not the other way round.

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The red thread mentioned by regentrude is dance, music and drama. Her core in your extracurricular lists would be dance. Music and drama would support that core. Tai-Chi is both relaxation and an art form though I don't think the college admission would think of it as "art appreciation"

 

 

Maybe PE. We've advanced enough that we will soon be learning the martial applications.

 

As for the red thread I think I get what you are saying. I'm not familiar with the use of the term.

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I'd rather to teacher her to be productive than to sit around on her bum all day.

 

 

Hmmm.

 

As a country we, especially women, are very good at busy and breathless. We are not always so good at "productive." There actually is a difference.

 

There are many board members who do not have the resources to have their children involved in half a dozen activities and yet that doesn't mean those kids are sitting around on their bums all day.

 

I am old enough to remember life before everyone jumped in their cars to drive little Suzi four places a day every day and dropped enough money on activities to support a small third world country. There were some kids that were bored and getting into trouble and there were some kids that were doing chores, playing music, sewing things, and building things. Sometimes a little time and a little boredom lead to far more personal resourcefulness and resilience.

 

You sound like you have it all under control, so I am not really addressing this part to you, but doing a bit of thinking out loud about what I see in the area I live in. Here, "busy" and "breathless" is a way of life, a badge of honor. I enjoyed it for a few years, but now I see a difference. You can run breathlessly towards activities that bring value and joy into your life or you can breathlessly run away from life and who you are by running towards those same activities and filling every minute. It is important to know the difference and to pass that information along to our kids.

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It sounds like she has a great goal that's also realistic. And it seems her activities support that goal. You can always give it a go and as long as she can really focus on her studies during the day, it might very well work. You'll know as the year progresses if there needs to be any changes. But with the goal of her own business, I definitely would keep good academics as a goal as well as the dance, performance and music. Could her piano/guitar be switched to Tuesday or a different day? That would give you Friday free. Some schedule high school for four days a week and use Fridays for catch-up if needed.

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She may not ever dance with the NYCB, but she will dance.

 

As long as she understands that dancing two days a week will not provide a sufficient basis for a ballet career -- it sounds like your schedule is reasonable for a well-rounded theater arts student. I also kind of thought the tai chi was the extra activity to be dropped, but it sounds like it's a wonderful group activity for the family, so....if you have the energy for this schedule -- go for it!

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It sounds like she has a great goal that's also realistic. And it seems her activities support that goal. You can always give it a go and as long as she can really focus on her studies during the day, it might very well work. You'll know as the year progresses if there needs to be any changes. But with the goal of her own business, I definitely would keep good academics as a goal as well as the dance, performance and music. Could her piano/guitar be switched to Tuesday or a different day? That would give you Friday free. Some schedule high school for four days a week and use Fridays for catch-up if needed.

 

 

Great idea and it would allow for a cushion of space in case of illness or even a need for an extra practice before a performance.

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There are many board members who do not have the resources to have their children involved in half a dozen activities and yet that doesn't mean those kids are sitting around on their bums all day.

 

 

 

 

I was not thinking of any particular board member other than myself when saying what I did. In fact I am not privy to what the vast majority of board members do all day as I'm only in contact with one particular member on a regular basis.

 

I meant no offense.

 

I'm lucky in where I live that these lessons are inexpensive. If I were in a large city I would not be able to afford all she does. I understand that what I pay for all of dd's current lessons would be close to what someone else may pay for one single weekly lesson.

 

We both spend a great deal of time bored. There are no neighborhood kids to play with. Everything must be scheduled due to distances. I can't begin to tell you how much time either of us spends on the computer searching for things to relieve the boredom. (Have you seen my post count?)

 

Unfortunately dd is an only child. Not by design. If she wants to see someone other than her parents we must leave the house.

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I was not thinking of any particular board member other than myself when saying what I did. In fact I am not privy to what the vast majority of board members do all day as I'm only in contact with one particular member on a regular basis.

 

I meant no offense.

 

I'm lucky in where I live that these lessons are inexpensive. If I were in a large city I would not be able to afford all she does. I understand that what I pay for all of dd's current lessons would be close to what someone else may pay for one single weekly lesson.

 

We both spend a great deal of time bored. There are no neighborhood kids to play with. Everything must be scheduled due to distances. I can't begin to tell you how much time either of us spends on the computer searching for things to relieve the boredom. (Have you seen my post count?)

 

Unfortunately dd is an only child. Not by design. If she wants to see someone other than her parents we must leave the house.

 

 

I can see with the above information why your intended schedule makes good sense for both of you. Either it will be fantastic or if either of you feel a bit of burnout, you can tweak it and all will be well. If I were in your shoes, I am fairly sure I would be doing the same thing.

 

And I apologize for having a knee-jerk reaction. I have had crazy years and a lot of good things have come out of them. The year I decided that I could have three kids in club swimming with three different practice schedules, two kids in track, one in football, two, I think, in music lessons, and two in cub scouts, while dh traveled a lot was definitely a mistake. They were all worth-while activities, but we ended up making a priority list and a few of them went away. Sometimes it is hard to know where the line is that allows you to stay balanced.

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I say as long as you have the resources to pay for it, and if that schedule doesn't stress you out, it seems reasonable to me....and leaves time for academics and being bored. If she is that serious about dance though, I'd probably try to find a way to fit that extra dance class in there, even if it meant doing away with something else...

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I think you will be fine. If you have a seriously motivated kid, school can be done in about an hour per subject per day -- including most (though not all) AP's! (And if you put off math for the summer, that gets you an extra hour per day to finish up those other subjects!)

 

What we did -- My kids were crazy-busy. We do math over the summer so that the kids have more time during the school year for their activities. My kids did their school-work super-efficiently -- when they worked they worked and when they did EC's they did EC's. They did not have the time to goof off or do long leisurely projects. They each chose busy-ness over leisure, and they were willing to work hard for the privilege of having all the extra EC's. They have had no regrets.

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We both spend a great deal of time bored. There are no neighborhood kids to play with. Everything must be scheduled due to distances. I can't begin to tell you how much time either of us spends on the computer searching for things to relieve the boredom. (Have you seen my post count?)

 

Unfortunately dd is an only child. Not by design. If she wants to see someone other than her parents we must leave the house.

(Apologies in advance; the 'Enter' key isn't working for me.) Chucki, as a mother of another 13 year-old only child living in the sticks with no neighborhood friends, I completely understand. This is us exactly. My daughter does just as many extra-curricular activities, but I do struggle with balancing it all. I cut back on activities this year because I needed to be home more, and we were only out of the house two days per week. Big mistake! Next year we'll be out of the house four days per week. I'm worried about the ramp up in studies for 9th grade, but she needs to interact with other people most days of the week.

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Am I crazy for allowing this?

 

Oh, and there was some talk at the end of the dance year of having dd go to the other studio (2 hours round trip) for a 5th dance class which would have to be on a Tuesday afternoon. Then voice would have to go after guitar and piano. So there is potential for more crazy.

 

You may be asking the wrong person, if you include me in the conversation.

 

I have one of those happier-when-busy kids.

 

The way I add it up, that's a baseline (not counting the voice lesson or the extra dance class) of under eight hours per week, right? Just for purposes of comparison, my son had the following his freshman year:

 

Monday - choir rehearsal, 2.0 hours

Monday - tap class, 1.0 hour

Tuesday - voice lesson, .75 hour

Tuesday - tap class, 1.0 hour

Thursday - robotics, 2.0 hours

Saturday - theatre rehearsal, 3.5 hours

Sunday - museum volunteering, 4 hours every other week

 

So, it was a baseline average of a little over 12 hours a week, not counting choir performances (about one per month) or additional choir or dance rehearsals (ditto) or end-of-the-year performance prep . . .

 

Robotics and the Saturday rehearsals were over after the fall semester. However, in the spring, he did three community theatre productions back to back, each of which rehearsed for about 10 - 12 hours per week, mostly on weekday evenings.

 

This year, he has:

 

Monday - choir rehearsal, 2.0 hours

Monday - tap class, 1.0 hour

Tuesday - ballet class, 2.0 hours

Wednesday - tumbling class, strength and conditioning class, tap team rehearsal, assistant teaching two tap classes, 4.5 - 5.0 hours

Thursday - museum volunteering, 3.0 hours every other week

Friday - tap team choreography sessions/pre-competition rehearsals, 2.0 hours once per month

Saturday/Sunday - museum volunteering, 5.0 hours once per month

 

Choir is a little lighter this year, because they aren't preparing for a tour like last year. They've performed only every other month or so and also had fewer extra, Saturday morning rehearsals. However, in the fall, he did a show, also, which had rehearsals on Saturday afternoons for three or four hours. The dance studio also did their first holiday production, which required extra weekly rehearsals and which they performed several times at different venues around town. And this spring he's been doing dance competions for the first time. So, it probably more than makes up for the lighter choir schedule.

 

He's looking to seriously ramp up dance for next year (if we can figure out how to afford it). And we've found that requiring him to maintain certain grades before he's allowed out the door to go to dance class has done wonders for his GPA. So, clearly this is a schedule that works for him.

 

The one thing I'd say is that your daughter may find she needs to streamline or focus a bit more in the pretty near future. For example, we found it nearly impossible to balance the theatre and dance committments this fall. My son came close to losing the lead role he'd been rehearsing for three months when we were unable to resolve a conflict with a dance performance in the show's favor (a problem of which we had warned the director before she even cast the kid), resulting in several days of drama and stress while we worked out a compromise. And if it turns out your daughter really has a passion or talent for any one of the things in which she's involved, you may find that all of her available hours begin to be claimed by that one activity, requiring her to sacrifice others if she wants to progress.

 

I worked hard to hold off that inevitability for as long as possible, wanting to give my son lots of time to explore and try different things before narrowing the field. In his case, it happened pretty naturally this year (10th grade) when he decided on his own that he was willing to give up other things if it meant more time in dance. He still feels a little wistful about theatre, and went through a phase a few weeks ago when he started saying he was really itching to do a show, because it had been too long. However, when given the choice between auditioning for the summer stock production at a local youth theatre or going for the dance intensive at a local college, he went for the dance program with barely a backward glance. (He did waver just briefly, when a few of his friends posted on Facebook about being cast in the show and he still had to wait to even audition for the intensive. We did have a couple of weeks of what-iffing. But, once the dance acceptance came through, he was happy as a clam again.)

 

So, especially given your comments about being bored and lonely in the house, I say, if you can afford the time and money (and energy) to run her around and she's happy doing it, go for it! My only suggestion is to prepare her for the fact that it may not be too long before she has to start focusing on one or two activities and giving up on some of the others, so she doesn't take for granted that she'll be able to continue all of them indefinitely.

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Thanks Jenny.

 

Right now due to this being a small town the director's dd's are also in dance. Dance here is only open Monday and Wednesday because the studio owner travels to another small town and teachers there three days a week. So the drama club person schedules everything around dance so the kids can do both.

 

I expect when dd get to college in a big city she will keep up the dance lessons at an off campus studio, but won't have the time to devote to the acting.

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Dd consistently spends at least 14 hours and usually 20+ in a combination of voice, guitar, showchoir, theatre, and dance. Yes, I am constantly asking, "are we nuts". We feel hardest it in December and May/early June when the performances and holiday/year end stuff really challenge stamina. Dd takes it in stride.

 

It is doable, but it does require respecting time for academics. They go hand in hand.

 

Being in the performing arts teaches a great deal: how to handle rejection/praise, presentation/speaking skills, meeting deadlines, being organized, working with others for common goals, persistence (and finding enthusiasm) in repetitive tasks, how to negotiate/compromise, how to advocate for oneself, how to think on your feet, how to solve problems before an audience, memorization techniques, how to comply graciously with the demands of others, long term planning, and how to manage time/health. You have to learn to be reliable, resilient and sometimes remarkable (even if you feel terrible).

 

I try to remember some these lessons are as valuable as the contents of the next chapter and carry over into an understanding of the work required to master academics pursuits. Performing under pressure and learning to manage stress is always a plus. For example, Dd doesn't question the need to edit her writing, she sees the work that goes into a production and equates the two.

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This is one of those questions only you can answer. Some thoughts that might help with the process....

 

Are you the only driver? Are there any options for carpool? What happens if you are "out of service" and can't drive (illness, car trouble, your own time conflict)?

 

Can dd keep up her studies with this schedule? Are you willing or able to school year round to take some pressure off the day to day? Will any of these activities lead to college or career opportunities?

 

Is this how you want your family to be and to look like? Some families seem to be energized by schedules that are full. Others seem to be drained. Will this bring your family closer and help your children and marriage be enriched or will it distract from your family goals?

 

And, is this for a limited season? Will this be something you will do for a defined period of time? We will do XY and Z for 8 weeks then it will be over. Or is this long term? Are you prepared for the long haul (again, time constraints, carpool, school, etc)?

 

Is there enough margin to allow for stress management, health, etc.?

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Aside from the issue of what is too much for the parents to handle...and do take that into account because you can't support all the extras and school if you are overwhelmed...

 

Based on just completing Clemmie's freshman year and watching some of her friends, I have the following thoughts:

 

1)This is possible, it really depends on the kid. Not knowing your dd I won't try to assess that.

 

2)If she intends to go to uni and get the credentials to be a dance teacher then she needs to remember to keep her academics a priority so she can have some choices in a few years.

 

3)Freshman year is overwhelming. The academics, pressure, and life seem to come at light speed. I'd sit down with her this summer (after you've made your plans) and discuss what classes she needs and how many hours that will take. How will she make the most use of her time to finish class work, do the extras, do the practices for the extras, stay fit, sleep enough, and have some fun? It can help when you actually lay out the day by the hour and then start to fill the blocks. (Not that math has to be everyday at 10am but rather a sense of you have 24 hours in a day-x for sleeping, x for eating, x for chores, x for school, x for fun, x for exercise, x for ...) Then set up a back up plan-if life starts to go bad what will be dropped 1st? Which lesson, practice, or academic class will go to keep the rest up to standards and functioning? (Yes, in theory you could drop a class and do it as "summer school".) As a side note you might want to consider your various contracts for the extras. IF one of them becomes too much can you handle any associated financial obligation/loss or could you make a prior arrangement with the provider should this occur?

 

Hope none of that comes off as criticism, it's not meant to. Rather a list of what I watched or went through in the past year and is (IMHO) worth considering as you plan.

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Totally keeping the following in mind and understanding this as a discussion, not a challenge:

 

Hope none of that comes off as criticism, it's not meant to. Rather a list of what I watched or went through in the past year and is (IMHO) worth considering as you plan.

 

This comment really jumped out at me:

 

How will she make the most use of her time to finish class work, do the extras, do the practices for the extras, stay fit, sleep enough, and have some fun?

(Bolding mine.)

 

I think something that frequently gets lost in these conversations is the fact that, for kids who are really into their extracurriculars, participating in those activities is their fun. Yes, it's work. Yes, the practice isn't laugh-a-minute frivolity. But, in the grand scheme of things, they love these classes and rehearsals and would rather do them than the more "normal" things other kids might think of as leisure activities.

 

For example: My son just came off a very busy weekend. He had a dress rehearsal for his dance recital on Friday night. This happened to coincide with the year-end party for his church youth group (made up mostly of his best friends), and attending the rehearsal meant missing the first two and a half hours of the event. He didn't grumble and simply made sure he was packed and ready to go as soon as we got home from rehearsal. He did schoolwork all day, rehearsed from 5:30 - 8:00 and attended the party from 8:45 until about 1:00 a.m.

 

He came home to sleep, and was up again in time to shower and dress and have breakfast and go to a choir rehearsal from 9:30 until noon on Saturday morning. He was home again long enough to eat lunch and relax for a bit before packing up his costumes and getting to the theatre in time for his 3:00 call. The recital ran long, in part because a pretty serious rainstorm created a leak that required the stage be mopped in between each of the dances in the second act. (He volunteered to do most of the mopping.) He performed in three regular dances and in the multi-song production number that opened the show. He also served as prompter for the two classes in which he has assisted this year. The show finally wrapped at about 8:30, after which we took him to dinner to celebrate. We got back to the house shortly after 10:00.

 

He did sleep in on Sunday morning, but on Sunday afternoon he was back at the cathedral that hosts the choir at 4:00, doing two hours of rehearsal and warm-up. They sang their year-end evensong, which also ran unusually long due to presentations of various awards and announcements. They finished singing at 7:30, did a brief photo session for some promotional materials, and made an appearance at the reception. Our family ducked out as quickly as we could, because we wanted to make it home in time to watch the Tony Awards. He fell into bed sometime after 11:00.

 

I woke him at 8:00 this morning, because he still has a few weeks of school to finish up, and we're hoping he can scoot through that before he hits tech week for the end-of-program performances for his dance intensive. I was moving around in something of a haze following the events of the weekend and was thinking how nice it was not to have too much on my plate today. My son, on the other hand, was making wistful statements by lunchtime about the fact that he didn't have choir rehearsal or dance class to attend tonight. I reminded him that all four of us -- the whole family -- would be home to have dinner together for a change, and he said that was nice, of course, but still made him a little sad, since that could happen only because he didn't have the other activities to attend.

 

I made his favorite dinner, and we watched a movie of his choice. But it was clear that he still would have been happier rehearsing. Even after a weekend that was nearly chock full of rehearsals and performances that I expected would leave him exhausted, he would have been happy to do more, because, for him, those things are more fun than anything else he does.

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I think something that frequently gets lost in these conversations is the fact that, for kids who are really into their extracurriculars, participating in those activities is their fun. Yes, it's work. Yes, the practice isn't laugh-a-minute frivolity. But, in the grand scheme of things, they love these classes and rehearsals and would rather do them than the more "normal" things other kids might think of as leisure activities.

 

 

It is true.

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As a parent of very busy kids, I don't think it is too much. High schoolers who do sports have afternoon practices for 2 hours a night and my ds has had his regular practices plus club practices on some nights or really late nights when there is a game/match. He did those things while attending public school and taking Honors/AP classes. You are homeschooling so I imagine there will be less "wasted" time than in ps and her schooling would take less time in her day especially if she is motivated to get her necessary schooling finished prior to her activities.

 

If those are all things she wants to do and you don't have a problem with the driving or costs, then I say "go for it." If it gets to be too much, you can always realign priorities as needed.

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I think something that frequently gets lost in these conversations is the fact that, for kids who are really into their extracurriculars, participating in those activities is their fun. Yes, it's work. Yes, the practice isn't laugh-a-minute frivolity. But, in the grand scheme of things, they love these classes and rehearsals and would rather do them than the more "normal" things other kids might think of as leisure activities.

 

 

 

 

I totally agree.

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To be quite honest, these activities are her fun. If it weren't for these activities there would be no fun. Her friends either have similar activities or are occupied with school projects. (Meaning one friend prefers to have her mornings free and does school until dinner or later.)

 

So dd will have fre weekends to pursue connections with her friends and have other kinds of fun. If she isn't involved with some type of after school something she and I would spend our afternoons staring at a screen

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I realize that the activities are fun for the kids involved. My dd's sport is one of her favorite things to do for fun. But in the end they are also still kids-they sometimes want to get together with friends, go to a movie, go to a party, watch a TV show, read a book, or just relax. Once you are participating in many activities, adding up the academic hours involved in high school, extra lessons and practices there are days where there is no time left to listen to the radio or free weekends for a family events. There are often days where meals are squeezed in between events. All of that can pile on the pressure and stress on everyone involved. Everyone needs a bit of time here and there and you can't assume that there will be lots of hours to spend with friends just hanging out or to play with the dog or whatever.

 

We recently attended an event where the featured speaker was a recent Olympic athlete. She spoke about training, love of the sport, what it takes to succeed at the highest levels. She also spoke quite a bit about not loosing sight of "life". That you need to make time to have friends, go to prom, have a hobby, to enjoy life. Not that you need to give up on your dream but that you also need to not surrender your childhood or teen years because you are so passionate about your sport. That the hardest thing to see as a kid is the need for balance. As parents we need to keep that in mind and help guide them. For kids that love to be busy it is important to remember that they still need some unscheduled/uncommitted time in their lives.

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I realize that the activities are fun for the kids involved. My dd's sport is one of her favorite things to do for fun. But in the end they are also still kids-they sometimes want to get together with friends, go to a movie, go to a party, watch a TV show, read a book, or just relax. Once you are participating in many activities, adding up the academic hours involved in high school, extra lessons and practices there are days where there is no time left to listen to the radio or free weekends for a family events. There are often days where meals are squeezed in between events. All of that can pile on the pressure and stress on everyone involved. Everyone needs a bit of time here and there and you can't assume that there will be lots of hours to spend with friends just hanging out or to play with the dog or whatever.

 

We recently attended an event where the featured speaker was a recent Olympic athlete. She spoke about training, love of the sport, what it takes to succeed at the highest levels. She also spoke quite a bit about not loosing sight of "life". That you need to make time to have friends, go to prom, have a hobby, to enjoy life. Not that you need to give up on your dream but that you also need to not surrender your childhood or teen years because you are so passionate about your sport. That the hardest thing to see as a kid is the need for balance. As parents we need to keep that in mind and help guide them. For kids that love to be busy it is important to remember that they still need some unscheduled/uncommitted time in their lives.

 

Obviously, this is going to vary from kid to kid and family to family. In my son's case, most of his socializing is done during and around activities, anyway. Any of his friends who aren't kids he knows through church are kids he met doing shows and taking classes, and he gets lots of time to hang out with them on breaks, while waiting around backstage at competitions, etc., not to mention the organized social events asssociated with each group (lock-ins at the dance studio, end-of-year parties with choir, holiday events at church, cast parties for shows . . . ). He reads and/or listens to his iPod in the car going to and coming home from classes and rehearsals.

 

I don't even want to tell you how many texts he receives and sends each day, just plain chatting with friends. It's a terrifying number.

 

And, honestly, he just doesn't need that many hours to do school. He's not aiming at an Ivy, in terms of college. We require a solid, college prep courseload, but not the kind of rigor that some folks here do. Although he does have days when he drags his feet (stopping to visit with the cat or play with the dog or dawdling while reading an especially good book over lunch), it's not at all unusual for him to be done with the day's schoolwork by noon. And, since he's already ahead of his age peers by close to two years and maintaining very good grades, I can't even complain too much if he knocks off after that and flops on the couch for an hour or two of TV while constructing something out of duct tape and cardboard.

 

One of the things we've discussed with our son often is that he couldn't reasonably maintain this kind of extracurricular schedule if he were in school all day, Monday through Friday. It's largely because homeschooling allows him to move at his own pace and to be more efficient, academically, that he has the time and freedom to do as much as he does. It's the primary reason he opted not to pursue auditioning for the performing arts magnet high school a couple of years ago. He values homeschooling's flexibility too much.

 

Edit: I typed out all of this just because I don't want anyone reading this to walk away with the impression that my son is somehow trapped in a dreary cycle of schoolwork and outside classes in pursuit of some long-term goal to the exclusion of having time with friends or being a kid. That just isn't his reality at all. While all of his activities do have their moments of drudgery, mostly, he has more fun at the dance studio and in the choir room than he does anywhere else. He often tells me that, "Any day at the dance school is a good day."

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