Jump to content

Menu

Let's not promote balance and happiness


stripe

Recommended Posts

If my kid gets any more well-rounded, she may roll away. She sings in a choir, plays two instruments, dances, goes to Girl Scouts and church, takes a realistic drawing class, draws Manga, writes fan fiction, communicates with friends on the computer, writes musical compositions. I am exhausted supporting all these interests, plus the academics.

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was in college, we said that if we wanted to be well rounded, we'd eat more cookies. I want to a science and engineering school. My kids play an instrument and participate, however poorly, in team sports. They are learning German and read widely. We take them to museums and to nature preserves. They spend time with people from around the world and from all socio economic levels.

Link to post
Share on other sites

DS has done multiple sports throughout the years and is down to his main sport and a sport in the off season.

 

Music lessons had to go due to his health. He wanted to do private voice lessons but the cost was just too much.

 

He does some drama classes and plays but time. Though I probably should make more time for it since he excels at improve and comedy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My 4 dc play multiple musical instruments in their private lessons and play in string ensembles and concert bands; they participate in a wide variety of recreational-level sports and outdoor activities like hiking, cross-country skiing and skating; they sing in a choir and musical theatre/family opera productions; they take Latin and writing in a small group where there is a lot of discussion and sharing; they volunteer in various areas, such as a wildlife rescue centre, assistant leader in their Taekwon-do studio, charity running event, altar serving/music ministry at church.

 

All I can say is that if they went to a building school, they wouldn't have to time to do all these amazing enrichment pursuits.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice topic!  My kids are both horse-crazy, so a lot of their extracurriculars and free time revolves around horses.  Not sure how well-rounded that is, but oh well . . . Shannon does lessons once a week and works at the stable once a week.  Morgan does vaulting once a week and is chomping to start lessons.  Hopefully we can collect Xmas $$ and get her started this year.

 

They also both love theater.  They do summer theater camp, drama classes, and Shannon usually is in 3ish main stage shows a year.  Morgan is now old enough to start auditioning too.

 

Other than that, Morgan does Brownies and a homeschool craft group, both twice a month.  That's for "socialization", so I guess part of being well-rounded.  Shannon is doing a new writing/critiquing group.  

 

That feels like plenty.  They aren't into organized sports, but we walk, hike, go to the beach etc. a lot.  They are both avid tree climbers and have amazing upper body strength due to that.  Morgan giggles while I do Jillian Michaels workouts and sometimes plays along.

 

We also belong to a CSA farm and they help with our work-trade and harvesting at the farm.

 

We err on the side of fewer extra activities, partly because of money, partly because I'm a homebody, and partly because I want them to have a lot of free time.   They both play, inside and out, ride bikes, and just potter around the  yard and neighborhood a lot.  I think that's priceless.

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I think of well rounded I think about  their natural talents, those do need to be and should be strengthened.

But I also think of the areas that don't come naturally to them and try to find ways to help them learn these too.

 

I  like the idea of teaching  them to help others, to be cheerful givers of their time and talents, from the elderly to the very young or  to anyone they could help.  I want that to be a habit with them by the time they are grown up. 

 

Also to be truthful, be a person who keeps their word, dependable, kind and all the attributes found in the Bible.

 

These are some of my goals for home-schooling which we are working towards with God's help.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My kid keeps teaching herself to play things on the piano, and she composes songs and writes stories. She goes through phases of drawing a lot too. She helps care for her baby brothers and likes to cook/bake some. She also sews and creates costumes. This is the child who, at seven, spent hours researching the absolute proper colonial dress and insisted that I make her and her little brother very authentic clothing. You have not lived until you have made drop front breeches for a 4yo without a pattern! She has always loved living history exhibits, but by this point, she can teach them and finds herself discussing minute details with the docents. She hauls firewood to help DH; I'm all for community service, but right now, that begins at home. Oh, and she has a huge interest in cats and lizards. She's teaching herself multiple languages. She wants to join the local Jedi Knight society and is always a big hit at their annual May the Fourth event; they now teach her choreographed moves and film her. She can tell you a ton about birth and breastfeeding and is quite a proficient babywearer (she can tie a long wrap almost as well as I can!). She goes through spells of being obsessed with any of those things. We don't do a lot outside the home, but I think she's pretty well-rounded. As for social skills, eh, she has four brothers. She also plays with friends and gets along well with people of all ages, usually bonding over shared interests.

 

Her current goal is to be ready for her black belt test in martial arts by the time she's eligible for her adult black belt test in a couple of years. She takes classes once a week and practices at home frequently. (She did ballet for eight years; her kicks are strong!)

Link to post
Share on other sites

DD is still young, so we're aiming at having a large variety of things for exposure. As she gets older, I foresee her needing to narrow the scope in order to find sufficient time. I want her to have tried many things by then so she has a basis on which to choose her favorites to continue.

 

Among the list: swimming, dance, gymnastics, violin, bicycling, hiking, gardening, yoga. Next year will include introductory team sports, probably another instrument, and possibly a scouting type organization.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Now as a ninth grader, dd has become very "pointy"-----she spends 15-25 hours at the ballet studio a week! She also participates in math competitions and is on a high school Science Olympiad team.

 

Both her older siblings became "pointy" in high school as well.

 

In the past, dd was a Girl Scout for eight years, was on an FLL team for three years, played the flute, and participated in choir.

Link to post
Share on other sites

DD dances 5 hours a week, is part of a youth group, and is in a Venture crew.  DD would like to take drama at the local high school but the school is being a pain about the whole thing so I think it is going to fall through.  However, she is interested in community theatre.  She didn't make it into the fall production but will be trying out next time.  Middle boy is on an FLL team and is a Boy Scout.  Youngest is a soccer player and Webelos Scout.  All three take art classes from MIL, and FIL has offered music lessons if kids are interested.  So far only DD has taken him up on it.  That is about a well rounded as we have time for right now.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We are involved in lots of extracurriculars-

Gymnastics 9 hours per week

Riding lessons 4 hours per week

Archery 2 hours per week

Art 1.5 hours per week

Awana 1.5 hours per week

Bible study group 2 hours per week

 

We volunteer-

Barn work 4 hours a week

Through our bible study group as needed

 

We are active-

We hike, bike, jet ski, knee board, fish, rock climb, go tubing, sledding, camping, swimming, ect.

 

We travel as much as possible.

 

We visit museums, science centers, botanical gardens, aquariums, wildlife rehab centers, ect.

 

We go lots of places, mountains, lake, rivers, forest, ect.

 

Both my husband and I have/had unconventional careers, so we are always on the lookout for exposure to new and different ideas for our kids.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ds and dd do swimming lessons (dd will probably do swim team next year), zumba, bowling, ice skating.  Shortly we'll be doing fencing again and 4-H (herpetology club).  Dd is also starting children's choir at church.

 

Ds is making up his own Pokémon region complete with biomes, Pokémon with evolutions and a completely new type, with an entire sketch book of samples.  He also plays on the computer, plays Pokémon TCG, and has just started D&D.

 

At some point I hope to add musical instruments, at least a brief introduction of how to read music and learning to play keyboard.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not 100% into 'well rounded'.

When I was in college, we said that if we wanted to be well rounded, we'd eat more cookies.

If my kid gets any more well-rounded, she may roll away.

Just to be clear: I only used the term well rounded for lack of a better term, and to mirror the phrasing of the well trained mind.

 

I started this thread just as a way to toss ideas around about extracurriculars/non academic pursuits because the thread about noncompetitive athletic endeavors kind of came to a screeching halt, so I wanted to take it to neutral ground. I don't actually care if your kid is pointy or round, in either physique or interests, as long as we can discuss what else they do besides "school work."

 

I have found some excellent ideas for nonacademic pursuits on this board and maybe others can benefit from your wisdom. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh I like this topic!

 

Well, we're regular museum going nuts. Sometimes it's for "school" but often it's just for fun. We went on vacation last week and had a day in Toronto and spent most of that in the Royal Ontario Museum and all felt it was a highlight of the whole trip. So not just dh and I, but the kids also enjoy seeing art and artifacts.

 

Also, we all enjoy attending the theater. Dh takes them to the theater a lot. And we enjoy the outdoors. The kids like to do rock climbing when they have a chance. I adore doing the ropes climbing with them in the trees when we can afford it (that's a pricey exercise!). And we like to swim, though none of us are particular experts at it.

 

BalletBoy dances. And he loves to see dance performances as well. Both boys act, but Mushroom is my budding thespian and has done real community theater as well as children's theater stuff. Mushroom also draws, but sometimes his perfectionist tendencies get in the way of his art.

 

Both the boys are obsessed with business, so we follow business news with them sometimes.

 

The kids play soccer. We follow baseball (Go Nats! World Series here we come!) and occasionally the Olympics or the World Cup (not much else in between...).

 

Also, both the boys enjoy science and programming stuff, though it's really BalletBoy who has the sense of commitment to it. Mushroom makes little movies sometimes.

 

I feel like my kids are pretty well-rounded, especially in that they can find a way to be interested in most anything, especially if it's well presented and engagingly done. So any book, any exhibit, any play... if it's good, they're likely to enjoy it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think these experiences are just as important as basic academics.  Here's our list:

 

Travel - domestic and international, when we can

Museums, Botanical Gardens, Aquariums

Cultural Festivals (especially where we used to live)

Hiking, camping

Scouts & American Heritage Girls

Engineering club, First Lego League, Science clubs

Chess club and tournaments

Swimming, running 5Ks, martial arts

music concerts - all types of music, plus we listen to everything from opera to blue grass in the house

Volunteer work at a community thrift store, a bird sanctuary

Ballet and tap dancing

drawing, sculpting and textile lessons

cooking-teaching and learning to cook from around the world

fencing

theater-backstage help

church, church youth group, altar serving

auto mechanics class

 

That's all I can think of right now.  No wonder I'm tired!

Denise

Link to post
Share on other sites

Stripe, I wasn't making fun of the term "well-rounded" so much as saying that as scientists and engineers, we felt like well-roundedness wasn't something worthy to strive for. People generally had a passion or two that wasn't science or engineering, but we were more triangular or square. A few were pentagonal, but rounded, not so much.  :-)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Jack of all trades? Or master of one ...

 

My parents came from different hemispheres and cultures, but never was it more obvious than this.

One believed in being well-rounded, and encouraged us to pursue many things of interest - for the fun.

The other felt strongly about mastering a skill by devoting every free waking moment to it - and a set future.

They came from a shared religion (Catholic), and as was typical of the era had a rather large family.

We're an odd number, but pretty evenly split among us children. Half followed Da; the rest, our Mother.

 

My rules are intentionally vague - I require one sport, one instrument/vocal, and one activity.

At least one must be group/team and at least one should be individual.

It can change from season to season, session to session, year to year, or never.

I feel this allows each kid to follow their own inclination as to whether they wish to be well-rounded, or to specialize.
I really think personality has a lot to do with it, as will natural ability and interest.

 

I have a "so well rounded she'll never hold down a job that doesn't involve mixing or serving drinks" ...

to "so specialized she has a 1:1.000.000.000 chance of landing that dream job but try convincing her of that."

And a few in between. I see merit and value to each, not just in my kids but in my brothers and sisters.

My bartender brother is as happy with his career/life as is my surgeon brother. It gives me relief, and perspective.

 

As for social skills and other good habits ... I have a large family.

I use them, their social skills, and other habits (good and poor!) as living examples LOL.

My kids also come with me pretty much everywhere. I didn't have much other choice, nor did they ;).

 

When I joined garden club, they did to - by default. In addition to gardening, they learned to interact with people they shared nothing in common with and never cared to see again (but knew they'd have to next meeting), sit through a lecture respectfully no matter how bored or disinterested, how to pose questions appropriately.

 

When I volunteered at the assisted living facility, they did to - by default. They learned to play chess, host bingo, read aloud, adapt crafts to disabilities, let the elderly reminisce without appearing bored, and to not grimace on karaoke day because it's rude LOL. Bingo was a hoot, the residents had a hard time hearing the higher-pitched voices of my then-younger boys and every time we hit "B" or "I" letter the same, tired old jokes went flying as if for the first time ever :lol:. That skill has come in handy as my boys find themselves in positions of leadership - younger scouts, youth ministry at church, even just being around the very young siblings of our family friends.

 

When I joined the library board and the sports association boards, they did to - by default. They learned to anticipate boredom and prepare accordingly, all about Robert's Rules of Order, successful and UNsuccessful strategies for negotiation and discussion, how others could be affected when someone neglected to do their job/live up to a promise, what happens when everyone wants to participate but no one is willing to volunteer, and how ridiculous it looks when two people engage in a pi$$ing contest and refuse to budge - be they children, or more sadly, adults.

 

When I coached their teams, they learned time management, that teaching requires different skills from just knowing and telling, that periods of boredom will exist and you CAN survive those without electronic devices, to check weather and dress appropriately, and how to navigate obnoxious parents. The latter has helped the older ones succeed as referees and umpires, since they run into those same parents in that capacity LOL.

 

When I worked outside of the home in a job that kept me on the road frequently, they learned time and household management, interdependence, and the fine art of ordering takeout then hiding the evidence before Moms got home.

 

Really I think exposure did a lot to develop their social skills and life habits, but also to introduce them to activities they might not have known about enough to determine if they had an interest in or talent for. 

 

One took up lacrosse after years of lunching with a fellow garden club member who had played as a youth. Our town had no lacrosse league so it meant a ton of driving to the Big City but he played for years. My daughter cut her teeth on piano by learning at the hands of a former music professional at the assisted living facility who suffered dementia but was so gentle, sweet, and decidedly able to remember her music - win, win.

 

 

Let's talk about things you do and your children do, to develop their mental health, physical activity/abilities, musical and artistic talents, social skills, and other good habits that are not strictly academic!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Stripe, I wasn't making fun of the term "well-rounded" so much as saying that as scientists and engineers, we felt like well-roundedness wasn't something worthy to strive for. People generally had a passion or two that wasn't science or engineering, but we were more triangular or square. A few were pentagonal, but rounded, not so much. :-)

It is possibly to have one intense focus and still explore other activities on a less intense schedule. My son speed skates seriously. But he has rest days and an off season. He is still able to pursue other interests. Actually, other interests and sports are encouraged. They learn the basics and get better but thing do not get insanely serious until 12 or 13. At that age things pick up and the passion needs to be there. The early specializers who do nothing else may be national champs at 10, 11 Or 12 are often done by 14. They are good but burned out.

 

I have a child who is insanely devoted to his sport. If he had his way there would be an outdoor inline track in the field out back. For him to practice daily on. I have him doing other sports and activities instead. He is a full member of our gym and works out in the classes. It is fitness but usi g different muscles and skills. I have him try new things. When I let hi. Specialize he will know it is his passion.

Link to post
Share on other sites

DD 13 plays the violin, is the goalie on her soccer team, is in the school play, does Model United Nations.

 

DD 9 plays the keyboard, lives for soccer, loves "dreaming", gets lots of music/theatre in his school.

 

 

My kids seem to enjoy exploring their different facets.  We haven't had to force any activity although I would have if either of them had not picked up a physical activity on their own.

 

As long as they are happy and enjoying what they are doing...I think we have done our job.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What my kids participate in changes year to year.  This year the 4 of them are pursuing drama, The teens are in Sweeney Todd and The little Mermaid (ds16 is doing tech, dd15 will be acting), the younger 2 are in Aladdin. All 4 are doing speech arts (learning how to speak publicly) and piano lessons with the drama teacher as well.  All 4 go to 4H together(baking club).  Archery starts in November.  The teens go to 2 youth groups, one on Wednesday night and the other on Thursdays. they will do swim lessons at some times this year.

In the past they have done dance, soccer, baseball, gymnastics, cheerleading, cadets, violin lessons, art lessons, swim team etc.

We take field trips to museums and art galleries and cultural activities. My kids don't consider it a vacation unless we have explored the museum at a location.  I take them to live theatre, the science center, zoos, go star gazing, explore nature.  They have been on trips to other places without me, go camping with clubs and extended family, go away to summer camp.  This coming summer the teens are taking a week long hunter education camp which will get them their hunter's license and a jr class of fire arms possession.  

We discuss current events, listen to all sorts of music and try to help those around us by volunteering..
 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I honestly don't know how people afford to do so many things!

 

Volunteer ( both dds)

Dance/drama (one dd)

Drama/soccer (ds)

Watch/discuss Doctor Who (me, one dd, ds)

 

My children are clearly starving in the context of this thread and not remotely well rounded.

That's cause they don't live in Australia .... where living costs are crazy.

 

Outside of academics my kids go to karate once a week and that's it. Just karate costs are killing me ...

 

We live in the country so there are almost zero options for free things...can't go to library activities if there is no library.

 

Luckily for me I've never been convinced of the need to ' have a finger in every pie' so to speak so I don't feel like my kids are missing out.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My dd's involvement in music probably tilts her away from well-roundedness because it takes up the majority of her time but in addition to that and academics, she also exercises 4-5 days a week, taught herself to sew, makes crafts (some of which she sells to raise money for a charity), is learning to sean nos dance from a video and with help from a couple friends, is learning French (along with the Latin I want her to learn), and reads.

 

Through her music, she meets new people from all over the world, travels (sometimes internationally but mostly nationally…and we visit museums, historical sites, and natural landmarks), performs for different charities and other events including cultural events, composes, arranges, records music, keeps a blog of her experiences, and attends concerts and shows (even participated in a show through a camp this summer which she loved). 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I often wonder how people afford so many activities too! I live in the US but in an area with a high cost of living. We do the occasional one time class or just for fun home school group outing. And we definitely take advantage of any free events. We like the beach and going on hikes and bike rides as a family. I teach them piano lessons and this year my older 2 are taking piano lessons from my former teacher who is amazing and my oldest is doing sewing lessons with my mom. Those things are free though. I want to get them into a sport (thinking swimming or martial arts and maybe a team sport through parks and rec) and regular classes at one of the many places here that offer homeschooling classes (museums, aquarium, co-ops, sailin center, etc) but we haven't been able to afford to. We just experience and read as much as we can. Hopefully as they get older and start to develop real passions we will have the ability to help them pursue those things.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok my oldest - DS11 - is doing the following:

 

- piano

- swimming three times a week

- taekwondo twice a week, plus helping out a younger class once a week

- basketball when season starts - drop swimming for winter

- Boy Scouts

 

At home he reads Asterix and Obelix, draws pictures of monsters, and listens to music. Every night he watches a few hours of shows like Kaijudo or Dexter's Lab on Netflix.

 

DD7 is doing:

 

- piano

- taekwondo twice a week

- Girl Scouts

 

At home she likes to create cards, draw pictures, and play with her little sister. She likes to play American Girl games on the computer, Minecraft, and SIMS. At night she watches a few shows, often with big brother.

 

DD3

 

No formalized activities except recently my friend who has a little girl her age is taking her out to Playgroup or library story hour. She participates in exercise time - aka taekwondo practice. At night she watches shows with her brother and/or sister or simply plays in her kitchen corner. On some days she's on Starfall.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: affording activities, one thing we have chosen is to live in a small house so we could put more money towards activities. I have friends who live in gorgeous, spacious homes but complain that they cannot afford activities for their kids--there are trade-offs. Of course we still have real budgetary limits to what we can do and have to prioritize!

 

Sometimes, though, we have been in circumstances where there really wasn't enough money to do more than cover housing and food. I still looked for what opportunities I could; community rec programs, group music lessons, exchanging services with a teacher, mom-run group classes and co-ops...all of these have helped provide needed outlets and opportunities for growth with minimal cost.

 

Sometimes circumstances are just hard: costs of living are high, salaries are low...it's OK for kids to not have every opportunity and advantage, the kids who have them don't necessarily grow up to be happier and more successful. We work with what we have to provide the best opportunities possible for our children, and that is sufficient.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That's cause they don't live in Australia .... where living costs are crazy.

 

Outside of academics my kids go to karate once a week and that's it. Just karate costs are killing me ...

 

We live in the country so there are almost zero options for free things...can't go to library activities if there is no library.

 

Luckily for me I've never been convinced of the need to ' have a finger in every pie' so to speak so I don't feel like my kids are missing out.

Now that my kids have left cadets none of their activities are free.  I tend to ask the directors of programs if they will offer a family rate or lower a cost in exchange for volunteering etc.  We lucked out this year.  We won't find out the cost of the piano lessons and speech arts until thursday, but they were crazy affordable even before they decided to give me a family rate.  Drama is $350 for the year for all 4.  4H is $235 for the year for al 4 because youngest is only a cleaver.  Archery will be $250 for the year.  Church activities are free of course.  The drop in center they attend is affiliated with the church so free.  Dance I am still paying for from 2 years ago it cost so much, cheer was very expensive etc.  Kuk sool I forgot to list wasn't crazy expensive but was still $100 a month plus the cost of testing, uniforms etc.  It's not like I make a lot and I live in a high COL province, it is just a priority to me to have them in lots.  Some years there is less due to lack of funds, but most years I figure it out one way or another to get them into what they want to take.  We don't have free library [programs, our library does't do programs like it did in the city.  Just different priorities for different families regardless of country.  Part of working so much is the bonus of knowing I can put them in lots.  I live in a very old, fairly small house, live very modestly and save money in other ways because having them in activities trumps that other stuff

Link to post
Share on other sites

Family field trips, esp. on free or discount days - museums of all kinds, aquariums, beach, desert, zoo, county fair... Or just biking to the nature park, or feeding ducks at a local park

 

Plenty of free time, art supplies and craft kits, outside toys likes bikes and roller skates, kid yoga and dance DVDs, dress-up clothes, etc.

 

DD7 - community center karate 2x/week*, weekly homeschool PE/park day*^, weekly library trips*, art class 2x/month^, weekly play group & Sunday school*, weekly group music class^, swimming with family 2-3x/month* & the occasional swim class*, occasional children's choir at church*

 

* free or inexpensive, ^ covered by charter - we probably couldn't/wouldn't do some of this otherwise - choosing to make art 2x/month instead of weekly helped create space, financially and time-wise, to add music this year. We might do less if DD were less extroverted as well.

 

(In regards to specializing, one thing I love about karate is that I feel like it's providing a base of comfort and control over her own body, overall fitness, for my not-so-athletically inclined daughter that should serve her well when she wants to explore other things.)

 

DS3 - besides tagging along or playing at the park while DD is at an activity, he's in one group music class (same time and place as sister's PE) and just for kicks, I'm going to take him for one round of weekly gymnastics at the community center during DD's play group. I don't think these are necessary for a 3yo, but they're convenient and fun :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I honestly don't know how people afford to do so many things!

 

Volunteer ( both dds)

Dance/drama (one dd)

Drama/soccer (ds)

Watch/discuss Doctor Who (me, one dd, ds)

 

My children are clearly starving in the context of this thread and not remotely well rounded.

My kids do one outside extracurricular, martial arts, and everything else is self taught, or something that DH or I teach them. I wish we could add music and/or art classes, but I do feel like we've compensated pretty decently.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I honestly don't know how people afford to do so many things!

 

Volunteer ( both dds)

Dance/drama (one dd)

Drama/soccer (ds)

Watch/discuss Doctor Who (me, one dd, ds)

 

My children are clearly starving in the context of this thread and not remotely well rounded.

 

From your list, your children are having a nice variety of experiences. I love that you watch and discuss Doctor Who. 

 

My list is long because my oldest wanted to try most everything as a young child and he was an only child for his first 10 years.  We also lived in an area where a lot of activities were free or very low cost. Where we live now, only a few things are free (engineering club, swimming) and a few are low cost (scouts, AHG, lego league). My youngers don't get to do as much as ds #1 did at the same age. They certainly don't get to travel like ds #1.

Also, my children are all several years apart, so that makes it more affordable.  We do/did things one or two at a time.  I do look for free and low cost.  Dd's dance is $55 per month, our most expensive activity.

 

Some of what I listed is done at home, like choosing a recipe from another country and learning to cook it.  We stay away from expensive recipes.  We probably do this activity once every 3-4 months.  Ds #2 just started a culinary class through a free co-op.  Since there is a cost of $10-$15 for that particular class, they allow us to come only once per month.  He and I will also teach a few of these classes.  Dd participates by default.

 

I think it's more important to follow dc interests and give them what you can than running them from activity to activity.  From what you wrote, you're doing a great job of meeting your children's interests.

Denise

Link to post
Share on other sites

We heard a lot about sports in that other thread, so I'd also like to know how music and art enrich your home environment and your/your kids' lives. That could be attending the opera, singing traditional tunes on the banjo, taking piano lessons, drawing, going to museums, anything, individual or group, formal or informal. What is its value to you? Why do you spend time on music and art? What are parents after when they sign their kids up to play the violin?

 

I don't know about every parent but when I signed my kids up for music lessons my only goal was to let them try something they might enjoy just like they were trying soccer, taekwondo, swimming, and wrestling. Music was always a part of their young lives. We listened to music of all types in the home, sang together on car trips or while dancing around the kitchen table, and I sang them to sleep at night…being able to learn to play an instrument was exciting. I asked my boys to pick an instrument they'd like to learn to play and started them on lessons on their chosen instruments.  When dd was 2yo, she was messing with our electric piano playing pre-programmed songs and when I asked her if she wanted piano lessons, she said, "No, I already know how to play piano. I want to play violin." 

 

 As far as value to me, I've read research on the benefits of music study and I've seen the benefits in terms of work ethic, perseverance, creativity, etc... I get joy from listening to music and I love seeing my kids' doing what they love to do. They spend time on music because they love it. Music is what they (two of them anyway) often chose to do in their free time. 

 

I mentioned in a previous post on this thread many of the ways music enriches our lives, especially dd, so I won't repeat.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just wanted to say that sometimes it isn't priorities. I live in an old, modest house. We don't travel. We don't buy lots of goods. I don't spend cash on myself.

 

So the few comments that 'it's all about choices' really rankles.

 

Dentist or dance ? I guess that's a 'choice'.

 

Groceries or that really cool week long drama workshop everyone else is going to ? I guess that's a 'choice'.

 

Some of us live places where it costs a LOT to do things like music, travel, multiple activities. And we don't not do them because we choose to spend a LOT on other things. We don't do them because we are too freaking poor.

 

I can feel for you in this situation because I often feel bad about not being able to afford the activities the kids would like to do. I have recently started teaching Ms. 6 piano myself because it was too costly (both tuition $ and petrol) to take her to piano lessons as well as violin lessons (we are so lucky to have a violin teacher who thinks dd is talented and charges ridiculously low fees). Ms. 9 is passionate about horses and working hard on her riding, but we can't afford lessons often enough for her to really progress. We have talked about how she could maybe work at the riding school in exchange for extra lessons when she is a little older, but I still feel bad because I think she could be a competitive rider if we had the means. It's funny, because I don't usually feel bad about things like not buying the kids many toys, or the fact that most of their clothes are secondhand. But I really do feel bad that we can't pay for all the sport, music and so on that we'd like to. 

 

In my ideal world, each child would be doing:

Music: Piano, singing and one other instrument

Sports: Swimming, some sort of martial arts or self defence, and one team sport

Other: Dance and / or drama, Guides / Scouts, something 'brainy' (science club, chess club etc), something service / volunteer oriented

OK looking at that written down I can see that in the real world, 10 activities per child would be too much! So I guess we'd still have to pick and choose even if money were no object. It's just that every time I hear of some kid doing some activity, I feel that I am making my kids miss out by not offering them that activity.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, currently:

 

General- Scouts- ds- Cub, dd1-2, AHG

Physical- TKD- ds- Dance dd1-2, dd1 does 2 classes plus company practice and performance and dd2 does just one class

Science/Tech- ds currently doing FLL, in the past we've done various programming, electronic kits, rockets, etc, etc, etc

 

I've not been able to get ds much interested in the art or music, however everyone enjoys going to plays, we try to do that a few times a year at least. I'd like to do this more tbh but do to time and monetary constraints it hasn't happened yet. I'm hoping to let ds do the local theatre camp this summer as I think he would really love it. Dd1 is in love with arts and crafts, I've not done much formally with her but she likes to make jewelry and loves to draw and make cards for people. Dd2 is starting heavy on the drawing phase and she really seems to love singing. I have dd1 on the waitlist for piano lesson and tried to get some art lessons for her but for now it is just mom-led lessons.

 

We visit various museums and historical sites when we can. We've not been able to travel very much/far as of yet but I'm hoping we can at least explore more of the US as they get older and maybe even afford 1 international trip at some point. Our vacations are of the small scale variety, camping, hiking and other such things. The kids don't really do sports but we are a fairly active family, we like to hike and bike especially and started with kayaking/canoeing this summer. I rockclimb whenever I get a chance and they enjoy it as well. 

 

I'd love to do more travel especially and of course there are things that come up that I wish we could do but our lives are already modest and we don't have debt, to do more than we are doing now would require I have a job and the trade-offs for doing so at this point wouldn't be worth it. Plus, our schedule is already as busy as it needs to be. Thankfully we can double up on activities, so all our Scouts are one night and we have 2 nights of dance classes, robotics is on the same night as dance but it is a temporary thing, although we'll likely move to a bi-weekly or monthly meeting after our season is over.

 

Generally speaking we try to keep them informed about the world around them and let them know what there is out there, so many different places, peoples and things to do. We try to keep whatever doors we can open for them, as long as it is feasible. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

We heard a lot about sports in that other thread, so I'd also like to know how music and art enrich your home environment and your/your kids' lives. That could be attending the opera, singing traditional tunes on the banjo, taking piano lessons, drawing, going to museums, anything, individual or group, formal or informal. What is its value to you? Why do you spend time on music and art? What are parents after when they sign their kids up to play the violin?

 

I have classical training in piano and singing (and have dabbled in lots of other instruments over the years), my dh is a self-taught guitar player. We've been "growing" our little musicians over the years with lots of music and instruments in the house, private lessons, group lessons, music and choir at church, and any performing opportunities that come up. The dc have had amazing opportunities to sing in the children's choir with our professional opera company for family productions of the Pirates of Penzance and The Magic Flute. It doesn't get much better than that for a fun introduction to opera with 50 minute operas performed in English! 

 

Music is always around us, and we all love it. The older the dc get (they are currently 14, 12, 10 and 8), the more opportunities they have to expand into new territory, while going deeper in their one instrument of focus. Musical education all builds and expands, and once you learn one instrument the next one is easier to pick up; and when you learn to play in a group, the motivation usually soars. It does take focus and training to get to a very skilled level, and we focus on one high-level instrument training. The other instruments or vocal stay at easier levels.

 

Dh and I are growing musically ourselves as well. We started helping with the music ministry at church for a few years, and now can take over and cover the music ourselves. Our oldest two dc join in on violin, trumpet and percussion; the younger two are primed to join in when they are ready. Dh and I also accompany the children's choir at our church where the children participate as well.

 

So music is a family affair that we can all share in. Dh and ds are taking vocal lessons together and loving it. I started learning violin along with my ds until I fell far behind and he's miles ahead. We all sing in the car together. Music is constantly enriching our lives.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of us live places where it costs a LOT to do things like music, travel, multiple activities. And we don't not do them because we choose to spend a LOT on other things. We don't do them because we are too freaking poor.

I just want to repeat that I wasn't talking about formal activities, and I am sure you do many things to enrich your children's lives.

 

Deleted personal remarks

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am the queen of free activities. 

 

Here, too. I work hard to create opportunities for free or very affordable activities by getting involved myself or seeking them out, and homeschooling is the BEST for this because we're all in pretty much the same boat money-stretching-wise. Here's what I have done:

 

- found a free homeschool band, then borrow or buy used instruments for the dc to use

- helped to start our church choir so all my dc can sing in it for free

- work (small contract) as the parent volunteer coordinator at my dc's Suzuki school to cover the group class costs

- found free community theatre for the dc to participate in instead of expensive theatre school programs

- through homeschool e-mail networks, gather a group of families together to see a live theatre performance at school matinees (the ticket price is a fraction of the weekend family prices)

- found less expensive dance classes held in the basement of a homeschool family

 

 

Other families I know have worked to clean dance studios to help pay for the dance classes. 

 

There are definitely ways and means to do extra-curricular activities in a more affordable manner, but it takes time and commitment to find or create them. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

We heard a lot about sports in that other thread, so I'd also like to know how music and art enrich your home environment and your/your kids' lives. That could be attending the opera, singing traditional tunes on the banjo, taking piano lessons, drawing, going to museums, anything, individual or group, formal or informal. What is its value to you? Why do you spend time on music and art? What are parents after when they sign their kids up to play the violin?

Enjoyment, pure and simple. I enjoy music and enjoy other people's art (with no desire to create art myself). We attend orchestra performances and there are lots of free music events in my town. DD isn't old enough to sit through a full length play yet, but we'll go when she is. We go to museums when we can. She takes violin lessons because she fell in love with the violin the first time she heard one, before she was even two years old, and held onto that love until she was old enough to start lessons. I have only ever been after encouraging her love of art and music, and building my appreciation of the same.

 

I often wonder how people afford so many activities too! I live in the US but in an area with a high cost of living. <snip>

I think you answered your own question here :) We do several activities, but live in a medium COL area. We looked briefly at moving to a high COL area and the trade offs weren't ones we were willing to make at that point in time. One of the issues at hand was specifically being able to afford DD's classes. The other big stopper for us was moving to a HCOL area would have meant giving up some/most of our travel budget, which we weren't willing to do.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I honestly don't know how people afford to do so many things!

We do a few things that we pay for (German Saturday School, Piano lessons, and, currently, swimming, which seems more like a life skill than an activity) but other things are free. 

 

They skate with friends (with handed-down skates). My son goes to a Yoyo Club, run by experts for free (learned we have a ranked off-string yoyo-er as a coach and the state champ as helper). We also bird with the Audubon Society for the cost of parking at $1/hour. We visit nature preserves and take the free hikes led by docents. My daughters started a "Nature Club" with friends. We bought a museum pass and go to that science museum monthly. Not free, but not expensive, and a per-family price, not per-person. My husband volunteers at another museum and that gives us entry to a bunch of other museums for free. 

 

Emily

Link to post
Share on other sites

We bought a museum pass and go to that science museum monthly. Not free, but not expensive, and a per-family price, not per-person. My husband volunteers at another museum and that gives us entry to a bunch of other museums for free.

I have also more than made up for the cost of membership by going to other museums nearby.

{deleted}

I remember Angela in Ohio also recommending something along the lines of buying a membership for one year, visiting a lot, and then moving on to a different museum, keeping one membership per year. You don't have to be members forever.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My kids have been doing the following since they were 3 or younger:

  • Instrumental music - piano lessons, guitar lessons (just for a while at age 5), now recorder ;) and probably next year violin.  I have always made a point of exposing them to live music of various kinds.
  • Dance (recreational, and watching others perform.)
  • Martial arts (low pressure, we are all orange belts ATM).  ;)
  • Gymnastics (recreational)
  • Swimming (just started swim team this year but they've been doing lessons / fun swimming since 3yo
  • Other sports / physical stuff - dabbled in them, from "soccer shots" (individual skills) and "stretch'n'grow" in preschool to archery, canoeing, kayaking, and rec soccer league at age 7.  Done some yoga, lots of walking / hiking outdoors, biking, camping, etc.  Of course gym class at school.
  • Art - their nanny (now part-time) is a professional artist and teaches them when they get time.  They have a lot of art/craft materials which they put to good use.  Of course they always have had art / crafts in school and the usual kid sessions.  Recently sewing and knitting if that counts.
  • Foreign languages - Spanish taught by foster mom, Latina nanny, preschool classes, culture camp, and now in school since 2nd grade; French taught in preschool; other experiences.
  • Drama - the usual stuff in preschool and church programs, plus they have seen lots of live productions and done theatre camp at ages 6-7
  • Choir - the usual singing that kids in preschool and then parochial school / church do.
  • Animals / farm - they help with aunt's dogs/ puppies (she is a breeder) and have been taking horse riding lessons since age 6 among other things.
  • Foreign travel - been to various Latin American / Caribbean locations, India, and about 8 European countries so far.  Canada will be in a couple weeks.  ;)  They've also been to a lot of local stuff focused on international themes.
  • Work world - they hang out in various work locations at times and are very tuned in to the business etc.
  • Volunteering / charity - I brought them along on at least one charity thing each year, from packing boxes to visiting the Indian schools we support.  I expect this to increase as more opportunities open up.
  • Chores / domestic arts - they have had minor required chores and optional (for money) chores over the years.  They are learning to cook under the tutelage of several people.  ;)  They've grown veggies to eat etc.
  • Religion stuff - church and Sunday School etc.
  • Lots of great books and DVDs, many museum and zoo trips, travel to historic or otherwise cool places, hanging out at the park / in the neighborhoods ....

They recently joined American Heritage Girls as their scouting experience.

 

They've also recently been doing some more intellectual stuff such as math and science camps, but not on a year-round basis.  Thinking about getting them into chess since they have a chess club at school, but right now time is very tight.  I would love to find a book discussion club, but there's nothing for their age around here.

 

Now what am I forgetting ....

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ds13 keeps three (or is it four now?) blogs going. He is an avid artist and photographer. He's studying German, computer animation, piano and guitar (had lessons but now self-taught), and fencing.

 

Dd11 is my all-time best ever kitchen assistant/assistant cook. She also sculpts, paints, and does roller derby. She's learning sewing with my mom, and I am am going to start her on knitting. She writes short stories frequently.

 

Both kids keep journals. They both do volunteer work at a food pantry (with my mom -- it's through her church, and while I am at work). Ds sometimes does volunteer work at a bicycle repair shop too. They help care for all our pets, and spend a lot of time outdoors. They have regular chores, and help with gardening, household repairs, etc. Ds is starting to do automotive repairs/maintenance as well, and then dd assists him. We also attend a weekly park day with friends.

 

As a family, we go on occasional field trips, ride bicycles a lot, play some basketball and Frisbee, enjoy family movie nights, and so on. Hiking is a regular activity too, as are easier "nature walks".

 

I do try to give the kids plenty of free time to balance out academic work, which is when they do all of the above.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Art, music and cultural activities are a natural part of our family life.  Dh and I enjoyed concerts, plays, and museum and park visits before having children and enjoy them with our children.  I find more free and low cost activities within two hours of home than we could ever manage. We budget for a few higher price events each year, including zoo and historical society memberships.  These memberships get us free or reduced price admission at many locations in our state. 

 

My children participate in several classes and activities. They started outside piano lessons this fall.  It was either that or not require piano as ds1 had progressed beyond my ability to help him.  For the oldest, in particular, we felt that piano was too important to drop.  They take monthly science classes at a zoo and science museum. They love science.  They participate in a free LEGO club at the public library and in other library sponsored events.  Cub Scouts has introduced them to wide range of activities. 

 

What I find myself resenting is the time and money spent on sports and fitness activities.  My children prefer sedentary activities.  Neither dh nor I have any sports talent.  If we did not pay for outside classes our children would learn no sport beyond riding bicycle.   The boys started weekly karate lessons last year.  This year, dh insisted on adding the Y’s homeschool gym class.  It is good that over the course of the year, they will learn the basics of several team sports. They are interacting with other children.  I just wish it did not take such a large portion of my homeschool and enrichment budget.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

To the "why do I do this"?

  • I want them to learn first-hand what these things are.
  • They need to be active, and outdoor play is impractical for half of the year.
  • Art and music supposedly help develop cognitive abilities.
  • I loved creating art and music, enjoying the outdoors, and challenging my body as a kid.  I figure my kids may like them also.
  • Practical skills and modes of expression to improve quality of life.
  • Learning to contribute on a team.
  • TKD: something healthy and useful that we could do together.
  • The scouting - I liked the idea of a purposeful focus other than school.
  • Horse riding:  they want it and I am happy to provide it.
  • Potential job opportunities someday.

Plus, to be honest, some of it was to avoid the guilt of having them in a nanny's care outside of normal business hours.  It doesn't seem so bad if the nanny merely drives them from "valuable" riding lessons to swim lessons etc.

 

To the cost issue.  While I try to economize where possible, I do pay for the luxury of having someone else work with my kids while I work on my job.  I figure that they are only young for a while and I'd like to do this for them while I can.  If I had more time and less money, I would cut some of the activities and replace them with more things we could do together.  I could make a long list of stuff we could do for little or no money.  Of course time to just play and relax are important too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have a problem in the slightest with your thread or most of these posts; just the posts that insinuated it's all about 'priorities'. Like I could send my kid for music lessons if only I break that crack habit.

 

i hear you. I remember reading an article in a religious publication that suggested families could save sooooo much money if only women would stop buying so much makeup. Ha ha
Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...