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My middle schoolers play travel baseball (but we don’t really travel) so that is maybe 3 nights a week plus weekends. This is their first year in school and of course Covid made extracurriculars different before baseball season.  But, I would say in general, they don’t have a problem with 3 nights a week plus school. Our district doesn’t have homework until high school.

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Before Covid my public school online middle schoolers had things 6-7 days a week.   Not travel sports, but dance that is 1 plus hour away from our house one way. So we were spending at least 2.5 hours a day on the road.  We would leave the house 2:45 -3:30 and get home about 9:30pm.  Saturdays we would leave 7:45 am and get back at least 7pm on rehearsals months. Then be back for 6 plus hours on Sundays.

Sometimes they had work to do in the car or in the studio while they were waiting.  

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It's nice that you live so close to the school!  FWIW, I lived about the same distance when I was in junior high and had an extracurricular that met immediately after school every day 3:30-4:30 from August through March.  That tended to push homework time into the evening, as I needed a mental break once I got home.  

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In middle school, my kids had at least one after-school activity almost every day.  It was a good outlet between school and homework.  I gave preference to school-sponsored activities, since they helped the kids bond with their classmates etc. - and they were often more convenient than other options.  However, my kids did have outside activities as well - horse riding for one, gymnastics for the other, TKD for both.

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4 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Thanks everyone,

My issue is my oldest who will be in 8th.  We have outsourced a lot for him during homeschooling, because I'm working full time, and DH doesn't homeschool, and because he does better with some outside structure.

So, right now, he's doing

Taekwondo (online, mostly asynchronous) 5 days a week

Math tutoring (virtual, live) 4 days a week

Music (virtual, live) 3 days a week -- instrument lesson, voice lesson, and music theory

Swimming (in person outdoors) 2 days a week

Therapy (virtual, live) 1 day a week

Plus he's been playing a lot of golf with his uncle

Add to this the fact that he's looking forward to getting back to scouts and baseball and youth group all of which got cancelled because of the pandemic,  and he's excited about the fact that his new school offers sports teams and a school play, and well you see the problem!  

So, I know he needs to make choices, but I don't really have a sense of what he can realistically do.  

 

Can you maybe cut things and then add them?  It isn't his first year of middle school, but it is for public middle school.  I wanted to start slow for my middle school students and let them get used to the increased work load before adding tons of extra stuff.  

But I will say that if Covid gets better or we go back to in person things (which we are not doing now), I will do pretty much anything to help my kids do whatever activities they want to do.  They have missed out on so much this last year, that I would want them to be able to do more.

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I think I’d start with the non-negotiables, based on your family’s beliefs and needs. I would guess therapy fits that bill. For us that’s youth group and church attendance.  Next I’d look at what I consider the kid’s biggest needs that aren’t being met with school. Physical activity? Social interaction? Skill building? Confidence building?  For my oldest that’s scouts - fills several unmet needs. Then I look at what she most wants. For her that’s music. She’s in school choir so school’s meeting that need. Then I look if any other activities can combine with her younger sisters to meet other needs / wants (ie I factor in my convenience). Three activities outside of school and church is her max. It’s 2 for my younger two. 

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Well, stuff on site at school is going to be a lot easier than if you have to run kids around  after school hours.  We know lots of PS kids starting in this age range that had stuff almost every day.  However, if a kid can do sports and theater and music at school, maybe taewondo and swimming fall to the wayside?   Maybe you back off on a little music?  What is most important to him and to you to continue outside the school setting?  

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When My kids were in middle school they activities almost every day.

 

For my daughter

Spanish and band were part of her school day and she had them every day M-F

after school she had whichever sport/season  she was in for practice or a game.  soccer/basketball/track every day M-F sometimes Sat

in the evenings she had Girl scouts once a week and rec soccer, off soccer season, twice a week with games on the weekend.

On some Sundays she volunteered with a TOPS soccer program

She is an active kid and could have done even more if there were more hours in the day.  

My son

Spanish and band were also part of the school day every day

After School he had track every day and sometimes Sat in the spring

Evenings he had Karate twice a week all year long

 Flag Football in the fall, with practices two nights a week and games on the weekend.

he isn't quite as active as my daughter so the break during the winter where he only had karate worked for him.

 

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I would just list the priorities and then see what fits in the calendar.

I'd prioritize:

1) What's most important to him and you.  For us, that would be horse riding (youngest), running/ gymnastics (oldest), TKD and instrumental music (me).  At times, tutoring and/or therapy.

2) What they can do at school without killing #1.  For us, that included all the school sports (eldest), band, choir, bowling league, and Power of the Pen.

3) Whatever else fits.  In addition to the above, in middle school, my kids did AHG (scouting), private instrument lessons, and sometimes youth group.  Things like swimming were whenever, as they had finished all the lesson levels when younger, and swim team was way too much of a commitment.

[I'm leaving off church/confirmation class because these did not conflict with anything else.)

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My kids are in high school now. But in middle school, we found that participating in a school-based sport meant practices four to five days after school until 4 or 5 pm (school ended around 2:30). My kids are musical, so we had to plan their private music lessons for either later in the evenings or on the weekends. They had one to two private music lessons per week, in addition to their school sports practices.

In middle school, my oldest daughter was in ballet, and that was five to six days per week. She could not do other extracurricular activities. Her dance classes often went from right after school until 8 or 9 at night, and then she was up until 11:00 or later, doing her (private school) homework.

Our public school system does not assign a ton of homework, so my three public high school kids are able to do extracurriculars and still get homework done without too much stress. But only one of my three takes advanced classes; he has the most homework, and we expect that to increase each year.

My oldest seemed to be fine with always being busy and not having down time (once she quit dance, she started a part-time job that took up a similar amount of her time). My younger kids need more margin for free time. So that will depend on each individual.

The extracurricular activities not only affect the athlete, but the family, because my kids needed transportation, plus we go to their games/meets, plus parent volunteering is expected to some level (sometimes a lot, sometimes a little). It's been very hard at times to enable each of my four kids to explore all of their interests, because of logistics.

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My children each learned an instrument, so they joined some kind of music group one evening each. They each did martial arts once or twice a week. Saturday morning was Chinese school to keep up their Mandarin. 

It was a lot. One kept on playing guitar but both dropped everything else during high school.

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Ds was on a competative swim team. He swam daily and had meets every weekend...for years.

DD22 did various sports. Some had daily practices, some were a few times per week. 

DD14 does rec volleyball. Just one practice a week and a game on Saturday. Then church on Wednesday eve. Sometimes she takes swim lessons (doesn't want to do team, but likes the lessons) and those are twice weekly. If they all align, she has an actvitiy most nights. 

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I would think something 2 to 3 times a week is plenty.  So one s sport that has two practices and a game would fill all 3 spots.  Last year my eldest did Judo once, D&D once and youth group of hanging out with a friend once!.

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I have two 6th graders.  They do youth group one evening.  My daughter takes flute lessons — currently she is pulled out of her class in school, so it is not taking time after school.

That is all for now.  

My kids are homebodies and don’t like to be out.

My oldest was like this for years, and only started an activity he really enjoyed in high school.  He just got done having practice from 5:00 to 9:00 for three weeks for stage crew and plans to continue the rest of high school, with two shows a year.  He will help build the sets from 5:00 to 9:00 two days a week for parts of the year, and other parts of the year just be in the class.  

We moved between 9th and 10th — at his old school they were done at 7:00 on weeknights so kids could ride the late bus, but then they went in on weekends for — all day Saturday and 1:00 to 9:00 on Sunday for 2-3 weeks before shows.  

It is a big change!

In general my kids need more time than other kids to wind down and get ready to fall asleep.  Youth group is over at 8:30 and it is a late night for them, they get to bed late, my daughter is grumpy the next morning.  We think she is having a growth spurt!

Edit:  other kids do two activities a day and thrive with that schedule — it is so individual!

Edit:  my older son has time to do homework at the rehearsals because of what his job is, he has to be there for every rehearsal (if he keeps doing what he did this year) but he also has time he can do homework.  When they are building sets, he can skip a night or leave early if he has homework, he needs to go so many hours and then whoever goes the most gets priority for certain crew positions he wants to get a desirable position.  
 

It’s very new to us, and he only joined in 9th grade because his friend was doing it.  But it is nice he has found something he likes!

 

Edited by Lecka
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I'd look at what is available at school. For example, can he do middle school band? If so, he can probably drop the outside music lessons next year, and the group will be a social activity as well. While it's ideal to do private lessons as well, a lot of kids don't, and unless you are planning to major in music in college, that's usually sufficient. 

 

Martial arts can be flexible, so may be a good one to keep. 

 

Team sports tend to be the least flexible and the biggest time suck-but again, are social. 

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