Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Balancing interests against overscheduling

Here we go again! Last year, just with ballet and soccer twice a week each, and some minor preschool for the middle child, we felt our time at home was always frantic: getting ready to go somewhere else; unpacking from being somewhere else; or getting ready for some other transition, like meals, bath/brush teeth/bedtime, and collapse. Our homelife suffered, and the kids (and I!) started craving time at home to DO NOTHING. A lengthy viral illness gave us just that, and we discovered how pleasurable it could be, even sick, to have couch time, to slow down and enjoy reading together, talking and and listening, and not rushing.

Fast forward after a carefree summer of no scheduled anything, but lots of easy, casual, hanging out with the neighbor friends, the kids swinging on rope swings in their carport under their personal pine forest, the adults grilling together, sharing a few beers, talking, and me chasing the toddler. It was heaven, as much of heaven as could be had for a summer doldrum in a gritty neighborhood.

But suddenly, my email inbox filled with opportunities. The NASA Challenger Learning Center has homeschool-only -classes, with homeschool-friendly hours (midday, midweek) and reasonable prices, for cool stuff my nearly-5-year-old and 8-year-old can both benefit from and enjoy.

Not only that, but a youth theater project an hour's drive to the south is taking enrollment...erg...maybe next year? An hour each way is too much with food allergies and a toddler.

Sp scratch that idea. But my 8-year-old's deep passion is rocks and minerals, so we went to a big annual rock and mineral show and got info on all the local clubs she might join, including one for youth, that meets one Saturday a month in the daytime. A bit of a drive, but not bad.

So, between some actual studies planned [such as Soroban Japanese Abacus, Spelling to Write and Read, and more] and her passions [rocks and minerals, art] and interests shared with her little brother [space science, nature walks, outdoor physical play], plus obvious needs to have some undirected leisure time at home, and some outdoor walks and social time, I think we are full. 
Overfull, probably.