I think that when we consider how much extracurricula activities is suitable for our children, we can approach it from different areas.
From a Philosophical Point of View
For children who go to school, extracurricula activities usually means all activities that happen after official school hours, and are subjects that are not covered within the official curriculum. In England, this usually refers to:
- any activity that takes place before 8am and after 4pm from Mondays to Friday;
- any activity that takes place on weekends, bank holidays, and school holidays;
- 'discretionary' activities that parents have to pay extra money for their children to participate in.
- performing arts (theatre, dance, instruments)
- hobby/interest-related clubs (sports, debating, cookery, chess, photography, film making, fishing, philosophy, pottery, gardening)
- field trips
I must point out that we did not start off on Day One being so flexible and freewheeling in our homeschooling approach. The change has come about in response to Tiger's maturity, capabilities, and developmental needs.
At this stage of Tiger's educational life, I believe that a wide exposure to different ways of learning is necessary for him to be informed of the many different choices to getting a rich and fulfilling level of self-education.
From a Financial Point of View
Going out to attend activities costs money in terms of food, travel expenditure, and activity fees. Therefore, I exercise discretion when choosing activities for Tiger to make sure we get the best value out of every pound we spend.
My decision process from a purely financial aspect is very straightforward: I will only pay for us to attend an activity if I feel that we are getting superior value out of our attendance. Examples of this are the drama classes and team sports that Tiger attends regularly.
From a Time Management Point of View
Even though we are very flexible in our approach such that we have no specific "learning targets" to meet, I am still very conscious of the amount of time we spend on traveling to and from activities. I tend to restrict our regular traveling times to within 1 hour of driving each way or within 30 miles radius of where we live.
In the recent years there has been a noticeable increase in the number of homeschooling activities that are made available to us, some of which are very tempting. However, to avoid spending most of our time running around from one activity to another, I have had to learn to say no to many of them. We find that our most effective learning experiences (for now) come from the one-to-one interaction at home at Tiger's own pace. Therefore, while we welcome the variation that outside activities add to Tiger's overall education, I am always in the process of streamlining our selection so as to give ourselves time and space to rest, or to simply do nothing. I don't feel that it is necessary to fill our calendar with external activities, especially when those activities compete with the time that can be spent with family or time that we need to get to know ourselves.
Lucinda from Navigating By Joy has joined us as a contributor to this series starting from today. As always, each contributor has her own take on this matter. Therefore, I encourage you to visit each of them at:
- Lucinda ponders about Homeschooling and Extra-curricula Activities - How Much Is Too Much?
- Bernadette is clearly Just a Homebody, as she makes suggestions about picking and choosing what's best for your family and your life season.
- Chareen's view is that It's all about a Science of Relations as she feels that it's not about how busy but about building a memory.
- Julie shares the Benefits of Extracurricula Activities since she feels that they are good for kids - mostly.
- Savannah gets us thinking about how you choose when and where your children (or even you) participate in extracurricula activities in Extra Curricula Activities and Family Goals.
This post is linked up to:
1) Hip Homeschool Hop - 4/30/13
2) Hearts for Home Blog Hop #15
3) Homeschool Mother's Journal: May 3, 2013
4) Collage Friday - Taking Time to See Beauty
5) TGIF Linky Party #74
6) Creative Learning #13
7) Friday Flash Blog #16
8) Weekly Wrap-Up: The One Where We're Wrapping Up
9) Share it Saturday - Homemade Mother's Day Gifts
10) Sunday Showcase - 5/4/13