Still trying to limit my kids’ extra curricular activities

When my kids first started school, my goal was to not have them over scheduled with activities. In fact in January 2013, I wrote a post about keeping their activities to one extra-curricular activity per child.

Well, now that they are older (Lexie is 9 and Jase is 12), it has proven to be too hard to keep that one activity goal.

Jase receiving his second degree red belt in May 2017.

It all started last year when Jase was in fifth grade. He wanted to return to soccer, but he was still taking karate (which he began in kindergarten). Ok, I thought. Two activities were fine. Then during the first month of school, the middle school orchestra came to perform as a method of recruiting members. He wanted to do strings which was free (except for the violin rental.) So he ended up with three activities.

At that time, Lexie just had one – gymnastics.

A new school year has begun, and it is time to select activities for this school year. I don’t dictate what activities they join but the only stipulation is that once they start something, they must continue through that season/session. If after that they don’t want to continue, then they are free to stop and pick a new activity.

Lexie’s rendition of the Pokemon – Fennekin.

Lexie decided in August that gymnastics was not her passion and wanted to stop. She had been doing it for a year and a half. She loves art so I signed her up for an after-school art class that meets once a week for 12 weeks.

She also likes to sing so she will also be joining choir. This school group meets twice a week before school. She will have one performance during the holidays and a field trip to sing at another location – usually a nursing home.

Jase right now has two activities. He is still doing karate. He is currently a second degree red belt. He is also in the orchestra. Now orchestra is a class at his middle school, but I am also counting it as an extra-curricular activity as they will sometimes have after school practice, and they do have performances and competitions throughout the year.

While he currently has two activities and I would be happy with him limiting his extracurricular activities to these, I am still encouraging him to find a club at the middle school he might want to join. I think joining a club will be a great way to make friends at his new school. But if he doesn’t find one that interests him that is fine too.

As it is, I think two activists a piece are just fine for them. I like keeping them busy, but I don’t think kids need every minute of their day scheduled. They need time for homework, and of course they need down time where they can just have fun and enjoy their childhood.

Fall sports for the kids

School has started once again. I am not one to insist my kids have extracurricular activities but if there is something that they want to do, I will let them tackle one new thing – be it a sport, club or whatever.

This year, Lexie has chosen to try soccer. She remembers going to games and practices when Jase tried soccer when he was five. I signed her up for the same program through the YMCA. She is on an all-girl team of five and six-year-olds. Her coaches are the parents of one of the other little girls. They coached their daughter’s team in the spring and have coached their son’s team before so they know what we are doing.

Before the first practice, we had to go get the necessary equipment – shin guards, cleats and black shorts. We already had a size 3 soccer ball. The YMCA provides the jersey and matching socks. In the case of Lexie’s team they have yellow as their color. They choose bumblebees as their team name.

The first practice was supposed to be on my birthday but we got to the field only to find out that they were cancelling practice due to a rainstorm that was approaching. Instead the coach met the girls, gave them their jerseys and went over a little bit of what their first game would be like. That first game was the next morning at 10 am!

CIMG3379Yes, they had their first game without ever having a practice. They did get to run through a few drills before the game. But they ended up losing 1-4 against the other team. Lexie had fun though she wasn’t use to being bumped or hit with a ball. She held up well until someone elbowed her in the nose. Luckily that happened in the fourth quarter.

As for Jase, he stuck with karate for the fall. He is currently a first degree purple belt and will be testing this November to become a second degree purple belt. He began karate almost three years ago. I think he does better at an individualized sport like karate than a team sport such as basketball or soccer.

IMG_2032Every season, he is required to participate in a karate tournament. He has yet to win a round during tournament and I know this doesn’t make him happy. He is good at techniques but really doesn’t have the killer instinct for tournament. He is not aggressive and typically falls back into the same few kicks which are his favorite.

But even without his success at tournament, Jase loves karate. He even performed some karate moves for last year’s school talent show. He included some karate weapons for his demonstration. In class, they do not learn about the weapons. They offer camps twice a year where the students learn to use long or short swords, tonfa (police batons), nun chucks, throwing stars and other weapons. At the end of the camp they sell some of the practice weapons.

I am glad the kids are liking their sports this Fall. I don’t know if Lexie will want to continue with soccer. She has tried gymnastics and dance before this and neither of those activities were ones she wanted to stick with. But I am sure Jase will stick with karate for at least a little while longer. He often says he wants to become a red belt which is the highest rank he can attain in the junior level.Until then we will just enjoy going to practices, games and tournaments with the kids.