Tuesday, January 19, 2016

To Be In the House or Out of the House - That is the Question!

Emma and Jack are both playing basketball this year.  It is Jack’s first year playing a sport; he seems to like it OK, but not as much as Emma.  Emma loves to play sports.  I think it is more because she loves the social time with her friends, but she also enjoys running around as well.


Emma started playing sports when she was 5.  I remember thinking that it seemed so early to start the kids in extracurricular activities, but when I showed up to that first soccer game early on Saturday morning, I realized we were actually a couple years late to the game – kids start soccer at 3 around here.

Since that year, Emma has played soccer, basketball, and field hockey.  She has enjoyed them all.  But, this is the first season where we have had two kids in sports at the same time.


It is challenging.  Emma has practice during the week, and then games on Saturdays, while Jack has his practices on Sundays.  Add in church and co-op, library trips and regular errands, and we have a lot going on outside of the home, and especially on the weekends when our whole family has the opportunity to be together.

As homeschoolers, I often hear about socialization, although I do not think that my kids have trouble making friends or being in social situations; I do still feel that pull to overcompensate because my kids are not in a school all day with their peers.

Several years ago I found the blog FIMBY.  It was a breath of fresh air; a homeschool family that loved spending time together out in nature.  It was something I wanted for my own family, but was unsure how to start with a newborn Jack and a 2 year old Emma.  They were hikers, and backpackers, and we were not even close to being in a spot where we felt like we could do that, but it was something to aspire to.

Fast forward several years, and instead of being out in nature on the weekends, we are at sports games and practices.  Now, that isn’t a bad thing, it is a different thing.


In the back of my mind, however, I see how difficult it is to keep us all together.  We can’t have family dinner every night because Matt is rushing off to practice with Emma.  I have missed some of Emma’s basketball games because Lucy was sick.  I don’t like that.  I want our family to have that together time, and sometimes I feel like we are going in so many different directions, it is hard to regroup.

Is this normal?  Is this how families typically are when they have multiple kids in multiple activities?


We have narrowed it down to one activity per child per season, for the most part.  There was the season of the Christmas play at church that Emma was also a part of, and took her and Matt away every Friday night from September through the weekend before Christmas. 

Now, I am not saying that what we do is right or wrong.  It just feels different to me as the kids get older.  Perhaps I am just trying to hold onto my little ones as long as possible.

What is the answer though?  I certainly do not know!  I sometimes wonder if having our kids in sports and other extracurricular activities at such a young age is really needed.  The kids have fun, which I like, but I don’t like the busyness of it all.

Why am I thinking about this right now?  Well I recently re-read a post on Fimby that reminded me of what my intent was when the kids were smaller.  It is a post about choosing a family activity instead of team sports or other activities that would take the kids out of the home.  It is a really great read, with a lot of good information to ponder, and lays out most of my thoughts in a much better way than I have here.


What are your thoughts?  Do your kids participate in a lot of extracurricular activities?  Is it stressful for you, or are you able to easily go with the flow?  I could use some tips!

23 comments:

  1. First and foremost, do not worry about your kids and their socialization. If they make friends fine without being stuck in a room with 30 other kids all day, awesome! I went to public school and don't know how to make friends - it's not something school will teach you, ha!
    I wish I could have some suggestion or aside to add to the dilemma, but as I don't have kids, I have no idea. It's easy to say that yeah, everyone being out all weird days and times is stressful, and that shouldn't be a thing to worry about. At the same time, that would be their recess of sorts, to get out and play with other kids. Then again, family time. But then again, letting kids do fun things that they enjoy that teach them good lessons.
    This is why I'm not a parent - it's too complicated! xD

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  2. We all participated in different activities! My sister danced, my brother played soccer and I did theater. Let them do what they enjoy and just make sure to spend time altogether too would be my advice, but course I don't have kids either haha!

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  3. I was never involved in after school activities much when I was younger, a few in primary school but that was it mostly! I understand what you mean by busyness though it can get a bit much sometimes!

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  4. My babies are still too young for sports, but in a couple of years, I'm sure my son will be playing some sort of sport. I remember being super busy growing up and I don't know how my mom did it all. I was a competitive dancer and my sister was a gymnast and brother played baseball. We also took piano and did extra things with my church and school all the time. It was always busy. I am sure it will be very overwhelming for me, too, being on the mother side of it.

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  5. I think when you have multiple kids, you have to trade off. Only way it works.

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  6. My little one is still in the baby stage. But I'm sure this same issue is on its way eventually. I imagine it's got to be something of a give and take. And what works for one family won't necessarily work for another. The most important thing is it sounds like these kiddos are pretty well loved.

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  7. As far as sports go, if I had to do it all over again, I would introduce them to as much as I could when they are little, let them pick what they like and stick with that. It pays off when they finally are of age to 'try out' in middle school & beyond

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  8. My girls each do two things. One sport and one other artsy thing such as piano or ballet. It can be a lot of work, but it really pays off in self confidence, they are soccer girls for sure!

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  9. As a mom of four, I can tell you that the schedule doesn't necessarily get easier but you have choices in how it is managed. My kiddos are 4, 8, 10, & 14 and yes, our life often looks like yours: one parent at an activity, another parent at another activity, sometimes a 3rd child with a friend at another. In our family, each child gets one extracurricular and we al have church involvement on top of that. It can be tricky but if we eat dinner together 4-5 nights a week, I feel successful!

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  10. Both of my kids were very active in activities. As long as they continued to do well in school I was willing to do the work for them to do the things they love.

    With a little time you'll find what works! That's what moms do :)

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  11. I think you do what works best for your kids and your family. Their interests will become clearer as they get older and when they are in charge of making more choices. When my girls were little I didn't have them in every activity under the sun but they never really expressed interest. As they've gotten older though, they are enjoying participating in things. As busy as we are sometimes, I make family time a priority as well, which I think is equally important. It's all a balance!

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  12. Great to see such healthy and happy active kids. Thanks for sharing.

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  13. With all kids in different things, it is hard to regroup! We try to keep it at one child per season to make it easier for us!

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  14. Winter is always hard in our house because the kids have something every weekend! It is a balancing act and my husband and I rarely have alone time. But the kids will only be kids for a little while so it's well worth the sacrifice.

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  15. Winter is always hard in our house because the kids have something every weekend! It is a balancing act and my husband and I rarely have alone time. But the kids will only be kids for a little while so it's well worth the sacrifice.

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  16. I also tried to hold on to my kids as long as possible, but it just didn't happen. Once they were in big school, they got too busy in school clubs and activities.

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  17. The league that my kids play for practice and have their games all on Saturday. It makes it so much easier for us only having one day tied up.

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  18. It is so hard when the weather turns bitterly cold to get motivated enough to even leave the house. My kiddos don't really like sports any longer

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  19. I have 4 kids. My oldest never was sports, music. kept him quite busy! The other 3 all sports. My older daughter was on division 1 sports on college and my son is now on a college track team. My youngest is an amazing athlete and we travel extensively with lacrosse. There is a lot of meals in crock pot and everyone has to get by. I think it is worth it in the long run. My kids have learned to juggle their sport and school work and it is a time management and responsibility skill. I hope you keep them in the sports and enjoy. We still get plenty of outdoor time.

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  20. We started out in sports but because of the schedules, etc. we stopped. Instead I've opted to the family activities approach with some flexibility for the exploration of individual interests.

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  21. My little guy's only 14 months so we haven't hit this stage yet but I'm pretty sure we'll limit his activities to one or two things a season. I don't want to always be rushing around.

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  22. As a homeschooling family really love reading your posts. My kids love their sports and activities and it can be a juggling act sometimes! x

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