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!