Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Overscheduling

Can I just say that I hate being over-scheduled.? I just hate it. I advise moms, especially homeschool moms who often feel they need to pack their schedules full of social outlets, to reduce their outside commitments.

Having limited activities is beneficial in so many ways. One of them is simply so you aren't stretched so thin. It is difficult to get things done when you are being pulled in too many directions. There are only so many hours in a day! You can't fit everything in when you spend a large part of your day at, or traveling to and from, activities. Another benefit is that you have more down time. Having down time is important to health, physical and mental. That rest is so very important...all the time, not just when you are too sick to do anything but rest. Finally, when your schedule is less packed with scheduled activities, you have the freedom and flexibility to do more fun things with your time. You can drop school for a play date knowing that you can catch back up afterward, or tomorrow, or whenever. You have time to jet over to the science museum when they have a special program because you don't have to be back by two for class.

I'm not saying that I'm against activities. I love them. The hard part is deciding which are important enough to give up a part of your freedom, to tie you to a set schedule. For my family, I try to limit my kids to one well-loved activity. And if nothing is well-loved, then none. I won't give up my freedom, and the freedom of every other member of my family, for something the child will just get bored of and quit later. It just isn't worth it.

My kids have different temperaments that led me to this rule about well-loved activities. Mika started out taking ice skating. After a year, she just quit. Then she wanted to do gymnastics. It turned out that she just liked playing on the equipment and pads but didn't care about becoming a gymnast in any sense of the word. Then Sam came along and expressed an interest in martial arts. My husband and I realized that it would be good for his particular needs. We put him in class once a week. He loved it. We moved to a new school and increased him to a couple times a week. Before we knew it, we were investing two hours a day (not counting drive time), five days a week to taekwondo. Two years later, Sam is still just as committed, complete with long term goals involving the sport.

All that taekwondo was quite a commitment. But it was ok because it was our only commitment. Then I decided I to join MOPS with a friend. I wanted Josh to have something fun to look forward to and thought their childcare would be fun for him. Besides the homeschool kids got an art class while the moms were doing their thing, and I would get some adult interaction and support. It was only twice a month; I could swing that. Then we found a computer RPG programming/film making/photo and video editing club for Mika. It met for two hours on Monday afternoon. Ok, I thought, Mika doesn't have an outside activity and it is only once a week. We can swing that but our schedule is feeling full especially given the fact that I'm not home Monday nights. Then that computer club added a film making class right after the homeschool class on Mondays. And film making is more of what she is interested in, so she started staying four hours, the maximum our schedule would allow. Finally, we decided that the kids need to know how to swim. Of course, knowing how to swim has always been one of my goals for them...eventually...but possible future events makes it more of a priority for now. Scott and I both agreed that we need to fit it in now. So, we started swimming classes on Tuesday and Thursday. The classes are only 30 minutes long but they are far enough away that it takes up almost two hours out of our day. We could go somewhere closer but previous experience tells us that we require the program we are going to in order to get results. What we have left is sheer exhaustion.

What we have left is 16 hours of time spread in little bits here and there throughout the week to get school done in. If we can't buckle down and get school done in those 16 hours, we'll have to move to schooling on Saturday and Sunday, too. Ugh!

I hate being over-scheduled! Gone is the time for field trips, park days, play dates, crafts and projects that make learning fun, and time to meander through our learning. Gone is the freedom to drop school to have fun with friends. We don't have time to make it up later. We traded flexibility for a rigid schedule, freedom for slavery (to our commitments), rest for exhaustion, fun for stress. I hate it.

Fortunately, we're only doing swimming lessons through April. Come May, life reverts back to manageable...or will it?

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4 Comments:

Sunset Learning Academy said...

I have been there. Last year i found myself with three appointments at the time. There is no way to be three places at once! Sometimes you have to sit back, take a deep breath, and see what can be given up. We do feild trips and schooling on Saturday when need be.

Turtle Oak said...

Moving?!? Where to?

Suswan said...

I hate being over-scheduled too. I remember when my kids used to complain to me that they were bored I'd tell them, Being bored is a privilege, enjoy it!" ;-)

theresa4sixsuit said...

I hear ya. I can never understand families that are involved in every sport there is. Talk about being over scheduled! When do they have time to be a family or simply be a kid if they're involved in three or four activities at once?

My family has been doing taekwondo too. Our TKD school has a pay for three the rest are free offer. We took them up on that! :) So now 3 of my 4 kids are black belts and my youngest is training for hers and testing this April. And now I'm a Certified Black Belt Instructor!

Anyways...I hate being over scheduled too because it always seems that although things get done, they don't get done to the quality level I'd like.