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This topic contains 17 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by deedee1231 4 years, 7 months ago.
July 7, 2008 at 2:35 am #187030
I was recently watching a video about homeschooling and I heard the speaker make the comment that “the average homeschooled child is involved in about 4.5 extracurricular activities at a time per year”. My first question to this statement was “how” and my next question was “why?”
I first wanted to know how this was possible since homeschooling families can get quite busy with the daily activities of school and life that involving children in so many activities could get burdensome and overwhelming fairly quickly. It amazed me that anyone would have the stamina to home school at least more than one child with such a hectic activity calendar and still think straight. Enrolling children in this many or more activities is not only a task for the child, but also for the parent(s) who must pay for the activities, transport the children to and from the activities and attend recitals, games, shows, etc. in addition to completing academic work, completing household chores and dealing with other family issues.
I then wanted to know, why this was the case. Are there some types of statistics that link heavy involvement in extracurricular activities with higher academic performance, better socialization skills, advanced placement scores, increased chances of getting into rigorous college programs, etc?
So, my next question is how much socialization is enough? Where is the proof that says if your children are involved in “x” amount of activities that they will be properly socialized?
Well, there isn’t any line, at least not in my book. I made a decision early on that my children would not be involved in more than two activities at a time at least until they were old enough to transport themselves around. I am determined to avoid undue stress and burnout so that I can make my children’s home school journey as productive as possible.
Does anyone believe there is a “hard” number that every homeschooling family should subscribe to when determining how many activies are adequate for proper socialization?July 7, 2008 at 3:13 am #995037
I’ve heard good things about playing an instrument being linked to better grades. I think that’s because it takes routine and try try again power. They said 4.5 activities per year, not per week. Softball is in the summer, swim classes can be in the winter, they could participate in a local play and be in 4H, and even be learning an instrument. That’s still only 2 activities at a time. And usually they only meet once a week. It’s not about finding a “hard” number or doing what everyone else is doing, it’s doing what works for your family. But we have to make sure we reach a little bit out of our comfort zone. We may be home bodies, but our kids may be itching to be in a certain club. It does get a bit more crazy once you add more kids into the mix, but I think that just encourages us to become more organized. Try to be finished with school work by a certain time each day, school on certain days with chores on the alternate days, things like that.
I would even include church activities as a “socializing” activity. You can do it. Just don’t worry about fitting into what you/others think the “image” of homeschooling should be.July 7, 2008 at 9:08 pm #995154
Actually the average was about 4.5 activities per week throughout the year. That meant that on average each child had about 4.5 activities going on at one time, some less, some more.
It is not that I am worried about fitting a mold, I truly don’t consider myself to be conformist at any rate. I am just wondering if so much socialization is keeping the kids from acheiving more important things.
I basically asked the question b/c I also get the same question from other parents considering homeschooling. I have my own ideals of what I want to do, but I am not one to impose my own way of thinking or doing things on others because I believe that we were created differently on purpose. I just wanted to get guidance from some other homeschoolers so I could pass the wisdom on when I get asked this question again in the future.
I do agree with you that involving our kids in outside activities is helpful for both the kids and the parents. It gets us motivated as parents to become more organized and it is helpful to the children who need this type of stimuli. But, I don’t think we should over do it at any rate.July 7, 2008 at 9:26 pm #995157
I don’t think 4.5 a week is over doing it. That could be one thing per day. I was in dance, brownies, gymnastics, tennis, and youth group all in the same week. I wasn’t homeschooled…and it was alot of money but there are things they can be involved in that don’t cost money that is good for them like volunteering. It all depends on your child and how much they can do without feeling over whelmed…and what they’re interested in.July 7, 2008 at 9:42 pm #995161
I don’t find 4.5 a week alot in the slightest, I think anyless would be too few activities especially for a small child is needs to be stimulated alot more than an older child. I guess it’s comparing schooled children with homeschooled children, the majority of children are around other children for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week for 14 years, where as 4/5 activities is probably only 4/5 hours a week, which I find an extremely low amount personally especially when you compare it to other things.
But you have to consider that every child is different, some need far more due to shyness, some need less or some don’t want to do certain things and may want to be on their own sometimes. I don’t think there is an optimum, there is only an optimum for each child, not a set rate across the board.July 7, 2008 at 10:45 pm #995165
I missunderstood. I thought it was 4.5 per yr. 4.5 per week does sound like a lot to me. I have a friend who has kids in Brownies, softball, swimming, ballet, soccer. On those days the kids don’t get to bed until after 9pm. And Mom is at her wits end! I was only ever in 2 activities at a time, and I was in public school. I had church youth group once a week, church camp in the summer, softball in the summer, and I was in band all year round.
I saw a super nanny episode the other day where she sat the family down and figured out all the extra activities they were scheduling their children in, and she had them get rid of some of the activities. The children weren’t getting to bed until 10 or 11 pm., just to get up at 6am the next day and do it all over. That’s too much for anyone, let alone small children.
I think between 2 or 3 “activities per week is plenty. But like I said before, I consider band practice, plays, church and sports all extra activities.July 7, 2008 at 11:24 pm #995170
Well band counts as one very big activity because you do it every day and some of the other ones you do everyday. I guess my thing was that I didn’t practice everyday…I did when we had practices but never outside of that. If your child has something they really love then I think it’s important to give them the chance to get better at it. I wasn’t ever good at anything I just don’t have coordination but I liked doing things. I however wasn’t socialized by doing those things! I was super shy and I still am.July 8, 2008 at 2:18 am #995200
To be honest, I find the question annoying–not that you asked it–but the premise. First of all, socialization is the process where by we learn cultural nuances and the way the world works. If someone needs a fancy definition I’ll find one. But the point is, cultural nuances, how to act etc. is MUCH better learned from home. If it makes someone think my son is socially awkward bc he gives up his seat on a subway for a woman–so be it. All that to say, before we talk about “socialization” let’s get the definition correct.
Now if we’re referring to socialization in terms of friends–well I guess 4.5 activities is fine. Considering that many homeschoolers do co-op or farm out certain classes like art, music, gym activities or higher level math–then 4.5 doesn’t really seem that much.
Now if you’re asking the question whether or not it’s necessary to do all that for the purpose of making sure they get their “socialization”–well no and to think it is is foolish, IMO. I don’t believe in socialization, I wish people would get the word right and understand it’s definition properly and until someone can explain how my five year old is supposed to learn that it’s impolite to pick her nose from a bunch of other five year olds who pick their noses–I could care less whether or not my children are socialized “enough.”July 8, 2008 at 1:42 pm #995239
What concerns me is that this 4.5 at a time per year is considered the average, which means that there are children with less and children with even more. It is the more that disturbs me and I think the 4.5 average is very high, at least in my area. Why do I find it disturbing? I have noticed, particularly in homeschool groups some–dare I say it?–peer pressure to be involved in numerous activities, as if you don’t do all these things then you must not be doing the best for your children or homeschooling the way it should be done.
I also know some families that have nearly daily activities outside the home, but I suspect this 4.5 number would also include each homeschool co-op class and maybe just going to the library or the park or including church or club activities. Otherwise I don’t know that many homeschooling families that could afford all those “activities,” let alone have the energy to do them. How do families have the time to actually do lessons when they are running out every day for an activity?
Not all “activities” are social activities either and much depends on what one considers an “activity” to be. My child takes piano lessons once a week, but I personally don’t consider it an extracurricular activity per se, while others probably would, and it is not really an opportunity to socialize. (My daughter is gifted in music, so for her it is a core subject and music is intertwined in all her studies.)July 8, 2008 at 2:22 pm #995241
Yes–I was thinking along those lines too. The definition of “extra-curricular” is not necessarily clear. However, as far as affordability–I am finding lots of free and or cheap things in my area. My children will get to do tons of stuff once we move.
I would tend to agree that if the pressure is put on to have your kids in all this stuff, then it is worth questioning. But that pressure is there in public and private schools too. That is one reason why I balk at the idea that there is a number of ‘adequate’ activities.
We try to be out every day. The kids enjoy it and I enjoy it. My kids choose classes and activities that they love and one of my children has developed a real passion for ballet. Ballet training is intense and we’ve made it very clear that she may drop out at any time (LOL–well, at the end of a semester). Now someone who hears she’s practicing about three to five hours per week next year might think that’s too much (she’s 9) but it’s what she really wants to do. OTOH, ballet is not a social activity. (Neither is school for that matter–I can guarantee you there are teachers all over the country that say these words: “We’re not here to socialize. . .we’re here to learn.”
I think merely throwing out a 4.5 number is a little too vague honestly.July 8, 2008 at 2:30 pm #995242
My friend has a 14 yr. old that is kind of wanting to go to public school to be with his friends, I told her to make it clear he won’t be “socializing” in class. He’ll get to chat with his friends after school, just like he does now, homeschooling.July 8, 2008 at 4:16 pm #995280
When mine were little we had a board to record their activities.
A. had math club once a month, drill team (JROTC) every Saturday, Girl Scouts once a week, Latin Club once a week & Church Youth Group once a week. That is five activities for her. JROTC was 4 hours long but the others were only 45 minutes to an hour. My oldest was in High School & even when her Math Club met she was only spending 8 hours a week in extracurricular activities.
D. had Cub scouts 1x week, Soccer 4 hours per week, Bible quizzing 3-4 hours per week. My son spent 9 hours weekly but he was only doing 3 activities.
J. had Girl scouts 1x week, Cheerleading 3-5 hours per week.
They joined what they wanted. Yes, I did have to drop off someone early or a few minutes late or at a friends house. They got to everything though.September 10, 2008 at 9:59 pm #1006566
Socialization comes in many forms. We have Art class, park day, swimming, karate, and 4H. Plus church and visiting friends and families.September 16, 2008 at 8:15 pm #1007751
This is an interesting thread to me because I was just sorting out how many activities I want to enroll my kids in. Right now, my oldest is only 7, so I do want to keep it simple. Our HS group has one meeting and one field trip a month, she is in Girl Scouts, and I am trying to decide when to start her on piano lessons (now or after the holidays). And of course we are at church every week, but only have an activity about once every three months, so that’s not quite stressful. I think I want to slip in one “revolving” one, like swim lessons, etc. Still, looking at that – and with four kids – I get tired! Of course, I’m generally worn out by the end of the day, anyway – that is my biggest problem.September 17, 2008 at 11:56 pm #1007958
I say your child has an adequate amount of socialization when they stop fighting over toys and biting other children.:D
As for activities, my kids have two at a time each, (I just counted again, they are in 3 each) even with that I am bumming rides with other parents and trading kids with other families. They pick up more activities in the summer so it comes out to about 4 or 5 each over the course of the year.
Some of the worst behaved kids are in the most activities.:realexc:
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