Outside Activities & the Waldorf Home

This topic came up on our yahoo group this week and I thought it was worth posting :)

I have always had rules about activities, especially since Sam came along almost 6 years ago, I went from having kids that were 5-10yrs in ages back to having little ones. The little ones NEED to be home.  This isn’t a want, it is a NEED.  In fact the children that fight it probably need it more than others!  Balancing activities can be hard for families.  I taught a class at a Waldorf school several years back on spiritual parenting and bringing the center back to our lives.  One of the participants was a dad that had a child in the school.  His complaint was that he was in the car all day, after school there were activities and it was making him crazy – he only had one child! I told him to put his foot down and stop trying to give his son everything.  His son really needed DAD.  The guy didn’t last long in my class, I wasn’t giving him the answer he wanted. lol.  Sometimes that happens in life, the answer that is appropriate may not be the one we want to hear.
To maintain a healthy rhythm, keep control of outside activities.
How much is too much? Well I would say that  one to two AT MAX per child.  If you can combine activities great!  As they get older and can car pool, arrange rides, etc. then you can loosen up.  My big boys ride the bus into town to go to archery lessons once a week, they have scouts 1-2 times per week and get themselves there or one of us will give them a ride if needs be – they have legs, lol, they know how to walk there.  Ellie has piano – more on that below – but it is during school hours at our home so that doesn’t disrupt.  The little ones, Sam in particular, he’ll be 6 in two weeks (holy molly!) he takes nothing.  No sports, no classes, nothing. He goes to Sunday school and has play dates a few times a month with friends, but otherwise his life is at home.  He goes to story time at the library with Daddy, but no structured classes. These little guys aren’t ready for it IMO until they are in first grade.
Organized sports are hard.  I personally take issue with the way the world treats sports heroes like they can do no wrong. And at how liking one team that your neighbor doesn’t like makes you better than them.  Really??  I roll my eyes at my dad when he yells at the TV thinking the Broncos coach can actually hear him. People get so worked up over sports. I think we just have to think about what we value.  Competition CAN be good.  It needs to come at the right time. I think it can be a fine way to go to college and therefore should have a place in a child’s life if they want it, but I would be careful with anything competitive before age 9.  If you can help it… age 12. That is a personal observation on my part.  I have watched some (NOT ALL, but SOME) super competitive kids be a real handful for their parents.
This is where my rant on competition begins.
We have to be really careful – what message are we sending?  Is life a competition? I suppose to some it might be.  I was recently faced with a personal situation that gave me pause.  We rent. It isn’t a crime, lol, a HUGE portion of the world rents.  It gives us the flexibility we want at this point in our lives and after losing a house after Erik’s illness a few years back, we just don’t care to have that kind of pressure right now.  Apparently, this is a problem for some Americans. LOL.  Apparently there is a competition in place – one that says we have to have X done before we are 40 or there is something wrong with us.  When we were going through this pile of poo a few weekends ago, I thought about the people that were trying to throw it at us and thought about how competitive they were. WOW.
It all got me thinking.  Am I competitive? I try not to be, but my choleric temperament wins over my sanguine undertones at times.  It can certainly be a challenge in this life, full of the trappings of the natural man, to realize that we only need to be better than we were yesterday.
End rant. LOL.
In the end, keep home life sacred.  If sports are important then be sure not to over do it.  Watch for negative signs of competition.  Help them with plenty of non-competitive play. Keep lessons fun and alive.
OH – those fabulous music lessons I was going to share about?  Well hop on over to Jodie at homemusicmaking.com she teaches lessons DURING school for homeschooling parents via Skype.  I can’t say enough about her.  Ellie LOVES her. Price is super reasonable!!

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