Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How do you handle extra activities?

Trying to get a handle on things here.

We've had the kids in gymnastics since September.  They love it and I can see major improvements in their strength and balance.  It's been a good thing really.  But it has cost us over $700 for 3 sessions plus enrollment fees.

Then there's Music Together, which is just for Ian and I on Fridays while Gracie is at options.  We did the fall session, the holiday mini session and now the winter session.  That has cost us $360.

We also do 4-H but that is minimal really, $60 for both kids for the whole year.

So, approxiately $1120 on supplemental activities and it's only February.  And we only have 2 kids!!!!!

Today was the last class of gymnastics for this session and I decided not to resign them up.  I feel they are benefiting from it but just can't justify the cost again. Music ends in 2 weeks and I am also not re-registering for that.  We've been taking that class on and off for the last 5 years and this last session was the only series we hadn't done so I don't feel to badly stopping that one.

Now they are asking for swimming lessons again, which is $160 for both kids to take a 2 week/4 classes a week session.  Swimming is important though, right?  I would even go so far as to say it's an important life skill.  The cost is a pain but the drive even more so, our little town doesn't have a pool so it would be an hour round trip driving plus time at back to back classes.  Does not sound fun to me, like at all. 

I think I'm going to focus on the free right now.  We are a one income family and I feel like our budget is constantly stressed, these classes add to that stress a lot.  But are we bad home school parents if we don't get the kids out and about and doing activities?  Granted Gracie does go to Options all day Friday (free via public school) and we have a weekly gathering with our home school group (usually free or fairly cheap), so they are out among the living at least twice a week.  That's good, right?  And the weather is getting nicer too, so we can get out to the park every now and then.  Oh, and memberships!  We have memberships to the zoo and 2 museums, so that's free entertainment and education.

I'm feeling a lot of guilt on this one.  Why do kids activities have to cost so much anyway?  What do you do to supplement what you do at home?  Are extra activities necessary?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Where we are now.

I've decided the first year is home schooling is a little bit like the first year of marriage.  You each have quirks and expectations and you dance this weird dance trying to get your point across while not hurting the other persons feelings. 

Yes, it's kind of like that.

We have done so many things this year.  In spite of all the changes we've made and the books I've bought and the plans I've pitched to the side I know we've learned a great deal.

So.  Where are we now?  Well, it looks like this:

 Two books and a notebook.

We started the 30 minutes a day book 3 weeks ago.  I like it because it covers the basics of phonics and math.  Gracie likes it because she can do it without my help (mostly).  It gives me the feed back I need without being overwhelming.  There are only 50 chapters and she does 4 a week so it was kind of perfect to fit in this time of year.  I picked it up at Childrens Book of the Month Club online.  I think it was like $5 on clearance. 

What Your First Grader Needs to Know is a very cool book.  It's set up by subject, contains music and art and is a good overall book of knowledge.  It has information and ideas on projects for the subject at hand.  It feels Classical to me, but take that with a grain of salt since I haven't really done much research on Classical schooling.  Very no pressure, lots of pictures, good literature, easy to digest.  Just what we need.  I picked it up at Barnes and Nobel for $18.  I believe these books go up through 6th grade.

Lastly there's the notebook.  I come up with a daily topic (I have a link on my sidebar for a website that has ideas) and Gracie writes her response and draws a picture.  Again, simple and to the point.  Great for practicing handwriting and creative writing.  Also gives insight into her 6 year old head which I like and I know she will treasure as she gets older.

So that's where we're at!  Where are you?