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?


  1. Wow, that is a lot of money for gymnastics. I've got mine in ice skating, which is about $60 for 5 weeks (they go once a week); and swimming which seems to vary inexplicably from $20 a week to $40 a week (they go twice a week). That's about $200 a month and it does make a dent in the budget. I have a mental rule that we won't be doing more than 2 activities at a time, and I don't know what we'd do if they wanted to do something that costs a fortune, like hockey or cello lessons. Don't feel bad about taking a break. I am planning an ice skating break after this next session.

    Somehow, I am trying to navigate the Encourage My Kids To Find Their Passion idea with the I'm Not Driving All Over Creation 40 Times A Week idea. And it's probably just going to get harder.

    Have you ever asked if you are eligible for a homeschool discount anywhere? We take the swim lessons at the Y, and when she found out we were homeschoolers, she gave us the member price, which was a pretty good discount.

    So! Helpful! Sorry, I got nothin'.

  2. I feel your pain! We own a family business and I'm homeschooling so we don't have the luxury of much time to drive from one activity to another. I'm also having trouble biting off the fees for organized activities. But here's my biggest problem, I don't want to take the kiddos away from free play time. They have so much fun exploring and creating in our backyard. If we join organized activities there will less time for free exploration.

    I'm always thinking, "I've got to get the kiddos into some kind of activities!" But I haven't taken the plunge! This summer maybe. Yes, I'll do it this summer!

  3. All of my children are grown but as a single working Mom I just couldn't be a mini van, soccer Mom. We did Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, cheerleading in middle school and soccer and basketball in high school. Each child did one extra curricular activity at a time. I know young parents who have their children in 2 or 3 activities and they have 3 kids and both parents are working. Oh My Gosh! Have we lost our minds. This leaves no time to eat an evening meal together much less to cook a healthy meal or read to your children when you put them to bed, everyone is to tired. I think you're on the right track, maybe one activity and I do think swimming lessons are a must. Back to my grown children: two of them own successful businesses and the third one has her masters degree in accounting so one activity per child is enough. Thanks for stopping by waddleeahchaa. We're talking about making family memories and what happened to Kindergarten this week. We would love to hear from you. joyce :)

  4. I have three children. My rule from the beginning has been one activity per child. I am one person (my husband does do much driving around unless absolutely necessary), we have one income, and I refuse to make myself insane. I am fortunate that I can teach my kids piano or I would make an exception for music. Anyway, your kids will be FINE. It will give them some time to make their own fun.