Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Over Scheduled...Mom? - By Cara Potapshyn Meyers

We’ve all heard stories and read articles about children being over scheduled with all types of after school activities. And there have been a scattering of articles about parents whom are burdened by their children’s schedules. Lately, I have found myself falling into that trap, even though I always promised myself that I would never over schedule my child. It would be an unnecessary burden on my son as well as myself. Until now.

My son has been going to religious school since Kindergarten (he is now in second grade) and really enjoys going. There are more than a handful of students from his elementary school that he knows in this class. And at this point, it is rather low-pressure religious learning. So, we take him to that after school activity once a week.

Then, because my son has Auditory Processing Disorder, which compromises his reading and writing abilities, we have a tutor come one day after school. My son spends 45 minutes with the Tutor and gets weekly assignments to complete.

Following that is Karate, which my son LOVES and happens to be quite good at. In fact the Karate school advanced him to a more vigorous program, requiring him to go to class a MINIMUM of one weekday as well as once on the weekend! Incidentally, all of the professionals, from his ADD specialist all the way down to his Primary Care Physician, feel that if my son enjoys Karate, it is a perfect sport for him to excel at with regard to his ADD.

Finally, there is swimming. Another sport my son LOVES. Thankfully, this class happens to be on Sundays. My son was meant to be in water. He thrives in water. To the point of doing forward, aerial flips off of the diving board! And again, as Michael Phipps will tell you, swimming was his way of managing his own ADHD. Maybe it is my son’s, as well.

So here I am, with all of these important, but certainly not necessary (except for tutoring) activities my son is involved in. And we haven’t even discussed how play dates fit in with all of this! Is my son over scheduled? Am I over scheduled? I certainly know that at this moment in time am, given that I have an antibiotic resistant germ in me that is wearing me quite thin. Going on 4 weeks now. But what about my son?

Most parenting experts will tell you that the most extracurricular activities a grade school child needs is 1 or 2 activities a week. In my experience, my son needs daily physical exercise of at least an hour a day or  else he will be literally climbing the walls. So perhaps all of these extracurricular activities are good for him.

My husband and I have worked out a schedule, which more or less divides which parent takes my son to certain activities on specific days. But then you have to add homework into the mix. My son can barely manage the load of second grade work during his second week of school. I contacted my son’s teacher regarding the issue of homework. I also plan to make an appointment with the school Psychologist. Other than that, I am at a loss as to what to do.

If my son's schedule cannot be modified, I think I am going to ask my son’s teacher whether my son can do some of the homework over the weekends. It would ease the burden on everyone and allow my son the ability to participate in the extracurricular activities that are good for him, while extending his homework load across 7 days rather than 5.

As for me? I’ll still be over scheduled. But I will either enlist help to manage either dropping my son off at certain activities or miss them entirely if I feel his schedule is getting out of hand. I guess you’ll just have to continue to call me, the “Over scheduled Mom.” Stay tuned.


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3 Comments:

Blogger Laura Houston said...

I don't think you're over scheduled. I think you are committed. You have clearly found things that work for your son, and that's what it takes to make him thrive. I salute you.

5:32 AM  
Blogger Robin Gorman Newman said...

Ditto from me...as Laura wrote. I hear ya. Seth, my son, has kick-boxing, ice skating lessons, swim lessons, plays on a baseball league, has a reading tutor...and homework to boot. He requested all these activities, and like your son, is high energy, and they serve him. We thought about Hebrew School but decided not to go that route this year.

On paper in sounds overwhelming, but like you, we manage to get it all in, and my son is all the better for it, even if my husband and I have to juggle our schedules and are tired by week's end.

7:36 AM  
Blogger Cara Meyers said...

What great feedback! Thank you both!

12:14 PM  

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