It’s that time of year again. While our girls don’t go to school, they all attend extra curricular activities and almost all of them start back at the start of the school year.
I have the reputation in my family as “the quitter”. It makes me so mad. Any time I haven’t been able to follow through on something, for a million reasons, my family laugh and say “I knew it…you’re such a quitter”.
It all started when I was around 5 years old. I wanted to learn tap dancing. My grandmother had grown up performing and she said she would pay. But there was a catch “tap dancing on it’s own is useless…you need to learn everything properly”. This meant ballet, tap, jazz, singing, piano and acrobatics…starting with ballet. So my gran forked out the money for lessons, shoes, tutus and leotards. I lasted one day and cried the whole time. So that was it. Any time after that I asked to do something I was told I couldn’t as I always quit.
When I was ten I was living with dad and his new girlfriend and my step brother was doing scouts, so again I asked to do tap dancing. My dad said fine, but he wasn’t buying the shoes until I proved I could stick to it. I did ten weeks of lessons with a rubber band around my dress flats the day of the concert came around and I said I wouldn’t do it unless I had shoes. My dad took that as I quit. I never could win.
I always wished my parents had been a tad more supportive. My brothers all played various things over the years and when they decided they had enough it was no big deal. I also really, really wished they had pushed me a bit more toward a team sport. I was painfully shy after my parents separated and I struggled to make friends at school moving around all the time. I really feel a team sport would have given me more confidence and even may have helped me make friends.
So when my girls express interest the only requirement is once we have paid for a term, they complete the term. I have bought and sold equipment for lacrosse, basketball, ballet, tap, jazz, tennis, violin …. and more. Most things have a pretty good resale value on ebay so no stress.
This year I may have gone a tad overboard. The girls started taekwondo last year – our local centre started offering a class on Friday mornings to homeschoolers and it has taken off big time. Between twenty and thirty kids in the area attend. That starts back on Friday. We also found a swimming centre who would take the girls through the day – so they now swim once a week. Our eldest is continuing on with netball like she did last year but begged and begged to be allowed to do ballet as well. I finally found a local class that was for her age/stage and wouldn’t conflict with netball or anything else and she started last Wednesday. Soccer started back this week with our middle child returning after enjoying last year so much.
side note: you can not imagine the joy a parent gets from watching the child we never thought would have any sort of “normal” life playing a team sport. I cry happy tears about it all the time.
The twins are also playing their first team sport this year – both choosing soccer. Soccer training is 2x 1.5 hour training sessions a week…which means we will be there 4 nights of the week (as of course the U11 and the U9 teams train on different days). Our middle child also came to us with a request to do a local after school art class. She saw the notice at the library and sent off the “expression of interest” form by herself. She loves to draw (and is so freakin good at it) that I couldn’t say no.
But it doesn’t stop there. Our two eldest girls also managed to score a (very highly coveted) place at the Monash Science Club “Lab Rats” which will be 1 Saturday a month.
And we do all of this….without a car!
Our girls have gotten so much out of their extra curricular activities that I can’t imagine not finding a way to make it work for them. Soccer away games have meant begging for a ride from team mates and ballet requires a 45 minute wait for a bus home. I have learnt soccer terms, ballet terms, trawled youtube for how to do a classical bun with short hair, I have cheered in the sidelines in the middle of winter, I have sewed (poorly) dance costumes and bought three pairs of soccer boots in one year for my ten year old who grows in what could only be described as mutant proportions and I have come close to needing to sell a kidney to do it.
Last year, our aspie daughter who we worried would never have friends, had her whole team to her disco birthday party. Our eldest daughter struggles with self confidence until she is in the middle of a game. They make friends, they keep fit and active, they learn to work together. Team sports are something I would advise every parent to continue.
So if you don’t hear from me between now and November…you know why.