Good Sports and other Friday thoughts

— Violet is trying baseball for the first time this summer, through a very laid back parks and rec league. She is the only beginner on the team, and the only girl, though the league is co-ed. This is the moment of reckoning I kept saying I was ready for.

We did not do t-ball when Violet was 3, or soccer when she was 4, and Victoria was newborn, and the summer was crazy enough. We didn’t add any team sports to the schedule at 5 — Kindergarten was enough to contend with. Then she explored some other things: horseback riding, fencing.

The upshot was that she was 9 when she entered the world of youth sports with soccer, a solid 5 years older than the starting age of average kids of our acquaintance. I have always thought that organizing young children into sports was not a good thing, but I also knew that someday she’d pay for being “behind.” Imagine — just turned 10, in 4th grade, and too old for baseball.

I felt good about our choice all along, but now I wonder — what good is it holding to an ideal if it makes life harder for your child later? Are there times to be pragmatic and go with what others are doing? She has to work hard to catch up with the boys on her team, and I am not hopeful that they will be patient with her, though her attitude is terrific.

*Everyone* we know seems to have kids in sports most of the year, and I do think my kids really need more outlets for physical activity and teamwork. Did I shoot us both in the foot? Too late for regrets now, I suppose. And Victoria is going into her second year of soccer and enjoying karate too — she was not going to sit silently and feel left out of all the good stuff, and lord knows she is often the one to get the shaft when it comes to driving around and fitting things into schedules.

— Tonight we are having a more official celebration of Violet’s birthday, a slumber party with a couple of friends. Since I last posted, tweenhood has roared in with a vengeance. It’s like a switch was flipped, and puberty has Arrived. I have not been bearing up well, but I am working hard on regaining my sense of humor, and poring over relevant parenting books — my solace, if not really much of a solution.

— On that score, we have a new homeschool model. Violet and I meet in the morning, discuss the “must-dos” for the day and the “must-be-done” time — with notes about what mom needs to be around for — and then she handles it. Eventually I will build in more group activities, but right now we both need a little space! There are consequences for not meeting the daily deadline — but no yelling or scolding. Our must-dos are typically math, piano, Chinese, and German, and then some mix of science, history, English (the MCT books), and reading. The rest is her time to write songs, movies, e-mails; play outside or ride her scooter; watch TV or play a video game.

Some days there will be outings to work around, too, but as I say, right now a little distance from each other is a healthy thing!



Filed under Schoolday Doings

4 responses to “Good Sports and other Friday thoughts

  1. My kids don’t do soccer, but I’ve often thought I should have enrolled them, because now I hate the thought of spending my lazy Saturday mornings sitting on a wet field watching them run around.

    Puberty is here, too. I’ve had to implement Dire Consequences as a result of all the lovely puberty going on around here. Sort of depressing how predictable (and conventional) it is. But you know, exercise is a lovely leveler. Really flattens those moods out.

  2. Alas, puberty has arrived here early. Just another way in which my child is early. So I didn’t think it would matter too much if she was late in other things, like organised sport – she spent most of her younger years obsessively focussed on dance, and I fervently dislike contact sports like soccer and rugby, and she was getting a really good education in both general sport and teamwork with our home ed group. But I put her in another group this year which did only one sport, and had done that one sport for years, and oh boy did Rose suffer! I tried to explain that these children had done nothing but this one sport all their childhood, so were naturally more advanced, but eventually we left because I didn’t like how only one set of skills was being developed. I don’t understand the current obsession with sports – for example, my cousin is so competitive in three different sports! – so long as my child has fun, gains co-ordination, and learns teamwork, that is all I require.

    Independent schoolwork – I guess we’ll get there eventually, but the thought of it makes me nervous.

  3. Ooh. I’m very frightened as I have no tweenagers yet, but two little girls. Is it really that scary? I’m just thinking about my pre-teen years and shuddering.

    OK, deep breath. It’s going to work out, right?

    I look forward to updates!

  4. We also haven’t put Zoe into any organized sports. And our area of the midwest is VERY into sports. And she is an athletic little thing. But I just didn’t want to devote the time. Kids here start spending 2 – 3 afternoons a week and one weekend day on their sport starting at age 5! Oh well…

    Your tween stuff… okay, you are scaring me!

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