A new school year has begun. Jase is in his second year at middle school, and Lexie is in her final year of elementary school. As always, a new school year can mean new extracurricular activities. I always try to keep the kids’ activities to a minimum (usually just one.).
For Jase, this isn’t a problem. While he was very busy in elementary, he has slowed down in middle school. His only extra activity this year (and last year) is the orchestra. Now that he has moved up to the symphony orchestra (the middle level of the three orchestras), there will be more rehearsals, more competitions and more field trips. And while I continue to encourage him to look for other clubs or activities to join, Jase is fine with his one activity.
Now, last year Lexie did two activities – took an art class and choir (which is only available for fourth and fifth graders). She didn’t want to do either one this school year. But I encouraged her to do something this year. And there are so many things – safety patrols, buddies (who assist the special needs students), fifth grade strings, morning announcements – offered to fifth graders that aren’t offered to others in her school. I was sure she could find something she liked.
And now, Lexie has gone from having no activities at the beginning of the school year to having several by the end of September.
Her first new activity is Robotics, which is a club open only to fourth and fifth graders. Lexie said she wanted to learn programming and that is what the club focuses on. They build Lego-based robots and program them to complete tasks as part of the First Lego League. She has a chance to go to a competition in January or an exhibition in May.
Because she didn’t get into safety patrols or a part in EP TV (which is the morning announcements at school), she volunteered to help in the library in the mornings. Every year the librarian picks one fifth grader to help with the kindergartners who line up and wait for their teacher in the library. She reads to them while they wait.
And then, after we had her down for just two activities, a position in safety patrols became available, and Lexie decided to take it. So, she began training for that at the end of September. She helps the crossing guards at any one of three crossing areas or she opens car doors for those being picked up in the car line. She seems to like it so far. At least she missed the blistering heat at the end of August/beginning of September and the heat of last May/June’s normal training period.
It looks like it will be a busy year for Lexie. Maybe next year, we will try going back to just one activity per child.