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Everest Academy is a ministry of Everest Family Church in Hayden. We offer freedom along with quality resources, information, activities and support to those homeschooling in Alabama. We believe that the parent has the best interests of their children at heart. We believe that the parent is the first and only teacher that a child needs. In keeping with this philosophy, we wish to be a very hands-off church "cover" school and allow the parent to lead and guide their children in the direction and at the pace they feel is best suited to their children. We ask only for what the law requires while offering support along with quality resources to aid families in their efforts.

Activity Participation

Hey Homeschoolers! 

I am working on making a resource for new homeschoolers where they ask the questions and veteran homeschoolers give the answers. My goal is to provide advice, resources, and most of all to show that there is more than one way of doing things. 

Please contact me with your answer to the following question. I have already included answers that folks sent me on Facebook. Please let me know if you do not want me to include your name in the posting. Please give as much info as possible including links, details, explanations, etc... I will add your answers to this page so that new homeschoolers will have a resource to refer back to again and again.

You can contact me at everestacademy1@gmail.com with your questions and answers. Please put "Blog Challenge" in the subject line. 

Deb Spradlin
Everest Academy Administrator

Question: What kind of activities do your children participate in outside of the home? Examples would include: church groups, choir, athletics, music lessons, co-ops, teen groups, etc...

My Answer: My response from a few years ago: We have slowed way down this year, and I am so glad! We had gotten to the point where we were on the go all the time. When my kids say they don't want to participate in something now, I am good with that. This year we are participating in church activities, Yoshukai two nights a week, Martin Hames mentoring program for Dae once a month, Fresh Air Family outings once a month, American Girl Club once a month for Dae, Teen Scene usually twice a month for Dalton, Art Appreciation Club once a month, park days twice a month, and usually a field trip or so a month. This month we will be participating in the swim sessions on Wednesdays at Jasper Natatorium. Both of the kids opted out of art classes, swim team, and McWane classes this year which opened up a lot of our time. It usually averages out that we have something going on about twice a week (not counting church and karate) and is a good break to get out of the house and a break in routine.

One piece of advice I would definitely give to new homeschoolers is to not over schedule yourself. It can definitely not only burn you out but also your children. It can become very overwhelming and more of a chore than a delight. It took me a long time to decipher what was important and not important and when to say "no".

My sons regularly attend Culture Kids at the library. We try to make the monthly Skate day and GRACE Meetings. My middle sons plays baseball and soccer. My oldest sons plays piano and basketball. They both attend AWANAs at church at love it. We enjoy outdoor activities and camping.

I've never thought it was a good idea to over-schedule children. So we've always tried to maintain a balance of school and activities that allows for a lot of free time. I think that two regularly or frequently scheduled activities is the limit for our family. Right now Bree only has one frequently schedule activity, figure skating.  We do take part in some of the TeenScene activities and we are involved in a Shakespeare class at the moment - but figure skating is Bree's current passion. Getting to and from the rink, lessons and practice sessions take up 3 - 4 days a week right now so there's not really room for another activity. Which is fine for now.

My daughter participates in Upward Sports at Church, and we are just now trying to go to a few things that we see posted on different homeschool group sites. This is our first year and it has been very hard.

My girls both have piano lessons once a week and YMCA homeschool P.E. twice a week. Grace has archery lessons every Saturday morning and Katie will likely start violin lessons at the end of summer. We also participate in the Outdoor Adventure Group once a month, Grace is in an American Girl Club that meets once a month, we do at least one activity with TeenScene each month, and usually one or more planned field trips.  We keep an eye out for activities, lectures, exhibits, etc. at our library, art museum, botanical gardens and Sci-Quest and typically do one or two a month. This year and through spring of 2010, we're making an effort to see much more of Alabama as we study our state.  After our first few years of homeschooling, we learned to keep more days open to spend at home or we just get burned out. This year, keeping Monday and Wednesday freed of commitments has worked well. If there is a field trip on a Mon. or Wed., we just keep another day free that week.

Mostly we just plan playdates/fieldtrips with other HS'ing families! I do plan to start my 3yo DD in Gymnastics and my 6yo DS in TKD soon.  He has done soccer, basketball, tee ball, gymnastics and choir previously.

Every morning we walk, workout or do yoga. Tuesday nights we sometimes do yoga at Graysville Library, Wednesdays we have guitar lessons, run some errands, have nature study at the Botanical Gardens with some friends from church, and have Bible Study that night, Tuesdays and Thursdays, we watch a video lecture with our cousin and aunt(or sometimes art lessons), Fridays and Saturdays could bring field trips, movies, weiner roasts, birthdays, dinners out, church meetings, weddings, concerts, shopping trips, mini vacations, yard work, etc. Sunday is church--we have morning and afternoon service with lunch in between; we have Grandmother with us,see family and friends and we usually get home around 3:30 or 4:00, pleasantly exhausted. Most days, there's Facebook friendships going on as well.

I made the decision a long time ago to just let my daughter be a little girl, without having too many demands on her time and energy.  I want her to develop her imagination and have plenty of free time to pursue whatever she wants to do (there's that unschooling creeping in!!:-). I want her to spend time hanging upside down from trees, lying in the grass watching cloud pictures go by, and having long conversations with her cat. (The dog is not a good listener! :-) I don't want her having any "performance pressures" unless she chooses to have them. I want her to be able to entertain herself, and enjoy her own company, and not be dependent on any one else for anything. If and when she expresses an interest in more organized activities, we will decide what is right for us.  One of the main reasons I chose to homeschool many, many years ago was to allow my child to become the very best person he/she can be, without outside pressure or influence. I know that lessons and activities can be beneficial, and I am NOT saying children shouldn't be involved in them, nor am I "putting anyone down" for enrolling their children. Please don't send hate-mails!!  What I am saying is that I know way too many parents who have their children involved in things that they (the parent) want them to do, or because "everybody else" is doing it. When I hear that "everybody else" is doing it, that is pretty much a guarantee that I don't want any part of it!! If a child is taking part in outside activities, it should be because they WANT to be, because it is their PASSION (at least for this week :-) and not because they feel they must. I'm sure that many of you on this site follow your children's lead when it comes to "joining up", but I have definitely known homeschoolers who forced their children to take part in sports or other activities when they truly didn't want to. Kids need to be kids. There will be plenty of time for forced activities when they grow up!

Really, the only regularly-scheduled activity we have participated in this year was the homeschool science class program at the B'ham Zoo. The boys' enthusiasm would come and go, but they never complained once they got to class....it's the typical getting ready and getting there issue that was always a problem! :-/  We started out the year doing a pottery class, but by 1/2 way through the year, the boys seemed to be tired of it. When she went up on prices, we took advantage of the situation to bow out. For some excercise, fresh air, and socialization, we regularly attend park days twice a month, and the boys always enjoy meeting friends for monthly skating & bowling.  In addition to various fieldtrips, we attended all of the Bham Children's Theatre performances, the AL Symphony Orchestra's Young Peoples Concerts, and the Alys-Stephens Center's Meet the Artist performances. I think this will be the last year for BCT as the boys have decided they are "too old for it". We will also begin being choosier in which ASC performances we attend (some of those are too "babyish", too).  Most of the time, we're hanging at the house. The boys spend lots of time jumping on the trampoline, riding bikes/skateboards/dirt bikes, taking care of animals, playing army or having a Star Wars battle, romping in the woods or the pasture with their cousins....basically, just being boys!  Given the present economic situation (i.e. lack of money--LOL), we are unsure what the next year will bring. The boys say they want to play sports, but when they played soccer in year's past, they always burned out by 1/2 way through each season....don't think we want to go that route again. Maybe just some regularly scheduled "unorganized" sports days once or twice a month! Yeah! That sounds great! I've never been too crazy about one particular activity monopolizing the calendar like so many organized activities tend to do.

Mamie has co-op for 3 hours every other week. We try to go to as many plays and performances as possible because she loves them. We go on maybe one or two other field trips per month. Through April and May we also have softball and soccer. So these two months are pretty busy. Though we still make sure to have at least a 2 - 3 days each week to not have to leave home. During the summer she takes a drama day camp for one or two weeks. She loves to do such a variety of things. She used to be in gymnastics but it was more structure than she liked. She really wants to be in a play. We have a children's theater group locally and she will be old enough to enroll this summer - so we may do that. I don't know if she will like it, once she sees the discipline needed but if she wants to try then we probably will. My husband and I never got to do anything like sports or the arts so we let her do pretty much any activity she wants to try. When the newsletter has things we could do I read to her about them and let her decide if it is something she wants to do. I want her to have every opportunity to find her passion.

In our house we had a one activity per child rule, but Alex wanted to do some other things besides just his one and of course I said yes. Mostly because he has a very big love for Boy Scouts, he loves the outings and camping, summer camp, hikes. He loves every aspect of it and has done this since 4th grade, never asking for another activity until about 8th or 9th grade. All the activities the kids are involved in are activities they want to do, that is the only activities that we do. Both kids have piano once a week, Alex has scouts once a week, Alex is also involved in karate twice a week, then there is church activities, youth group and Joy Belles. Now if I had a say and my son was not so head strong I would LOVE to see him participate in the drama team at church with our youth, this was my passion as a young girl, but it is not my sons and I have learned to live with that. I do think; however, Bri may get involved in it, as she has been very upset with the Children's Dept for not choosing her for roles in their drama group. Anyway, we also participate in park days twice a month, both kids love this activity. Bri also takes art lessons once a week, which I believe right now is her biggest passion. She also has a passion for dance, but took a break this year; I loved the break, but she is counting down until she can go back. We have also participated in Art Appreciation once a month this year which both kids have LOVED. We are also involved in the Everest Outdoor Group once a month. Then there is the field trip once or twice a month. Oh and we are also in American Girl and do teen scene events, when we can. Sunday is our day for church, we go to the morning service and that is it. I do get flack, but usually reminding them that even God said no and used the 7th day as a day of rest, not because He could do no more, but because He chose not too. I think this is an awesome example to us as humans that we need to rest for the sake of our health and well being. These afternoons could be games, movies, or just a nap for me. I'm very protective of Sunday afternoon, just ask anyone who tries to plan anything for us on that day, I don't like it, and will rarely show up.  Okay stepping off the soap box now. We do have a full calendar, my kids enjoy all these activities and each year we re-evaluate what we want to do for the coming year and what we may want to continue. I do not coax, beg, or prod, unless it is to try and cut something out. The kids are actually pretty good at letting me know they don't want to do something or are feeling a little too overwhelmed and we will stop and look at what we could change to make things better. My kids LOVE their outside activities, probably much more than mom, who is actually the homebody, but that's okay they drag me along anyway kicking and screaming sometimes.

Well, we aren't obligated to anything. After about 10 years of constant running with PS events I put the brakes on and sat down and I enjoy it..LOL We do attend church and try to make an Everest park day here and there, and FAF outings are fun. Jamie would like to begin piano lessons and has decided to wait and add it to her schedule next year. She would also love to play softball (anyone have a team that needs a great 2nd baseman?). Nate would like to play football somewhere (he'd make a great lineman).

Both of our girls are involved at the YMCA with sports-soccer and swim team. They both have so many friends there that went to their school before (plus new friends) so I think that makes them pretty happy to see some familiar faces. They also play at the Y in kidzone when I go there to work out. Outside of that, we take them to parks, playgrounds, fishing and art galleries....since I show in an art gallery, they always go with me to deliver work and visit the gallery. They have all of these ideas of things they want to make and put in the gallery too :)  The only scheduled activities are the YMCA ones, we try to leave alot of open time so we can have plenty of flex.

Nathan was taking guitar lessons. We need to find a teacher now that we're moving to Arab. He has been in the Junior Ambassador class at Fresh Air Family, but I'm finding that it is a pain to drive over there on the weekends, and he isn't really getting much out of it for the price, so I think we're going to stop that.  In general, regularly scheduled events are a pain to keep up with, especially since I work full time. I think we'll stick with whatever field trips we may find or just going out with friends on our own schedule. I was looking at some week-long summer camps/classes at Sci-Quest in Huntsville. Daily for a week is much easier than 1-2x/week for however many weeks. I think my mom is taking him to Disney and Mobile over the summer too.

We attend church on Sundays and Wednesdays. We also take Dance classes, but right now the school year for dance classes is over until September. They will probably be bored unless I can find them something to do over the summer!