Some homeschooling parents thrive teaching "electives". I'm putting the word in quotes because I think many of you will agree that they shouldn't be considered optional. I'm in the same camp. I think that art, music, physical education, foreign languages, etc. are a crucial part of a child's education.
My problem is, when it comes down to it, I tend to drop the "electives" ball.
While in my head I know that these subjects of study are important, I get so pre-occupied with the importance of other subjects like math, reading, history, Bible, and science that I have sometimes have little energy and motivation to then tackle art and music once the other subjects are finished at the end of the day.
I could put them first. We certainly wouldn't forget about them then. But it's math and spelling that Sam dislikes the most, so I've decided that for his benefit (and mine), they need to be gotten out of the way as soon as possible. Sonlight has great resources for many electives, but, alas, they don't come to your house and teach them. You still have to get out the books, discuss, give assignments, oversee and evaluate/discuss again.
What would I really love? For someone with skills and passion in these different areas to come out to my house and teach my children for me. For free.
My second choice would be to join a local co-op that would provide these subjects in a group setting. Unfortunately, the one we tried to join in the fall is full and had to turn away 13 or so families because they are full (a wonderful dilemma to have). A new one may be forming, but life is too full right now to join in the planning and organizing.
We have an excellent homeschool PE class that is taught by an experienced PE teacher that Sam has participated in the past two years, but I can no longer sign up one child to an activity (two days a week for 45 minutes) while my other two and I try to amuse ourselves. I need activities that incorporate at least two children. Because I'm setting higher standards on my use of time...
So, here is where we stand this very second. Jamey has decided that he will teach Sam how to play the mandolin. They will have scheduled lessons. Sam will have songs to practice. He will have to play in church. Some friends are thinking about setting regular times to meet at the local indoor pool, so our kids can get some exercise without them really knowing it. As for art, I'm giving this book a try on recommendation from Sonlight so both Sadie and Sam (and I) can get in some drawing time. Sam is still working through his Spanish Rosetta Stone lessons, although I'm getting a little resistance now that the lessons are getting more difficult. We hope to continue it into the fall.
None of this is set in stone (although we've purchased the book and Sam is psyched to start it). I am putting my foot down and declaring publicly that this year I will be more consistent this year because "electives" are important. They're not everything and I dare say that they're not as important as some other subjects (you can disagree with me here if you like- that's okay), but they do help round out a person.
So, please tell me. If you homeschool, what do you do for electives? Are you one of those parents who thrive in their midst or are you like me- wholeheartedly on board but struggling to make it happen? If you don't homeschool, what are the electives that your kids enjoy the most or that you wish would be available to them?
I need all the inspiration I can get. September is fast approaching.