The Power of Downtime

This post is not so much about me and my downtime (which I could use more of), but about my guilt regarding my son’s lack of extracurricular activities.

I kept my son fairly active in preschool. He participated in soccer classes, t-ball, swimming, day camps, etc… Once he started kindergarten, it stopped. My reasoning was that I wanted to see how he would do in school before I signed him up for anything extra. I didn’t want him to be overstimulated and tired.

4 months into school, he’s doing fine and is now back in the swing of things after Winter Break. The first day back, We received a sheet from Afterschool Cornucopia listing several activities for his age range. I asked him in the car if he was interested in any of them and he said decidedly said “No.” I chose not sign him up for anything because I didn’t want to spend $150+ dollar on a class that he wasn’t really going to enjoy (he could have ended up really liking it, but I just didn’t feel like taking the chance).

So now I have the guilt. I don’t have him involved in any weekend activities either, mainly because that is my downtime and I just don’t feel like scurrying about on my days off. I figured that my son will request his own activities soon enough and I can scurry about then, but now I just want to rest while everyone else is taking their kids to soccer.

Now, I’m not a total sloth. We’ll meet friends for play dates, go to the playground (and get my workout in ;)), go for a swim, play countless games of Candyland…but it’s all done in leisure. Yet I still feel guilty.

I feel like I’m putting my needs before his, but I have to remember that he’s still 5 years old and his downtime is important as well. He’ll have plenty of time to pursue his interests, we don’t have to do it all right now.

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The school lottery

My husband and I both work full time jobs, neither of which are located close to home. This recently posed a problem when it came time to sign up our son for Kindergarten for the upcoming school year. We live within Los Angeles Unified School District boundaries. Our local elementary school is not bad, but we would have a heck of a time trying to pick up our son after school. We don’t want him to be one of those kids that is in an after school program all day, so we needed to look at other options.

Since I work the more steady job, it was decided that we should look at schools that were close to my office. I also have the luxury of working near my parents home, so they would be able to watch our son after school.

We decided to look at a couple of charter schools. Charter School #1 was a language immersion school that followed the IB model of learning. We really liked what this school is about and the parents seemed very involoved, so we applied. Charter School #2  focused on experiential learning and arts, which was cool, but we didn’t get as good of a vibe from this school as the 1st one. We applied anyway.

We also looked at the Magnet program for LAUSD. There was one school that I visited that had a similar program to Charter School # 2. I found out that I had missed the deadline to apply by one day (It was a mid-December deadline), but that I could submit a late application. This was a long shot, but I applied anyway. I didn’t hear back in January, so I’m assuming that we’re on a very long wait list.

This month, I applied to move my son from LAUSD to the much better school district where my office is located. This  got approved last week and I was very relieved. DS (Dear Son) would get the benefit of a better education, plus be stress free regarding travel time to pick him up from school … and he can stay with my parents after school, who live just a few minutes away.We looked at this as back-up, in case he did not get in any of the schools mentioned above, which in my opinion, are better schools, but not by much.

Charter School # 1 had their lottery last night. I haven’t heard anything yet, so I’m assuming M didn’t get in. They said they will notify by phone call and email, but I don’t know how long that takes. Charter School #2 is having their lottery later this month, but that school is much more popular than the first one, so I don’t have high hopes. I can’t say I’ll be very disappointed if he doesn’t get into a charter school, because he will be in a good school no matter what happens at this point. 🙂

We did consider private schools. Both my husband and I went to private schools for both elementary and high school. The problem we encountered is that most of the schools were religious. We are not the most religious people and we aren’t necessarily against DS learning religion in school, but we would feel a bit disingenuous sending him there. We also felt that the learning, models, scores, etc… were not as good as the charter schools we looked at.  We also had to factor in the price – The lowest price for a school we considered was about $450 per month, plus service hours and church contributions. We didn’t feel it was worth it. of course, all that could change once he starts school. We’ll see what happens. 🙂