Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Should kids get extra-curricular activities during debt payoff?

Short answer is: I don't know.  Maybe it depends on how long.  If you could go gangbusters and get out of debt in a year, then I'd say, no.  Save every penny.  If it's a four year journey type thing like us, I'd say maybe yes, if you can manage it?  I never had lessons and I've struggled to find some advice, even calling in to Dave Ramsey's show (but never got through).  At first, I figured we should cut out everything unnecessary.  As Dave Ramsey says, "Beans and rice, rice and beans."

But its been hurting my heart to cut extra-curriculars.  We love Fall soccer for instance and play every year.  This is $55 per child for 2+ months of soccer.  It ultimately ends up costing a lot more in transportation, snacks, coach gifts and other incidentals, as everything does, but hey.  It's the price we pay to have fun with other kids since we often homeschool and since we live in an area where houses and other kids aren't close and easy to play with.  Maybe we'll cut it out next year and save a couple hundred bucks?

Swim team and Water Polo were a total of $25 per person for the whole summer, and gave our kids something to do in the water each day to exercise and wear them out.  Perfect for summer.  I don't think there could be any better deal especially when there are swimming activities with scouts or with the youth at church and I don't have to worry about sending my kids because they know how to swim.  Definitely a keeper.

Daisy started a dance class recently.  Her lack of coordination (apraxia) makes this difficult, but she is greatly benefited by this class, and she loves it. She needs this challenge.  Frankly Charles can run and jump better than her.  She's always off balance; crashing into walls.  Dance is kind of like therapy.  Definitely a keeper in this case.

A while ago, we cut the thing we thought we could: Music. (A kind friend gave Daisy free violin until we realized it was too much coordination for her anyway), but the boys have been out of piano for almost 2 years (Dallas for just a year).  Frankly I've been so busy, it was a good time for a break.  But I've been so sad because MUSIC is my most favorite thing and I always wished I had been able to afford music lessons enough to learn an instrument when I was young.  There was no music in my schools.  My mom taught me a handful of piano lessons and I paid for my own guitar lessons for several months in high school with my work money until that ran out, but that was it.

I finally realized, as I've been planning our homeschool this year, that music is important to brain development and will help the kids with math and in many other aspects of life and is worth the investment.  It's never too late to learn, but it's worth the sacrifice, if possible, to learn young.  So we have reversed our original decision; music is a keeper.

We still steadily chip away at that debt, and hope the Lord will bless us for doing the best we know how.  Grown up decisions are so hard!

FYI: Two of our former teachers are no longer doing lessons, and needing inexpensive lessons out in the boonies where we live, I asked the Lord for help.  We found an angel, a true answer to prayer, and the boys have been practicing and playing again like crazy.  When I hear the music being played my heart is full!

Practicing daily and taking them to lessons is a pain in the butt, but it is worth it if you can. I love this quote, "I'm going to do today what others won't, so I can do tomorrow what others can't."


Mary Karlee Mullen said...

Hi Karisa,

Sorry I'm lame and never leave comments, but I do still follow your blog! I'm glad your kids are back in music. I also think it is so important for their confidence, development and enjoyment! Something that works really well for us is banking piano practice time for computer or iPad time. The kids don't need reminders because they want to get on the computer and know they have to earn it with piano time. We do minute for minute but you could make any ratio that you feel comfortable with. Good luck!
Also, I loved your post on nature. Good thoughts!

Karisa said...

Thanks Mary! I appreciate that great idea!