Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Flurry of Activities

It's a little nuts how much my son's schedule of activities has ramped up this year. We've gone from having one activity for most of last year to four and counting this year. This is the most number of activities he's ever had at one time, so it seems like a lot to me. I don't like putting him in too many structured activities, but it's hard to strike a balance between encouraging and supporting his interests and helping him develop skills, and allowing him unstructured time to play and (which I think is highly underrated).

Back in the U.S., our son had been taking tang soo do classes twice a week. He really enjoyed it and was getting pretty good at it, so when we moved here, we decided to sign him up for an after-school tae kwon do class. We quickly learned, however, that it was not really a tae kwon do class. Rather, it was more of an exercise class for kids (seeing as how physical fitness isn't really a priority with Thai kids), and the pace was very slow -- too slow for my son. It was quite disappointing. He didn't even finish the semester. 

This school year, we've signed him up for judo because he's really missed his martial arts class. He's only had one session so far, but it seems promising. The class is co-taught by one of my husband's Japanese 10th-graders and her father, and both of them are really good at judo. A bonus is that my son will also pick up some Japanese being part of the class. When he took tang soo do, he learned how to count in Korean and picked up a few Korean phrases, and now he'll do the same with Japanese. My husband and I both took a year of Japanese in college, and it's nice to hear and recognize some familiar phrases again.

Back in March or so, we also signed him up for gymnastics classes at a Thai-Canadian sports center. After a few sessions, he was moved up to an intermediate-level, all-boys class that taught him more skills, such as the pommel horse, uneven bars, and rings. It's still at a pretty basic level, but he's progressing. We will continue with that on Saturdays until our membership runs out next March.

He's also continuing with swim classes this year because he enjoys them so much and is making a lot of progress. But the aquatics director who developed and built up this program for the past four years is no longer with the school, and no one has replaced him yet, so the quality of the classes remains to be seen.

Another addition to the schedule is the chess club. One of our friends here is leading and teaching it, and his kids, who are friends with my son, are in it, so my son wanted to be in it too.

Then, just this past week, a friend who has a daughter adopted from China approached me about private Mandarin classes for our kids. It would cost less than $30 total for an hour, so it's a great deal for both of us. Her daughter, who's my son's age, already had been getting private Mandarin classes for the past year or two, but she wants someone to take it with her. Since she and my son are close friends, and they both know a little bit of Mandarin, we thought it would be perfect. But both of our families have a lot on our plates, so scheduling the class has been tricky, and we're still uncertain whether or not we can make this class happen.

So our schedule has become fairly packed. Still, it doesn't feel hectic or rushed; we still feel that we have plenty of time at the end of the day, and my son still gets plenty of time to play and do what he wants. Most importantly, he's having a blast with these activities!

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