My soon-to-be 5 year old has yet to attend any enrichment classes. Well, he did attend one when he was about 2 years old, but we stopped and have not send him to any classes since.
I use to wonder if i was depriving him of 'exposure' but as he grew older, i've pretty much concluded that there is really no need to send him to any classes. Academically, i am satisfied with his progress. I would like to think that if we pluck him out of kindergarten and send him straight to Primary school today, he would survive.
As for the non-academic classes, my husband and i have been telling each other, we should really send him to some music class or maybe sports like soccer etc. But, neither of us actually got to it. Moreover, Sonshine has no interest in any of them.
He is still young and may not know what he likes. If ever we have to send him to any classes, we have to second-guess what he may be interested in the future but that is tantamount to forcing him (if we guess it wrongly) isn't it? So i figured, we'll just let him decide. As long as he has the interest and passion, it will not be too late to pick up anything- even if it means he learns in his teens or even older. I would rather this way then to force him to learn music or pick up a sport against his interest. Otherwise he would end up like my husband (who was forced to learn) having a deep dislike toward playing the piano . But consider our friend who didn't learn any form of music as a child but taught himself how to play the piano by ear in his adulthood. He plays far more confidently and beautifully than my dear husband, mind you.
On another note, whenever i hear a group of mothers share about their kids attending this and that (academic) classes, i use to feel that their children were given a great head start- perhaps i should send mine too. But i corrected my thinking. I realised that my son is the privilege few who does not need to attend any classes. While other children are spending their after school hours in enrichment classes, he has the fortune to stay home and play with his toys or just hang out his pop and mom.
Of course, he isn't perfect academically. His mandarin is quite lacking and i've contemplated sending him for extra classes after school. But i feel guilty for making him spend additional hours in school- i think 3 hour school on the weekday is just nice, anything more would be suffocating. Weekends are a no-no because we spend our Sundays in church and Saturdays, well, we really enjoy waking up and just doing whatever we feel like doing as a family- and that's pretty much the only day in the week we can do so. Rather than working around his class schedules, which will probably restrict the time & places we go.
Sending him for classes at this age would make me feel like i am robbing him of his childhood. I have decided, i shall teach whatever i can at home for now. At least, when i teach him, we get to spend time together as well.
In this day and age, it is hard not to put our kids up for extra lessons without feeling the pressure. I don't blame parents for packing their children's weekends with enrichment classes but it is really sad that the kids these days are spending their after-school hours on more academic classes- and that include mere 4/5 year olds! And the only parent-child bonding they have is in between classes.
I foresaw that this day may come, that is why i opted to teach sonshine as early as 2 years old and i am glad i did. Looking at him now, it would be difficult to teach him because i would have to compete with his toys, his imaginary play etc. Moreover, he is old enough to choose what and when he wants to learn. But when he was younger, i had a captive audience in him. Anything and everything were captivating to him such that i could teach him without receiving any resistance.
Friends, family shook their heads at me as if i saying i was a typical 'paper-chasing' mom & robbing my son of his childhood. Today, the very same people are frantically sending their pre-schoolers to this class and that class in bid to prepare them for Primary school. On the contrary, here i am kicking off my shoes, just chilling and my son's home playing. So who's robbing of their kid's childhood now? Right back at ya!
I count ourselves really blessed because i am able to stay home and teach my own kids, hence sparing them of additional make-up classes (at least for now). It is indeed a privilege to not attend enrichment classes