Education A to Z: X for eXtra-Curricular Activities: How Much is Too Much?

Okay, so I stretched a bit when finding a topic for the letter X in my blog series Education A to Z. If you can honestly find a topic in the education field that starts with letter X, let me know and I will blog about it, until then, let’s talk about eXtra-curricular activities, schools and parents.

I am all for having a child who participates in extra-curricular activities, especially those that are part of the public school system. I am all for students playing football, wrestling, participating in cheerleading, and the drama or debate clubs. What I am not all for is the child who is so over-extended with these activities that his schoolwork falls by the wayside.

Here is my thought and what I plan on doing with my boys when they are old enough to participate in after-school activities such as sports or drama. They pick one sport or activity a season and they participate in that. Should schools have a similar rule? While they probably never will, I can see how it would be beneficial to schools to do this. Students are focused on their one sport or activity and they also have additional time to do schoolwork. Time they may not have had if they were participating in several different activities during their after-school hours.

Why will I, as a parent and a teacher, limit my boys to one activity a semester? (This obviously does not include church or other related activities; I am focusing on school offered programs) I will limit them because I want to send a message that while it is important to have fun and participate in team sports or group activities, schoolwork is also incredibly important. If they can’t complete their homework, pay attention in school or focus on academics while they are playing a sport, then the sport must go.

What I do not like to see is the student involved in multiple sports programs or classes who doesn’t have time to complete homework, who falls asleep in class because he is just beat from all of his extra-curricular activities and whose grades slip because he is not taking his education seriously. What I also don’t like to see is the parent who allows this to happen and makes excuses for their child, putting more emphasis on the child’s sports or other activities, as more important than school.

Let’s face it. School is important to a child’s future success. Participating in extra-curricular activities is also great for kids. However, how much is too much for kids and these extra activities? For me personally, we believe one sport is enough. For other parents it may be two. Just be aware that there is a line to be drawn and too many activities may take the focus away from the important issue: education.

How much is too much for your child?