Do your children participate in competitive sports during the school year? Do you think the 90 minute to 2 hour practices after school can hurt a child's ability to keep up with schoolwork and prohibits any additional enrichment beyond the classroom? Does it make a child less competitive in the classroom?
This is a really great discussion for this group. My sons were always in competitive sports at school and in afterschool programs. They enjoyed their selected sports and there was always the threat of dropping a sport if grades fell. Fortunately that was never a concern for us.
As a family we strived to have our children engage in one team sport (this may eventually become a spectator sport as they get older) and one individual sport (something that can be a lifetime activity.) One taught them to work with their team to win and the other taught them to excel individually.
Personally, I think sports help them be competitive in the classroom because physically they remained strong and mentally they were alert.
I look forward to watching my grandchildren engage in sports and I hope they will invite me to their meets, games, and events.
An extension of this question may be directed at parents who agree with me:
Do you feel that your children can be involved in too many organized sports, such that you (and they) are running from one to another activity on your calendar? Is there still time in their young lives to meet up at the park for a "pick up" basketball scrimmage or a fun baseball game with friends?
I like your reminder to make sure there's still time left in the schedule for the "simple joys" of life. I agree. If you lose the chance to be spontaneous and just enjoy life as it comes at you from time to time, you can schedule yourself right into unhappiness very quickly.
This question is very relevant to me, as my 8th-grade son plays competitive soccer on three different teams during the school year. I can only speak from my experience with my son, which has been nothing but positive. He's managed to keep straight A's so far and he takes his academics just as competitively as he does his soccer.
We usually use the drive time to/from practice to get homework done first (the priority). Once homework is done, then we talk, listen to audiobooks or listen to music.
Despite a busy sports schedule, we always make sure to allow time for school activities, such as academic bowl and choir. It keeps us hopping, but we let him be the guide as to how he wants to spend his time.
Even for parents, like me, who've had a positive experience with lots of competitive sports and other activities, I think it's something that needs continual monitoring. What works for this set of teachers and subject this year might not work next year.