Originally Posted by EFmom
Personally, I don't think it's healthy for a teenager to have no interests at all, other than sitting on a couch vegetating. Some kids need a bit of a push to try to find their own muse, and I don't think it's asking too much to have them find one activity.
I also want my kids to go to college. Let's not get into the "is college for everybody" debate, because I'm talking about the premises I'm operating on for my kids, not for your kids. Now, I'm not spending every waking hour thinking about making them have have the perfect application portfolio, nor is this my primary motivation in insisting they participate in some activity. But I do think there is a reason why colleges like to see applicants who have some interests beyond sitting around collecting dust.
I fail to see how not being involved in organized extracurricular activities somehow equates to "sitting on the couch vegetating". DS1's first extracurricular was gymnastics, which he started in 9th grade. (Oh - just remembered that he was
in Cubs for 4 years, from age 8 to 11.) Before that, he was outside playing with friends a lot, learned to roller blade, learned to mountain bike, learned to snowboard, juggled, enjoyed dance sessions in phys ed, played guitar, expressed interest in learning to blacksmith when he's old enough (there are courses available around here, but most of them are adults only), went swimming with friends, and spent hours drawing and sculpting with modeling clay. We went on family hikes and bike rides, and when I wasn't in late pregnancy, ds1 and I would kick a soccer ball around in the yard, or play "scoops" (the ones where you catch a ball in a scoop) or toss around a badminton birdie. I don't think any of that resembles "sitting on the couch vegetating" in any way at all.
Having interests and being involved in organized extracurricular activities are two different things. Even as a depressed, drug using teenager, I loved to go for long, active walks, do puzzles of various kinds, read (voraciously - in addition to the depression, I didn't like how extracurriculars cut into my time to read), lift weights, do yoga, make candles, etc. I don't get the idea that people who don't have an official time each week when they participate in something are lacking in interests.
I also don't even begin to understand why a college would care whether or not an applicant's parents required him/her to sign up for things, or what that has to do with having interests. Having "interests" implies that the participant is interested
in something, not that mom and dad require it.
Originally Posted by hermionesmum
The rule in our house is that the kids have to do at least two sessions of physical activity a week in addition to school sports. They get to choose what, and have to stick at it for as long as I've paid for in advance. It doesn't have to be competitive, but they have to take the exercise to be healthy.
In addition to school sports? Does that mean they have to take sports, as well? Until another mom started giving them rides, ds1 walked to school (uphill) every day and walked back home. That's about a mile or so each way, and we felt that was a sufficient baseline. But, there's a provincial graduation requirement that each student logs 3.5 hours per week of physical activity, anyway, so putting our own rule in place would be somewhat redundant.
This has been interesting. I can't even even begin to relate to it, but it does open my eyes to a whole new way of thinking.