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Extra-Curricular Activities for a 12 year old optional??? - Page 2

post #21 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I'm sure that's true. But, none of that means that requiring a kid to take music is going to have that effect. If I'd been required to take choir, for instance, I'd have skipped - every single time. There was absolutely nothing in this world that could have made me stand up and sing in front of other people. I did drama (had to take an "arts" course) in the first half of 8th grade. If it had been the second half, I'd have cut the entire semester, and I only took it because it seemed the least painful of the four options (art, choir, band and drama). If a kid doesn't care whether their performance improves, then taking music isn't going to do much.
Oh, I agree. I have no musical ability at all. If my kid wasn't interested in music, that would be fine. But in my house they do need to find some activity, whether it's the arts, athletics, community service, etc.
post #22 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post
I wonder how those parents who don't think kids should HAVE to do an extracurricular feel about jobs when they hit 16/17? Should their teen HAVE to work?
Those two things are not related. But to answer your question, my son does not have to do extra curricular activites but he will need to work. (my son is only 9 but unless money falls from the sky he will need to work)
post #23 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post
Oh, I agree. I have no musical ability at all. If my kid wasn't interested in music, that would be fine. But in my house they do need to find some activity, whether it's the arts, athletics, community service, etc.
Why? What if they really, truly hated all those things? Why would they have to take them?

I honestly had no idea that anybody required extracurriculars, in general for their kids. (I knew about the ones who tried to force a kid to be a jock or a pageant queen or whatever, but that's a very specific phenomenon.) This thread has been an eye-opener in that respect.
post #24 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I honestly had no idea that anybody required extracurriculars, in general for their kids.
I do, but it's a very soft "force." One of my DDs is quirky with mild special needs. She used to enjoy all sorts of things, until she realized that everybody else kept getting better and that no matter how hard she worked, she wasn't getting better. Then she dropped out of everything and just wanted to be by herself. She had red flags for depression all over the place. Requiring that she try new things with an open mind and find things that she enjoys doing -- just for the sake of doing them -- is part of how I see my job as a mom right now.

For a while she took riding lessons and now she would like to take some red cross classes. There's nothing controlling or icky about it, it's just that we are committed to helping her find things she enjoys because we think it's part of having a full life.

I know a lot of families who require things, and most are fairly controlling about it. It seems normal to me for kids to be required to both play an instrument and a sport. That's not really it for us -- we just believe there ought to be SOMETHING that sounds like fun to a person.
post #25 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
Why? What if they really, truly hated all those things? Why would they have to take them?

I honestly had no idea that anybody required extracurriculars, in general for their kids. (I knew about the ones who tried to force a kid to be a jock or a pageant queen or whatever, but that's a very specific phenomenon.) This thread has been an eye-opener in that respect.
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.
post #26 of 70
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.
post #27 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by hermionesmum View Post
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.
I agree with another poster on here, as a child, you could have signed me up, dropped me off, etc but there is NO WAY I would have participated in anything. Your rule, house rule, or not, It just wasnt going to happen.

And btw, there is more to extra curricular activites then just sports.
post #28 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hermionesmum View Post
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.
post #29 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post
Oh, I agree. I have no musical ability at all. If my kid wasn't interested in music, that would be fine.
Oh - and I never actually replied to this part. I love music. I love to sing. I actually did join a choir three years ago (am taking a year off, because of the new baby), and I really enjoy it. But, even at 41, with far less self-consciousness, and a more manageable social phobia, it's been excruciating to get myself to a point where I can have fun with it. The whole first year was really stressful - fun at times, but also really stressful. It's not the music...it's the social side of it. (It is a little scary singing where others can hear me, because singing, to me, is very emotional and private - it's almost like having sex in public or something.) I've always loved singing, and spent hours and hours singing as a teen - in my own room, in my own space, with nobody around.
post #30 of 70
I am with the camp that says it's important to do something with the time outside of school that doesn't mean TV or Internet.

IF my kid spends hours and hours drawing, OR playing guitar, OR rollerblading, OR <insert an activity>, then I wouldn't require an extra curricular activity. At the same time, chances are, if a hobby is of a true interest, then the kid will take a chance to advance their skill through classes. If 99% of the free time is spent on TV and computer, I am all for requiring something.


BTW, my mom made me go to music school (it was a combined set of classes in chorus, music theory, and piano AFTER regular school). I had to finish 8 years of it. I was fighting it for the last 3 years with greater and greater force. BUT! She gets to tell me "I told you so", because I love the fact that: #1. I stuck with something, #2. learned everything that I did in those years. She was absolutely right when she said "you'll thank me for it".

It's very tough for me to speak for DSD, since I think these kinds of things are important to develop when a child is young, and teenage years are kind of tough to all of a sudden start extra curricular requirement. There is too much going on to all of a sudden "require a hobby" if you will, especially if a kid never had to pick and stick with an activity. If she was my daughter, I'd make it a point to encourage a variety of hobbies from early on. Right now, between the school and her job she has zero time for scheduled activities, BUT the other day she did say she regrets knowing that all kids around her were in school clubs, sports, etc. and she never joined.

Alas, I'm just a stepparent, and don't get to make those kind of final decisions.
post #31 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
Having interests and being involved in organized extracurricular activities are two different things.
Agreed.

Quote:
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.
Colleges do care if kids have been in organized activities, done community service, etc. There is a coorelation between participation in activities and school success. I'm in the camp that doubts that one is causes the other, but coorelation does exists. I can see why someone who is trying to figure out if a student is going to be successful in a new adventure would look at their ability to function in lots of different settings.

Quote:
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.
same here. The school my kids' attend requires every student have PE every day. It's a 45 min period. Some times it's a fun physical activity, like capture the flag, and sometimes they do units on play a particular sport, like basketball. My kids usually enjoy it.

Requiring more would be redundant.

My DD who is a cheerleader (and has 2 hour practices or games 4 nights a week) sleeps REALLY well.
post #32 of 70
If he just watches t.v. all the time I'd cancel the cable. We did. I'm fine with DVD's but we don't have cable for that reason. It becomes constant. Turn off the t.v., and he will find something to 'do'.

BUT, having said that....

I think 5 days of school can be exhausting in and of itself, and if my son wanted to do nothing but rest, read, pursue quiet hobbies, and/or putter around the house and garden after school each week, I'd say he was a wise kid! I am most definitely of the belief that kids should find their own passion, in their own time.
post #33 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by heartmama View Post
If he just watches t.v. all the time I'd cancel the cable. We did. I'm fine with DVD's but we don't have cable for that reason. It becomes constant. Turn off the t.v., and he will find something to 'do'.

BUT, having said that....

I think 5 days of school can be exhausting in and of itself, and if my son wanted to do nothing but rest, read, pursue quiet hobbies, and/or putter around the house and garden after school each week, I'd say he was a wise kid! I am most definitely of the belief that kids should find their own passion, in their own time.
I totally agree. My daughter will often give me lengthy treatises on why school is like going to work. Some of her reasons: it's 7 hours and you have to get up early; you have to sit still and raise your hand if you want to speak; it can be hard; it can be boring; you have to do it whether you like it or not; there's at least another hour of homework when you get home. I think she's got a point. And this will only increase when she hits middle school (next year) and homework is 2-3 hours/night and much harder. For the record, my daughter loves school and does very well in it; but she still finds it work and will very zealously guard her "down time" outside of it. I don't think this makes her a laze about dead beat. She reads a lot, works on her stories, talks to us, plays with her baby brother and generally re-charges.

I also find the idea of requiring activities rather arbitrary. Guiding kids to them, absolutely. But this idea that there's something wrong if you don't do one, or you'll grow up into someone with no work ethic, just seems strange.

Also, you meet people for whom the high point of their social interests and activities was high school - they were the cheerleader or did all the sports or whatever. Then they get married, have kids and have a routine. Others maybe didn't do much in high school but as adults purse their interests actively and more independently/willingly. No one's mentioned this, but the world of teenage extracurriculars can kind of suck; there's the popularity contesting, the embarrassment, the ranking of activities on a cool kid scale; etc. I think it's a reasonable survival mechanism that there will be kids who avoid that whole scenario but still manage to find things the love as adults.
post #34 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
Colleges do care if kids have been in organized activities, done community service, etc. There is a coorelation between participation in activities and school success. I'm in the camp that doubts that one is causes the other, but coorelation does exists. I can see why someone who is trying to figure out if a student is going to be successful in a new adventure would look at their ability to function in lots of different settings.
Yeah - I've always felt this was a correlation issue, not a causation issue.

Quote:
same here. The school my kids' attend requires every student have PE every day. It's a 45 min period. Some times it's a fun physical activity, like capture the flag, and sometimes they do units on play a particular sport, like basketball. My kids usually enjoy it.

Requiring more would be redundant.
DS1 doesn't do PE, anymore. It's required through 11th grade. Personally, I would have done a lot better with a requirement for a log, and no requirement for PE. I hear all the time about how great PE is for people, and how kids who take PE have better self-esteem, more self-confidence, etc. etc. But, I have to wonder if those studies take into account the kid who's always picked last for the team, is uncoordinated, doesn't like the sports in the first place or suffers from an invisible disability.

In my own case, I sucked at anything involving a ball. I didn't twig until about 3 years after grad that it was at least partly because I don't have any depth perception. I never thought about it, because I adapted to that, with respect to most of life, at a very early age...but it definitely had a pronounced negative impact on my ability to hit or catch a ball, yk?)The PE requirement pretty much killed my interest in anything sports-related, and definitely made school, especially high school, even more hellish than it already was. I realize there are only so many kids with issues like the lack of depth perception, and there are even fewer who combine that with my utter anti-talent in anything involving coordination...but we're out there.

Quote:
My DD who is a cheerleader (and has 2 hour practices or games 4 nights a week) sleeps REALLY well.
Yeah. DS1 crashes really hard after gymastics, too. But, he's always been a really active kid.
post #35 of 70
JJMama:

Wow--switch "trombone" for "drums" and we have the exact same child. I am really floundering, too. The baby years were SO much easier than this.

My situation is not helped by the fact that I was involved in tons of things as a kid. My DS is so different from me--not that it is a bad thing, but it makes it more challenging to relate to each other. It was so much simpler when I could just hold him and nurse him.
post #36 of 70
My DS10yo is similar to JJMama's, altho DS is good at school at least.
We tried loads of extracurr activities, he usually loses interest after 2 or 3 sessions (& becomes stubbornly & angrily resistant to the idea of ever going again). I don't have the energy to "make" him do EC activities (he does none at the moment).

My big worry is teenage peer pressure -- I'm convinced that teens with their own strong interests are much better at resisting the temptations to do something stupid.
post #37 of 70

I agree.  I think it is important that they have some extracurricular activity especially when they get in the high school years.  But, it is so hard, I have a 10 year old, she has been in swimming for 2 years and is pretty good.  She thought maybe she wanted to try something else this year.  It seems kids start things pretty young.  She was discouraged because the other kids were so much more advanced.  I think she would rather be in nothing.  She just still wants to be a kid and play.  But, I am afraid if I let her do that she is not going to want to join something later because the others will have already been in it and they are better and she will be discouraged and not want to try.  I don't know what the answer is.  Any advice?  I would appreciate it.

post #38 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by kim701 View Post

I agree.  I think it is important that they have some extracurricular activity especially when they get in the high school years.  But, it is so hard, I have a 10 year old, she has been in swimming for 2 years and is pretty good.  She thought maybe she wanted to try something else this year.  It seems kids start things pretty young.  She was discouraged because the other kids were so much more advanced.  I think she would rather be in nothing.  She just still wants to be a kid and play.  But, I am afraid if I let her do that she is not going to want to join something later because the others will have already been in it and they are better and she will be discouraged and not want to try.  I don't know what the answer is.  Any advice?  I would appreciate it.

 

At 10, I would be ok with "just playing."  I am however not ok with "just playing" if the only reason for that is because other kids are better than her.  I want my child to learn to deal with the fact of life that other people will be better than her. 

 

I am one that requires my high schooler to be involved in SOMETHING extracurricular wise.  I have a number of reasons for this:

 

1) I believe that a busy kid gets into less trouble.  This belief is based on the fact that I was not a busy kid and got pregnant in high school.  AND, I have no qualms about telling my kid exactly that.  I told her this summer that she will do SOME activity because I want her busy because that is more likely to keep her out of trouble.  Of course it's not a sure thing, but then nothing in life is.  I do know that had my school had a pool, I would not have gotten pg in high school, because swimming was the only sport I was interested in.

 

2) college scholarships are easier to come by when you are in extra curriculars because there are scholarships available for individual activities.  I don't believe in paying for my children's college, so they need all the scholarship options they can get.  Again, I am aware that participating in an activity don't make a scholarship a sure thing, but not participating makes it a sure thing that she WON'T get that particular scholarship.

 

3) Being on a team/in that group setting is good for my kid.  She has some social anxieties and I believe that the best way for her to learn to deal with those is to be in a setting that requries her to deal with them.  Plus it provides her with relationships to lean on when she "needs friends" and not mom, relationships that as a bit of a loner, she wouldn't otherwise have.  It helps to give her some confidence she lacks.

 

4) I believe that being involved with organized activities teaches responsibility and commitment, in a way that family cannot.  I also believe that it teaches a lot of other things about the way of the world, such as the fact that others will be better like I mentioned above, as well as how to work on a team when you don't like everyone on that team, how to deal with the dissappontment of a loss/failure as well as the joy of a win/sucess, time management skills, leader/follower skills etc etc etc. 

 

However, as I said, at 10, I am not so worried about these things.  I would at that age, work with her to deal with the "others are better than me" issue, but that may or many not mean doing a different extra curricular. 
 

post #39 of 70

In general, school is enough for many kids.  Some kids may want more - and that is fine if they can handle it - but I sure would not require it.  I think summer is a different ball game - and making kids well aware of extra-curriculr options in the summer is a good thing.  I probably wouldn't insist - but I would keep rolling out the options until they found somethingorngtongue.gif .  

 

As per the OP - the lack of desire to do anything but school (which may be normal in many people) coupled with the poor grades at school may be a sign something else is going on. I focus on figuring out why he is doing poorly at school.   I do not think insisting he takes more things he does not want to take is going to help matters.  I vote for keep him in drums as long as he wants it, and let him drop Jazz at a reasonable juncture (if there is a show schedueled, he probably needs to stick it out till after that)

 

If you really are concerned with him sitting on the couch, how about trying to engage him in solitary or family activities - hikes, swimming, bowling, reading, films, etc.  Not everyone wants structured group activities.  I would make this low key and try on weekends - sitting on the couch on a school night is a fine activity.  We all need down time.

 

edited:  I do think extra-curriculurs look good on college applications.  I did a few, even though I was not drawn towards them, because I knew it looked good.  This is borderline moot for the OP though - her son is 12 and not doing well in school.  I would sort out the school issue first, and I would absolutely let him know colleges might want to see extra-c or volunteer work, etc.   There is not a huge time crunch though - he is 12 - and has years to pad his resume/application.  He may very well want extra-c type stuff as he ages and moves out of the preteen/early teen years.   


Edited by purslaine - 11/13/10 at 11:30am
post #40 of 70

I really don't have any problems with my preteen being guided toward extra-curriculars at his point.  Frankly, busy is good for her.  She has volunteer activities and a sports commitment, as well as an arts commitment. T he physical activity has become so important now that she's into some of the hormonal stuff.  An off day becomes very bright after some all out physical exertion.  Time management skills have been sharpened as well.  We sill have downtime here, but at this age, too much downtime isn't very helpful, IME. 

 

I do see some of her friends with lots of downtime, and I don't think they are doing very well with it.  Lots of time on line, lots of texting....fine for a potion of the day, but there is a lot of time between when school gets out and bedtime.

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