Juggling academics and sports for a 6th grader (x-posted) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 01-16-2011, 06:38 AM - Thread Starter
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(I am also posting this in the Learning at School forum)


My soon to be 11 yo DS has chosen to attend a very high-level academic charter middle school next school year. He isn't in yet, we have a lottery system, but he is really, really wanting to go. The issue is he is a very high achiever in sport, he is one of the top U11 soccer players in our state and also rock climbs, albeit at a lower key level, but still excels. He is also a high achiever in school, and at this new school he will likely get between one and two hours of homework a night in 6th grade building up to between 2.5 to 3.5 hours a night in 8th grade. He will take study hall as an elective so that will hopefully help him get work done during the school day, and we are planning on stopping the climbing because it won't work with his soccer training schedule next school year, he will be training at least 3 times a week and it will take up 4 hours including travel. He also wants to take track in MS which will require him to practice a minimum of three days a week, although we will try and negotiate with the coach.


He is a highly motivated kid in everything he does, but I am concerned he is biting off too much. I would love tips on how to help him juggle all this workload.

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#2 of 3 Old 01-16-2011, 08:07 AM
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Honestly, sometimes you just have to let them take that bite and flop if they are going to flop. Believe me, it's better he learns what he's capable of now in middle school where his grades don't mean as much than in high school. I think it's important for the KIDS to learn to make this decision than parents neccessarily making this decision for them. If we continue to manage their time, they don't figure it out for themselves.


My kids are heavily involved in theatre both youth and professional. They'll go months and months where theatre is taking up 20+ hours a week. My DD just kept taking on more and more. I limited her a bit in middle school but I wished I hadn't. I wish I just let her flop then because she crashed the first semester of high school. She learned that high school has very little margin of error. She can't just count on her natural ability to be enough to fill those gaps taking all that time out for theatre makes. She's finally pulled herself back on commitments outside school and is doing much better now. If I'D pulled her back, she'd have resented me and seen me as limiting her. Now she understands that she can't do it all! My DS (10) is learning this earlier. He bit-off too much this year in 5th grade.


I'd let your DS try it and see what happens. If it's too much, well, it's too much and he'll learn.

Married mom, DD 18, DS 15, and a Valentine's surprise on the way!
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#3 of 3 Old 01-16-2011, 08:34 AM
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This is an age when a lot opens up to kids in terms of extracurricular and sports opportunities, and school demands/expectations increase as well.  My middle schooler has a sport she's involved with 4 days a week, another she does one day a week as part of a club, as well as various other volunteering, some tutoring, etc.  I never thought she's be doing this sched., and frankly I thought that it would fail.  We have been clear that school comes first, and grades and effort are the priority.  We have been incredibly surprised that this hasn't been a disaster.  Just the opposite--she's learned time management because she HAS to if she wants to keep doing her activities.  And, time management was a huge issue prior to starting this sched.  


We have been up front w/her teachers that we're open to feedback if the extra activities seem in conflict with school, and we will then bring this to dd.  We also periodically impose a "break" for a weekend or so w/no commitments.  So far we've been able to respect dd's choices about her time and activities.  I know it's not for everyone, and I'm still shocked it's working here, but it is.


Just thought I would share our story.

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