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Homework or Extracurricular Activities? Why Some Families Are Choosing Activities Over Homework

Over the last few years, the effectiveness of homework in relation to child development has received significant scrutiny. On average, high school students are expected to complete approximately 3.5 hours of homework per day in addition to participating in extracurricular activities. This can raise questions about the balance between homework and extracurricular activities and whether students are being asked to do too much of either. 

Parents and their kids need to find a balance that allows the student to engage in academic and non-academic activities, as both can benefit their overall development. However, it can be challenging to determine the right balance and what is most important, as both homework and extracurricular activities can offer valuable experiences and benefits. 

Homework Pitfalls

Most parents seem to opt for extracurricular activities compared to homework, which can be attributed to various reasons. Homework can cause the following situations:

Homework Increases Stress Levels

Homework can be a source of stress for both children and parents. Most children may feel overwhelmed by the amount of homework they have to complete, particularly if they are struggling to understand the material or have other commitments such as extracurricular activities, leading to increased stress and anxiety levels, which can negatively affect their mental and physical health. Depending on the number of subjects they do, this can be extremely strenuous and stressful to both kids and parents. 

Homework Decreases Enjoyment of Learning

If children feel overwhelmed by homework, they may begin to see learning as a chore rather than something enjoyable, leading to decreased motivation and engagement. This attitude may result in a decline in academic performance, which may worry parents.

Homework Disrupts Family Time

Homework can also take up a significant amount of time, disrupting family time and other activities. This can be particularly challenging, especially for families with busy schedules or multiple children with different homework commitments.

Extracurricular Activities > Homework

On the other hand, families are beginning to see the benefits of allowing their kids to partake in extracurricular activities rather than focusing solely on homework. Some of these reasons families choose extracurricular activities over homework include the following:

Development of New Skills and Interests

Extracurricular activities allow children to learn and develop new skills and interests that may not be covered in their regular academic curriculum. For example, a child interested in music may take piano lessons or join a school choir, while a child interested in sports may join a soccer team or take martial arts classes. These activities can help children discover and pursue passions they may not have known they had and can also help them build confidence and self-esteem. 

Physical and Mental Health Benefits

Extracurricular activities can have numerous physical and mental health benefits for children. Physical activities, such as sports, can help children stay active and fit, while activities, such as music or art, can provide an outlet for creativity and expression. Coupled with the rigorous nature of classwork, participating in extracurricular activities can also help children reduce stress and improve their overall mental health by providing a break from academic work and allowing them to engage in activities they enjoy.

Socialization and Teamwork

Sociability is a critical aspect of a child's development. Extracurricular activities allow children to socialize with their peers and learn how to work effectively as part of a team, which can help children develop important social skills and improve their communication and collaboration abilities.

College and Career Preparation

Participating in extracurricular activities can also help children develop skills and experiences that may be valuable in preparing for college and future careers. For example, being a school club or team member may help a child develop leadership skills. Volunteering in the community may help a child learn about social issues and develop a sense of civic responsibility.

Parents are beginning to consider these passions as viable career options, and extracurricular activities help them assess their kid's potential. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, there are many benefits to enrolling children in extracurricular activities, and these activities can complement and enhance the skills and knowledge they learn in school. Ultimately, the importance of homework versus extracurricular activities may depend on the individual student, their needs and goals.

It is crucial for parents to carefully consider their child's interests and needs when deciding whether to enroll them in extracurricular activities and how that will effect the child's homework schedule.

Written by Violet A.A.
Education World Contributor
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