I do try… I really try to make ‘home practice’ a thing, but sometimes it just doesn’t work.
My kids are involved in karate, swimming, ballet, jazz, soccer, and training for various things that the school puts on like cross country or athletics day. Others I know have kids doing music lessons, or drama, or public speaking, pippins, and brownies, plus other stuff like BMX riding, or motor-cross … the list goes on and on for parents, and don’t even start me on HOMEWORK.
This whole area is a tricky one to manage, and you still have to stay onside with the coaches, assistants and teachers, while remaining true to your parenting beliefs and managing your children’s coping strategies.
So, what’s the answer here?
I don’t have one.
I’ve tried a few different things, but right now, because karate grading is coming up for all of my kids, that is becoming the focus. I expect that every morning for 5 minutes my kids either run through their kata, or do some fitness training for karate. And everything else going on right now is taking a back seat.
If the kids are playing around in the weekend and pull out a soccer ball then that’s fantastic, but I’m not focussing on it. I do expect my kids to do reading every day as part of their homework, but that’s pretty much it for the focus on homework at the moment in our house.
Obviously at different times of the year, this changes … and the only thing I can say is that you try and do the same. Re-evaluate the priorities for each school term, and focus on one or two things for your children. Some things aren’t, and may never be, a priority outside of their practices … like swimming. I don’t expect my kids to do extra swimming practice doing lengths and practicing their strokes outside of their weekly lesson. We may do a lot of swimming in the lake, sea, or pool over summer, but it’s not a priority for learning.
Most activities have an ebb and flow, where if there are exams, or meets, or shows, or races coming up then we’ll focus on that, but these things are rarely a strong focus for the whole year.
It’s a good idea not to stress children (and ourselves) out with too many priorities at the same time. Kids still have to enjoy their extra-curricular things, and we still have to be able to function as sane parents. Be easy on yourselves and if it’s still not working then maybe cut back on some commitments.
Would love to know how others manage this…