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Who has time for school?

September 4, 2012
By Jon Buzby , forParentsOnline.com

Once the fall youth sports season begins, priorities quickly shift.

All of a sudden the family dinner is moved to the car, the lawn is left to grow just a little bit longer, and the dirty clothes seem to stay in the hamper even longer than the clean clothes remain folded in the basket.

It's amazing how we seem to put the rest of our life on hold for the sake of practices and games.

But there's one area of our life, or should I say our children's lives, that can't be put on hold, and that's the time needed to do homework and study.

Regardless of the age of your child, there are school projects to complete, homework assignments to finish and quizzes and tests for which to prepare. And it has to be done during the evenings when many kids are involved in youth sports, either as a participant or a sibling spectator.

My guess is most teachers would say that it's not ideal to do homework in the backseat of the car on the way to practice or in the bleachers during it. But those same teachers would say that it's better than not doing it at all. Yet, depending on the child, that may or may not work. The same child who can intently focus on a video game while in the backseat of a moving car, all of a sudden is commentating on everything that's passing him by when his other choice is doing math equations.

I've found over the years that the key to getting my son to do his homework was always making sure it was a priority right after school on the nights when he had sports commitments. Even when he became a high school athlete, that strategy remained the same, only it was even easier because it was his coaches doing the reinforcing. My 5-year-old has already been warned that his kindergarten homework will have to be done before we leave for soccer practice.

The rule is very simple: The homework has to be finished, or you don't go to practice. For my oldest, like any kid who loves youth sports, he didn't want to risk missing practice and having it cost him game time, so he was willing to do the work right after school. But I had to make it a priority for him. Otherwise, the time would have been spent improving his thumb-eye coordination with a hand-held video game.

Parents can use the drive time to and from practice to help their child study. It's a great chance to review the week's spelling words. And there might be one night when you don't feel your child is prepared for the next day's test and practice has to be skipped. Any good coach will understand, as long as it doesn't become a habit.

Very few kids want to make school a priority over sports. But let's face it, there are some things we parents have to prioritize for them.

And this is one of them. It's just part of our job.

Jon Buzby's columns appear in newspapers and magazines around the country as well as numerous websites. Email your comments to jonbuzby@hotmail.com.

 
 
 

 

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