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How do you prioritise Extra Curricular Activities?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    How do you prioritise Extra Curricular Activities?

    I'm curious about how parents prioritise between extra-curricular activities for their children. Without overloading the child, s/he can probably handle a maximum of 5-6 extra-curricular classes a week. This is just my estimate - feel free to share if you disagree...

    If so, how do you prioritise between the different types of ECAs? Which category do you place in greater importance?

    * Languages
    * Thinking skills (e.g. Creative writing, Critical thinking)
    * Oratorical (e.g. Debate, Public Speaking, Speech & Drama)
    * Sports
    * Music
    * Art
    * Others?


  2. #2

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    Sep 2002
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    I think its important to do find a balance of both fun and educational activities. We do 2 sports classes a week, 2 educational classes, he has 1 playdate and 1 free day to do whatever he wants. This is from M-Sat.

    I feel Swimming is crucial and we did this for 5 yrs. We recently dropped it as he no longer enjoyed it and hated doing laps.

    I've also found he doesn't like back-to-back activities, and we only do 1x ECA/ day.

    Hope you find the right balance for you.


  3. #3

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    Jun 2011
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    Thanks for sharing Rani!
    I think back to my childhood... and I am shocked and amazed by the amount of activities kids do these days. Whilst I did once think to myself - I wish my parents had been stronger in making me practice the piano, take ballet and learn french... I do also appreciate their laissez faire attitude... gave me more time to immerse myself in story books and crafts which I enjoyed. I turned out ok didn't I! lol!
    We're going to have a generation of super kids!


  4. #4

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    Sep 2004
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    I've tried to mix different classes for my son and then after he tries it determine if he likes it enough to sign up for another term. I've sign him up for Science Adventure classes (which he enjoys and begs me to sign up for every semester), I've tried different combination of sports - Swimming, Taekwondo, etc., Art & music related (drawing, piano, drama). After every term, I would ask him to rate his after school activities and extra curricular classes, and ask him "which class did you enjoy the most, what do you want to try (if any) next", etc. That way hopefully, he feels that he has a say in his activities, and that his interest is being fostered.

    I've recently added a Putonghua activity to his list that he did not ask for, however, has been deemed necessary to help him in pronunciation, and grammar, as his teachers have commented that he is weak in those areas, so needs help that I am unable to provide.

    Overall, I think these classes should fit the child's personality and hopefully be something that the child enjoys doing.

    ESFMum likes this.

  5. #5

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    Makes good sense! If it ain't good - cull it.
    How old's your sons? I'm wondering about the balance between what they want and enjoy, and whether they know it's tough but good for them in the long run - Putonghua being a prime example...


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    HK
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    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by blingling
    Thanks for sharing Rani!
    I think back to my childhood... and I am shocked and amazed by the amount of activities kids do these days. Whilst I did once think to myself - I wish my parents had been stronger in making me practice the piano, take ballet and learn french... I do also appreciate their laissez faire attitude... gave me more time to immerse myself in story books and crafts which I enjoyed. I turned out ok didn't I! lol!
    We're going to have a generation of super kids!
    This is a very Asian approach to parenting.
    I did piano as a teenager(my sister too) but most parents in those days could not afford the luxury of sending their children to multiple activities as many children do in hong kong. This is also a particularly asian approach to parenting, i think. one of my brothers was the one to do horse-riding, one did violin, etc

    over here people think nothing of spending thousands of dollars monthly on whatever 'activity' is going.

    great for businesses here!

    in europe children are not scheduled as many children are, over here - doing multiple 'activities' each week. just an instrument and maybe another thing they like. perhaps little bit more if only child, is understandable.

    i am not saying they are all pushy-parents (and there are certainly some expat ones too!) but free time is very important for children.
    they develop their imagination. I wonder if some children are not burnt out by the time adulthood comes, or dependent on scheduled classes all their life and their parents have done nothing more than occupy their kids and support the local clubs and businesses.
    just another viewpoint

  7. #7

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    ps sorry my above message bit jumbly.
    i think that its important to choose the class well.

    many classes are not worth the money, too,

    also many activities are indoor, which i don't like. my daughter did Faust camp once and it was in a basement! no natural light at all (a downstairs theatre venue)

    during term time 5-6-7 /week is much to much in my opinion.


  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Louiseamanda
    I wonder if some children are not burnt out by the time adulthood comes, or dependent on scheduled classes all their life and their parents have done nothing more than occupy their kids and support the local clubs and businesses.
    just another viewpoint
    Have you read this? Long but quite interesting.

    "Paper Tigers"

    What Happens to All the Asian-American Overachievers When the Test-Taking Ends? -- New York Magazine

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    HK
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    Quote Originally Posted by blingling
    Makes good sense! If it ain't good - cull it.
    How old's your sons? I'm wondering about the balance between what they want and enjoy, and whether they know it's tough but good for them in the long run - Putonghua being a prime example...
    My son is 8, and we just had a conversation this week regarding choosing his activities, ie be in swim team vs. Science & other activities, he choose not to be in the swim team so I said ok (much to his father's dismay!).

    For the Putonghua, I do talk to the teacher and tell her to make it fun for him, ie no memorization, but learn through conversation, story telling, play, etc., for example this week they talked about family and the different titles of family members (ie what do you call your uncle/aunt on dad's side or mom's side, etc.), then she gave him 8 words, and asked him how many sentences he can form with those words. We try to keep it pressure-free so that he doesn't feel like the class is boring or tough. So far he has not complained about it. . . so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    It is always tough to figure out what to give our kids, I constantly second & triple guess myself and my decisions . . .am I being too tough, too critical, letting him give up too easily, not allowing him to explore more, trying too many things, etc. etc. . .but all I can do is try my best and give him the opportunity to explore his interest, the rest is up to him.
    Last edited by HKfornow; 26-06-2011 at 01:49 PM.
    ESFMum and blingling like this.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by penguinsix
    Thanks! This is an interesting article indeed!
    And from personal experience, I find this paragraph in the article to be very true:

    "...being a leader requires different skill sets. The traits that got you to where you are wont necessarily take you to the next level, says the diversity consultant Jane Hyun, who wrote a book called Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling. To become a leader requires taking personal initiative and thinking about how an organization can work differently. It also requires networking, self-promotion, and self-assertion. Its racist to think that any given Asian individual is unlikely to be creative or risk-taking. Its simple cultural observation to say that a group whose education has historically focused on rote memorization and pumping the iron of math is, on aggregate, unlikely to yield many people inclined to challenge authority or break with inherited ways of doing things."

    Part of it is cultural, part of it is education... Asians just don't do self-promotion or self-assertion very well. The typical asian also has a different set of communication skills.
    It will be interesting however, in this reversed "Asia era" to see if white Americans have to learn to communicate the Asian way instead?

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