A few years back, I chaperoned our church’s high school youth retreat. Saturday morning, as I made coffee and waited for the dining hall to open, I saw a disturbing sight: One of the students was sitting at a table doing homework! Later in the day, other kids filtered into the lodge to do homework in a variety of subjects. A few even skipped the ropes course so they could study. Some probably skipped the retreat altogether for the same reason.
Homework pressure probably affects the Scouts in your troop in much the same way, especially those who are in high school or who take especially challenging classes. While we shouldn’t turn campouts into study halls, it’s important that we recognize the time pressures our Scouts are under. By making reasonable accommodations, we can encourage them to get their homework done and still participate in Scouting activities.
Here are a few options to think about:
- On longer trips designate one or two cars as quiet zones to allow Scouts to do homework.
- If you have teachers among your troop parents, invite them along on outings to provide homework help.
- Be mindful of crunch times (like the midterms happening this month in many school districts) and plan shorter outings or outings closer to home during those periods.
- Let those Scouts who need to do homework skip certain activities during a campout.
- Consider making homework to be a duty-roster task, putting it on par with dishwashing. (Yes, that may sound crazy, but desperate times call for desperate measures.)
Many kids today are far too busy–taking Advanced Placement classes, playing multiple sports, flipping burgers after school, etc. As Scouters, we can bemoan that situation, we can become part of the problem, or we can become part of the solution. The choice is ours.
How does your troop handle homework challenges? Post your stories in the comments section below.