Scouting and homework: Can the two coexist?

It’s 5:30 on Monday evening, and your 16-year-old son says he has four hours of homework to finish tonight — all due tomorrow. Can, or should, your son attend his 90-minute troop meeting at 7 p.m.? Who should make that decision?

Today’s students are given more out-of-school assignments than ever, making it difficult for a young man or woman to keep all the plates spinning: school, sports, friends, student groups, religion, family, and — of course — Scouting.

It’s tough on parents, too. So I asked our Facebook friends for guidance, and they provided some excellent insight. Here’s a look at some of my favorite responses, categorized by the Scouter’s general opinion on the matter:

School comes first. Period.

For several of you, this situation is pretty black and white.

  • “School should come before Scouting. This shouldn’t even be a question!” — Jeff K.
  • “We never ask the Scouts to make the choice of school or Scouts. School always comes before Scouts. The troop can wait. Applying the squeeze at this point in their lives only serves to stress an already stressed boy.” — Tracey L.
  • “As both a parent and a den leader, homework comes first. Extracurricular activities are just that: extra. Good homework habits are learned at a very young age, and teaching your grade schooler to skip homework in order to go to Scouts is the same thing as teaching your future high schooler to skip homework to go to a sports game or school dance.” — Audri T.
  • “It is not at all uncommon for my high schoolers to have two-plus hours of homework on any given night. Scouts is important to us, but school takes priority.” — Beverly S.

There’s time for both.

Many of you said that there’s no need to choose when both are so vital to a young person’s growth.

  • “I am high school junior in all honors and AP classes. I always make time for Boy Scout meetings and camps. It comes down to managing your time well and planning ahead.” — Ryan L.
  • My Eagle Scout son, with four to six hours of IB homework, never missed a meeting. He may have had to come straight home from school/practice, went to homework, eat dinner, did homework, went to his meeting and came home and did homework … but he always made it happen.” — Sharon L.
  • I agree with the parents that said that there is a balance. Educating our children is not just academics. It is also character building and preparing them to be strong men of character, and good citizens. This is very important. Scouting will help with this. So, in some ways, Scouting is part of school, not separate.” — Jennifer D.
  • “Kids know ahead of time when their projects and tests are, they should be able to get them done ahead of time.” — J. David G.

Scouting shouldn’t take a back seat.

While none of you said school doesn’t matter, a few thought Scouts should be the priority.

  • “I have two Eagle Scouts. They are both in college now. We put Scouts over homework on meeting night. Even most campouts. I did not pressure them to make all A’s. They are much better men because of Scouts than school. Teachers get carried away with all the homework they give.” — Jeannine P.
  • Our kids are not the fastest at getting their homework done, but I can’t see that as a valid reason to miss a one-hour meeting. The change-up from homework can be a good rest and help motivate them when they get home. Learning is essential to progress, and that is not limited just to school work. I think kids learn just as much from Scouting, too.” — Scott C.

One more good point.

Gerry M. offers a final thought: “Maybe they can sub the Xbox time for homework once in a while and still make the troop meeting!”

What’s your opinion?

School first, Scouts first, or somewhere in between? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.