This is my fourth and final round for this cycle. For those of you who don't know, my question is...
How can a student lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle?
In this round, I will be focusing mainly on summing up my research in-depth; so, for my metamorphosis, I can give a briefer answer.
So, let's get started!
In our school district, kids are placed in elementary school at age six and are in this school from kindergarten to grade five. Then, there is middle school from grade six to eight. However, there are many districts in Canada that do not have a middle school. Then, students go to high school from grade nine to twelve. After high school, it is up to the student if they would like to continue their education.
As for workload, I cited my survey in order to obtain information. So, I found that the majority (about 60%) of Canadian Butterfly Effect members who took my survey spend about 3-5 hours on homework. This is above the recommended average of 2 hours a night. However, this recommendation has not been updated since 1994 which was 25 years ago! Many of you commented on my first round of research that it is quite ridiculous that this number is so old and I agree. It is time for this number to be updated. (1)(2)
Most Kenyan students take nine classes, but some can take up to 10. Students are put into either primary school or high school. Primary school goes up to class 8. Then, you go into a high school where you study for 4 years. Students are graded on a twelve point scale, but it is extremely difficult to receive 12/12. Again, I have an in-depth version of the Kenyan grading system on my first round of research. (3)
All of the Kenyan Butterfly Effects members who took my quiz stated that they spend between 1 and 3 hours doing homework. However, Bruce (one of the B-Effect members I messaged) told me that it really does vary. For example, if all of his teachers decide to assign homework he must work much longer to finish or he may face punishment the next day. (1)
The physical health of youth is becoming a problem in Canada. It is reported that only 12% of Canadian children are meeting Health Canada's physical activity guideline which states children considered "school-aged" should get at least 90 minutes of exercise every day. (4)(5)
Well, there is a multitude of reasons; however, I think it is interesting to take a look at my survey once more:
Almost half of Canadian Butterfly Effect members who took part in my survey recorded that they believe school affects their physical health negatively. This mindset may come from the idea that taking care of our physical health, takes time away from our academics. However, studies also show that physical activity aids greatly in academic success - an idea I will explain in the 'Mental Health' section of this post. (1)
It is in this section where I began to see some contrast between the lives of Kenyan and Canadian students. 0% of Kenyan Butterfly Effects members who took my quiz stated that they believe school affects their physical health negatively. Like I brought up in my second round of research, a study in urban Kenya found that "the mean daily time spent in light physical activity was 463 minutes; mean daily time spent in moderate physical activity was 32 minutes; and mean daily time spent in vigorous physical activity was only 4 minutes." (1)(6)
Evidently, this is much different than Canadian statistics! Dorcas helped me out by letting me know that at her school, students have exercise classes once per week; however, it is not mandatory. Also, everyone is free to participate in any sports activities.
Mental health is also an issue many Canadian students are facing. The Mental Health Commission of Canada has found that between 15% and 25 % of Canadian youth suffer from at least one mental health illness or problem which is...a lot. I gave a few suggestions on how to balance mental health - the first one is making sure your physical health is also a priority. The endorphins your body releases while exercising are extremely beneficial for your mental health. (7)(8)
Almost half of Canadian Butterfly Effect members who took my survey said they do believe that school affects their mental health negatively. This is an issue that I find interesting - I may base my next cycle on this topic. We shall see! (1)
So far, no one I have contacted has gotten back to me about the questions I have, so I still don't have much information to show about mental health in Kenyan schools. However, 100% of Canadian Butterfly Effect members who took my survey said they do not believe school affects their mental health negatively which is an astounding statistic. (1)
So, what does ALL this information mean? How do I balance everything? Unfortunately, there isn't only one answer. Your priorities, areas that need balancing, and strengths differ from person to person and may change over time. However, I believe it is vital to not prioritize one aspect extremely more than another. Knowing that each aspect is vital in leading a balanced life. After reading this post, ask yourself: Do I relate to any of the information shown? Am I spending too much time studying? Not enough time exercising? Do I need to take a break for my mental health? We are all developing and changing; but, sometimes we need to slow down and take the time to think about how we can improve as individuals. I hope my research gave some clarity into your own life and the lives of others. I know that personally, this cycle has allowed me to grow significantly and I will explain more in my next post - the metamorphosis!
I hope you all learned something new from my research and enjoyed reading. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments. Thank you for reading!