Prioritizing Homeschool ExtracurricularsOctober 20, 2022
One of the biggest concerns parents and students alike often have when it comes to homeschooling is extracurriculars. Your student isn’t going to be on the local public school sports team or in the drama club.
However, while they might not wear a school jersey or have a club t-shirt, it doesn’t mean they can’t get involved in plenty of extracurricular activities. In fact, it’s something you should prioritize, as a parent. Participating in extracurricular activities encourages teamwork, boosts problem-solving skills, and improves communication.
Alternatively, homeschoolers who lack extra activities can experience burnout quickly, and their academic performance may suffer.
So, how can you prioritize extracurriculars for your homeschooler, and how can you find the perfect ones to fit their needs and wants?
Why Extracurriculars Are Important
There are plenty of stereotypes about homeschooled students being exceptionally smart and advanced. While homeschoolers tend to do better on standardized tests, it’s important to note that tests and papers are only part of the overall school experience. Extracurricular activities are important for several reasons. They look great on college applications and can teach your homeschooler skills that they won’t get from a book or study guide.
More importantly, there’s a strong connection between classroom burnout and a lack of activity. Some of the common symptoms of academic burnout include:
- Mental fatigue
- Physical exhaustion
- Less productivity
- Loss of interest
If your student has started to show any of these signs, they could be feeling overwhelmed or bored by their schoolwork. Participating in an extracurricular activity or two can make a world of difference.
The best way to choose extracurriculars for your homeschooler is to think about what they’re interested in. Give them several viable options to choose from. When they have the opportunity to pick their own activities, they’ll be more likely to stick with them and reap the benefits.
No matter what, though, it’s a good rule of thumb to get them involved in at least one physical activity. Chances are, you’re not doing a gym class with your homeschooler each day. Kids need physical activity for their overall well-being, so consider extracurriculars like:
- Intramural sports
Horseback riding is another great way to make sure your homeschoolers are staying physical and spending time outside. If they start to enjoy riding, you can encourage them to incorporate strength training into their life as part of an exercise regimen, so they’ll have better control over their horse. Horseback riding is a great way for kids to experience nature. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for them to work with animals, which can help to alleviate stress, improve their mood, and boost their energy. If you have an animal lover on your hands, it’s a perfect hobby with lasting benefits.
You don’t have to have a sports-minded homeschooler to make sure they’re staying active. Talk to them about what they might enjoy, and make sure to get them moving at least a few times a week. You can even participate with them in certain things, like hiking or taking a different dance class so they can see how easy it is to step out of your comfort zone and try something new.
If you’re having a hard time getting your homeschooler to stay active, make it easier on them by installing a home gym, holding a class or two outside each day, or getting a home garden to keep the learning going while you’re digging in the dirt and getting a good cardio workout.
Fueling Their Passions
The best extracurricular activities you can set up for your homeschooler are the ones they’re passionate about. You know your child better than anyone. If they have very specific interests or passions, chances are there’s a group or club out there that would be happy to let them join.
Maybe your homeschooler is interested in the arts. They could be a fantastic painter or sketch artist, a budding musician, or even a thespian in the making. Things like art and music might seem like solo activities, but there are countless music, art, and dance classes available that are filled with people. It should be fairly easy to find a class or group in the same age range as your child, so they can make friends and improve their social skills while participating in an activity they enjoy.
Extracurriculars can be a bigger part of the overall learning experience than you might think. Don’t be so hyperfocused on the academic side of your child’s schooling that you forget to encourage the enriching activities they love. Not only do colleges look for well-rounded individuals, but you’ll benefit your homeschooler as a person by involving them in extracurriculars. They’ll develop better communication skills, better social skills, and the ability to work through things creatively. Don’t be afraid to talk to your homeschooler about their interests, and it shouldn’t be hard to find some extracurriculars they really enjoy.
More About the Author:
Sam Bowman is a writer who enjoys getting to utilize the internet for the community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time, he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.