How Do We Implement Extracurricular Activities?
Many homeschool students are involved in extracurricular activities ranging from sports to fine arts and everything in between. Because of the ability to set their own schedule, homeschool students have the time and flexibility to participate in volunteer work, individual and team sports, art, music, dance, and more. In fact, some homeschool families gear their academic schedules around their child’s activities.
Extracurricular activities have both positives and negatives. On the one hand, they can offer creative electives options and help build experience. On the other hand, they can take over a family’s schedule, both academic and otherwise. It is important to go into all extracurricular planning with balance and boundaries in mind.
Points to Ponder
As you seek to determine what extracurricular activities are a good fit for your family – and find balance in the implementation – here are a few things that might help.
Tim Tebow Law
Many college football fans are very familiar with Tim Tebow. Thanks to the opportunity to play high school football, this homeschooler went on to be very successful in college play as well. As a result, several states have passed a Tim Tebow law, allowing homeschoolers to participate in private and public school sports teams. Even in states where this is not the law, some school districts gladly work with homeschoolers to allow participation in sports, band, and other school sponsored extracurricular activities. In locations where this partnership is not a possibility, check into state or local homeschool co-ops and associations that might offer activities.
Social and Career Advantages
Instead of attempting to pursue interests solo or only through the school systems, look for community or privately sponsored programs that help develop interests and skills. Seek out cooking classes, join a community theater program, or participate in community sports programs. Participating in these programs offers a broader social circle that stretches beyond your homeschool circle. It also can provide connections and training that will look great in a portfolio or on a resume and might open doors to career opportunities not otherwise considered.
If you are struggling to keep the family schedule narrowed down, try to choose activities that promote family growth rather than focusing on individual interests. This is an especially great option for families with younger children, up through middle school. The joint interests can help pave the way for children to establish their own interests to pursue individually as they reach the high school years.
It’s always great to pursue interests just for the fun of it. But, as with anything, it is also important to pursue them in moderation. The ideal homeschool extracurricular activities combine fun with developmental or academic progress. To find the best options for your student or family, make a list of as many fun interests as you can think of. Then, rank those interests in several ways: by preference/enjoyment, by academic quality, and by developmental quality. Compare your lists and choose activities that rank high in at least two of the three.
A Few More Thoughts
Extracurricular activities offer many benefits to students, and the flexibility of homeschooling provides the perfect lifestyle for them. Explore explorehomeschooling.com and other online and local resources to find activities that fit your needs, then take advantage of this time to encourage your child to explore his or her interests.