parenting

Which Extracurriculars are Best for My Homeschooled Child

Which Extracurriculars are Best for My Homeschooled Child?

Extracurricular activities are not only clubs or organizations that colleges look at to choose prospects for upcoming freshman classes but are often the most loved aspects of one’s educational journey. Traditional extracurricular activities include sports teams, drama club and student council, however the list of extracurricular activities accessible to today’s youth has grown exponentially in the past few years and colleges recognize this. A question parents often ask is, “which extracurriculars are best for my homeschooled child”? The answer to that is rarely simple but is definitely important.

Which Extracurriculars are Best for My Homeschooled Child?

Answering the following questions will help narrow down the options:

What does your child talk about the most?

Some children are naturally drawn to an activity and talk about it often. For example, a preteen who repeatedly speaks about animals is giving a clue that a good extracurricular activity for her may be something the involves animals, like 4-H or volunteering with the SPCA. An elementary schooler who continually asks when the rain will end so he can go out and hit some balls is someone who genuinely wants to play his sport and the answer may be as easy as enrolling him in the YMCA’s youth golf program. For those who are less talkative, however, paying attention to what they do when given free time can be as indicative as words. Would he rather kick a soccer ball or paint a picture? Does he tend to have his head in books, or would he rather play Minecraft? Did she put together the robot kit she received for Christmas or is it slowly being buried underneath a pile of old clothes? People of all ages do more when engaged in an activity they like, discovering a child’s preferences can narrow down the search for an extracurricular greatly.

Does your child have any natural talents emerging?

Although a few rare children are born prodigies at a given art, such as piano, most are not. Talent, however, can often be seen at a younger age and developed over time. Noticing what a child can naturally do at a level above his peers is an easy, although not definitive, indication. A dance instructor can notice the six-year-old with more grace and rhythm than the others. A guitar teacher can often hear when a child plays a melody with fluidity and ease the surpasses the level of training received to date. Some talents are not discovered in a traditional classroom setting, though. A child with a knack for culinary arts may be the one who breaks out the scratch ingredients and makes cupcakes for his friends when another would have simply gone for the box mix. Paying close attention to these subtleties can uncover much.

What is available through the school or local community?

Whether or not a child’s preference or talents are obvious, knowing what extracurricular activities are even available is very valuable. For a kid who does not flourish on an organized sports team but loves to be active, a local hiking group or recreation karate facility might be the perfect fit. For a child who is drawn to hours of playing Minecraft, there may be a local robotics club or a Code Ninjas franchise nearby. For the dancer who would never wear a tutu, be on the lookout for an Irish dancing troupe or hip-hop squad. Most towns, even very small ones, have online social media community groups where these opportunities can be found. If there isn’t a club already started, one can always be formed.

What is your monetary and time budget?

A reality parents must face is how much time and money can be devoted to a child’s extracurriculars. The time cost of an extracurricular is not just that of the child, but of the parents, too. The time requirement needed to bring the kid to and from an activity is an important consideration. Consider what will not be accomplished in the hours dedicated by the activity and make a decision on which is the priority. Take baseball for example; there is a big difference between a kid playing in the local little league and the time required to be on a year-round travel team. A parent can potentially drop a kid at local practice and run some errands around town or look after things at home before picking him back up with little disruption in daily tasks; but if the team requires weekend travel household chores and other obligations will be put on hold. Monetary cost is an extremely important factor, as well. Gone are the days where a cheerleader had one uniform for football and basketball. Now there are practice uniforms, game uniforms, competition uniforms and more. Supporting children’s dream can become a double-edged sword if the family’s time and money are overextended. Setting and keeping he limits early can significantly ease the decision-making process into the future. Some kids truly need to be on the travel team, others will be perfectly fine playing rec league.

Extracurricular Activities for Homeschoolers: Taking the Stress Off

The best news when it comes to extracurricular activities and your child’s future is that colleges no longer really care so much about which specific activities in which a prospective student has been involved. Colleges care more about what the student’s time spent in the extracurricular says about them. It is important to see what a child is passionate about, how their involvement impacted those around them and when given an opportunity did the student step out in a leadership role. Teaching a coding class to kids can be rated just as well as being the captain of the volleyball team.  The bottom line is to find what the child enjoys or has a talent for and to grow that talent over time in the way that best supports the individual and the family.

Extracurricular Ideas for Homeschoolers

  • Sports and Fitness: individual or team
    • Traditional: baseball, soccer, basketball, volleyball, etc.
    • New and Emerging: Parkour, Ninja Obstacle, Lightsaber
  • Common Interest Clubs and Groups:
    • Traditional: Scouts, Book, Student Council
    • New and Emerging: Robotics, Coding, Entrepreneurship
  • Community:
    • Traditional: Gardening, Religious, Political
    • New and Emerging: Environment, Humanitarian
  • Jobs and Internships:
    • Traditional: Fast food, Retail, Farming
    • New and Emerging: Non-profit, Shadowing, Entrepreneurship

Whether your homeschooled student enjoys traditional extracurriculars, like baseball or dance, or some extra effort is needed to find alternate hobbies, time spent figuring it out is a worthy endeavor. Memories made doing things they love will come across genuinely in interviews for college or work down the road; knowing they were supported their unique personalities will pay off for a lifetime.

 

Which Extracurriculars are Best for My Homeschooled Child

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10 Tips to Get Kids Outside and Active

Summer is here and it’s a great time for families with children to spend time outdoors and together.  The Episcopal Center for Children (ECC), a nonprofit organization providing mental health and special education services to children ages 5-14 in the greater Washington, DC area, offers tips to help families.

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Handling Homeschooling When Mom is Sick

At some point, it will happen. You will get sick. It happens to all of us. When it happens we not only feel terrible due to the flu bug but because of the stress of managing school while we are sick. Homeschool moms have a hard time turning off the homeschool even during sick days. First of all, let’s just clear something up. You are allowed to have a sick day. Your kids need you healthy and ready for unpredictable days of math and field trips. It is ok and best to take the time to recover properly.

Click the link below to read more!

PEANUT BUTTER PRINCIPLES

PEANUT BUTTER PRINCIPLES – 47 Leadership Lessons Every Parent Should Teach Their Kids

PEANUT BUTTER PRINCIPLESIn Peanut Butter Principles: 47 Leadership Lessons Every Parent Should Teach Their Kids, Eric Franklin has assembled a wealth of wisdom he learned from his parents, extended family and other influencers that has stuck with him — like peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth! 🙂

Franklin’s simple concepts can prove to have lasting power to develop young leaders, including:

  • “Be thankful you don’t get everything you ask for.”
  • “The difference between a goal and a dream is a deadline.”
  • “Your accomplishments should speak for themselves. Don’t interrupt.”
  • “If you don’t make your own decision, someone else will make it for you.”
  • “Count your blessings, not your problems.”

Let’s read the reviews:

“Peanut Butter Principles” by Eric Franklin is a very insightful and encouraging book. Mr. Franklin touches on some very good points on how to encourage children and others to reach their full potential. As the author points out, our journey to reach our full potential and to make our lives a success is not easy, but with hard work and perseverance it is possible. Mr. Franklin speaks about how to build up the child’s self esteem when helping them. He mentions that they should think for themselves as opposed to giving the child the answers or completing a task for them. Mr. Franklin tells us the importance of persevering in our endeavors and not giving up so easily.”

“Eric Franklin has opened my eyes to the power of leadership lessons. As a father of three and a businessman, it’s hard to find books that apply to both aspects of my life. Peanut Butter Principles does that and more. The 47 leadership lessons will teach you basic human truths: take responsibility for yourself, what a goal truly is, wisdom for your journey, and many more. When we apply the principles in this book, we don’t just change our lives, we change the lives of the people we love and have influence over.”

Eric Franklin’s Peanut Butter Principles is simply outstanding! With its succinct focus, process-oriented style, and easily applicable lessons, I highly recommend this book for ANYONE who has ever been, is being, and will ever be a parent and/or guardian. Furthermore, I STRONGLY recommend this as required reading for a yearlong PLC (Professional Learning Community discussion in any K-12 and post-secondary environment. Assistant Principals, Principals, Curriculum Facilitators, Professional Development Coaches, Superintendents etc., use this book with your staff!!!!!! My husband serves as a high school assistant principal, and I am a former high school principal and current college instructor. Given our careers, coupled with our honorable title as parents of children at various stages of their lives, I am eternally grateful for the captivating wealth of information Mr. Franklin has chosen to share with the world through these easily relatable, and candid messages that some parents may not have even been aware – including us!! What makes the reading even more relatable is the homage Mr. Franklin pays to both his parents and his own family. He takes pages out of his own playbook!!! You won’t regret this reference tool!!!”

Purchase your book here: Peanut Butter Principles: 47 Leadership Lessons Every Parent Should Teach Their Kids

For more information, visit http://www.peanutbutterprinciples.com/

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Your Marriage or Your Homeschool

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Children take up a lot of time, thought, and even money. This is true without regard to whether you home educate or not. As parents, we say our children are worth all of the effort we put into them, but that doesn’t negate the fact that we often end up feeling drained and tired. If you homeschool, however, your children become even more of a daily focus, as not only must you see to their safety and try to mold them into good little citizens, but you also have the responsibility of feeding their brains.

With so much focus on kids, it is very easy to become overwhelmed and let your marriage fall to the wayside. This is a mistake, however. A solid marriage is the foundation upon which your family is built. It’s the glue that holds it together, so it’s crucial to make your relationship with your spouse a priority. Wondering how to do this with all that you have going on? Here are some ideas you can use:

  1. Make time for your spouse: Yes, you’re busy, and so is your spouse. Still, it’s important to make time for each other every day. Maybe you don’t have hours to spend alone, but even a few minutes of uninterrupted marital time can make a difference. For example, you and your spouse could get up just a little earlier than the children each day and talk about anything other than the kids over a cup of coffee or tea. Likewise, you could spend a half hour just talking after the kids are in bed at night rather than rushing to fit in chores or watching TV.
  2. Revive date night: Being married doesn’t mean you can’t date anymore. Get out with your spouse at least once a month (more if you can make it work). Date nights allow you and your spouse to interact together like people rather than just as parents. It can be refreshing to see your spouse as your date rather than simply your co-parent. If you can’tget out, pack your children off to a relative’s house for a couple of hours and have a stay-at-home date. No one to babysit? Plan your date night for after the kids are in bed. If you can occasionally get away for a kid-free vacation, even a short one, that’s even better.
  3. Resolve disputes: Letting disagreements fester will only erode your marriage. You may think you’re over hurt or anger you buried, and then find it cropping up again and again at the most ridiculous times. For example, you may find your anger soaring over your spouse’s budgeting skills when the real issue of the moment is what to eat for dinner. Make time to hash out problems, be prepared to compromise, and don’t ever forget that you love your spouse, even during an argument. If you and your spouse can’t seem to work past certain issues, seek professional help sooner rather than later.
  4. Focus on your spouse’s strengths: When you first met your spouse, you probably focused on all the great things about him or her. You might not have even noticed his or her flaws. In the marital trenches, however, it’s all too common to get caught up in disliking your spouse’s weaknesses and faults and forget about all the things that make your spouse great. Make a conscious effort to remember the many good qualities your spouse has, and tell your spouse how much you appreciate him or her on a regular basis.

Like child-rearing, marriages are hard work, but the rewards are boundless. Try the above tips for prioritizing your marriage. Then, come back and share how they worked for you.

Share your homeschooling journey with people like you.

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