Happy Tuesday! Did you know that today is the beginning of a Biblical New Year? I actually did not know this until this morning. I guess today is the perfect day to begin our study of the Book of John, then, huh? Today is also a good day to think about extra curricular activities for your kids. Whether you homeschool or not, there are so many benefits that come with involving you child in activities outside of school. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find something in-person for your child. If not, there’s always online classes, though they may not be as much fun. If you’re debating putting your kids in after school activities, I’m here to provide a few reasons why you should definitely do that.
When I think of discipline, I think of being trained to do something or move a certain way. This comes from many years of dancing, as well as a few years in taking martial arts. In reality, there are many different forms of discipline.
In order to really learn something, even something of interest, we have to use discipline. Often in the learning process we reach plateaus that we have to go through, and let’s be honest, those plateaus are boring. Yes we still enjoy the subject we’re studying, but the excitement of it being new has worn off. We try, but we might not try as hard. It takes discipline to stick with what we’re doing through the plateau.
If we have gear, we have to be practiced in the discipline of upkeep. That could be anything from replacing a worn out mitt to making sure our uniforms are clean for the next class or game. We have to be disciplined to make sure our appearance, not just what we’re wearing, is within any required regulations. Such regulations are not only to be aesthetically pleasing, but are also about safety. Though it does help to teach kids from a young age about being aware of their appearance and personal hygiene.
Most schools offer programs such as Band, Choir, Art, and Foreign Language. However, there is a lot that is not offered or covered within schools, unless you go to a special school. While I am grateful for the opportunities I received in the public schools I attended, I always felt like there could be more. I heard of some schools that offered ballet as an actual curriculum and I was so jealous as a kid, even though I was taking classes after school.
Giving your child an opportunity to explore their interests is a great way to encourage learning for themselves and not just what is regulated for academia purposes. By letting them explore their interests, you help create gateways to other areas of learning that your child, or you, might never have thought to chase after.
Say your child is interested in Russian. You surprise them one day by finding a tutor to teach them Russian. As they learn about the language and the culture surrounding the language, they begin to wonder how modern international relations could be improved to help solve current issues, as well as prevent past conflicts from happening again. They grow up continually exploring that tract and they grow up to be an Ambassador to Russia.
Now that might seem like a crazy dream, but you won’t know unless you give your child the opportunity to explore their interest in the foreign language. Does that scenario seem too unrealistic? Then think about this one:
Your child enjoys art, but the school art classes just aren’t cutting it. Maybe your child decided they wanted to explore art at too late an age in the school system and therefor does not receive the proper basic instruction (yes this is real, it happened to me.) So you find them after school art classes. Maybe they choose art as a profession when they’re older and maybe their artwork saves someone’s life. They might be a “struggling artist” but their success isn’t found in money but in the value of human lives they save with their art. Or maybe they become the next great artist to be revered for many generations to come.
You never know what your child will be able to do unless they are given the opportunity to explore what really interests them.
How does your child express themselves? Has something like trauma or a low self image prevented them from being able to really express themselves? Being able to explore something that interests them, without worrying about a grade, may be the key to opening that door.
There have been so many times that I couldn’t find the words to express what I was feeling, but once I entered that dance studio I was able to put all of those thoughts and feelings into every move I danced. Sometimes the words we need to express ourselves are not words we already know or can even be spoken. So we learn to speak another way.
Build on an Already Developed Interest
Does your child have an interest they’ve already maxed out in the school system but they’re still interested in learning more? You can help them by enrolling them in after school lessons. After school learning can even lead to summer camps or opportunities they may not receive through their school.
The Mindless Becomes Educational
Does your child have an interest in video games? Video gaming can often seem like a mindless waste of time. However, it can lead to some really interesting things, like coding. (For the record, I don’t see video games as a waste of time, though like everything else, too much of a good thing can be bad.) We’ve actually looked at ways to teach coding to Ade and Isbe.
Letting your child explore “behind the scenes” of something that seems mindless or useless will not only help them learn the why’s and how’s of their interest, but it could lead to them doing something more with that interest.
So there you have it! Five reasons you should enroll your kids in after school activities. Even if they decide it’s not for them, the lessons they learn will stick with them. They may even return to it after awhile. The point is that you’re creating opportunities for your child to broaden their horizons and all that comes with that.
Have you enrolled your child in an after school activity? What was your experience with it? Would you do it again?
Let me know in the comments!