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Homeschooling: Extra Curricular Activites For College-Bound Homeschoolers

May 9, 2008
Concerned about extra-curriculars for your homeschooling child? If you plan to continue homeschooling through high school, you may have considered your options for how to address sports, clubs, graduation, newspaper club, etc.

Before trying to reinvent the wheel, check out your local homeschool support groups to learn about homeschool activities they may have already established. Many groups offer homeschool sports teams, homeschool drama clubs, homeschool choirs, homeschool debate teams, etc. Homeschoolers also often establish teams to compete in national math and science competitions.

But if you are starting from scratch, be sure to spend some time organizing, pulling people together who can help, and setting up your plan of attack before you jump. This will help to avoid the frustrations that so often result in burnout and the end of a great idea.

With technology where it is today, homeschooling activities are easy to coordinate and you can create a sense of community among homeschool students with just the click of a button. Better yet, you can have a newspaper or homeschool literary club with contributing members from all around the world.

And as technology continues to make our world smaller, look ahead to ways you can use the developments to your homeschooler's advantage.

Some great places to start are activities that add that element of "setting themselves apart" to your child's transcript. Homeschool activities list.

Honor society--the National Honor Society won't admit homeschoolers, but a home school honor society exists if you're willing to get one going in your community. Check out homeeducationpartnership.com for Eta Sigma Alpha Honor Society.

Yearbook staff-are you part of a homeschool group? Take your own pictures and allow your kids to put together a 'yearbook." A yearbook creates lasting memories and gives your child that sense of belonging. With digital photos and on-line publishing options, designing and printing a yearbook is now easy! There are a number of other on-line programs (such as blurb.com and shutterfly.com that will allow your group to work from any computer with an Internet connection to contribute to your yearbook.

Sections to include:

i) Class pictures
ii) Sports
iii) Clubs
iv) Field Trips
v) Ministries
vi) Events
vii) Group Photos
viii) Friends
ix) Awards & Accomplishments
x) Community Service Projects

Literary journal--If you have a writer in the family, what better way to showcase his or her abilities than to write for a literary journal. Check out narrowroadpublishing.com for your opportunity to contribute to a homeschool literary journal.

Newspaper--If your student is interested in writing or journalism, check into your local smaller newspapers. When I was in high school, I was able to secure a weekly column in our local newspaper where I had the opportunity to write for an audience every week. It was a terrific experience that forced me to think critically about the events around me and to do my research before writing my article. I am so grateful for my parents' confidence in me and encouragement to pursue my interests in ways that were meaningful.

Sports--check with your local homeschool support groups. Many areas have homeschool sports team that compete against one another or against smaller private schools in the area. Be sure to also look in to community sports and premier sports clubs in your area.

If you have an aspiring athlete, your local premier sports clubs are one great avenue as many colleges and universities do their recruiting from premier teams and tournaments.

In many states, public schools will allow homeschoolers to participate in sports--some require your child to attend at least one class; others allow them to play without attending. Often private schools welcome the opportunity to add homeschoolers to their team rosters as well.

Don't assume your child will be unable to play his or her sport on an organized and competitive team. Take the time to pursue your options. We have seen many homeschool students go on to college on athletic scholarships as a result of a diligent and committed parent.

Choir--many areas have local choirs or chorus opportunities. My homeschool daughter joined the local public school chorus to gain experience and now can choose to also participate with our county chorus or a local music school choir.

Band--another one where there can be many opportunities. Look into your local 4-H club, a local music school, private and public schools in the area, or a county band. Don't hesitate to check into your church band as well. Often churches forget to recruit young members, but welcome them enthusiastically.

Leadership--leadership comes in many forms. If you do not have a homeschool support group nearby, find other ways for your child to take on leadership roles. As a high school student, I had the opportunity to start a children's choir in my church, to teach Sunday School, and to serve as an assistant softball coach through our community sports organization. These were all leadership activities that not only looked great on a college application, but also served to build my character and confidence in my own abilities. And working with younger children is an ideal way to build leadership skills in a child who is otherwise fairly introverted.

Student Government--A student who participates in student government is one who is seen as a leader. In a school setting, this individual helps organize student events, works with school leadership to make changes or improvements in the school, finds ways for the student body to make a difference in the community, and more. You can achieve this same valuable experience with a homeschool support group. And it looks fantastic on a college application. Have your homeschool student government association take charge of planning field trips, finding ministry opportunities, organizing events . . . your kids can do an outstanding job of this and lift some of the burden from your shoulders.

Another fantastic way to provide student government experience is through the Student Governmental Affairs program (sgap.com). With this program, your student receives a monthly legislative newsletter, The Student Forum, which contains nonpartisan, non-political, factual information about issues under discussion in Congress. The highlighted topics are geared to the interests of teenagers and are age-appropriate in both the material presented and writing style. I used this material as a foundation for my student government class with great success. My students would discuss and debate the issues and express their opinions to their elected officials. It was inspiring and opened their eyes to the incredible amount of legislation that is enacted into law every month in this country. Two of those kids have now gone on to college to study political science--one I am convinced will someday serve as our president!

There are so many unmentioned activities not listed here. Drama, chess, science, photography, foreign language, environmental, nursing, math clubs--you name it, you can create it (even with just two members). If your child has a specific interest, find someone willing to join them and start your own club.

With most of these suggestions come tremendous opportunities for scholarship funding. Be sure to question the financial aid office at the colleges and universities you are considering to learn more about the scholarships they offer to students who have been involved in these extra-curricular activities.
About the Author
Jessica L. Parnell is a homeschool consultant, evaluator, and principal of Bridgeway Homeschool Academy, a fully accredited international homeschool academy, that has been serving the homeschool community since 1989. Visit Homeschooling Help my personal blog.
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