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What extracurriculars are you glad that you did?


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Martial arts for my visually challenged kid. Gave him confidence and a sense of where his body was. Actually it was good for all three of my older ones.


Piano lessons for DD15. Being able to read music has made her happy. She can pick up new instruments easily because she reads both clefts and can change key signatures around.

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Piano for the oldest.


Drama for the two oldest.


AHG and Trail life for youngers.


Oldest was in 4H for years, but unless you're willing to commit lots of time and travel, there's only so far you can go in that organization. My oldest likes lots of different activities, and that meant that some of 4H just didn't work. We liked parts of the program, but not all of it.

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For my dc:




Music (private lessons as well as groups/ensemble)


Martial Arts (especially leadership and assisting classes component)


Business Entrepreneur program


Work-related internship


Foreign language instruction (tutors, immersion classes)


Theatre / Performance opportunities

Edited by wintermom
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Just about every extracurricular we did and that is a lot of things.


Boy Scouts

Venture Scouts

Girl Scouts - less valuable than the Boy Scouts but still glad we did it

Speech and Debate


Oddysey of the Mind

Destination Imagination

Swim Teams

Dive teams


Music lessons and Choirs

Art lessons

Sewing, Knitting and Quilting lessons

Cake Decorating

Sailing lessons

Boat license

Environmental camps

Engineering camps

Fort Sutter reenactment

Dance lessons


group travel and field trips


Swim lessons

4H especially the shooting

Russian language camp



I am probably forgetting about some too.


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Summer swim league

Learning coding (using Homeschool Programming materials)

Teaching them to play piano (starting with Pianimals)

Starting foreign languages in kinder

Scripps Spelling Bee

Math Circle

Edited by amsunshine
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gymnastics....It is such a foundational program.  The strength and flexibility from gymnastics  helps in all other sports.  Knowing where your body is in the air while flipping, tumbling, etc  helps balance and coordination. 


figure skating for oldest dd....mainly because she loves it. 


chess club for youngest dd.  Chess is just an all around good thing....logical progression of thought, strategy, etc.  And she loves it


music....I required a year of piano as part of our homeschool program.  Knowing how to read and hopefully appreciate music is beneficial.  There are also quite a few studies linking math and music.  Oldest dd did not like it and quit after a year.  She was glad she did it, it helped with guitar and choir, but she didn't enjoy the process.  Youngest loved it....she went on to add violin and continues piano lessons today.  Both dds did a year of voice because they asked for it.  It was 1/2 hour voice followed by 1/2 hour of choir.  Oldest has gone on to join adult choirs now that she is in college. 


ballet for youngest.  She loved it and developed grace, poise, posture.  Again, all that core work has served her well.  And she appreciates the ballet music, choreography, and stories. 

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Lifeguard certification. Not just for a job. I view the skills as good to have.


Swim instructor certification.


For my two older kids I'm glad we did language instruction starting early elementary (Latin, French). We didn't get immersion, but my oldest is pursuing studies that will require skill with a modern language and a classical language so he's got a good start. I think my DD will come to appreciate it over time.


Classical ballet was fantastic for my DD.


Chess and TKD were for my oldest ds.


Scouts is going well for my youngest.


There is no one size fits all approach to this. Except I think everyone should be a competent swimmer (jmo).


I think the child should enjoy the extracurricular. The more she enjoys it the more she gets out of it. There are a lot of skills a child can gain:

Physical fitness

Time management

Goal setting

Dealing with disappointment



If a child really doesn't like it, he is unlikely to develop those skills (from participating in the activity, he may develop them elsewhere).


Finding extracurriculars requires balance in terms of cost and time (individually for the child and for the parent who has to drive and for the family and as a whole).


If there's an activity you expect your child to do recognize that the activity is a requirement you made, not something to be appreciated as a passion by the child. In some families, music lessons are a requirement. There are children for whom music is a passion, but not all children taking music lessons are excited by them. It's important to accept that. Tell the child he has to finish X level and he can stop or at least back off in intensity. Find the level you think a reasonable education in the subject.


I know a large family who thought sports were really important. One of the younger son's was an OK, not phenomenal, athlete. He wanted to please his parents so he worked really hard at improving his baseball skills getting ready for fall league. Then, that fall (2002) every outdoor activity for children was cancelled in our area (DC sniper). He was in middle school and decided with his free time to try out for the school musical. For a kid who had never sung it was great. His parents saw this passion. That young man went on to study voice performance and is a professional musician. He might never have gotten to study music if he hadn't had the break from sports that was forced upon our region. I hope most kids get to try stuff without having major events disrupt their trajectory. The person I describe could easily have completely missed finding music for himself.

Edited by Diana P.
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For me as a kid:


candy striper at the local hospital from 13 through college.  I loved this.  So much.  I went on to nursing school, then midwifery school.  And I still get a thrill from walking into a hospital.  Just a magical, exciting place


Softball.  I played a few seasons, off and on, through childhood.  It wasn't my favorite (no physical activity was/is), I was pretty bad at it, but I'm glad I had some team experience to look back on fondly.


Math team.  It gave me a lot of confidence that I was good at math, which pushed me a long way.


4H.  I only did a couple of years of this, as we moved, but my experience was really good, and I was exposed to a lot of cool stuff those years.


I also took dance adn piano as classes my senior year of high school.  Those were always out of our reach financially as a kid, and I had always wanted to try them.  I'm glad I got the opportunity.  The closest I get to dance is Zumba classes and weddings, and I don't play the piano at all now, but I still am glad for the opportunity.




My kids are too young to be able to say.

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Gymnastics, playing music, scouts, martial arts, school sports, soccer, swimming, book club, horse riding.  For one kid, theater.


We could have easily done without dance.  :)  Though our dance classes were basically free, they took up a lot of time that could have been better used.

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Oh, you meant what *I* did as a kid?  I really didn't do any, but I did teach myself how to play music, and that was a big benefit for me.


As an adult, I enjoy martial arts when I can fit it in.  Also yoga.  I think I would enjoy mountain climbing and stuff like that, but I need to keep my body intact a while longer.  :P

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1. Acting, voice, and dance for the youngest. Those really helped her overcome shyness.

2. Typing in early elementary made up for disastrous handwriting.

3. Photoshop, PowerPoint, and Word in early elementary allowed for better, more professional projects throughout school.

4. Piano, guitar, and just learning to read music in general. An instrument is a great way to divert or express emotions.

5. Daily science labs beginning in kindergarten. This allowed visual and tactic teaching of not only science, but all the ancillary subjects like math and history. For example, a kindergartener who plants 6 seeds and leaves three to grow in the sun and three to grow in darkness, not only learns some science but also starts learning about fractions, measurements, and money. His grandfather coming by, seeing the project, and telling a story about the potatoe famine in Ireland he lived through, adds the history lesson. Taking some photos of the project and scrapbooking them with Photoshop adds some art. Finally, writing a sentence about the sun, covers some English and penmanship. One project, big score.

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# 1 Swimming. It's a life skill

# 2 Art Studio. Art lessons with an artist who actually taught technique and had high expectations

# 3 Do the Dig: simulated archeological digs with Dr. "Big Dog" Purcell of The Archeological Perspective. Went right along with our classical history lessons. Was truly "immersive", my son came home covered in dirt every day.

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Swim lessons, and one summer of swim team

dance classes- because that is what my kids have chosen to stick with 

Girl Scouts- the trainings and learning and doing and friendships my kids have gained from this is amazing

all art classes here and there over the years as we have come across them.  


We have done other things like soccer and gymnastics. Kids enjoyed them, but these are what we have stuck with.

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For me ... piano lessons, viola lessons, choral singing, school-connected history club and orchestra, language immersion


For DS14 - member of grown-up bird club (leading to other pursuits in ornithology), ongoing voice lessons leading to auditioned (grown-up) chorale group and paid solo gigs, drum lessons, archery, swimming, and golf. 

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Skiing.  Every Tuesday.

Swim team.  Every summer for 12 years.  Lifeguard certification.

Art, piano, even though they didn't stick.  I'm glad we did them because at least I know they didn't stick, not that we didn't try.  

Scouts...mostly glad.  There were some dark spots but had those not been there, it would have been a total thumbs-up.


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