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What are some outside the box activities or clubs that your middle grade children are doing?  I'm looking for something new for my 11 year old boy.  Help me brainstorm a list of ideas to investigate in my area.  Thanks!!

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I am not sure how out of the box it is, but middle schoolers have done First Lego League, Science Olympiad, Math Counts, and participated in Math Circles for activities.  Also band, sports (including archery, Parkour, western pleasure riding, etc), youth group, art classes, teen-directed drama, etc.

Some interesting course work they have done includes electronic music production, Ichthyology, and soon SCUBA.

Have fun with your out-of-the-box Pursuits.

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I organized about 6 field trips per year designed for older students (gr. 6-12) in our homeschool support group. The group also scheduled a monthly "junior high boys" activity -- a hike, going to a rock-climbing or trampoline venue, meeting to play ultimate frisbee or flag football, doing a boys & dads craft or volunteer project, etc. One DS *loved* doing the weekly after school bowling league offered by the nearby bowling alley. The other DS got on the tennis team with the local private school. They both really enjoyed going and doing "airsoft" wars with friends on the weekends, and had a lot of fun at the once-a-week evening church youth group meetings.

What about Math Olympiad or Lego First Robotics group, or Science Fair group, or join an after school club -- chess, book club, soldering electronics, science/engineering, or other?

What does your local 4-H group offer -- locally, at different times, I've seen rockets, ham radio, dog training, and archery/pistols, in addition to the usual 4-H farm animal projects.

As a family, we recently got involved with a puppy-raising group for Guide Dogs for the Blind. There are different levels of commitment, from puppy raisers (24/7), to "sitters" (short term "respite" lol), to "socializers" (come to meetings and help handle/socialize puppies).

Copy-pasting a previous post's list of ideas for all ages:

Music Extracurriculars
- private lesson providers (instrument or voice) and participation in recitals
- homeschool co-ops offering music/drama/performance-based classes and end-of-year performances
- some private, public or charter schools allow participation in their band/orchestra
- join a community youth band/orchestra/choir
- look into community classes or organizations for folk music, folk dancing, etc.
- community youth theater groups that do musicals (example: Christian Youth Theater)
- class offerings of your local Parks & Rec department
- participation in a church choir, worship team, bell ringing group, etc.
- many large churches have special Christmas musical performances opportunities for youth

Fine Arts/Writing Extracurriculars
- attend student matinee showings of theater productions, concerts, etc.
- field trips to art museum, glass-blowing studio, pottery studio...
- art from a private lesson provider
- homeschool co-op offering fine arts classes
- Parks & Rec classes: arts and crafts, jewelry-making, print-making, etc.
- student writes articles for publishing in a local newspaper
- student writes own blog
- participate in NaNoWriMo

Sports/Athletic/Outdoor
- club sports (AYSO, Bobbysoxers, Little League, Pop Warner, etc…)
- swim team
NYS sports teams
- YMCA sports teams
- public, private or charter middle / high schools allow participation on their sports teams
- Parks & Rec classes
- after school bowling league
- weekly homeschool group PE day
- private classes/studios: martial arts, dance, fencing, horseback riding, gymnastics, cheerleading...
Orienteering
Geocaching or Letterboxing
- family or local group for weekend hiking / running / biking / tennis / etc.
- weekend "pick up" games at the park or gym of basketball, ultimate frisbee, etc.

National Groups, with local branches
4-H (not just animals! -- archery, public speaking; rockets…)
- Scouting
Math Olympiad group
National Forensics League (speech/debate)
STOA (Christian speech & debate)
National Christian Forensics and Communication Association
Christian Communicators of America 
DECA (high school business-career oriented)
FIRST Robotics (high school robotic team competition)
National Science Bowl (middle school/high school knowledge competition)
Youth & Government (model legislation program)
TEEN Pact (government and the political process; Christian
Junior State of America (civics and politics)
National Model United Nations or Model United Nations (mock U.N. session)
Teen CourtYouth CourtMock Trial (mock judicial)
Future Farmers of America

Community Opportunities
- community historical recreation group
Community Gardens
- volunteer student tutor to young strudents at local library
- volunteer work with an animal shelter, food bank, or other group of interest
- volunteer teen docent at the local zoo, botanical garden, museum, etc.
- after school clubs at local middle/high school: chess, robotics, book club, etc.
- homeschool geography bee, spelling bee, etc.
- summer programs for teens, offered through your local University or Community College
- join an air soft and/or paintball group and go out on the weekends
- organize monthly ballroom dances for teens at a local church or hall 
- host a bi-weekly club at your house for DC and friends: book discussion, jewelry-making, cooking...
- teen works a part time job, or starts own cottage business

High School Military Cadet Groups
Civil Air Patrol  (ages 12-18)
U.S. Naval Sea Cadets (ages 11-17)
Junior ROTC (grades 9-12)
U.S. Army Junior ROTC

past threads with more ideas:
Low income people and extracurriculars
DS is so, so lonely
Advice for extracurriculars
What extracurricular activities for the high school years? 
High school socialization 
 

Edited by Lori D.
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At that age my son was working on taking all of the classes to become a certified producer at our local public access TV station. In exchange for the free classes, he regularly volunteered for all different types productions throughout the city. He later became a summer camp leader and taught some of the regular classes, in addition to producing his own shows.

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Thanks for all the great ideas!  I'll run these by him and look to see what we have locally.  

 

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As always, I'll tout the benefits of Destination Imagination (or, if it's more popular in your area, Odyssey of the Mind).

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There is a great thread if you can find it by Nancy in Mass about an alternate 6th grade year.  She and other posters compiled a long list of things you could do with kids about that age that are not strictly academic.

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DD and I have led a club focused on the less loved animals and creatures in the world for the last few years. The kids take turns leading. This year is focused on adaptations, so we spent this past month’s meeting talking about chromatophores in squid. 

 

We’ve also done STEM, Math, Word Nerds (etymology), Latin, and Mythology. Usually 2-3 topics a year that meet monthly. Some we’ve used a curriculum for (we used the Ellen McHenry Excavating English for etymology, and prepared for Continental Math League, the Exploratory Latin Exam, and the National Mythology Exam in those clubs), some we just pull together. 

 

 

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