Why a balance of extracurricular activities and academics is important

06/ 29/ 2017

An education shouldn’t just be about classrooms and instruction and solving problems. There are plenty of experiences outside a classroom that can contribute to the growth of a child and contribute to their knowledge of the world and the way they choose to move within it.  Sports, theater, art—the list goes on.

Extracurricular activities allow students a change of pace from the rigor of academic inquiry. To pursue ungraded activities releases students from pressure and allows them time to pursue passions and interests freely without fear of judgment. The time away from academics also allows students to focus better when they return to school the next day or begin their homework in the evening.

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Using your time efficiently leads to success and enjoyment. Involvement in extracurricular activities creates a different type of relaxed time -- not so much down time.  Rehearsals and practices take up the hours after school when students might hang out with friends or relax at home. So, without those extra hours, students have to learn to juggle multiple commitments. And when grades dictate the difference between playing on a team or sitting on the bench, students understand quickly to make studying a priority.

Field trips, games, meets, and matches often occur during school hours and students need to complete makeup assignments. Plans with teachers need to be made and met. This teaches students valuable communication skills but it also gives them an opportunity to interact with adults and see them from a different perspective. In other words, teachers are no longer the leaders at the front of a classroom, but supporters, people who can be relied upon to work through difficult assignments and help them achieve their goals, even goals that have little to do with the academic assignments.

Team dynamics, sportsmanship, perseverance, grit are all part of pursuing athletic goals as well as other extracurricular goals. These ideas can be talked about in the classroom but on the athletic field or in performances these ideas are put into practice and tested. It also means being a part of something bigger than self. A team works together to make a goal; actors work together to make a play come alive; singers create harmony together.

Extracurricular activities also give students a chance to try out all sorts of things from playing a guitar to skiing to community service tutoring. It’s a chance to discover passions and interests and take the time to improve and grow. Or, it’s a chance to enjoy the novelty of new activities. Either way, it pushes students out of their comfort zones and open themselves up to vulnerability and exploration and new insights.

 

Learn more about extracurricular activities at Holderness: 

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