In an effort to help our teenagers become well rounded students, we may require them to participate in extracurricular activities. By doing so, we allow our teens to partner with organizations that foster educational excellence, offer community service opportunities, and provide leadership training. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, many on-site extracurricular activities came to a screeching halt.
Now that we’re living in a COVID-19 world, traditional extracurricular opportunities may no longer be readily available. However, homeschool students can still enjoy extracurricular activities that promote personal growth and impress college admissions officers. If we think outside the box while exercising a bit of creativity, we can help our teenagers find valuable extracurricular opportunities. Check out this list of extracurricular activities that can be done at home.
1. Attend a conference or workshop. In an effort to meet the needs of students and maintain some sense of normalcy, many organizations have moved conferences and workshops to a virtual format. Encourage your teen to attend these sessions even though they’re no longer in person events. Some conference holders have slashed prices and now offer additional content as a way to make up for the lack of in person sessions.
2. Run virtual classes for younger students. If your teen has mastered a skill or has a special talent, encourage him to use it to help younger students gain knowledge. From the comfort of home, teens can teach classes such as art, math, or science. Since many parents are still looking for activities for their young children, your teen may be able to meet a need while collecting community service hours.
3. Take an online class. No matter what your teen’s interest, you can probably find a class somewhere that addresses it. Check out Coursera, Outschool, and Udemy for class options in a wide range of interest areas. Classes can be fun, add depth to your teen’s body of knowledge, and help him brush up on skills.
4. Learn something new. It’s now easier than ever for teens to learn something new. Have your teen pick a topic of interest and then look for helpful YouTube tutorials or online classes. My oldest daughter learned to play guitar using a few YouTube tutorials and by completing Thaddeus Hogarth’s excellent Guitar for Beginners Coursera class.
5. Create a website. The internet is a big place! Encourage your teen to plant a flag somewhere on it by creating a website based upon a personal interest. Your teen can use the website to post book reviews, share blog posts about a topic she enjoys, or use it as a place to showcase her artwork, photography, or other skill.
6. Start a YouTube Channel or a podcast. People love to watch videos and listen to content on the go, so encourage your teen to start recording. Your teen can establish himself as a talented content creator by posting product reviews, providing tutorials, vlogging, and/or conducting interviews. If he shares content regularly and widely, he may be able to gain a likeminded and loyal following.
7. Write and self-publish a book. Your teen doesn’t have to impress a big name publisher in order to get her well written book into the hands of a consumer. Cheer for your teenager as she writes and edits her masterpiece. Assist her in getting an ISBN number, and then help her make the title available on Amazon.
8. Fine tune life skills. We want our teens to have the life skills they need to be successful adults. This is a great time to hone those essential budgeting, culinary, and trade skills. Use this time to create a family cookbook or to create an instructional manual for basic car care.
9. Start an organization or a business. Teens are making a difference! Many of them are taking their passions and using them to improve their local communities and the world. I’m greatly impressed by the following teens who started small and are now well on their way to great things.
- Sophia Andrews has a love for Kenyan children and for the arts. This led her to create Ngoma Kenya, a “non-profit organization that teaches dance and the arts to the children of Kenya”. Visit her website to learn about the impact her organization continues to make.
- Maryland baker Summer Laird is serving up delicious cakes via her business Summertime Sweets. Check out this talented 16-year-old dessert queen on Instagram using the handle @SummertimeSweets4u. or stop by her Facebook page.
- Ssanyu Lukoma is the CEO and Founder of Brown Kids Read, a “non-profit to motivate all children, but especially children of color to read more diverse literature.” Ssanyu is working hard to plant the important seeds of reading for the next generation. Head over to her website to learn more.
10. Serve as a virtual assistant. Teens are some of the most tech savvy people on Earth! See if your teen can put her skills to work as a virtual assistant. Many businesses are looking for individuals to create graphic designs, make update websites, and check emails. Former teachers who know and love your teen may be willing to offer her work.
COVID-19 has made education a bit more complicated, but extracurricular activities still abound. They have not been cancelled! Talk to your teen and see if he or she is interested in any of the activities noted here.