There are definitely more than 15 reasons but here are a few from the top of our heads why extracurricular activities are important.
Every school, including homeschool, has a curriculum that abides by the competencies that the Department of Education (DepEd) requires students to know within a certain timetable. But not every kid can learn via being strapped down to a desk to stare at the blackboard or screen. If many of us are already exhausted sitting in traffic, what more kids when they’re supposed to be learning? Thus, here are just some reasons why extracurricular activities are important.
1. It’s an outlet for negative energy from home and school.
Every family has its drama. Some have it worse than others. Erin Massoni, an academic from the College of DuPage, cited a story she found from a journal in 2004 on the positive effects of extracurricular activities on school performance. The story revealed that the subject’s, Stephanie’s, playing basketball and becoming the team’s captain allowed her to “channel the negative energy she was receiving from home”. Doing so improved her grades and let her develop a conscious effort in not letting the fights and drama at home interfere with her schoolwork.
2. Not everyone’s good with books.
Many of us know that there are at least two kinds of smart: book smart and street smart. Being book smart usually favors those who have good memory retention and test-taking skills. But being street smart means taking that knowledge and using it. That’s why there’s a difference between being skilled and being educated.
3. There needs to be a balance between academic work and other forms of work.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” definitely applies when kids are stuck with nothing but books. Sure, they’ll be able to recite the whole Macbeth soliloquy. But does it have any use? Juan Antonio Moriana and his colleagues in Spain published their study in the Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, revealing that students who did both academics and sports performed better than those who just stuck to their academics.
4. If extracurricular goes, so do some kids’ chances of attending college.
For many kids who aren’t good with Maths or Sciences, their one shot at attending college is in the form of extracurricular activities. Basketball, vaulting, volleyball, golf, bowling, weightlifting, running — the Philippines has produced tons of talented athletes like JC Intal, EJ Obiena, Alyssa Valdez, Yuka Saso, Paeng Nepomuceno, Hidilyn Diaz, and Lydia De Vega. They wouldn’t have discovered their abilities if the school didn’t have extracurricular activities.
5. Kids most likely find their friends in extracurricular activities.
The classroom is more of a battlefield than it is a friendly space. Kids can get competitive over grades, bullying others who have lower grades than them. Extracurricular groups allow them to relax and explore more of their craft.
6. Life skills aren’t often found in typical, curricular activities.
Unless cooking and carpentry suddenly become academic subjects or teachers somehow manage to squeeze those into their lessons, kids wouldn’t have a chance to learn them.
7. Peers can be better teachers than parents.
If kids have a rocky relationship with their parents or they have a narcissist for a parent, kids often gravitate to their peers. Bandura, the proposer of the Social Learning Theory, wrote his paper in 1969 that “kids learn better if they can identify with who’s teaching them”. It may be a years-old theory but it still applies. If kids learn how to smoke or drink through their friends, it should work the same when their peers are a good influence.
8. It can influence their performance in other subjects.
It’s a well-known fact that letting babies listen to Mozart helps in brain development. But Mozart isn’t the only kind of music. Other forms of music can create, motivate, and teach kids how to innovate other ways of learning. Math is highly correlated to music which can usually be seen in more extracurricular activities such as learning to play instruments and even singing!
9. It builds character development.
Sports is a well-known extracurricular activity that builds character. It’s exhausting; training every day from 5 to 9 AM and then doing more from 4 PM to 7 PM, thrice a week. But it’s this kind of training that teaches kids that for things to happen, an effort is needed. Besides, Manny Pacquiao definitely didn’t become a celebrated boxer, winning 12 major titles in 8 different weight divisions, by just sitting and staring at a blackboard.
10. Extracurricular activities offer venues to explore.
Extracurricular activities are often activities that need wide spaces or areas where they can be done safely. Marksmanship (or shooting), team building, swimming, and many others often have their own venues so that kids can learn safely.
11. Extracurricular activities can offer a safe space to debate.
Most Filipino households, especially traditional ones, are not a safe space to debate. Kids often feel safer debating with their peers, especially with certain rules at home that don’t make sense.
12. “It’s not about what you can do but who you know.”
At times, this is how the world works. Extracurricular activities don’t just teach kids how to do things. They also connect them to people who may be helpful in the nearby future. It’s their version of a networking event.
13. Extracurricular activities are a venue to apply their lessons.
Not many make the connection but cooking is just a more fun form of chemistry. Why put salt in when boiling water? It makes it boil faster because the salt absorbs the heat through a chemical reaction with water. Why use pineapple juice on meat? It’s an acid! It breaks down the meat so it takes less time to cook.
14. At least they’re not at home staring at a screen all day.
The solution to lessening screen time is to give them an extracurricular activity. Especially if they like it, they won’t spend too much time in front of the computer.
15. It’s a form of mindfulness and wellness for them.
When stress from school or home gets to them, the extracurricular activity takes care of letting all that negative energy out. They eventually become more mindful of their feelings and their bodies especially when they take a dancing class or any class that has them moving around.
There are a lot of reasons why extracurricular activities work!
Extracurricular activities offer more than just things to do. There are a lot of experiences that go beyond the classroom. Besides stressing out the teachers further if removed, these extracurricular activities also help kids enjoy school and learning. School isn’t fun if they’re just sitting on the chair and staring at their teacher for the next 8 hours.
More about school:
A Teacher’s Perspective: What Happens To Students When The Schools Close Down?
The No-Fuss Guide For Your Kids’ First Day Of School
5 Extracurricular Online Classes Your Kids Might Want to Attend