There are lots of studies that support the value of extra-curricular activities for kids. According to some, playing sports (in particular) improves a child’s overall academic performance.
But does that apply to homeschoolers? After all, homeschooling is a very different type of education than public schooling.
Homeschoolers usually have more time to spend pursuing their own interests. And they have less time that they are required to sit still than public schoolers.
It’s been our experience, though, that playing sports can help homeschoolers. Over the years, our kids have played several sports and we’ve seen the benefits personally.
If you’re planning your upcoming homeschool year and you’re considering a sport or two, here’s how playing sports can help your homeschooler.
Need more support to outline your school year? Don’t miss our collection of tips for planning your homeschool year too!
How Playing Sports Can Help Your Homeschooler
Playing sports can improve focus.
Participating in sports helps homeschoolers use up extra energy, which helps them focus better. This is particularly useful for children that struggle with excess energy and attention issues.
Since we have children who are living with ADHD and ADD in our family, this has been a huge benefit of having them play sports. Even my most active child is calmer and more focused after playing a game or two.
Playing sports can help kids develop discipline.
Sports help homeschoolers develop discipline. In our family, this was sorely needed.
Since the kids didn’t have to be up and at school at a particular time each day, they struggled with following a routine. When they had a practice to attend, though, it was much easier to get them up and moving.
In addition, playing team sports, especially track and field, helped them see how their actions affected others and taught them the importance of cheering for their teammates.
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We’ve worked our way all the way down to the smallest member of the family. It’s Little Bit’s turn to learn how to swim! True story: Before we left home, she asked me: “Do they let you swim laps during the first lesson?” To which I responded: “You don’t know how to swim yet!” 🏊🏽♀️🏊🏽♀️🏊🏽♀️
Playing sports helps kids use practical math skills.
Do you have a child who’s always asking “But when will I ever use this?” during math class?
They’ll be surprised to learn how much they need math once they start playing sports. You can’t keep score, time your performance, or monitor your progress without it.
And if they really love their sport, they’ll pick these skills up quickly. Much quicker than mine ever did during a math lesson.
Playing sports gives homeschoolers time to work with others.
If you have an only child, you might want to give him or her time to spend with other kids. Playing sports is a fantastic setting for this.
Many people express concerns about homeschoolers and “socialization”. While I don’t think this is a major issue for homeschoolers, extra-curricular sports do give homeschooled kids more opportunities to meet and cooperate with people who are different from them. Which is always a good thing.
Playing sports contributes to good physical and mental health.
Sports are great for your child’s mental health. Getting a little physical activity releases endorphins that contribute to a feeling of happiness. Even my moodiest tween felt better after running, playing tennis, or swimming.
And, since so many kids spend time on screens during the day, sports can help kids get more physical exercise and avoid being sedentary all day.
Playing sports can open up new interests for kids.
If you have a child who never knows what they want to do (I have two like that), then playing sports is also great for helping them to develop new interests.
As kids learn more about their sport, they will start to determine what they like and what they don’t like. This is a great starting point for exploring new hobbies and even career ideas. And it helps them start learning new things too!
Have you found that playing sports helps your homeschooler? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments!
Check out these other tips for happy homeschooling!
And see more ways to homeschool successfully on my Help for Homeschoolers Pinterest board!