We all know that including extracurricular activities in our children's education is important. They help our children develop physically and socially, build self-confidence and self-esteem, help teach the values of self-discipline and time management, and open doors to new interests. Plus, colleges consider extracurricular activities when making admissions decisions, especially activities that promote leadership.
So, what qualifies as an extracurricular activity? Well, according to Florida Statute 1003.01, any school-authorized or education-related activity occurring during or outside the regular instructional school day. Extracurricular activities include music and dance, indoor and outdoor sports, hobbies, art classes, photography, public speaking, academic clubs, and more.
Since many colleges and universities require homeschool applicants to submit portfolios to be considered for admission, you should keep an organized portfolio documenting your child's extracurricular activities. To document time spent on an extracurricular activity, you should include a detailed log of dates, times, and activities. Include things such as lessons, outings, recitals, performances, volunteer hours, practices, field trips, classes attended, assignments and assessments, and any other related activities. Portfolios should also be documented with programs, brochures, photos, samples of work, awards, achievements, a record of resources and curricula used, and any other supporting materials.
When you include extracurricular activities on your child's high school transcript, you will need to include the number of credits earned and a final grade. When doing so, keep in mind the following:
- A high school credit, as defined in Florida Statute 1003.436, is a minimum of 135 hours of bona fide instruction. (One-half credit is a minimum of 67.5 hours of instruction.)
- Extracurricular activities can fall under the categories of physical education, the arts, or count as electives. To find out what the Florida Department of Education requires for an activity to qualify as a specific course, see the Florida Department of Education's course descriptions for Senior High and Adult Grades 9 to 12, 30, 31.
- When determining your child's final grade, consider your child's attendance, knowledge, participation, practice, performance, and any other aspect of your child's learning experience.
A Final Word
As stated above, extracurricular activities can be beneficial academically, but don't feel that your child needs to choose activities based solely on how they will look on a transcript. If your child is still in process of deciding on extracurricular activities, consider your child's interests and future goals and encourage him or her to choose activities he or she is truly interested in pursuing.