A Short Guide to Balancing Academics and Extracurricular Passions


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Some students need their extracurricular fix – whether it’s a team sport, chess club, musical interests, personal pet project, or independent business. Parents should encourage these passionate pursuits, as they represent an outlet for young learners to pursue interests not typically covered in school. However, balancing school and personal fulfillment can be tricky.

At its best, maintaining a flourishing extracurricular passion and thriving academic career feels like living life to the fullest. At its most challenging, however, it feels like a spinning-plates act set to an increasingly up-tempo soundtrack.

In this post, learn five strategies for achieving the perfect balance.

Create a Master Schedule and Distinct SMART Goals

Much of the time, the issues around school/activity balance stem from time management. Therefore, a highly effective opening strategy is to create a detailed schedule. When you enroll in a new course or extracurricular activity, make a detailed list of its expectations, and a comprehensive timeline of its deadlines and important dates. Weave together your school and extracurricular schedules to ensure there is no overlap. And continually refer back to this master schedule to keep both tracks running smoothly toward success.

Additionally, consider setting SMART goals for each pursuit. Educational goals, in particular, motivate you to upkeep the academic side of your life.

Leverage Flexible Online High School Courses

Online learning is a fantastic solution for students with extracurricular passions. Online high schools are typically “self-paced” and flexible, allowing students to complete courses whenever they want (on the weekends, evenings, etc.). Because you control how you allocate your study time, you can integrate your extracurricular and academic responsibilities much easier.

Look for a ministry-inspected online high school in Ontario that is accredited to offer course credits toward a diploma. Further, research schools that feature expert teachers and support staff.

Communicate With Your Teachers, Coaches, Etc.

As the saying goes, “Make sure the left hand knows what the right hand is doing.”

In this context, it means ensuring clear communication with both your teachers and coaches. Keep them informed about your commitments in both academics and extracurricular activities to ensure everyone is on the same page. If you anticipate being absent from one or the other, give your teachers/coaches plenty of lead time to determine how you can cover lost ground. (And for the parents in the audience, brush up on this guide to talking with teachers).

Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out for Support

The best online schools offer robust layers of support, including one-on-one opportunities with your teachers, high-level academic planning sessions with administrators, and round-the-clock access to tutoring services.

Utilize this support network! When your schedule is packed to the gills with academic and extracurricular activities, you’ll need all the help you can get – and that’s okay!

Make Time for Rest (You’ll Need It!)

Finally, remember that schedule we mentioned in the first section? Take a closer look at it. Have you penciled in enough time for rest, relaxation and leisure?

If not, do that now. While it might sound counterintuitive to balance mounting responsibilities with rest time, it is fundamentally important to give yourself breaks. Failing to take regenerative breaks can seriously hamper your performance in both aspects of your life and may even lead to burnout—which no one wants.

Follow these straightforward tips to strike that ideal balance between acing your school courses and pursuing your passions.

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