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March 28, 2016 by
Jay Medley
Homeschooled students can reap many benefits from extracurricular activities, but it can be hard to find the right one. Many colleges are looking for more than just great academic scores, but additional activities outside of the classroom, too.

From social to physical to educational, the benefits that come from the right extracurriculars can enrich even the best homeschool program.

Rock climbing is an ideal extracurricular activity that boasts perks that will benefit students both now and later in life. Here are the top three reasons that rock climbing makes an excellent extracurricular activity for homeschooled students.

1. Great Physical Exercise

Most obviously, rock climbing provides plenty of physical activity. It’s a great, fun way for kids to exercise and could even prepare them for a lifetime of healthy, active living if they find that they want to stick with it. Climbing will build strength, boost hand-eye coordination, and teach greater awareness of their bodies and their abilities.

A rock climbing session will burn calories – and energy. Children have a lot of energy to burn, and if they are able to expel some of that pent up energy at the gym, they will be better able to sit and focus on their lessons later.

2. Great Life Lessons

Rock climbing can teach some life skills. Climbers build confidence in themselves as they ascend walls they may not have thought they’d conquer. They also learn communication, teamwork, trust, and respect from working with a belayer.

The belayer holds the rope that will support the climber if they slip off of their holds and will give them a controlled descent back down the wall. The climber must communicate with their belayer with signals to let them know when they will begin climbing or descending, and, especially as a new climber, must put their trust in their belayer to know that they won’t fall.

The belayer may help the climber by suggesting the next hold that they can grab, building teamwork skills. For climbers over 14 years of age, they are able to be trained to belay others, teaching them responsibility for that other climber’s safety.

All new climbers are taught to properly put their harness and rope on, checking for safety, making them feel responsible for their own safety, too. Climbing also teaches focus, as climbers have to block out other distractions to look for the next hold.

3. Great Social Interactions

Climbing is a social sport, between communicating with the belayer and just chatting with other climbers in between climbs. This can provide a great environment for socialization and building friendships, especially if you go to the gym at the same time as other homeschooled climbers.

Some gyms, like Texas Rock Gym in Houston, Texas, have many homeschooling families who come to the gym on weekday mornings. It is an off-peak time at the gym, so homeschooled students can bond with each other without interruption and have open access to the climbing walls and staff expertise.

Climbers are typically very encouraging of each other, so between cheering each other on and sharing tips and tricks, there are plenty of conversational ice-breakers in a climbing gym setting!

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