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After-School Clubs for High-Schoolers

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: My son is just starting his freshman year in high school. All the counselors and principal tell the parents that it's important to get your child to join an after-school club. A booklet with all the clubs listed was passed out to the students and parents. My son doesn't want to join any. Therefore, he comes home from school and plants himself either on the computer or TV! How can I get him interested in joining a club other than the fact of telling him it's a must?

A: It is a great idea for all freshmen to participate in an after-school club. School personnel support this view because it gives the students a niche that helps them feel at home in this new environment. The larger a high school is, the more important it is for students to become associated with some group. However, schools do not make it mandatory, and neither should you. Forcing a person your son's age to do something that he does not want to do or even may be scared to do is certainly not going to turn him into an enthusiastic club member.

Rather than being insistent that your son joins a club, explore with him reasons that he might enjoy participating in one. For example, the computer club could help him pick up new skills and meet others that share his interest. Also, your son might be less hesitant to join any club if he had a friend to do it with him so he would know at least one club member.

Not everyone is a joiner, and there are other ways to participate in high school activities than after-school clubs. Your son could go to school events from football games to plays with his friends, or he could participate in intramural sports or music activities. If your son is a particularly good student in a subject, he could become a volunteer tutor or student assistant in that class.

It is definitely a concern that your son is coming home and not having any interaction with other students after school. Encourage him to spend time several days a week with friends rather than in solitary activities after school. High school can be overwhelming at first. If your son has a few good friends, he should soon find ways to feel more comfortable in this new environment.

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Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.


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