Learn English – Extra-Curricular Activities

Everyone has to go to school. But there is more to learn than what math or history teachers have to share. What are some of the extra or enriching and fun activities students can choose?

When I was growing up, there were not as many choices as there are today.


Hey there, this is Maria from English without Fear. Did you ever do extra activities or classes not related to school when you were a child, when you were a teenager? I did a few and today I’m going to tell you about the ones I did. So, sit back, listen, watch and just try to understand as much as you can

(Intro: English without Fear where you can learn to speak English naturally, through listening to stories)

I grew up in the late 1950s. I was born in 1957 here in America and at that time there were not very many sports that girls could participate in. But today there are many sports. Such as tennis, softball, basketball, volleyball, track and field, tennis, field hockey, lots and lots of sports activities. These, plus other activities like music and drama and dance, are called extra -curricular activities, meaning they are not part of regular school.

So, if I didn’t do sports, what did I do?

The first extra-curricular or enrichment activity that I recall, that I remember, was choir. My mom signed me up to be part of a children’s choir in our town. It was held on Thursday afternoons in a church, not ours, once a week probably for about an hour. I hated it. I think I hated it because the choir director, the man, he was mean.

Also at the end of each year in May, we had to sing at a church service, not just one church service, but both the long church services at this church. I didn’t like that either. What’s funny is that although I only participated in choir for two years, for many years afterwards, I dreaded Thursdays. 

What does it mean to dread something? It means to not look forward to it. I felt, “Oh no, it’s Thursday!” and then I would remember. “Whew, I don’t have choir!” 

After choir, after I stopped doing that, my mother signed me up for piano lessons. I think she thought music was important. She bought me a little electronic keyboard and then eventually, finally my grandmother bought me a piano. And the piano teacher would come to our house and give me a lesson once a week for 30 minutes. I was not a good piano student. I didn’t like it and I didn’t practice much. I always said I would practice. And I would practice once, maybe twice, and then I’d forget. And before I knew it, it would be the day for the piano lesson and I would feel ashamed. I would be embarrassed because I hadn’t practiced it. I’m not musical.

What else did I try?

I tried Girl Scouts and I liked Girl Scouts. We met once a week and did all sorts of activities, earned Girl Scout badges for different skills and sold cookies, Girl Scout cookies. That’s a tradition. But then we moved after three years and the Girl Scout group or troop was not the same. They didn’t do fun stuff and I quit.

What else did I do?

Oh, when I was 16 I started taking flying lessons. Yes. My dad was an army pilot and he thought that if I learned to fly a small airplane, it would make me a better driver when I could drive a car. 

I began taking flying lessons once a week on a Saturday. It was great. I really enjoyed this. Who wouldn’t? To get a private pilot’s lesson…..license, excuse me, to get a private pilot’s license, I had to do two things. I had to go to a school at night once a week called Ground School where you learned all about air safety and how to obey the rules, how to use maps, that kind of thing.

The flying lessons were about the skill and safety of actually flying, landing, taking off, making turns, that kind of thing. On my 17th birthday, the day I turned 17, I earned my license. I had already passed the written test. On the day of my birthday, I took the flying test with a, with a flight tester, a flight examiner, and I passed!!! And I got my private pilot’s license.

What else did I do?

There were three other activities I did. One was connected with church. I was part of the church youth group. We met Sunday nights for discussions about God. We also went on a couple retreats or spiritual trips. I enjoyed youth group. 

I also was part of a volunteer service club connected to my school called Keyettes. We did all sorts of projects to help the school and to help the community. I did that for two years.

Finally, my last year of high school, right before I graduated, I told my parents: “I would like to take horseback riding lessons.” And they let me! For four months, I would drive my mom’s car out to a stable and take riding lessons. I was always a bit afraid, scared of the horse, but I’m glad I did that. I’ve never ridden a horse sinse, but I’m glad I learned something about how to ride a horse. 

Those are the activities, the enrichment classes and activities that I did, that I participated in growing up. What about you? Did you do any of the same or different ones? Or if you’re a teenager, are you involved in sports, music, drama, dance? Tell me about it. Leave me a comment below this video.

Remember, if you would like the written transcript for today’s episode, just go to my website, www.englishwithoutfear.com There you’ll find transcripts to lots of the episodes and the occasional newsletter. Well, that’s it for this episode. I’m Maria from English without Fear. Talk to you next time. 

(outro: Thanks for watching. For questions or comments, here’s my email.)

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