Thursday, January 20, 2011

Homeschool Get-togethers

 This year we started doing something new to add another dimension to our homeschooling. As I have visited with homeschoolers off and on I have noticed that many of them would like an opportunity to get together on a regular basis (not to frequently as our goal is to be Homeschoolers but still often enough that it is regular) so that their children can enjoy time with other homeschooled children and so the parents can visit and encourage one another. Those that I visited with and I were also wanting something that was either free or didn't cost much.

 We are blessed to live in an area were there are a lot of homeschoolers. I grew up in this area as a homeschooler and at that time my parents were quite involved along with some other parents and they were organize get-togethers. At this point in time the homeschool "group" here mainly had a great e-mail newsletter to kind off keep us connected but otherwise the only regular get-togethers were at the Science center and the gym bin both which were a little cost prohibitive to many. There are also a couple of other co-ops that meet regularly but they aren't open to growing that much and though we were kindly invited to join one they didn't think there was room for all the others that I had talked to that also wanted some kind of get-together.

   Anyway I present all that background to tell you what we did decide to do this year.

  We decided to start a monthly homeschool get-together. The church that I attend was willing to let us use the church building as long as we cleaned up after ourselves. We decided to chose one day a month (the 3rd Tuesday) and meet on that morning, have an activity and then bring sack lunches and eat together. We also planned for some free time for kids to play and parents to visit.

   I have been the one that has been "in charge" with planning the location and then taking care of e-mailing everybody and such but we have worked together to have activities and such.

  Here is what we have done so far:
First I talked to friends and invited them and got their input, then I announced it in the homeschool e-newsletter and asked for people to RSVP if they were planning on coming.
  • October- Planning meeting and educational game playing. Getting to know each other.
  • November- Thanksgiving theme. We made some crafts, had some skits (which they made lovely hats for and the kids made tarts (little pies) to eat for their lunch.
  • December- We had several different Christmas presents that the kids could make. One mother also told the Story of Jesus Birth in a hands on way. Everybody brought Christmas goodies to share.
  • January- The theme was Countries/Geography. Each child or family chose a country to represent and they studied up on it and then came and told stuff about it. Each child make a flag to show and they some also made maps, dressed in costume, played music, brought things from the country to show or brought a food to share.
Here are some of our ideas for future months:
  • Go on field trips to the Police Station, Newspaper, Airport, Tanker Base where they have planes and helicopters to put out wildfires and more. We probably will only do two of these this year.
  • Have a Valentines party after going on a field trip.
  • Do Science experiments.
  • Learn about our body.
  • Do outdoor activities.
  This has been a fun monthly activity for us. I have been happy that we have been able to keep it free and open to anyone that wants to come. There has been a variance in how many come some months as many as 30 kids and then this month is was down to 15, though a windchill of minus 18 degrees may have played a part in that.

   I just wanted to share what we were doing with any of you that might be wanting to do something of this sort. It does take some work to get it organized but overall it doesn't have to be that complicated and we have found it to be fun for all of us!

  If you have any questions feel free to ask away in the comments! I would love to hear any ideas you might have too! 


Jen said...

I wish we had a homeschool group near us. We're planning to leave for the field soon, or I would've started one already.

Nola said...

Thank you for answering my questions in the comment I left on your other post. WOW 30 kids! I can't imagine that many!! I guess like you said homeschooling is popular there!

I'm trying to decide what to do since I would like to start something...but due to the less homeschoolers here (3 families currently and maybe 1 or 2 more) is to also have things open to mothers who are at home with young children but either a) don't have children school age yet to decide on school choices or b) have some children at school and some at home. Since some of the activities and things might only apply to homeschoolers but some things might actually apply to say a mom of a 4 year old who isn't in school...especially since those of us with older children that are more "school age" and up also have babies and toddlers and preschoolers so it would all fit in...

Any thoughts I'd be curious to see what you think since you've done a homeschooling group before. I wasn't homeschooled nor have I ever seen this done at all.

One thing I would like to do is to maybe once a month have a mom's prayer group to pray for us as moms and for our children and talk just as moms.

Abbi said...

Jen, Homeschool groups are fun but life doesn't always allow for that. I hope your new plans go well.

Nola, The 30 kids we have had come is actually just a very small drop in the bucket of how many there are! We have been more concerned about having more come then we would know how to handle.

I think it is a neat idea to open it up to other stay at home moms too. There have been a couple of people that come to our group who don't actually have kids "in school" yet but they hope to homeschool. Even if the parents aren't planning on homeschooling it could be neat for both them and you to have them come. They might end up changing their minds when they see how fun it can be! :-)


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