Homeschooling can be a lonely world. I have heard mixed reviews about homeschool co- ops and associations. I think there is a danger of competition and unnecessary comparing yourself to others. I think there can be a danger of spending all your time outside the home involved in activities.
However, overall, I think that being part of a community of homeschoolers can be a good thing. The kids see that other kids like them are out there. They get to make friends. Parents can talk, share strategies, have adult contact, etc.
Our county has a rather large homeschool association that we’ve just joined. We have been going to the weekly playgroup at the park near our house. The lady that organizes it is an all star. She has activities for the kids each week. She tries to have a sports focus and a science focus each month as well as other things in between. The kids play for the first half hour or so that we are there… then we move toward whatever the planned activity is. We have done experiments with bubbles, had a fire chief come talk about fire safety, done pumpkin science… and today… a camping workshop!
We are not campers.. not yet anyway… but Big Sis is determined to change that. She has been asking non stop to go camping. Her only hesitation is that bears live in the mountains. Just when I think I have put her fears to rest, the man who did the workshop today talked about a bear that walked through his campsite!
The guy and gal who did the workshop were top notch. They held the attention of about forty kids for an hour and a half. Perhaps it was because the workshop involved fire and the promise of smores!
He first showed us this cool, personal stove made from a aluminum can and cat food jar. You pour a small amount of methanol alcohol into the cat food can that has been hole punched, light it… then place the aluminum can on top. Pour in some water and let it boil.
Next up with lighting a fire inside a washtub. He used dryer lint to get the fire started… so… before you go camping, start collecting some dryer lint to take with you!
The kids then learned how to make a tent using just a plastic tarp. He taught them how to tie a rope to two trees, hang the tarp and anchor it to the ground. Big Sis was all about this project. She was one of the smallest kids there, but was right in the middle of it all.. she went ahead and made herself comfy cozy in the sleeping bag when it was all done.
Last, but not least was the promised smores! Big Brother is a pro a marshmallow roasting. Big Sis would prefer to eat hers “raw.”
We live in the mountains now. This was a perfect workshop for our new digs! Are you part of a homeschool association? What kinds of things do you do? What is most helpful for you?