We live in an area with a lot of opportunities. I would say that we are lucky to have all that we have; however no matter where you live, you have a community with wonderful opportunities waiting to help you!
Close to home: How can you collaborate with your neighbors? Many neighborhoods have committees that kids can participate in. If you know the gifts and talents of your neighbors, they may be willing to mentor you or your child in a subject matter. We do not socialize much with our neighbors. However, one of our neighbors is a lady with an invaluable history. My children have adopted her as an additional grandparent. She teaches the children about many different subjects and a lot about life. They LOVE to go visit her (in fact, I think they visit her almost daily). Adolescents who are ready for some independence may also begin a home business such as mowing lawns, leaf management, pet sitting/walking, selling eggs, babysitting, etc.
Family and Friends: Do you have a friend or family member with a special talent or who would like to teach your children “a class?” Friends and family ground us! We are lucky enough to have two sets of grandparents in town-all with their own set of talents! We also have a fantastic network of friends who are willing to share their talents and spaces. Simply hanging out with another family can teach your children valuable lessons. They are able to see how other families work together and how they live. The kids learn about other cultures and traditions. If you live in the city, try to visit someone who lives on a farm for a day or vice versa.
Local Parks and Resources: The park system provides programming for people of all ages. The best part, at least in the US-we have local, state and national parks available. The parks also have terrific web pages with loads of information where you can learn the history of an area, the flora and fauna, local resources, hikes and much more! The library provides many programs for the public. Volunteering in your local community opens up the opportunity for new relationships and discoveries.
Mentors: With the amazing help of an internet search, you can help your children find a mentor. Sometimes finding a mentor is an easy task and other times it is tough. However, the process alone is amazing. My son has perked an interest in blacksmithing (more on this in another post). We visited a blacksmith in town who taught him some amazing history but he wasn’t ready to be a mentor. Thus, Sims is still on the search. Sawyer is interested in costume design. She is working with our local theatre to meet up with and observe the costume designer.
Extracurricular classes: Our family utilizes extracurricular activities a lot. Again, there is ALOT going on in our town but some of these are available world wide such as scouts. My son chose to participate in Boy Scouts this year. Wow have I been amazed by this organization. The scout activities give purpose to all the activities that Sims loves. He can use his talents to teach others and he has a whole host of people available to teach him as well. Scouts requires Sims to demonstrate and learn excellent communication skills, organizational skills, group processing and accountability in addition to the scout activities such as knot tying, climbing, camping, hiking and such. Sawyer loves theatre and singing. She participates in a class that teaches the work behind the stage, the production of a play and the actual acting. Just as scouts for Sims, theatre requires Sawyer to learn communication, organization, accountability and responsibility in addition to the acting, singing and producing. Parks is still young but even he uses his classes to pursue his interests. He craves to create especially with clay. He works with a local potter who allows the children freedom to create what they want but is able to teach new techniques and help problem solve.
The internet: You can probably tell from most of my posts that we are not a huge technology family. However, we do use the internet to use to connect with people. If you cannot find a local class or group, many times you can find one on the web. With the use of Skype and facetime, you can chat with professionals or you can participate in club. Our children meet up with their friends on the Spirit Animals site. The site requires them to have read the books to get more points.
Are you missing something in your homeschooling? Search your community to help you fill in any gaps and to support your children’s interests!