Know your limits. This is the first rule of venturing outside the home for educational opportunities. There are so many wonderful one that you can easily become overwhelmed and not get in those “basics” that you deem necessary for education. So, know you schedule, make a plan, and set a limit. With this in mind, let’s explore some options that our family uses to further education.
- Sign Language – A wonderful lady from the church we attend offers sign language classes to homeschool students. The cost is reasonable and the teaching is outstanding! Miss E has really enjoyed the classes and will continue them this year. This takes her out of the house two days a week for an hour but since it is just up the road, I don’t have to disrupt everyone’s schoolwork to take her to class or pick her up. With the quality of training, level of the class, expected practice, interpreting opportunities, and number of hours, this will be counting towards her high school credits.
- Dance – All three of the girls enjoy dance and want to continue with this excercise and strengthening program. We take them to a local dance studio where they have excellent instruction. We do not do anything competitive and the girls are getting a firm foundation in classical ballet, jazz, and tap. With a formal recital at the end of each school year, this is perfect for us. My only wish is that there were classes during the day time so we didn’t have to always have evening and/or night classes. This year, it will take us out of the home two afternoons per week. But, knowing that, I took it into consideration when creating expectations and scheduling.
- Violin – While I know my music education, I do not have a good string foundation. So, we are able to take advantage of a program at Baylor that offers string instruction to 4th grade students and up. Miss L has benefitted greatly from this program and we will continue it. They offer very reasonable prices for twice a week instruction and their music education students get classroom experience in teaching. Win-win. Again, I wish there were other time options but I will gladly go for their times when it is quality instruction for a very good cost.
- Volunteering – Miss E is old enough this year to be able to volunteer at the library and we are considering this for her. She loved helping out in the church office but the hours of the secretary just are not good for our schedule so we have been unable to continue that. She would be able to do this while we are at violin lessons so it would hit two birds with one stone. I like that idea.
- Church based program – We have several classes that the girls will be taking part in through our church’s Lads to Leaders program. From Bible Bowl, to teacher training, to leading singing in a ladies’ setting, to reading scripture in children’s and ladies’ classes, to learning to be a woman of God, there are many programs that the girls will be able to participate in and grow from. We consider all of these programs part of their education.
These are by no means the extent of the educational opportunities outside of the house. We have scheduled a Texas history trip in a couple of months where we will visit some historic sites. There are parks and museums that we visit. We are not too far from the big, big cities of Fort Worth, Dallas, and Austin so we will probably visit them for some opportunities. Field trips of all sorts count towards learning and we try to take advantage of those as often as is reasonable. During the summer we are able to add mission trips, camps, and time spent outdoors with new adventures.
Even with all of this, there is more that we could access. And we might. But this is a lot and it fits the delight-directed learning that we strive for – while requiring certain things for the girls, we allow them to stretch themselves in ways that they find interesting.
From co-ops to National Parks to distance learning to dual-enrollment, visit the rest of the bloggers participating in the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop 2017 to see what they have to share about homeschooling opportunities outside the home. Here are a few to get you started:
Kym – Homeschool Coffee Break
Linda – Apron Strings & other things
Lisa – Farm Fresh Adventures
Meghan – Quiet In The Chaos
Melanie – Tree Valley Academy
Michele – Family Faith and Fridays
Missica – Through The Open Window
Monique – Mountain of Grace Homeschooling