Wednesday, August 22, 2018

4-H and Homeschool: Work It Wednesday

Welcome to Day Three of the 5 Days of Back to (Home)School Encouragement! Blog Hop! 

Today the topic is "Work it in," with one idea being to talk about how you fit something in, especially things like electives.  I had a few ideas of things I could write about here, too. When I changed my mind about what to write about yesterday, though, I absolutely knew that today's post needed to address 4-H!

We joined 4-H this year.  I've thought about it off and on, but never took the plunge to go figuring it out.  Part of it was that for five kids, it just seemed far too expensive.  And time consuming.  I may have been right about that.

This year, though, with three -- and a couple other homeschooling families I know and love -- it was decided to attempt this 4-H thing.

I heard from a lot of people that we shouldn't attempt more than 1-2 projects per person.  It was hard, but we did narrow it down so they all started out in Shooting Sports, and then Thomas did 4-H Filmmaking, Richard did Computers, and Trina did Clothing Construction.

Kids getting sick and not being able to complete the Hunter Safety course, meant that only Thomas stayed in that.

Here he is shooting at the county competition.  He went on to shoot at the state competition last weekend.  There will be more about THAT to come.

So, from our vast experience in barely getting record books done, scrambling to figure out requirements and all, here is some of my advice for a first-time 4-H homeschooling family, or any family really.
  • Ask questions.  Then ask some more.  Take a look at the record books early in the year so you have a clue as to what you are supposed to be keeping track of.  Thomas tracked all kinds of stuff he didn't need for Film, but he didn't track the stuff he needed for Shooting Sports.
  • I'd absolutely echo the advice about doing one or two projects per child.  And I'd encourage combining kids into the same project if possible.  I had a tough time keeping track of four projects.  I can't imagine how I'd have done with more.
  • Look at the stuff from a long-term perspective, thinking about the end and working backwards.  Some projects -- like Clothing Construction -- have multiple levels.  Trina could have done Clothing Construction 2 this year, but it would have stretched her.  Much more fun, I think, to focus on some basics, and save Clothing Construction 2 for next year.  She can easily get through all of the levels before she ages out.  Or she may change interests.
  • Don't force your kids into the stuff that interests you.  There is enough stress without kids not being terribly invested in the project themselves.
  • Ask questions.  Then ask some more.  And look at those record books again in the middle of the year.
There were a lot of moments this year where we were absolutely convinced we were NEVER doing this again.

A lot of them.

But looking back over things at the end of the year (we are DONE now!!) and looking over exhibits at the state fair a bit, for this coming year, we are incorporating a lot more 4-H into our school.


So that is part 2 of this post.




How do we turn this into school?

If my kids were all younger, meaning elementary and middle school age, I think I could easily mostly 4-H school.  There is definitely science available.  You can easily cover a fair amount of writing.  There are loads of electives.

For high school, things are a bit more challenging, however I do see a few areas where we can absolutely combine 4-H projects and schoolwork.  We haven't made final decisions on any of this until after we go to the State Fair, and after we hold our Student-Teacher Conferences.  But some things we are looking at:

  • Computers in the 21st Century for both Thomas and Richard.  This can easily be incorporated into a computer class, probably a full credit.
  • Electric.  They have levels 1-4.  Richard has four years, so he could do one per year.  Thomas might do levels 1 and 2 this year.  
  • Junk Drawer Robotics.  They have levels 1-3 of this, and Richard has made it clear that he wants to do one per year. 
  • Model Rocketry.  There are six units here, so Richard may work through more than one this year.  Thomas is not interested.  With these three (Electric, Robotics, Rocketry) we may combine years into a credit, or even into a 1/2 credit.  We'll see.
  • Shooting Sports.  I'll be using this for a half credit of PE.
  • They have to do demonstrations, and that most certainly counts towards English.
  • Filmmaking.  Thomas certainly plans to do this again.  Oh, the subjects we can cover.  Especially when he ends up doing a documentary.  Filmmaking this past year was a chunk of his English credit, and we snuck in some history there too. And of course, he does have courses in filmmaking on his transcript.
  • We've talked about -- but probably won't do -- using some of the entomology, gardening, wildlife, veterinary science projects in lieu of some of the textbook biology.  I'm not entirely sure about that. 
  • That doesn't even get into things like Home Ec and Shop. 
I know the above list is overwhelming.  More than a bit.  But my advice about 1-2 projects really was a first year thing.  I know lots of homeschool families that do more and make it a school subject.  Some of the guides that are available are very thorough.  I think the big key with multiple projects (yeah, laugh heartily here and ask me next year how this worked out) is to be incorporating them into life and working throughout the year.  On everything, including the record books.

We may be biting off more than we can chew.  That remains to be seen.

Go check out some of the other posts in this hop!  There is a linky at the bottom, and here are a few of the folks who planned to be posting:

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
Angie @ Run Ran Family Adventures & Learning
Annette @ A Net in Time
Ashley @ Gift of Chaos
Betty @ Let’s Get Real
Brenda @ Counting Pinecones
Carol @ Home Sweet Life
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

1 comment:

Chareen said...

I haven't heard about 4H before sounds really interesting. Thank you for sharing your experience. Love the photo's of your children.

Congratualations on State participation. I miss being able to go shooting when ever as that's not permitted here in Australia.