Unit studies that combine curriculum and socialization
Homeschool 4-H groups are popping up all over the place. Why? 4-H and homeschool are a great match.
When I tell other home educators about 4H I often hear, “I thought that was for farmers.” Not so.
This youth organization is a perfect supplement to curriculum and can even be similar to a homeschool unit study group
within the 4-H organization. Not to mention it is a great answer to homeschool socialization questions.
Many families with right brain learners enjoy unit studies. 4-H is another framework for creating unit studies on a larger scale than just your immediate family. This allows you to draw on the knowledge of other parents as well as do activities that are hard to do alone if you only have a few children or an only child.
Before we started homeschooling, I knew nothing about 4-H, even though my grandfather was an extension agent, my grandmother led a club, my mom was a member, and in college I worked for IFAS (the branch of the University of Florida that oversees this program.)
I saw a post on our local homeschool group’s e-mail chain about a crochet class offered at the county extension office, so signed my girls up. While they were learning how to make a granny square, I was learning about all the other opportunities available through 4-H.
The more I learned, I realized this program wasn’t all about farming and animals (although those are still well represented in the program overall.) There were homeschool 4-H clubs in our county that focused on everything from poultry, to shooting sports, to electricity. Basically unit studies within a framework of a group.
There are many opportunities for kids 9 and older to compete with projects they complete. (Some counties allow children younger than 9 to participate without competing.) It is a big motivator for my kids to know someone besides family will be seeing and evaluating their work. Sometimes having mom and dad always being the judge gets tough and finding non-family members to evaluate work and give a different perspective is hard for many homeschool families.
I have been so pleased with the opportunities we have been given in 4-H AND
combined with our homeschool. It is worth checking with your County Extension Office to
see if a program exists in your area. If none of the current clubs fit your needs, don't be
afraid to start your own homeschool 4-H group!
What's YOUR 4-H story?
Have a great story about your homeschool 4-H club? What was your favorite 4-H event? Did you have a great 4-H leader? How has 4-H added to your homeschool experience? Share it here! Club leaders are always looking for new ideas to spark enthusiasm and learning.
Other "4-Hers" have said:
Click below to see contributions from other 4-Her's...
The 4-H pledge:
I pledge my HEAD to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My HANDS to larger service,
and my health to better living
for my club, my community, my country and my world.
4-H has planned curriculum unit books for purchase at a reasonable price. Check with your local County Extension Agent for information.Click here for a link to the National 4-H Council website.
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