Thursday, August 17, 2017

The 2017 Back to Homeschool Blog Hop: Homeschooling Outside the Home

Homeschooling Outside the Home

Welcome to the fourth day of the Homeschool Review Crew 2017 Back to Homeschool Blog Hop. Today my fellow Crew Mates and I are going to focus on homeschooling "Outside the Home."

Honestly, most of our homeschooling takes place in our home. I know it is said that we are learning all the time, so even when we go out, we are learning. I do agree with that. However, I am not comfortable counting every little thing we do and place we go as a "school day." Activities that I, personally, would count as school time outside of the home include homeschool co-op, field trips, phys. ed. and other classes at the YMCA. Do we do some of our lessons outside the house? Occasionally. For example, sometimes we go out to the yard to do some exploring, but, I don't consider that "homeschooling outside the home." To me our yard is part of our home. And we have been known to take work to doctor appointments, so I will count that as a school day. 

Homeschool Co-op

We have been a part of our local homeschool co-op since Tabitha was in kindergarten. I wanted to make sure she had a chance to, yes, socialize and make friends. She knew some of the children who went already, through church and playgroup. And now she, and my other children, have made additional friends. 

I appreciate the way our co-op is organized. All of the parents have to help either teach a class or be a helper. Personally, I enjoy being down in the preschool, coming up with crafts and reading stories. I don't think anyone who reads my blog would be surprised by this. I have also taught classes to the older groups. I prefer the K-3 group, though I have taught one class for the 4-8 group. I prefer to NOT teach high school however. 

The school year is broken into different sessions. There is a fall session that lasts from the beginning of October to mid November. Our last day before the break is always a harvest type party with crafts and a special dish-to-pass lunch. Then we take off until the beginning of January. Each month (Jan through April) is a "session." 

Each Wednesday we meet from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm. There are three classes each session, one of which is always gym. And in the last few months of the school year, one class for the older two groups is always for getting ready for the end of year play. Other classes may be cooking, geography. art, science, economics, whatever different topics we come up with in our parent meeting that someone wants to or is at least willing to teach. We try to make it more hands-on and fun, things that may not be getting taught at home. 

I love that they have taken the kids on different field trips that I wouldn't have been able to do with the children. They've been to such places as the bank, the post office, different farms in the area, the library, and the one ice cream shop. 

Some co-op fun:

I asked each of the children what they liked the best about co-op and this is what they had to say. 

Tabitha liked doing the play this past year. (She actually had a decent amount of lines too.) She like outdoor survival and the gym classes where they learned and played soccer and basketball. She also enjoys art. 

Amelia likes gym the most. One of her favorite games is octopus tag. 

Hannah enjoys art, gym, snack time, and field trips. She said her favorite trip was to the bank. 

Harold just enjoys co-op. He enjoys doing the crafts, having snack and lunch, and playtime. Which is most of what they do down in preschool.

There are years I have debated not going to co-op, because there is a bit of a financial strain plus added stress, but the children enjoy it very much and get upset when I mention taking a break from it.

Moving on to:

Field Trips

We don't take field trips that often, but we do enjoy them when we can do so. Once again, there is the added cost, even if the destination itself is free or low cost, living in a rural area means there is going to be gas money and food money that needs to be spent. We do try to bring our own food, but it never fails that we end up having to buy something while we are out.

A couple of years ago we were reviewing the Field Trip Journal from Apologia. It was during this time that I really started looking into what might be available in the area (you know, that whole living in a rural area dilema). There are also places I had heard of, but had never gotten around to visiting in my 20-some years of living in the area.

Some fun, localish places to visit here in northern Pennsylvania (and western NY) are Animaland, the PA Grand Canyon, the Black Forest Trading Station, the Lumber Museum, Sinnemahoning State Park, and Rock City Park. These are all within a 1 hour drive from our home. For a bit of a longer drive we can also visit the Corning Museum of Glass, Erie Zoo, and the Pocono Raceway. Those are some of the places we have visited within the last couple of years.

Some field trip fun:

When I asked the children what their favorite field trip(s) were, all of them had the Erie Zoo in their answer.

Tabitha said, "I love animals and they have cute animals and the huge rhinos, and zebras, and all the animals there." It was a first time experience for her. She also liked Animaland but didn't care that is smelled. She did like getting to feed the animals.

Amelia loved the sand cat at the Erie Zoo, and Hannah just loved that there were animals. Harold said he liked Erie Zoo because he "got to see all the animals I never got to see before. He also mentioned liking Animaland, Rock City Park, and the Pocono Raceway.


We joined the local YMCA in January of 2016. At first the children didn't have much to do besides sitting in the Child Watch. However, this past fall they were able to take the ballet class, which they really enjoyed.

After the dance session was done, the Y offered a homeschool phys ed class which we took advantage of. Even though they have gym once a week at co-op, I thought it would be fun for them to interact with different children and learn some different activities. Sadly, there was only one other child who participated. So, it wasn't quite what we were hoping it would be. I guess it is all for the best, because I decided we wouldn't be doing it this year if they offered it again. This will save our finances a bit, plus keep me less stressed as I won't have to break our Monday's up anymore with trying to get to phys ed. Tabitha (and occasionally Amelia) joins me in Zumba once or twice a week.

So, that is the extent of our homeschooling outside the home. And as you can see, there will be even less this coming school year.

So, what kinds of activities are you involved in outside the home?

Tomorrow I will be sharing the post from my hubby: Dear Homeschool Mom. It's sort of become a tradition for him to contribute to these blog hop posts. 


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