Homeschooling can be a daunting task when you think that you were in charge of coming up with all of the educational material for your children. Luckily if you know how you can utilize your community in your homeschool. There are so many different resources and places that you can find educational materials and experiences for your children. We wouldn’t be able to have the homeschooling experience that we do without utilizing the community around us. We use resources such as the library and even in places where we can go on special field trips such as the nature centre. I’m going to tell you about a few of our favourite community places and how we decide to use them.
Most people think of the library as a place where you go to get books and really nothing more. We think of the library as a special getaway where we can do learning away from our house. There are tons of resources at the library other than just books. Most library’s also rent out toys and games. Our library has computers that are geared towards children and allow them to play educational games that are pre-selected by the library. We even tend to use the library as a place where we can meet up with other homeschoolers and learn together. Often if there’s enough interest the library will even host special homeschool activities. These could be things such as a Lego club, chess club, or even a reading club.
Museums and National Monuments
I am going to lump museums and national monuments into one topic even though I think there’s plenty to say about both. Museums and national parks often have their very own learning resources that you can use free of charge. Usually, you pay admission to the place and you get to use these resources with your family. Many of the museums will allow you to book personal tours or homeschool classes. These can be fun to add to your homeschooling because it allows a very fun and hands-on approach to learning the topics. For example, at our local museum, we did a field trip that had to do with early settlers. During the field trip, the instructor showed us pictures and explained to us how the people came to settle in our area. We then did some activities such as making butter in a jar together. This really brought to life the unit of early settlers for my children.
Nature Centres, Community Parks, and National Parks
Similar to museums and national monuments, nature centers, and parks often have educational materials that they will provide for you. Some of these places provide them free of charge and some of these places provide them in ways of field trips and lessons. We find the most nature centers provide you with educational materials included in the charge of admission. Community parks and national parks can also be great places to take your learning. You can find resources online about the place that you are going to and study about the place before you get there. You can turn this into as big of a project as you would like. We have several parks around us that we enjoy to visit and we have been able to find movie documentaries and resources about these parks online. For example, we live near Waterton National Park in Alberta Canada and we are able to find documentaries about the animals and ecosystem in Waterton National Park. Being able to go and see what you are studying really brings the topic to life for the children.
Often we overlook the amount of knowledge that the people in our community hold. No matter the size of your community there are always people who have knowledge in specific areas. For example, you may know a family who owns a farm nearby, you could ask them for the opportunity for your family to go and learn what it is like to be a farmer in your area. They might be able to share with you what it is like to raise animals and they could even give you information about the animals. Children will enjoy the topic that they are learning about if they have the opportunity to see it first hand and participate in the tasks. Another example of using people in the community would be asking a nurse or doctor to talk to your children about healthy habits. From my experience, most community members are more than happy to be a part of your child’s learning journey!
I hope that this gives you an idea of how we use our community in our homeschool and how you can use your community to really bring the lessons to life! We love to go on field trips and make homeschooling a life experience rather than table time.
A big thank you to Dusty Haayema of BeatOfOurDrum for writing this article.