Today's post is all about finding opportunities for your children to encourage them in their passion. These can be ongoing activities or simply one time field trips, but the idea is to seek out ways for your children to experience different aspects of their interest. Some of your ideas may even introduce you to a person who can be a mentor either right away or sometime in the future.
Online experiences- The internet is full of opportunities for you to share with your children. From YouTube videos to online classes, to online clubs (through CurrClick) to formal online coursework, it is likely you can find something for your kids to enjoy. CurrClick has a lot of online classes but also free clubs like LEGO and American Girl that meet each month.
One of my favorites is Craftsy- an online craft class website. Some of our favorite designers have classes there and we have enjoyed some refashioning and Christmas projects. We have other classes in the wings since they have sales all the time- knitting, crocheting, sewing techniques among other things are available. The great thing about Craftsy is that you can access the class anytime. You can contact the teacher with questions and they really do get back to you. Plus, access is unlimited so it never expires. The classes are broken down into segments of about 15- 20 minutes and it's fun to watch and learn. They are very reasonably priced and often have half off sales which I jump at. Our latest acquisition is a textured sewing class which will add a lot of variety to R11's projects. Considering the cost of sewing classes locally, this is a steal and it allows her to learn any time she wants. Best of all, I don't have to drive anywhere with three boys in tow!
|We made this poinsettia brooch at the December Sewing Camp- I let the girls watch the segment and they got started. Great fun!|
Local colleges and universities- take advantage of opportunities offered by your local colleges and universities. This may be a resource you have not tapped into yet or maybe you think there isn't much going on, but I encourage you to reach out and see what's there. We live in the shadow of several colleges and one Ivy League university all of which have programming for the outlying communities. One of them offers a lending library of science activities for homeschoolers and teachers. There are annual events like Insectapalooza- a big day put on by the entomology department in the fall. Each spring the Veterinary School at Cornell has an open house full of all kinds of things to see and career information for kids interested in animals.
Last year I discovered the fashion shows put on by local universities and through an announcement from 4H we attended the one at Syracuse University. An alumni email forwarded to me by a friend led us to a reception followed by the show at Cornell. We had a fabulous evening talking with faculty of the dept and parents of graduating seniors and then enjoyed the show which included men's fashions. We are going to this year's show in a few days. Based on various connections, I think the admission faculty at Cornell are awaiting R11's portfolio to cross their desks in a few years!
Want some time on a microscope? Give them a call. You'd be surprised at what they are willing to offer in the way of tours and interviews. Remember that university faculty ultimately rely on the general public to experience their research in some way. Outreach connections are in the charter of many grants the researchers hold. Reach out and see what can happen.
Organizations and Clubs- Lots of us are involved with scouts or the equivalent. We are a 4H family. We've tried out clubs, but we operate best as independents. Either way I love 4H because it's unifying. I don't have to take the boys in one direction and our daughter in another. We can participate as a family. 4H offers us the chance to exhibit work in the local and state fair. The kids have made public presentations at various level of competition. This year E13 did an excellent presentation on the Art of Falconry which will he will be doing again at the county and state fair this summer. Right now he serves on the county's Fair Board and he's excited about helping to get ready for the fair. I've been attending with him and he's learning a lot for sure. Whatever you choose to be part of, make sure it aligns with your family's purpose and values.
There are plenty of opportunities for our children if we know where to look and how to ask! Keep your eyes open for announcements and emails about various things going on in your community. You never know if one will ignite or fan the flame of a passion.
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You'll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivating curiosity, teaching with Legos, and much much more!