I love that thought because I really feel like it is. We have had some amazing experiences learning together as a family outside of our home. We've gone on boat adventures, taken a train to Seattle, watched police dogs in action, toured chip factories, and much more.
Here are just a few shots of the things we have done over the summer...
Ocean boat tour. We learned all about crabs, and the kids even got to hold one!
Music in the park during the summer...
Lots and lots of swimming at the local pool
Volunteering at the local foodshare...
This is just the summer, and I didn't share a picture of everything we did!
So, what do we do the rest of the school year? Much of the same, except there is even more.
We could easily spend more days outside of our home doing great activities than at home. There are so many great opportunities that it's easy to find at the end of the week that we've had hardly any time at home to do actual school work! This happens a lot for us. I find so many great opportunities to do classes, field trips, and outdoor adventures that I want to do them all.
I will list some of the regular things we do during the school year including co-ops and classes.
We take advantage of many local businesses and museums homeschool discount days. Some that we love to take part in every year include homeschool skates, Oregon Garden homeschool day, and Get Air homeschool jump time. There are too many to list, but I usually keep my eyes and ears open for these. Facebook has been a tremendous help in getting the word out for these times and days. I remember when we first started this homeschool journey, I really had to search high and low for these events because they are often just by word of mouth, and not always advertised.
|Homeschool Skate during the day in Salem|
We have the wonderful flexibility to just decide to head to a park during the day if the weather is nice (or sometimes when it's not!). When we need a break or want to get some wiggles out you might find us at a park or on a walk. The kids love having the park all to themselves sometimes.
|The boys playing at the new nature play area at Champoeg last Fall (2016)|
|Enjoying the local skate park during the school hours|
We can be found at the library 2-3 times a week. We have 2 different libraries that we frequent. Sometimes it's just a resting place for us during lessons, sometimes it's for specific reasons (storytime, homeschool group activities, finding certain books), and often it's just a different place other than home.
|Me reading Angus Lost to Alex at the Wilsonville library|
Homeschool classes (not co-op):
The kind of classes that I am talking about here are ones that we pay for or that are offered by our charter. We attend our charter enrichment classes once a week, and those include PE, computer, science, writing, and math. We also like to take classes at local places like Village Home, the local art studio, or science museum.
|PE class at Summit Learning Charter enrichment|
|Art History lesson and painting class at Young at Art studio in Salem|
We attend a co-op where the classes are taught by the moms, and therefore we don't have to pay a lot except for a few small fees (registration, small class fee under $10 usually). We also get a great support system, and make some close friends here. The one we attend meets on Wednesdays for a good portion of the day, so it's an all day out of the house kind of day. Add onto that a drive of 30 minutes one way, and we are usually beat by the end of it, but we have a lot of fun things happen there for Mom and kids.
|I taught a class of 6 and 7 year-olds last year, we made a counting rainbow cereal game that all the kids loved.|
My boys are all involved in Cub Scouts and Scouts through our church. They also have other regular church activities including youth group activities, and primary children activities. We also have ward and church wide events like halloween parties, Christmas parties, campouts, talent shows, etc. These always provide great learning experiences, and socializing opportunities.
|The Pinewood derby is always a fun one!|
|Our church/ward Christmas party, and guess who Santa was? Daddy! The big kids figured it out right away. Thankfully the little guy never did.|
We have some pretty amazing field trips with homeschoolers all over our area. Sometimes it's with the local or co-op group like to the pumpkin patch, and sometimes it's with a group of families that we don't even know. That happens quite a bit more often (the field trips with people we don't know) just because there is usually a need for a certain number of attendees to make the field trip happen, so a Mom will just organize something and post it on one of the many groups we are a part of. I jump right in if it is something we are interested in. Last year my son's class at co-op ended up turning into a field trip class. He went on some amazing field trips from about January through May including things like the Kettle chip factory, a shirt printing business, and an aviary.
|Kiddos at the pumpkin patch last Fall (2016)|