From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


6/21/2012 2:31:57 PM
Vicki Bentley--HSLDA
Toddlers to Tweens--Creating Our Own Opportunities

HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter
June 2012--Creating Our Own Opportunities

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Creating Our Own Opportunities

After reading Mike Farris' article, "Ten Lessons I've Learned," a mom confessed she too was
feeling isolated and frustrated in her remote area and asked for
suggestions to help get things moving in her local homeschooling
community. If she feels
that way, maybe a few of you do, too! So what's a parent to do?

I lived out in the country during our homeschooling years, so I
understand how isolating home education can be, especially if you
don't have a family large enough for built-in sports teams or your own
Bible quiz league! When we bring our kids home, we often find a need
to provide opportunities for our children to feel connected.

We have a list of suggested activities for groups in the Practical
Helps section of our Group Services website. But you don't have to be the
leader to do these; just invite folks from your local group or local
area to join in!

For example, my family coordinated a game night once a month, giving
the teens a safe environment to gather for board games, chatter, and
snacks each month. It was very informal--we just announced a date/time
and asked kids 13 and up to bring a soda and snack and their favorite
board game. Sometimes we threw on a pot of hot dogs or fired up the
grill. Since we lived "out a ways," we invited whole families, but the
parents and younger kids congregated elsewhere, so the teens didn't
feel that they had to always be in the midst of the adults. That level
of trust (with oversight, of course) led to their including us--kids
vs. parents--in many of the games.

Holiday Fun

At Christmas, we invited everyone to our house for gingerbread house
decorating. I had picked up a bunch of those house kits on sale for $2
each last year so I provided a baker's dozen (or you could tell
everyone to bring their own). I mixed up a huge batch of icing, and we
built the actual houses in advance so the mortar could dry overnight.
On decorating day, folks brought gumdrops, M&Ms, Twizzlers, sprinkles,
and other decorating candies. They made their houses as families, then
while the houses dried, we ate Christmas cookies and sang carols.

The next year, we hosted "Christmas around the World" and asked each
family to bring a dish from a specific country and share some
traditions from their selected country. Some students went so far as
to dress in the traditional garb or to bring a small gift
representative of the country. And one family, whose children are all
preschool age, had recently moved from San Antonio, so they shared
southern Texan traditions, since "some folks say Texas is its own
country anyway." We enjoyed many regional treats, including tamales
from Mexico/San Antonio; pizzelles, biscotti, and lasagna from Italy;
and Swedish meatballs served by Isabella, dressed in her handmade
Saint Lucia costume!
Socialize Your Studies

One mom invited middle school and high school kids to read a book in a
specific genre, then come to her home to talk about the books they
read. Nothing formal--she didn't even make them stand up to tell about
their books. It was simply conversational, in the living room,
followed by snacks. The genre changed each month.

If there's a field trip you are interested in for your kids, set it up
and invite a few others to join you (you were going anyway!). If you
do an experiment, post to your group's email loop to see if anyone
wants to come.

Check out "Fun and Games in Your Homeschool"
( ) or "Holidays as Unit
Studies" ( for more creative

Focus on Fellowship

Not every event must be educational: Have a family to supper or lunch
or dessert. Invite a child or two for a play date or park day. If it's
the moms who are craving fellowship, consider a covered-dish breakfast
once a quarter. The goal is to build relationships.

Also, look for needs within the group to help meet. Plan service
opportunities for the kids or families. Need help finding a local
group? Check out our support group listing, or consult your state
organization's website for a list of local groups. Need help finding a
local group?

This doesn't always mean you have to plan things, either--you can
simply piggyback on other activities. For example, maybe a local
choral society is putting on a community sing event of Handel's
Messiah. Invite a few families to go, too, and then maybe meet
somewhere afterward for hot cocoa. Or if a local museum is having a
homeschoolers' day, publicize it and offer to carpool or caravan, or
meet with your picnic lunch there. Find the dance school or tae kwon
do class or swimming pool or recreation league event that is
homeschool friendly and let folks know.

Just small things. But they add up to big opportunities!

Hoping your summer is off to a great start,

Vicki Bentley
HSLDA Toddlers to Tweens consultant

-> "I saved my entire membership fee with one discount"

"When I called Liberty to find out what kind of discount we could
get, they told us we would 10% off our car insurance and 5% off
our homeowner's insurance. What we will save is more than double
what it costs to join HSLDA. With one child getting his driver's
license this year, the savings will be a real blessing!"

More reasons to join HSLDA...

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