I’ve been asked to write about “social stuff.” Most people count “social stuff” as making friends, and at “Adventure Academy” we make friends when we make a mess and make believe together. Infants to pre-teens play together and learn together in our multi-age classroom and on field trips out in the community. We learn that our community is not all same-aged-peers with similar interests and abilities, but that we can befriend those who have differences and learn from each other. We learn that even during times of chaos, when the news wants us to see great division between people, there are many who want to work together for peace and friendship and all that other positive “social stuff.”
The “social stuff” is always concerning to people when they find out our children are homeschooled. It was a concern for us when we were considered pulling them out of their classroom settings. Luckily we found we live in an area with many homeschool families who are into “social stuff.” We meet up for playdates, co-op classes, field trips … In the typical classroom settings peers change each year as they are bumped into different classes – one awesome part about homeschool groups is that kids get to know each other for years – whole families become life-long friends! Also, our friends aren’t just ones from homeschool. Often social networks are limited to a school or group you associate with – luckily we’re able to associate with many groups and have many networks.
From homeschool groups, to church groups, to extra curricular sports and other activities, our kids social skills have honestly improved with homeschooling – and with helping me build Adventure Academy. Adventure Academy was their idea. I tutored and ran a child care from home before (and was the director of a large child care outside of the home, and a teacher in classrooms, and a counselor in homes and residential treatment facilities, and…), we figured it was a great way to make even more friends! Having younger students around older students encourages peaceful playtimes and builds confidence by teaching each other. Students share their talents and interests and encourage each other to try new skill sets.
In our communities, even in our homes, members do not have all the same skill sets and are not all the same age. Many traditionally schooled people admit it is a challenge to socialize when they go into the work force with different people. The work force, college, even our families are made up of people with differences. Our classroom members become a family who learn how to work together to reach goals. With new members we often have to review goals of how to share toys and get along with each other. Having clear expectations through three simple rules help: Do not hurt people. Do not hurt things. Do have fun. Understanding what is expected and when things are expected helps. Having a simple routine and daily structure also helps.
Basically we eat breakfast, play then learn, then eat lunch and rest… then eat snack and play and learn some more… and if we have questions along the way – we ask. Some of our members have special needs, which include speech challenges so we work on finding ways to ask – even if we don’t have the words. Each month we have vocabulary words we are working on. This month we are working on words associated with “me, my family and my friends.” Younger students simply learn the words, middle students learn to use them and older students define them and research deeper into their meanings. This is the basic format for all our unit studies. This week we’ll learn more about friends and families – as well as our emotions and expressions, and how they effect each other.
We’ll learn about character and how to have “friendly traits.” We’ll learn to be friendly to the people and world around us. As we transition into another season we learn to respect the changes the season brings and how to care for nature. We watch as nature begins adaptation, hibernation and migration – and how the animals using such survival skills to work together. If you know a child who’d like to learn with us at Adventure Academy we have a couple tutor-time openings on Mondays for elementary age students and a couple preschool spots open on Thursdays. We are otherwise full for this season, but you are welcome to sign up on our waiting list for future seasonal adventures with us.
Adventure Academy is an education through recreation program offered for youth through Mi Families, LLC. Mi Families (“my families”) also has programs for parents and providers. If you’d like to learn more about our programs check out www.MiFamilies.com, visit our YouTube channel, follow us on Pinterest, like our FB page, subscribe to these articles up on the right … I’m on LinkedIN (Christi Morgan, Mi Families director). Mi Families is “reaching out with resources” for families and those who work with families and our team welcomes ideas for new programs. Have ideas, questions or want to become involved – please write Christi@MiFamilies.com. Also feel free to email if you’d like to learn about curriculum options for your homeschool or child care program (including Mother Goose Time).