We’d been trying to Lone Scout for two years, with some success. Part of the reason we’d chosen to go it alone was that David had superior math skills, but was struggling in reading and self-conscious about it. By the time Elisha was old enough to begin Scouting, I was firmly convinced that the benefits of being in a troop were far outweighed by the negative socialization. Then came Paula’s little note on our online homeschool list.
It was just a small blurb, really. Letting people know that her son had joined a Boy Scout Troop that was homeschool-friendly and giving out the information. I filed it away in that portion of my brain “for future reference.” About a month later, Latin class was almost over and one of the mothers asked if we could hurry it along because her boys had to get ready for Scouts. I asked, and it turned out to be the same troop. She’s a little more open with them and the friends they choose, so I was still weary. But she invited us and we agreed to go take a look.
David could barely sit still in class next week. 13 years old, with hormones coursing through his man-boy veins, he was longing for more companionship of other boys his age. With trepidation, we made our way to the meeting. During that first meeting, it was very easy to pick out which boys were homeschooled. There were six parents there. And eleven boys. With two adult Scout leaders. I was liking my odds! The troop was rebuilding after a mass exodus of 18-year olds the year before. Most all the kids were 11-13. And the overwhelming majority of parents stayed for the meetings. I didn’t need any convincing. Neither, apparently, did the boys.
“If you do this, I will require that you actually work on the badges.” They agreed enthusiastically. The boys were happy to be with other boys their ages for a couple of hours a week. I was ecstatic to learn that the troop would not only take care of all the paperwork for us, but (thanks to a generous donor) would be providing the uniforms, patches and accessories without cost. If I needed any more convincing, there it was.
Since we’d already been Scouting (as a Lone Scout), I knew I’d be able to fit the merit badge requirements into school. What I didn’t realize was that things I’d had to use more stick than carrot for would now be done wholeheartedly when there was a promise of a merit badge behind them.
Continue on to:
Using Scouting to Fulfill Academic Requirements
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Homeschooling and Scouting: Our Story