It’s Friday. That means my boys have no schoolwork. What? Let me rephrase that. They have no schoolwork from their regular textbooks. Instead, Fridays at our house have become Boy Scout days. They work on their badges and advancement.
Before we got involved in Scouting, I thought Boy Scouts meant camping, tying knots, and Indian folklore. Yes, those are included, but Scouting is so much more! I was amazed at the amount of scholarly requirements. Science, reading, artwork, social studies, history, civics, home arts, language, and even math are covered to some degree.
We live in Washington where the homeschool regulations are minimal. Once a year, I file an affidavit stating that I’m going to homeschool, and at the end of the year a friend of ours who holds a Master Teaching Certificate evaluates the children’s progress. That’s it in a nutshell. I know most other states are more stringent in their restrictions and regulations. It’s part of the reason we moved here. Because we’d come from California, I was used to documenting their studies. That’s how I happened upon Scout School.
Scout School takes all the guesswork out of it. It’s laid out so you can see right away which subjects each requirement fills. For instance, today the boys are working on their Reading merit badge (bet you didn’t know that one existed!). They went to the library last Friday, learned from the librarian exactly how to best search by different criteria, chose six books from four different genres including an award winner, then located them on the shelves. Sounds easy enough from an adult point of view, but if you watched last week’s Beauty and the Geek, you’d be surprised. Now they’re working on reading all six books. Next they’ll be reading newspapers and magazine about current issues. Then it’s on to the Internet to search for Scouting sites. And lastly they’ll either put in four hours reading to children or helping out the librarian. All this for a little scrap of material. They’re enthusiastic about it, and I don’t need to nag or cajole. They’ll get credit for four hours toward social studies, and forty-four hours of language arts. That’s almost a quarter of what was required of government school children in our district. And it’s learning that’s retained. They were able to choose titles from within the parameters already set. Freedom within form.
At the library, I tried to steer my reluctant reader toward the juvenile section of the biographies (one of the chosen genres). He looked at me like I was daft and came back with the 400+ page, Lee’s Terrible Swift Sword. He wasn’t about to have “baby books” mar his merit badge record. Peer pressure isn’t always a bad thing, as long as the peers are well chosen! David’s also working on his Rifle and Shotgun badges, but even they have a strong academic component to them. It’s exciting to me to find something so motivating and wholesome!
Does anyone else combine Scouting and Homeschooling?