Education: 10 Great Homeschool Group Activities!

Here are ten great ideas for homeschool gatherings whether you are in need of activities or just starting a group for the first time.

Homeschooling groups are being established in more and more towns and cities. If you are in charge of such a group, or wish to start one, there are endless things, both educational and fun, to do with your group. The hardest part will be making sure that events you plan will interest both the older students and the younger. Here are ten things that you can use to get started with some group activities.

1. Having a pie social is usually a hit for students and parents alike. First, find out if anyone in the group has a homemade ice cream machine. Depending on the size of the group, you will most likely need at least two, more for larger groups. Those families will have charge of the ice cream making. Other families attending the social will each bring a pie or two. These can be home baked or bought. That is all you will need to plan a basic pie social except the drinks. (Remember that the adults will most likely enjoy coffee with their pie.) Decide whether or not you want some form of entertainment or speaker for the same night.

2. Another thing that the children will always enjoy is a pizza party. The incentive to reach the party celebration can be anything of your choosing. Often some kind of reading incentive works well. Choose a number of books to be read by the group or individually and the party is planned when those goals are reached. If you choose a group number of books, be sure to make it clear, and keep checking on it, that every student is doing some of the reading and not letting others do all of the work.

3. Check with groups in your community about starting a homeschool chapter. Often scouts and 4-H will have chapters made up solely of homeschooled members. If your area offers this, your group can use some of your meetings for these activities. When bringing up a 4-H chapter idea, know what is available for individual or group study. It is far from the "farm animal" group that many people erroneously believe. The clubs offer things like health, cooking, genealogy, geology, career planning, and so on.

4. Many groups of homeschoolers have started a "Young Writer Club." These meetings would most likely be separate from your regular weekly or bi-weekly group meeting. Assign a different student to come up with the activity for each meeting. The children will bring their own notebooks or paper and pencils. One idea for this group is to have a "story starter." Start with a paragraph that ends with something such as "all of a sudden . . ." and the children then write a few paragraphs to finish the story. After everyone is finished, as with all Young Writer Club activities, each child will read his or her writing to the others. Other ideas could include writing tongue twisters, taking an event in history and rewriting it within a "what if" scenario, and "if you could be a historical figure, who would you be, and why?" The list of things for the children to write about is only as limited as the imagination.

5. Homeschool groups often plan field trips as an activity. Places to visit could include museums, factories, and historical sites. A nice addition is to plan a field trip to be over the lunch hour, and have the children take a packed lunch.

6. Some groups enjoy a "girls' night out" or "boys' night out." This involves needing to have the use of someone's home for a slumber party type of event. For the girls' night out, the mothers would have the option of being part of the activities, and the same for the fathers with the boys. This, of course, would depend on arrangements for the other children that are part of the family to be taken care of if the mother is attending girls' night out. Activities are exactly the same as with any other slumber party. This includes things like movies, cookies, board games, etc. The parents can choose to interact with the children in activities, or plan their own things to do for the slumber party.

7. One thing that homeschooled students often miss out on is the plays that public schools present. There is no reason why a homeschool group can not put on a play. Assign some of the older children to costumes and to practice sessions. Make sure everyone gets a part, even the youngest students. These do not have to be all speaking parts, but everyone should be involved in some way. Scripts can easily be found in a library or on the internet.

8. Students may enjoy a "Talent Night" where they can sign up to take the stage and perform their special talents. They could choose singing, playing a musical instrument, or reading their poetry. This should not be made into a contest because each child should be able to share their talents without the pressures of winning or losing.

9. Plan a "Career Night." Arrange for people in the community holding different jobs and careers to come and talk to the students about his or her job. It does not need to be a long talk, and plan enough time for the children to be able to ask questions. The talks should include what kind of schooling and training, if any, was necessary for the worker to secure their job. The guests should hold a variety of jobs to cover the entire work spectrum from something like a fast food worker to a CEO or other executive position.

10. Last but not least, plan a group birthday party or picnic. Most groups will not have the funds to have a separate birthday party for each child, so a joint celebration works well. Plan this just as you would plan a party for one child. This would include things such as the games, party entertainment, and food including a birthday cake, of course.

Some of these ideas will require funds, such as the parties where food is ordered or brought in. Your group may want to do one of two things. You can always split all costs with the number of families participating, or arrange for a few group fundraisers throughout the year. If the meeting is a Young Writer Club or regular club meeting, families can alternate the chore of providing the refreshments, generally just a light snack and drink.

© High Speed Ventures 2011