Thursday, June 28, 2012

Homeschooling and Extra Curricular Activities: Enrichment

As I mentioned before, extra curricular activities play a vital role in bringing balance to our children.  After I have ensured that the children have lots and lots of sporting and physical activities to do, I can then focus on taking my children out into a learning environment.  Learning comes alive when there is an authentic interaction with the subject and this is where our extra curricular activities for enrichment play an important role.  I want my children to love learning.  I want them to find joy in discovering and adventuring and questioning. Sometimes they do a little too much but they are thriving in this environment.  It's all about maintaining a lifestyle of learning.  Sometimes we take notes, sometimes we do report backs, sometimes we just have fun. We never do the same thing in the same way.  But if you ask them questions about what they have learnt you will be amazed at what they remember and their experiences.  
This is our Biology/ Zoology/ History homeschooling Co -Op.  We meet at Cape Point once a month where we study various aspects of Cape Point which is part of the Table Mountain National Park. So far we have studied subjects like fynbos, the history of the Cape, life cycles and food chains and  pollination.  Again this is one of those courses that you can continue with until you are 12.  Then our children can start with the Junior Rangers program which will eventually allow them to be trained up in this field.  It will definitely give them a head start in being trained and equipped to work full time when they are adults, at SanParks.
Science Group
Cape Town Science Centre has got the greatest learning programmes, I could visit and visit and visit.  You can never see everything that there is to see.  I am always finding a new learning experience, activity or item to read about.
Our homeschooling Science Co-Op get together once a month and focus on one aspect of science.  What's great is the children go into a classroom situation and are given science equipment which they then use for a very hands on practical science lesson.  They have made their own steam turbines, electric circuits and worked with magnets.  They also normally attend a big science demonstration in line with what they are learning.  This normally involves lots of bangs, chemicals, smoke and laughter.  And of course once they are finished with the lesson which normally takes about an hour, they spend the rest of the time, making their way through the Cape Town Science Centre and their interactive learning stations.  Who doesn't love science? And this little girl loves it! She spends hours exploring while her brothers are in class.
This is a regular feature on a weekly basis.  It used to be a quick visit - in to fetch books and then out again.  Now it's become a really lengthy visit.  The children love browsing and reading and chatting to friends.  They take out books for home and then read as many as they can while they are there.  Moms take it in turn to read to the little ones.  Friday mornings they do an arts and crafts lesson for little ones and holidays are full of holiday activities.  The librarians know us well and often recommend books for the children to read!  This is definitely a highlight which we really enjoy.

This is also a new addition, we haven't started yet but one of our local homeschooling moms, has set up a program where we will get together twice a month to explore Cape Town. We are excited about this, as its just another opportunity for our children to learn by interacting with their environment.
Other Excursions
There is always someone in the local homeschooling group that likes (in their super duper organised way) to arrange excursions, and if they don't then I do.  There is always learning opportunities available out there.  Most of the enrichment programs take place on a Friday which is perfect because by Friday, this homeschooling mother is exhausted.  And if we are not attending any of the above then we will arrange our own activity.  I believe it's vital to learning for children to interact with their learning material or with learning opportunities in a real and authentic way.  These are highlights for the whole family!

So that's extra curricular activities for enrichment, just one type of extra curricular activities we are involved with.
See the other posts on Homeschooling and Extra Curricular Activities in:
* Sport

This post features on the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers (SACH Bloggers) where South African home schoolers share experiences, ideas, philosophies and much more. You can join the carnival too by heading to the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers sign up page.  We hope you enjoy the
 carnival as much as we have!
This month's blog carnival is being hosted by Trixi's HomeEd Academy


  1. Thanks for this look into your lives Melanie - I really enjoyed reading about what it is that you guys do!

    Perhaps especially more since this is fairly new to our family and we are also looking around and trying to make our lives more "real", more balanced.

    I am pleased to note though that I am finding that simply because we are home instead of rushing off for school stuff and then "extra" murals, that our lives have become more complete, more whole - our extra murals are now a part of our lives instead of only paid-for extra activities that add to the time burden, our outdoor sports and activities are family-centric now, and everything fits in together so well in a way it didn't quite do before :)

    Thank you for sharing this!

    1. Thanks Lauryan, you are so right in getting your activities to be family-centric. Even for Nippers, we participate actively and the whole family heads off to the beach. Lots of opportunities to include dad which is so important to children.

      It sounds like you are in a really good space of contentment which is sooooooo good when homeschooling and your children will pick up on this too.


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