Sunday, December 31, 2006

Teaching Your Hobby to Home School Students

The home schooling explosion is leading an estimated two percent more families each year to teach their children at home. Early in the expansion, parents taught their children at home largely because of religious reasons. Now, parents are varied in their decisions. They may have their children home for safety or religion or politics or academics or just because they enjoy the time with them. This diversity of parents has led to two interesting changes. First, these parents have a wide variety of teaching methods, which opens the door for new curricula in home schooling. Second, these parents are searching for ways to involve their children in activities.

That is where you and your hobby come in. Many parents who home school, regardless of their curricular approach, know that they want to give their children the opportunity to experience a wide range of activities. Part of that fun is being able to introduce the children to new idea without the burdens of the classroom. Many hobbies are perfect ways to open new ideas to home school students. For example, if you are a model train creator, then you can show off your trains to the students. Explain how the trains were used to get people and materials from one location to another and that these trains were integral to the formation of the American West. These lessons are ones the children will enjoy, and you will have a good time with them as well.

If your hobby lends itself to longer lessons, you may be able to do more with the home school kids. You may be able to offer seminars that are day-long events. You will want to charge for these events, even if it is just to cover your own costs. Because most home school families have flexible schedules, you can hold these events during the week or on weekends when traditionally schooled students can attend as well. Have the children come in for a beginning session where you get to know them and find out what they want to learn.

You will have workshops throughout the day where you teach the children about various aspects of your hobby. Then you will want to provide the students with some type of hands-on activity, such as allowing children learning about computers to write a simple program or create flyers, booklets, or other publications that they can take home with them.

Another way to introduce your hobby to home school students is to have a series of programs. Many families go to six-week events. They may come in once a week for three hours and learn about the hobby. These children tend to learn to be very inquisitive, and the parents often ask just as many questions. For many home school families, part of the point is that everyone in the family learns all the time. You can help encourage this learning process by offering seminars about your hobby.

If you are like most hobbyists, you love talking about your hobby. You may even think about imparting that knowledge to others but have not found a way to do so. This chance is a great one, and getting set up is simple. If you are going to be a business, that has other issues, but if you are just doing this for fun (even if you are charging a small fee), then you can work in your home or a church classroom. Create flyers and put them up in strategic locations, such as the public library, and contact local home school groups. Ask around to parents you know about the groups or look online. There are groups popping up everywhere, so even the smallest of towns now has some sort of home school association.

Finding these kids is the hardest part. You should have no problem convincing parents to bring their children to exciting activities once they know you exist. Then you will be able to use word of mouth to get the next batch of kids, so the marketing should begin to take care of itself once you get going. This chance is a wonderful way to teach others about your hobby and have some fun yourself in the process.

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