The Benefits of Outside Classes
We love homeschooling our girls, but have always had them involved in outside classes. It’s not that we think they need to be socialized by other children, but because we have some great opportunities in our area. Since we are choosing and paying for the classes, we have greater knowledge/control over what is being taught to our children. Additionally it’s impossible to have things like wild animals in your home for kids to get to observe and learn from.
It started when I put our older daughter in a Music Together “Mommy and Me” class at a local college. The class was taught by music majors and the room was filled with all kinds of musical instruments that we don’t have in our home. She loved it so much that we did it for three semesters and each semester featured a different instrument. The class came with CD’s, books of sheet music and an age appropriate instrument so that you could listen and practice at home. This is perfect for parents that aren’t musically inclined to introduce children to the different types of music in a fun, get up and move sort of way.
We followed it up with a “Mommy and Me” class at a children’s art school. This place was owned by a married couple that are both artists and it’s amazing what they have for the kids to do. During our semester we were in a class where each week they read a classic children’s book to the group and then the kids turned it into an art project using all kinds of artistic mediums. Many reputable studies in recent years have shown that music and art are wonderful for stimulating children’s brains and help them do better academically in the future. Not only is this fun for children, but it encourages them to be more creative each day.
As soon as our older daughter was eligible we put her in the Fort Worth Science and History Museum’s weekly Museum School. This is her 3rd year in the program and her little sisters first year and they both love it. Each week is something new and the children get to hear from scientists, do cool animal crafts and see a lot of amazing animals in their classrooms! The museum has such so many unique things and live animals in their collection that there is always something new and exciting the girls are telling us about each week. This year alone they have seen raccoons, bats, lizards, rabbits, opossums, fish, crabs and more. They also take the children into the amazing Noble Planetarium that is on site each year.
Our older daughter is also in Chinese school once a week with a native Chinese speaker. She also takes gymnastics and our little girl is in tumbling tots each week and they are learning great skills and discipline to keep practicing until you get it right.
In total it’s about 5 hours a week for outside classes that round out what we are doing at home. These are the things that we have added over the years that cannot be replicated in the home or public school environment. I know that we are very blessed to have all these opportunities available to us, and that we live in a part of the country with a much lower cost of living. Ultimately, we have to acknowledge that we can’t offer everything we would like in the home environment and quality outside classes are the perfect solution.
I agree with your thinking. i am homeschooling my 3 kids John who is 7, Joseph who is 8 and Elizabeth who is 13. The boys partipate in basketball through our local communtity center. They also take spainish classes through our public libraery and attend a History Explorers class weekly at the state museum. Elizabeth is in the Civil Air Cadets program and takes cooking classes through our local community center. She also takes ballet lessons.