4-H Clubs and Home Education
The 4H learning model is a "hands-on", “projects based” learning model that in my opinion, fits right in with our goals as Home Educators. 4H allows students to focus their learning on topics in which they are interested, which in turn, encourages them to delve deeper than typical textbook learning.
Whatever your Homeschool's philosophy of education is, your students will benefit from the things they learn in 4H Clubs!
4H Clubs provide a number of specific experiences and opportunities that are really valuable to our Home Education Plans including:
1) Completing Project Record Books- The purpose of these records is to document learning projects and experiences in various areas of the 4H Curricula or in areas of interest for the student. These types of records are something that Home Educators can use as writing assignments. In addition, your kids now their work will be evaluated by someone other than "just Mom" and are motivated to do their best work. Your kids will also have to learn to organize their time wisely to complete the project and they will learn to set goals and meet deadlines.
Students who complete Project Record Books for their 4H projects, and turn them in by the January deadline will usually receive some type of reward. In our club, students get county scholarships to 4H camps and activities, and depending on their scores, the opportunity to go on to 'compete' for medals at the District and State Levels.
2) Community Service Projects- The purpose behind service projects is to teach good citizenship and to show students how the good they do makes a difference in our corner of the world. The goal is to encourage students in forming the habit of lifelong charity and giving of their time in service to others.
3) Presentations- The purpose of a Presentation is to give students the opportunity to learn public speaking skills but even more importantly, to teach them to be able to express themselves well, to communicate information clearly, to develop the ability to persuade and to gain confidence as they develop their own ideas and talents. 4H opportunities allow students to participate in this at the local, Regional and State Levels. This has been a great experience for my kids.
4) Student Leadership- Each meeting of our club begins with a business portion led (with adult help) by our elected student government. This provides a valuable opportunity for Homeschooled students to develop or to gain leadership skills. Our clubs use a simplified parliamentary procedure in order to ensure the business portion of our meeting goes smoothly and quickly. It also ensures that every member has an opportunity to share their suggestions or to report on committee’s progress. Students who attend our club will become familiar with procedures that will help them to be more efficient in many aspects of their lives and future careers. To participate in the Office of Vice President, President, Secretary, Reporter or Treasurer, a student must be nine years or older.
The students who participate in the above activities also receive certificates or ribbons of recognition for their efforts. In Addition, your club may have the chance each year to win a trophy as "Club of the Year" or to win recognition for a Club Scrapbook showing all the activities you have participated in all year long.
5) Real Learning- Students are able to hear from a variety of speakers and visitors who know and love their subjects, about all kinds of topics. They are involved in learning outside of their regular school activities which promotes the philosophy that we never stop learning. Many speakers will gladly come to a 4H meeting and make time in their busy schedules to encourage young people!
Some counties give a budget to each club for things you will need such as materials for projects or curriculum books for the students in your club. Other counties have a lot of curriuclum materials and supplies that clubs can access and use on a regular basis. As a Club Leader, I have run out of energy before I run out of ideas due to the great training and curriuclum that 4 H provides!
I hope this helps you to have a picture of the many benefits 4H Clubs offer to us as Homeschoolers and that you will try to visit a local club. If you do not have a local Homeschool Club, you could consider starting one to benefit Homeschoolers in your area - all it takes is five students who want to meet together.
We have loved our 4H experiences and wanted you to know how valuable a tool our club has been in our learning journey!