Empowering Young People to Reach Their Full Potential

Whether you’re homeschooling your children, or are simply looking for extracurricular activities, 4-H is a wonderful option! 4-H prepares young people to be leaders in their community and around the world through hands-on experiences alongside their peers and caring adults. Children can learn about farming, wood-working, archery, photography, art, science, sewing, insect collecting, animals, cooking/canning, and so much more! The possibilities of what they can learn and accomplish are endless.

About 4-H

 4-H began over 100 years ago, and has since grown into the largest youth development program in the nation. Backed by a network of more than 6 million youth, 540,000 adult volunteers, 3,500 professionals, and more than 60 million alumni; 4-H delivers research-based programming around positive youth development. 4-H is delivered through America’s 109 land-grant universities and the Cooperative Extension Service—reaching every corner of our nation. In Indiana, 4-H can be found in all 92 counties as delivered through Purdue Extension. Community clubs, after-school programs, school enrichment, camps/workshops, and special programs are all ways youth across Indiana can be involved with the 4-H program.

Indiana 4-H Mission: 

The Indiana 4-H Youth Development mission is to provide real-life educational opportunities that develop young people who will have a positive impact in their communities and the world.

Indiana 4-H Vision: 

Indiana 4-H Youth Development strives to be the premier, community-based program empowering young people to reach their full potential.

 

Projects

Members have the opportunity to learn more about a subject matter that they choose to study through completing hands on activities. We refer to these as projects. In order to enroll in a project, members must sign up for them at the time of enrolling in 4-H. Each project has a manual that guides the youth through the learning process as well as a set of guidelines that helps them meet the project requirements. We provide adult volunteers and staff who are knowledgeable on that particular subject who will often times provide workshops to allow the youth to learn about that topic in a social environment. Each project has a beginner, intermediate, and advanced level-this allows youth to build on their knowledge each year and continue to challenge their skills. Projects are meant to be worked on over time, providing an educational opportunity for youth outside of the classroom setting. Often times, youth will exhibit and display their project at a local county fair in order to show the community what they have learned.

As you complete your projects use 4-H-620-W “My Record of 4-H Achievement” to keep detailed records of your exhibits. Click here for a Microsoft Word version of the “My Record of 4-H Achievement.”

There is no limit to the number of projects youth can sign up for, however, we suggest starting out with one or two your first year. If you know what project(s) you are looking for, simply find it listed under a specific category listed below.

Join 4-H

Want to get involved? Contact your local County Extension Office to find out what clubs meet in your area. Click here to enroll in 4HOnline as a 4-H club member!

 

 

Here are a few of our favorite 4-H activity products!

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Insect Collecting Kit

 

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Weather Forecasting

 

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Air-stream Machines
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The Woodland Homestead
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Guide to Raising Chickens
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Garden activities

 

Homeschooling Conventions for Beginners

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So what’s all the excitement about anyway? Why do homeschooling families around the country put such a high value on attending their state’s convention year after year? What are the advantages?

Well, in my personal opinion, there is nothing like being with thousands of other parents who all share the same vision. It’s refreshing, encouraging, and inspiring. Here are a a couple of our favorite advantages to attending a homeschool show…

 

Workshops

You will find a nice balance of workshops purposefully chosen to share vision, encouragement, and inspiration, as well as a variety of practical, “how-to” sessions packed with ideas you can take home and use to strengthen and enrich your family’s home education experience.

Exhibit Hall

In the exhibit hall you will find a delightful opportunity to browse curriculum and hands-on resources in person, save on shipping charges, and often find a number of exhibitors offering “Convention Specials” as well. Even if you already have a curriculum that’s working well for your family, you may come across a few good books to add to your home library, or some great games and educational toys/activities to add to your family’s collection. It’s definitely worth the time to explore the thousands of resources that the exhibitors bring in!

Convention Tips- From the Alabama Homeschool Expo

  1. It will be different than you expected it to be.
  2. There are TONS of things to see and look at.
  3. There are at least 50 different curriculums that you have never even heard of.
  4. Pack comfortable shoes, you will be walking a lot.
  5. Consider bringing a suitcase with wheels, or a wheeled buggy. This is to hold all of the purchases you will be buying.
  6. Pack snacks, you may be “lost” for awhile.
  7. If you came to shop, be sure to listen to at least 2 speakers. Yes, you come for the curriculum and to see the books, but speakers can encourage you, and keep you grounded for another year.
  8. If you came for the speakers, plan to spend time shopping around. It is good to get a feel for what is out there in terms of curriculum. Even if you’re not ready to buy.
  9. It is good to have a list. Even if you’re not sure what you want to buy, make a list of what you want to look at. It is easy to get sidetracked once inside.
  10. Have fun! This is one time a school year when you can go, relax, and look around. Count it as a teacher in-service day, and enjoy yourself. Meet up with other homeschool moms and chat. You will leave feeling refreshed and encouraged.

 

We hope that you and your family are able to make the incredible investment of attending a convention. It will be worth it! 🙂

 

 

Discovering Nature Using the 5 Senses

The outside world shapes children’s development through experiences that they have, which include using their five senses—hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch.  Drawing a child’s attention to the five senses and discussing them increases understanding of and communication about the world around us. What a beautiful world it is!

“In his early years the child is all eyes; he observes, or, more truly, he perceives, calling sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing to his aid, that he may learn all that is discoverable by him about every new thing that comes under his notice.” -Charlotte Mason

Hearing

Children use their ears to take in information about things around them.  Like other skills that children learn, listening takes practice.  Developing good listening habits helps children get important information from family members, teachers, friends, and coaches, among others.

  • Use objects and everyday events to encourage your child to listen carefully: How many sounds can you distinguish in a sudden silence out of doors? Let your children name them in order from less to the more acute. Let the notes of birds be distinguished, the notes in a nearby brook, and the differences in foot patterns and voices.

 

Sight

When children play games that involve sight, they’re practicing early literacy skills!  Sight games help children recognize words, patterns, objects…and help them develop their memory!

  • Nature Scavenger Hunt: Make a list of items that the child can hunt for out of doors. Pine cones, smooth stones, etc.
  • Play “I Spy”: Play this fun game while taking a nature walk!

 

Smell

Over time, children will recognize certain smells as comforting, yummy, scary, exciting, etc.  Experiment with the scents and smells that the child recognizes and those that are more unfamiliar.

  • Blindfolded Smell Test: Blindfold the child and place some familiar scents under his/her nose, such as chocolate, cinnamon, paint, etc.  Ask him/her questions such as the following: What do you smell?  Do you recognize it?  Does it remind you of something else?
  • Scratch and Sniff: Collect some flowers, spices, or herbs that have a strong smell.  Glue some of these items on cardboard or index cards.  Have the child guess what the smell is, or use these cards for matching or memory games.

 

  • Taste

Children develop taste preferences based on what they are fed when they’re in the early years of their lives.  Helping children think about which tastes they do and do not prefer, however, will encourage them to try new foods and/or new combinations of foods.

  • Make a Salad:  As you add different vegetables or other ingredients, ask the child what he/she sees in the bowl.  Pick out different ingredients and allow the child to take a bite of each one.  Ask the child questions about the creation: What do each of the ingredients taste like?  Have you had that ingredient before?  Do you like the way it tastes?  Does it remind you of something else you’ve eaten?
  • Identify Foods: Gather up different foods (preferably that the child enjoys!) and have each child taste each food and guess what it is as he/she is blindfolded or has his/her eyes covered.  While the child is tasting, discuss certain words such as sweet, salty, sour, bitter, fruity, etc. that will help him/her understand the meaning of the words.

 

Touch

Children learn about their bodies and how to communicate with others through touch.  Most of the feeling that we do happens through our feet and our hands.  Taking part in activities where children feel with their feet and hands help them to learn how to write, button their shirts, tie their shoes, among others.

  • Feeling With Your Feet: Have the child, barefooted, feel things with his/her feet and think about the way it feels.  Some things that you may wish to the have child feel include paint, playdough, grass, carpet, etc.  Ask the child questions about what he/she is feeling: What does it feel like?  Do you like the way it feels?  Is it rough or smooth?  Cold or hot?  Does it tickle your feet?   Do the same activity with your hands!
  • Make a Mess: Let the child play with materials like clay, water, sand, rice, playdough, and gelatin.  Let the child explore the feel of these items and describe how they feel.  Make sure to find an outdoor area or an indoor area where it’s safe to get messy! 🙂

 

“Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.” -Helen Keller

It’s Okay to Stop Rushing

Sometimes, I need a little reminder that it’s okay to slow down.

I feel like I am constantly rushing from one task to the next and I feel (no – I know) I am missing out on some of the little day to day joys that come with motherhood.  Between working full time, keeping a home, real estate, being a good wife and keeping up friendships, I am constantly on the go.  I must admit that while I am there in body, sometimes my mind is already racing ahead thinking about everything else I need to do. I’m rarely fully present.

Last week, my baby had some pretty serious teething going on. Thankfully, I was able to take the entire week off to be at home with him. It was refreshing. Refreshing to be fully present with him. No schedule, no rushing, just home. I watched him play, we read books, built towers so he could joyously knock them over, napped together, made banana muffins, mixed about 10 different colors of clay together, and so much more. It was wonderful to be reminded that time is fleeting, and it’s okay to stop rushing through the daily tasks of a busy life. 🙂

slow down mummy, there is no need to rush,
slow down mummy, what is all the fuss?
slow down mummy, make yourself a cup tea.
Slow down mummy, come and spend some… time with me.

slow down mummy, lets put our boots on and go out for a walk,
lets kick at piles of leaves, and smile and laugh and talk.
slow down mummy, you look ever so tired,
come sit and snuggle under the duvet and rest with me a while.

slow down mummy, those dirty dishes can wait,
slow down mummy, lets have some fun, lets bake a cake!
slow down mummy I know you work a lot,
but sometimes mummy, its nice when you just stop.

sit with us a minute,
and listen to our day,
spend a cherished moment,
because our childhood is not here to stay!

 R.Knight 2011

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Taking the Early Years Outdoors!

“In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mother’s first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it spent for the most part out in the fresh air” (Vol. 1, p. 43).

Even back in the day, a hundred years ago, mothers were feeling the pressure to push their preschool children towards academics and social activities. But Charlotte Mason (one of our favorite educators) advocated an opposite approach that still holds benefits for you today. One of my favorite bits of advice from hers is this: “Give your children a quiet growing time, most of it spent outdoors.”

Her object is to show that the chief function of the child-his business in the world during the first six to seven years of his life-is to find out all he can, about whatever comes under his notice, by means of his five senses; and that the goal of his parents should be to put him in the way of making acquaintance freely with Nature and natural objects.

“Intimate acquaintance with every natural object within his reach is the first and, possibly, the best part of a child’s education.” (Vol.2, p. 261)

One of the greatest things about nature study is that you don’t have to go farther than your own backyard! No matter what the size, your yard holds plenty of opportunities to study nature, physics, chemistry, art and much more! Use this list to help guide you on the amazing journey of discovering God’s world of nature!

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Leaf Study

How Do Leaves Breathe

Square Foot Garden

Flower Dissection

Seed Study

Wildflower Identification

Wildflower Study

Bark

Pinecones

Measuring Plant Growth

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Birds

Bird Nests

Attracting Birds To The Backyard

more tips on bringing birds to your backyard

American Robin

Winter Foods For Birds

Animal Tracks

Animal Tracks ID

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Squirrels

Bats

Tadpoles

Owls

Owl Pellets

How To Attract Owls

Toads

Observing Worm

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Insect Study

Butterflies

Bees

Honey Bees

Benefits Of Insects

Spiders

Spider Webs

Bug Activities

Build A Ladybug House

Tell the temperature with crickets

Ants

Pill Bugs

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Using Clouds To Predict The Weather

Storms

Weather

DIY Weather Station

Make A Weather Vane

Evaporation Experiment

Frozen Bubbles

Measuring Snow

Snowflake Science

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Learn Summer Constellations

Solar Magnification

Solar System

Human Sun Dial

Make A Solar Oven 

Solar Prints

Use the sun’s energy to heat water

Astronomy events

 

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10 Ways To Study Rocks

Dirt Experiment

Make A Compost Bin

Soil Science

Rocks and mineral testing

Sandbox Science

project12

Backyard Bark Beetles

Great Sunflower Project

Urban Buzz – cicada project

Great Backyard Bird Count

Squirrel Mapper

Monarch SOS

eBird

Bugs In Our Backyard

Dark Sky Meter

Big Butterfly Count

eButterfly

Native Buzz – Bees

Bumblebee Watch

American Kestrel Partnership

Butterflies And Moths Of North America

Yard Map

Project Noah

Nest Watch

Nature’s Notebook

S’COOL – Students Cloud Observations Online

Bud Burst

Fire Fly Watch

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Square Foot Nature Study

Life Under A Log

Patterns In Nature