I discovered a surprising place for my kids to practice skills that are hard for homeschoolers to tackle. Are you ready for this?

The state park.

No, I am not talking about lessons in nature, wildlife, trailblazing or other outdoorsy type things that are often learned through our state and national parks systems. I am not talking about the geocaching or proper attire to wear while doing so either. I am talking about leadership skills.

My daughters are part of this cool, rather small club of Junior Conservation Ambassadors for the state parks in our state. They attended two full Saturdays of classes, taught by biology and ecology professors and earned their titles. Since then, they are brought in to teach a lesson to younger kids several times a year. They are given free range to pick their research topics, develop a lesson, and present it to the other younger children. Additionally, they serve as assistants to the real teachers, prepping materials, cleaning up from class projects, collecting specimens from the forest under guidance and acting as documentarians during hikes or nature walks.

I love this type of learning. Here are a few benefits:

  • the kids get to practice speaking in front of their peers
  • presenting their own work
  • a chance to learn from someone other than me
  • they have expectations to meet and are given assignments to do for fun on the side
  • opportunities for them to learn and associate with others

After their presentations and teaching sessions, we are all so tired and worn out, which means we learned a lot. I am thankful there are people that are passionate about their professions and are willing to teach others more about it. I am also thankful there are people that are willing to teach my children skills that are often hard for homeschoolers to gain.

Are there places around that you might have missed as an opportunity to learn new skills? Are their people that are passionate about their fields of study or hobbies that would make great teachers or trainers?

How great is it when we can link arms with those around us and learn from each other!