Sunday, July 10, 2005

Fair Happenin's

Fairs are in full swing now around IL. Our little county 4-H fair is finishing up tomorrow. (Why, apparently it is so little, that they didn't post it on this schedule. Hmm..County 4-H Fair/Dept of Agriculture/Cooperative Extension Service...dingbats)

At any rate, after the projects are finally perfect (at midnight the night before) and checked in unscathed, these fairs become really fun. Plus they're (4-H) great educational opportunities for the kids (and me). I am always stunned and delighted at the talents of the kids. Our county has a Do Your Own Thing county project and that was my absolute favorite when I was the superintendant of that department. There was a wonderfully made trebuchet one year. My daughter made her ointment concoctions for an exhibit. The exhibits were whatever the kids had a passion for at the time. Ultimate unschooling.

Our kids did 6 projects each. Half of them were Visual Arts projects which would be art of any shape, form or size. Those about killed us, but were still a learnin' experience, in more ways than one. Metal involved making a copper pinwheel that actually works. A wire butterfly was made at Jr. Master Gardner Class that did the job.

The boys used air dried clay for the first time as opposed to the kiln fired and glazed pieces they'd made before with their beloved teacher Connie at the Michael's Store class. And G freehanded an American flag on the bottom of a salad bowl for his glass painting project. (We did find that stencils aren't as easy as they would seem.) K made a very cool Van Gogh Starry Night leather piece that he bordered with yarn. (Yes, Kara and Naomi, unfortunately that is the closest he's been to yarn these past few months.)

Electricity 1 involved the Scholastic Sale book I found called Electric Mischief which was right down their alley. K made a Noisemaker. (I thought 11 year old boys vibrated noise all by themselves, but this one did need to be connected to a battery.) G made an Illimunated Fork. (Now when the lights go out, we'll look for the fork.. go figure.)

Woodworking was good ole cedar and it was good ole dad's thing...yippee. They made a dried flower vase and a outside plant pot holder.

K's Let's Start Cooking didn't involve a project, but rather judged assessment stations at the fair. (They just started this assessment stuff. I'm not sure I like it.) He did well on the important parts like kitchen safety but did NOT know that when setting the table, the plate should be one inch from the edge of the table. Ahh well... G made his version of Rough Rider Trail Mix for Tricks for Treats 1 along with a meal menu.

Now if I was to go down the categories of what they got out of this, I would list the following: writing, researching, science, life skills (is that what they call cooking in ps or am I getting that mixed up with socialization in the schools?), fine arts study and application, well...lots of other stuff that I don't have the edu-speak for.
So homeschoolers, if you're not already in it, check out 4-H. It's a great activity for homeschooling kids to be involved in. I haven't even covered the non-fair part like meetings following Robert's Rules and giving a talk or demonstration to your fellow club members. It's easy to find a club. Check it out.

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