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    Introducing Junior Rangers for Homeschool

    You would think summer itself would be enough to get us out of our homeschool “rut,” but sometimes we can still sink back into the same old routines when the days get long. One creative way our family has learned to bring some true pizzazz to our summer - - both at home and on vacation - - is by taking part in the Junior Rangers. With a motto like “Explore, Learn, and Protect!” the Junior Rangers program is an absolutely perfect complement to home education for kids up to age 12.

    The other great news is that there are multiple types of Junior Ranger programs, so you can seek out ones that most closely align to your child’s interests. There are Junior Ranger opportunities in our National and State Parks and many historic sites. There are also Junior Forest Rangers for those fascinated by our National Forests. Some of our National Monuments have Junior Ranger opportunities, too. There are even Junior Ranger camps for those interested in really immersing themselves in nature for a week or more.

    Earning Junior Ranger Badges

    When you visit any park in the U.S. that participates in the Junior Ranger program, your kids have the opportunity to complete a specific set of activities there and earn a related Junior Ranger patch, or badge. As soon as you can, find the park’s ranger outpost or office and get your activity workbook. Activities might include going on a hike, completing some pages in the workbook, sitting in on a ranger talk, or just observing the wildlife in the park.

    Once your child has completed the required activities, he or she will bring their completed booklet back to the ranger who will “swear them in” as official Junior Rangers of that park and provide them with their earned patch or badge. As you can imagine, your homeschooler will be pretty proud of this honor and will want to display it somewhere unique. (I’ve heard that some families buy dedicated Junior Ranger backpacks and either stick or sew ...
    Published on 04-18-2017 10:51 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. General Homeschooling,
    3. Field Trips
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    Ever feel like hitting the “reset” button on your homeschool? I’ve asked myself many times throughout this journey, “What would I do differently if I could do this year over again?” I’ve become convinced, though, that the one thing I would consistently change is how much time we spend out of doors. I think I have created far too many excuses over the years for why we couldn’t go out, instead of excuses for why we could.

    But, why?

    Hopefully, you don’t need too much convincing that spending more time with your kids outside is a good idea, but just in case…

    • getting enough vitamin D is essential to hormone production
    • studies have shown that artificial light can contribute to nearsightedness
    • our circadian rhythms are tied to sunlight...more outside time could mean better sleep!
    • indoor air-pollutants are 25-62% greater than outside levels
    • sitting too much results in impaired fat-burning capacity
    • spending time in nature has been linked to improved attention spans and boosts in serotonin

    Oh, and I almost forgot this one. Getting outside is FUN!!!

    But, I live in ________.

    Yeah, we can fill in that blank too. The city? An apartment? A dangerous area? None of which should prevent us from high-tailing it to our nearest park, greenspace, safe neighborhood, or athletic field as often as humanly possible. If you’re still struggling, plug in your location to this resource and let it find outdoor havens for you. Think of those spaces as a “shared backyard” and make the most of them. Bring along your favorite books or an ongoing project and read and work with the birds and bees as your background noise instead of the A/C. Visit a farmer’s market or outdoor flea market and sample some of the wares. Take a walk on a pier if you live near enough to a waterway. Watch a community softball team practice; you might just inspire the next little pitcher!

    But, we don’t have enough time.

    I’m about to speak to you as a fellow secular homeschooling friend, instead of as a blogger, here. You ready? If you are homeschooling and you don’t have time to go outside, you are DOING IT WRONG! If you’ve been homeschooling, even for a New York minute, you realize that education at home takes
    about 75% less time than it did in the classroom. ...
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