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Please offer advice to this clueless person (me)


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Sometimes I feel like I hear about great activities, classes, events only AFTER they happen, or it's too late to sign up, or my kids are the wrong ages, or whatever. I would love to be more of a magnet for finding out about what there is "out there," KWIM?


What I'm trying to find for next year (2011) is whether or not there are any art classes available in our community. If you have ever searched out an art class for your kids, where do you begin? If you are not tied in with the public school system (that sends information home), how do you become more aware of what's happening in your community -- for things like art, music, swimming, camps, museums, etc.? Obviously I need help. :blush:

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Networking- asking other moms I know or asking on facebook

Checking out the websites of all the rec centers, museums, theaters, zoos, local university /college, historical groups in your area and try to get on their mailing lists.

Library- our library holds lots of events but they also advertise events that are happening elsewhere

Local parenting magazines- don't know if these are available all over the country but the ones we have are free and basically advertising but they all usually list events and things that are taking place in our region, plus schools and clubs, etc advertise in them so you can sort of see what is available there.

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Here are some of the ways to find out about things.

Get on the mailing list/email list of places where you see these things happening. So, for instance, your local parks and recreation department, the library, the local YMCA, and any local museums, historical societies, or nature centers, arboretum, etc.

Ask people you meet locally where their kids do activities and get the brochures from those places. For example, there is a wonderful art school not too far from me that has lots of amazing classes. I found stuff for my kids to do there just by looking through their fall catalog.

Join as many local (and not so local) homeschooling groups as possible, simply to be in the email loop. You should hear about a lot of local events that way.

And of course there in good old fashioned internet research :). Just type in your town or county, state, and the activity you are interested in, like swimming or camps, and see what pops up. Then get on those mailing lists.

Also, usually the local newspapers will have lots of activities listed, and have things like camp supplements periodically.


Hope that helps a bit. I am sure more experienced homeschoolers will chime in.

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Our area has a homeschool yahoo group that sends a daily digest of daily or upcoming events and homeschool events in the area. I found this list somehow when I was beginning homeschool. I found so many groups and activities where I met other homeschoolers who have led me in the direction of lots of other activities and goings on.


Also, like others said, the regional free parenting magazines list all kinds of camps, classes, library happenings, museum things, etc. Our library puts these in a free rack by the door.


For field trip ideas you can pick up a tourist guide to your state.


The newspaper often has things. Or at least I used to get ideas from mine back in the day. I don't actually take one anymore, since everything is online. They may not be as useful as they used to be. :)


For art classes you could call local art stores. Our Hobby Lobby has had homeschool art classes in the past. So have other local stores.

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Ditto the local homeschool groups. They're a wealth of information.


I also suggest online resources. We have something here called "Our Kids" - it's a website and newsletter that lists a calendar of activities. Also, there's a national website called Go City Kids that has a calendar listing activities if you're in a major urban area.


I also suggest finding out what are the good local blogs near you. There's one I subscribe to that is specifically for family activities called KidFriendly DC and there may be something similar in other areas - but I also subscribe to other general local blogs that often have information about fairs and festivals.


Also, I keep a folder of bookmarks on my browser for sources of classes. At the end of summer, over the winter holidays and then again in early spring, I look through to see what the offerings are.


Many museums also have email lists where they'll send you info. I've also found that if you've got museum memberships, you tend to go to the museum more and take advantage of things like classes for the discount with the membership.

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Art Association here does them, ask your local public school if they offer emails out with local events. See if there are local hs groups that do emails out or snail mail outs... :)


Oh.. and places like the YMCA or Science Museums here have classes like Art... And... we have hs groups/co-ops that do art classes...

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Networking, as a pp said.


When I started homeschooling, I found out about a local YMCA swim class. Each week, I would chat with a different mom there, and I eventually learned about many different classes in the area, and the homeschool groups.


Another great thing is to get on the "teacher mailing list" for any area organizations: zoos, theater groups, historical societies, libraries, etc.

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Beth, are you on this Yahoo group?


If you aren't, join! It covers a wide range in the state and is where I get most of my info. If I'm looking for something specific and can't find it, I just ask on the loop. And I agree with the others about the networking. I've met a lot of people through my playgroup, and then met other HSers through them, and we all share information.


As for art classes, I don't know of anything by you specifically. There's a teacher in Somerset that my DD took a class with, and I was very happy with what she was learning there. There's also the art and nature class at the Plainsboro Preserve--it's full for this session, but again, my DD really enjoyed it when we did it.


Really, join that loop if you haven't and just post a message and ask. If what you're looking for is out there, someone will let you know.


(There's this loop as well, but it covers a much bigger area, and you're more likely to have to put up with political and religious debate, and often argument. If you want to avoid that, you might want to leave that one alone.)


ETA: There's a WTMer who belongs to a co-op closer to you and does a lot of activities in that area (her church is there as well, I think). If you want, I can PM you her info and you can ask her if she knows of anything. The co-op she's in is pretty large and well-established, so they may be able to connect you with what you're looking for.

Edited by melissel
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