Hi, I am Jennifer Ryndak a home school mom and the mother of a Baltimore County 4-Her. Our family has been in 4-H for 4 years. We are in the Dairy Goat Club and the Liberty 4-H Club. My husband is one of the leaders of the Dairy Goat Club.
At the beginning of each academic year, my daughter, currently 6th grade homeschooler, and I first look at the curriculum for the year to see what 4-H events, projects, contests, and service and leadership opportunities fit in with what we will cover throughout the year in English, Math, Science, History, Art and Computer classes. Then we plan our year with all of those items in mind.
Last year, my daughter participated in the Ag Science series workshop on Soil Science, which was geared more towards the middle school age. She was in 5th grade at the time. Through her participation in this workshop she was exposed to several hands on activities, which included taking soil samples and testing them to find out their Ph, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium levels. She learned several different methods for seeing what types of soil were in our area, particularly the soil texture triangle graph. This year my daughter has soil science as part of her 6th grade science curriculum, and because of her experience with 4-H she is already familiar with its real-life applications.
Throughout the year my daughter works on her project record book in the areas of art, crafts, sewing, growing vegetables, goats, rabbits, and many more. As part of the project each 4-Her creates a record book of all their activities and projects from the year they complete. While doing this my daughter creates an income and expense account of each project. This helps to keep her math skills sharp while she learns to maintain real-life records. Last year, for example, she made $600 by participating in many summer fairs showing her goats and indoor exhibits, a visible practical application of the math skills she has been learning.
We use the personal narrative aspect of the record book in her English class and the photo record section to fine-tune her photography, photo editing, typing, and computer skills. By participating in several 4-H clubs she creates an educational presentation on various animal science topics like goat anatomy and digestion. She has also held several leadership roles in her club by running for the offices, such as secretary and vice president.
In her history class this year she is studying about Africa. She plans to create an African mask which she will show at the fairs. Attending a meeting and hearing about the adventures of several Baltimore County 4-Hers experiences as they traveled to Tanzania as part of the International 4-H program created a bigger picture that the continent of Africa does impact us.
This month she also participated in National 4-H Science Experiment Day in which she built and launched a rocket. This tied in nicely with the physics she is learning in her science class. The youth worked with the principals of aerodynamics by adjusting the wings and changing the force of the air pressure.
Each year her academic growth and development can be seen through her participation in 4-H programming, which enhances her homeschooling experience and brings the classroom to the real-life at a young age.
By: Jennifer Ryndak