Homeschooling, and parenting in general, doesn’t happen in a vacuum. One of the ways we expand beyond the personal resources my husband and I possess as parents is to search out resources within our community. Sometimes this comes in the form of knowledgeable friends, and other times it comes in the form of institutions and teachers who become part of our learning community (and often become friends in the process).
One of our favorite homeschooling resources is our local makers’ space. Through this space, we’ve been provided with all sorts of opportunities to make wide array of things as well as to learn about a variety tools and materials we don’t have access to at home.
The people who run the makers’ space are interesting, inspirational, and fun. The more I talk with them, the more I want to pick their brains about a huge variety of topics, maker related and otherwise. Maybe we’re just extremely lucky (and that’s probably part of it), but my guess is that this sort of job attracts fascinating people. That is, I’m guessing that you too would meet remarkable people if you sought out a makers’ space in your own community.
My 7-year-old asks on an almost daily basis whether we can go and visit the space. He wants to make, but also to watch; we once spent an entire afternoon watching other people’s projects print on the laser cutter. And while we don’t head there every day, I do make it a point to regularly check their calendar and sign up for those classes that appeal to our current curiosities.
This last week, my 7-year-old and I attended a class to make doodling robots. This class involved lots of design work and experimentation (e.g., will the robot balance, will the marker write at this particular angle, is the contraption light enough to move using a small vibrating motor) as well as some simple circuitry.
The result was a couple of hours of fun, laughter, and learning as we watched the various robots doodle on the floor.
It’s exciting to get hands-on and learn new things, both as kids and as an adult. If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to see if there’s a local makers’ space in your area. Spending a couple of hours learning something new or simply making something fun is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Does your community have a local makers’ space? Have you explored their offerings?