Homeschoolers get outside and learn to serve

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

The G.O. Homeschoolers group cleans up debris at The Wetlands Institute on Friday, April 18. Shown are adults Kelli Flores, David Botcowsky, Rebecca Beall and Heidi Richards. The children are Max Beall, Ella Beall, Brighton Richards, Canyon Richards, Eva Villalba, Sydney Prince, Xavier Migliore and Aurora Migliore. The G.O. Homeschoolers group cleans up debris at The Wetlands Institute on Friday, April 18. Shown are adults Kelli Flores, David Botcowsky, Rebecca Beall and Heidi Richards. The children are Max Beall, Ella Beall, Brighton Richards, Canyon Richards, Eva Villalba, Sydney Prince, Xavier Migliore and Aurora Migliore. MIDDLE TOWNSHIP – Children often get lessons on cleaning up: Their rooms, the kitchen, maybe even sweeping out a garage.

But last week, a group of homeschooled children from Cape May and Atlantic counties took on a challenge when they picked up trash along the shores of The Wetlands Institute on Friday, April 18 as part of a project to clean the environment and learn about the rates of decomposition.

“This was a beach sweep,” said Becky Villalba of Ocean City, mother to two of the children who served as one of the supervising adults at the event. “It’s one of the projects of the G.O. Homeschoolers.”

During the trip, the students picked up lumber and branches, bits of Styrofoam, a length of rusted chain, a tennis ball and lots of empty take-out containers.

One child even found a lighter and cigarettes.

After the clean-up, the children attended a working lunch, where they made posters and found out how long it takes for discarded trash – such as apples, paper or plastic bags – to decompose in the environment.

The trip was one of many the homeschooled children will take this year. “The trip to The Wetlands Institute was for the children to learn to be helpful, and to learn about environmental issues,” Villalba said.

Every month, Villalba said, the students take on different projects outside of the classroom to learn, socialize and help the community.

“G.O. stands for Get Out and Learn and Get Out and Serve,” Villalba said.

G.O. Homeschoolers is a family co-operative that Villalba started several years ago to give families with homeschooled children a chance to gather and plan field trips and play dates for their children.

“I realized that I could teach my children math and English,” Villalba said. “But one thing that they might miss out on if they don’t go to public school is field trips.”

Field trips are not only important for socializing children, she said, but to instill a sense of responsibility. The children learn to work within the community and to volunteer.

In the past, the children have made welcome bags for the Atlantic City Rescue Mission, and visited the fire department in Ocean City to learn about safety. They’ve cleaned beaches and toured a U.S. Coast Guard cutter.

One year, the children took park in a Farmers against Hunger project in which the children picked over an already-harvested field, gathering vegetables missed by automated pickers to donate to a food bank.

“We commit to participating in as many activities as we can each year,” Villalba said. “We don’t organize to teach classes. This is an activity group.”

There are 13 families in G.O. Homeschoolers, from Cape May and Atlantic counties. That number changes from year to year as students move on.  Villalba said the homeschooling group is for children in kindergarten through the fourth grade age groups.

For more information about G.O. Homeschoolers, see groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/go_homeschoolers/info.


blog comments powered by Disqus