Group offers enrichment for homeschoolers | Local News

They do the fun stuff that may have been left out of the public school curriculum due to state tests and other rules and regulations.

Stuff like trips to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park or the Etheridge Cattle Company in Williston. Stuff like a science fair at the Crystal River Mall, dancing, and team building.

The Gulf Coast Manatees Homeschool Group is an enrichment group that complements the program offered by home schooling co-ops. Meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays at coordinator Jacqueline Van Dyke’s home in Beverly Hills, as well as other locations, the manatees number about 100 children and about 54 parents.

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On Tuesdays, students study and experience art, science, and social studies. Thursdays are reserved for physical education and team building. Van Dyke said if students came every Tuesday and Thursday, they would complete all of their state-required arts, physical education and possibly science units.

Another thing that students aged 5 to 17 practice is community involvement. They partnered with the North Citrus Community Church to make 60 jars of peanut butter and jelly for the community. They worked with Foster2Adoption in Beverly Hills to raise funds. They would like to do some kind of community service for Christmas. And they are planning a career and college fair to which they will welcome both house students and the community.

“We are looking for more volunteer opportunities,” said Van Dyke.

Community service looks good on student resumes, she said. It helps to open up employment opportunities and friendships.

Most of the time, students can learn: “Anyone can still get along as long as they reach out,” Van Dyke said.

She said about six parents help and run classes with manatees, such as around the world classes, in which parent-teachers have helped children explore the continents of Asia, Africa and America. from South. In the spring, the manatees will focus on the Founding Fathers (and Mothers) and the US Constitution. Next year, Florida will be at the center of our concerns.

Van Dyke taught art classes, including an abstract offering inspired by Van Gogh.

Public libraries have helped. The Lake District Library organized a course on microscopes and digital microscopes. The Central Ridge Library offered a class in “occulted poetry,” in which students crossed out words in old books. With the remaining words, the students wrote a poem.

Van Dyke and his family, including his son, Israel Harwood, 19; daughter, Hannah Harwood, 15; son, Chase Goldsbury, 6; and longtime handsome Justin Goldsbury moved to Citrus County in May 2020 from Boca Raton.

And even though Van Dyke had been involved in PTA at the public school Hannah attended in Boca Raton and had also been active in Girl Scouts, Van Dyke found out, “I knew people, but they didn’t reach out. It was more about money and status.

Since moving to Citrus County, Van Dyke has found that “Everyone has been very welcoming. Here they seem to care. It may be the small town thing.

A self-proclaimed “busy” Van Dyke said she got involved with the homeschool students here, first offering a class on dinosaurs. Then it was kickball.

Things have evolved and now Van Dyke is helping coordinate a myriad of activities.

Although her son, Israel, graduated from public high school in western Boca Raton, Van Dyke said her daughter, Hannah, begged her to be homeschooled.

Hannah has juvenile arthritis and Van Dyke said one of her public school teachers and some students gave Hannah a hard time.

But since homeschooling, Hannah’s school life has become “stress free,” Van Dyke said.

“We can offer one-on-one instruction,” Van Dyke said. “We are eclectic. We use books and online sources. She loves it, ”Van Dyke said.

During this time, her son, Chase, never experienced anything other than home schooling.

“He likes to learn. He loves math. And he loves being able to read, ”said Van Dyke.

As for Van Dyke, she said she loves children and learns something new from them every day. She said she enjoyed planning events and activities for the kids and their parents, like a pumpkin patch and a haunted house, as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas parties. When her children moved, she said she would like to start an event organization business.

In the meantime, Van Dyke has said that one of his goals is for the manatees to become a non-profit group.

Another is to expand the volunteer activities offered to manatees.

She urges anyone with community service projects or more information about manatees to contact her at [email protected], through the group’s Facebook page: Citrus County Homeschool Shenanigans, or by calling 407-369 -0327.

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