How-To Start a Homeschool Club

How to Start a DIY Homeschool Club has been a project based weekly part of our homeschool curriculum this past year. This summer, I am excited to say, we are starting a DIY Club with our homeschool co-op group. (Read why I am choosing Homeschool over a Summer Break) My son loves the projects and he will have so much more fun creating them with friends. Every two weeks we will meet up with the goal of earning a new skill patch. In order to earn a patch, each child has to complete 3 challenges. The first 2 we will do as a group. The 3rd will be the homeschooler’s choice to complete. In case you are interested in starting a DIY Club with your homeschool group (or your children’s friends), I’ve decided to share how we are setting up and running our club.

Club Setup

Step 1: Choose a Name

For our name, I simply used our group’s acronym with DIY: FAHA DIY. You can of course name it whatever you like. My only suggestion is to keep the name broad, so you do not seem limited to a topic. For example DIY Foresters might lead members to believe they will only be working on Forestry skills.

Step 2: Choose a Hashtag

Hashtags are not really a necessity. The reason you might want one is so your homeschoolers can easily browse and follow their fellow DIY members. Also it works well if you share photos on social media or want to recruit members. Our hashtag matches our name: #FAHA_DIY.

Step 3: Outline Meetings & Skill Patches

You don’t need to plan ALL your meetings and skill patches up front. However I do suggest you schedule at least the first 3 meetings. suggests clubs meet at least once a month. Our group will be meeting 2-3 times per month with the goal of earning a patch each time. In order to do this you need to decide which challenges your group will be doing to earn the patch. You can do all 3 challenges together or you can do 2 together and let the kids choose their 3rd.

The First Meeting

DIY Club Member Skill Patch

There are many skill patches to earn on DIY and they keep adding more. So for our first patch as a group we are going to earn our Club Member skill patch. I’ve invited our members to join us at a local park on the group’s Meetup page and created a worksheet for one of the challenges.

Challenge No. 1
Design Your Club’s Logo

For this challenge I created a worksheet of sorts so the kids can easily create their logo, add their DIY member name, and share it with our group’s Hashtag. The worksheet features an empty hexagon so they can make a patch-like logo, or they can create their own from scratch on the blank side of the paper. The kids will need something under their paper so I will be putting together some upcycled cardboard clipboards. Crayons, markers, and colored pencils are also on my list of supplies to bring.

Challenge No. 2
Capture Your First Meeting

Bring your Camera! This step is important for every DIY project. You’ll need to take some pictures and sometimes videos of your children’s projects so they can put them on their profiles and earn skill patches. For this challenge I will probably take a group photo of the kids working on their first challenge. Parent tip: candid photos are best. Especially where younger kids are concerned. Modeled photos often take the fun out of things for kids and make them irritable.

Challenge No. 3
Kids Choice

For the third challenge, the kids will choose their own challenge from the skill patch page. They can do the challenge at our meeting or at home if they wish. When they finish their challenges they will upload their projects for approval by the DIY staff. In the comments they can include our groups hashtag so all or group can see each other’s progress.

Have you tried with your homeschool? Share your club hashtag in the comments below.

30 Days of Blog 2017: Day 10

Spring Mini Session with MeganBreeden Photography

Spring Mini Session with MeganBreeden Photography

Spring Mini Photo Session

With MeganBreeden Photography

Last month, Emmett and I met with Megan of MeganBreeden Photography for a Spring Mini Photo Session. The sitting doubled as his “6-year-old” photos since we hadn’t gotten around to them yet. I love working with Megan. She is great with kids, goes with the flow, and makes the time a lot of fun. As always, the photos turned out fantastic. Naturally, I want to share some of my favorites with all of you.

Six Years Old

Growing Up So Fast | by MeganBreeden Photography

Black & White Classic Photos

Megan is great at editing photos to add extra expression and feeling. I love how timeless black and white photos are. The absence of color creates room to focus on the moment, expression, and meaning of an image. In these photos, it doesn’t matter what color his shirt or the wildflowers were.

Sepia Heritage Photos

Sepia photos are a lot like black and white photos. They have a monochrome color set making them classic and timeless. However I think the feeling is different. With sepia photos I think of “heritage”, “roots”, and “vintage”. When my son is older, and we look back at the photos, it will add to the sentimentality of his younger years.

Mother & Son Moments

Megan also gave us the chance to have some mommy & me pictures. As a mother, it don’t get in many photos since I am usually the one behind the camera. On rare occasions I am in photos with Emmett, I really treasure them. It makes me feel present when I look back through albums. If you’re planning a photo session for your little ones, don’t forget to get a few with you. Your bond is special, and an important part of your child’s life; it should be captured in a photo or three.

Get a Photo Session with Megan

You should send Megan a message or give her a call if you live in the area in and surrounding Orange, Virginia. Her Facebook page is here: On Instagram, her handle is @MeganBreedenPhotography.

Pocket Sale!

Good Evening Explorers! Over the years, I have been working to make Pinecone Grove products as earth friendly as possible. My nature inspired Pocket FieldCards™ have always been printed on 100% recycled paper produced by wind-power. This year, I have decided to make this tool even more earth friendly. On that note, I am happy to announce I will be launching Digital Nature Tools for Little Explorers! Now you’ll be able to download your products straight to your computer, tablet, or smart phone, paper-free. I still have some FieldCards™ in stock that are ready to ship. Pinecone Grove’s Pocket Sale includes shipping, so the price you see is the price you get. Below are the FieldCards™ and Collectable Cards currently available for the sale. No Coupon Necessary.

Pine Tree Lifecycle Pocket FieldCards™

3 Sets Available

Pine Tree Lifecycle FieldCards™
“Does your little explorer collect pinecones? If so, have they ever wondered how Pine Trees grow from the cones? This set illustrates the life cycle of pines. While hiking or exploring the forest, young explorers can identify local trees using our Pocket FieldCards™. Additionally, these cards describe each stage of the lifecycle. Because Pocket FieldCards™ are small, kids easily handle them indoors and out.”

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Pocket FieldCards™

2 Sets Available

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly Pocket FieldCards™

“Has your little explorer seen any yellow or blue butterflies? They may be a butterfly known as the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. While hiking or exploring the garden, young explorers can identify local butterflies using our Pocket FieldCards™. Additionally, these cards depict the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly’s life cycle. Because Pocket FieldCards™ are small, kids easily handle them indoors and out.”

Northern Cardinal Pocket FieldCards™

1 Set Available

Northern Cardinal FieldCards™

“Has your little explorer noticed red birds with black masks flying across the backyard? Say hello to the territorial songbird called a Northern Cardinal. While bird watching from the porch or on the trail, young explorers can identify local birds using our Pocket FieldCards™. Additionally, these cards illustrate the areas where the Northern Cardinal is the State Bird. Because Pocket FieldCards™ are small, kids easily handle them indoors and out.”

Spring is in the Air: Cetch Collectable Card

23 Cards Available

Spring is in the Air: Cetch Cottontail Collectable Card

Cetch is a field cartographer for the expedition team, he reads and draws maps during treks so the team never gets lost. In the spring, he likes to bring along a handkerchief to thwart pesky pollen. This limited edition collectable card was designed to celebrate this little bunny’s birthday. On the front of the card is an original watercolor illustration of my Pinecone Grove character. On the back is Cetch’s scientific species name, occupation on our expedition team, and a short bio.

Shop the Pocket Sale Now!

3 Activities To Get Kids Outside This Season

3 Activities To Get Kids Outside This Season coming soon

Autumn is my favorite season. Hot apple cider, boots, scarves, gloves, pinecone and acorn hunting… there is just so much I love about Fall. My favorite autumn phenomenon however is the changing of the leaves. I can literally stay outside for hours and enjoy the beauty of colorful leaves on the tress, gently falling and floating on the autumn breeze. My son however sometimes need a little encouragement to get of his electronics or taking a break from his LEGO®️ and Plus-Plus®️ constructing.

If your child finds the chilly weather deterring, here are some activities that will tempt them to step outside and capture their curiosity in nature. Bonus for homeschoolers, you can make these activities a part of your school day!

Nature Challenge

This challenge is like a scavenger hunt, but instead of one find per item on a list, you and your child will hunt for the most of one specific item in a certain amount of time. It’s a race to see who can find the most yellow, orange, or red leaves. Then hunt again to see who can collect the most acorns, pinecones, or twigs. Use whatever seasonal nature scavenger items are in your area to inspire your child’s exploration of nature. This challenge can happen in your backyard, on a hike, or at the beach! Seashells, mermaid purses (which are actually shark eggs), and sea glass also make for a great nature challenge in tropical places year round. The Nature Challenge offers good exercise, lots of fun, and gives kids a reason to be outside for a while.

Draw a Map

In your yard, choose a starting place and an endpoint or vice versa and help your child map it out. You can have a cache for treasure or a time capsule for the next adventure at the map destination to make things more interesting. Point out a stump or other landmark as you go so your child can draw and write it on their map. Ask them if they notice any landmarks as well. Maybe you have a little creek near by or a bird bath they can use. A compass would make a great tool for this activity. They can learn how to determine where East and West are at home and show that on their map. For example, the cache is North of the stump and West of the bird bath. When they are finished mapping it all out they can add color, a key, or copy it for a treasure hunting party. There are so many ways to customize this activity, your child is sure to enjoy it.

Field Journal

Take a blank book and some creative tools on an expedition. When it comes to field journaling there is more than one way to do anything. Your child can draw what they see, mount leaves in their pages, or write about their experience. Let them observe with their eyes, hands, and magnifying lens. Sort the species they find by tree type, color, or size. Or cottontail tracks versus deer tracks. There are so many great ways to make Field Journaling fun. (This is another good homeschool activity for science lessons). Encourage your child to record their observations and experiences of the expedition in their field journals.  They can draw their findings in color, note measurements, and color data. Develop their writing and memory skills as they describe their expedition and leaves collected. Parents can join the fun too by field journaling together.

Share your autumn expeditions and activities with us on social media:
@Pinecone_Grove & #PGExpeditions