One of the many wonderful benefits of homeschooling is the freedom of choice it offers families in deciding what educational approach is best suited for the talents and interests of each child. But with this freedom also comes an expansive amount of opportunities and decisions to be made.
In a city like Grand Rapids, where extracurricular options abound for homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers alike, where are the best places to go? Where does one even begin to look for information on finding music and art programs, sports activities, and language learning? Which sources, once found, are reliable?
We are here to help!
The Homeschool Community Around Grand Rapids
Jodi Kubizna, a Grand Rapids homeschooling mom of five, says that the homeschooling community in West Michigan is quite large.
“I was the first in my circle of friends and family to go the homeschooling route, so I had to learn everything from the ground up,” says Jodi. She began homeschooling when her oldest child was going into first grade.
Even though homeschooling is common in West Michigan, finding extracurricular activities can prove tricky because currently there is no one resource or website that homeschoolers can access to see what’s available.
Rather, parents must search through a multitude of resources in order to find the right activities. These resources range from local to national levels and include Facebook groups, co-ops, hybrid programs at local schools, as well as neighborhood businesses and organizations.
With Jodi’s help, we’ve narrowed down these resources to some of the best in our area. Keep reading to find out how you can best navigate the many extracurricular options available to homeschoolers in West Michigan.
Four Ways to Find Extracurricular Activities for Homeschoolers
1. Facebook Groups
Jodi says that the best way she’s found extracurricular activities is through Facebook groups, where local homeschooling parents organize outings, ask questions, and announce different opportunities.
“Each [group] services a different purpose but are a wealth of knowledge and a great place to ask questions. Some of the groups are just for organizing field trips or selling curriculum. Others are more support or informational.”
Five Facebook groups available to West Michigan homeschoolers
2. Homeschool Co-Ops
Many parents find extracurriculars through a homeschool co-op (a local group of homeschooling families who join together to enrich their homeschooling experience through field trips, sports, and other classes).
“We are very fortunate in West Michigan to have a large selection of co-op style programs,” says Jodi. “They range from families getting together to learn, to full days of classes and everything in between. Some require parent participation, others are drop-off programs.”
Through co-ops, students not only fill non-core classes (such as science experiments, choir, and foreign languages), but they also find community and friendship.
Some Co-ops Available in the Grand Rapids Area
3. Hybrid Programs
Various private schools in the area offer hybrid programs, in which a student divides his/her time between attending the school and learning at home. Such programs allow parents and children to enjoy the perks of both homeschooling and enrolling in a school, where extracurricular activities are also offered as part of the program. Jodi recommends looking into the following hybrid programs:
4. Local Businesses/Organizations
Many local businesses and organizations welcome homeschool students. West Michigan is plentiful in extracurricular opportunities for homeschoolers, from sports to music to language learning, and everything in between.
Many of these organizations are aware of the large homeschooling population in the area, and thus offer day classes specifically for homeschoolers. Below is just a small sampling of many such available options, specifically geared toward homeschoolers.
Music & Performing Arts
Foreign Language Learning
Sports & Active Play
How You Can Learn More About Homeschooling
For those new to homeschooling or interested in learning more about homeschooling opportunities in Grand Rapids, Jodi recommends visiting The Homeschool Building, located in Wyoming.
The Homeschool Building offers a once-a-month class going over the basics of homeschooling in Michigan, and is also a terrific resource for both new and experienced homeschooling parents for any homeschooling-related questions.
Want to find out what’s going on in Grand Rapids just for homeschoolers? Or know of some exciting opportunities? Let us know by clicking here!
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