Community Service through the RI Roger Williams Park Zoo

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Roger Williams Zoo front page

I am really inspired by the idea of hackschooling.  I think that this is my fit for the style of homeschooling that best fits my family.  We’re not the super organized highly scheduled kind of family.  We are the “Let’s go do something awesome and see what we can learn from it” kind of family.

Like I have mentioned before, my children started out in public school.  Right from the beginning we started filling our vacation times with “staycation” activities filled with sleeping at home and doing day trips, partly because I felt the need and desire to keep my kids active exposed to culture, and partly because we could get free and reduced admission with library passes.  (Really, I could blame my mom, because growing up we were always involved and active, but can’t we all just blame our moms? Even for good things?)

My mom, brother and me
My mom, brother and me (I’m about 8 here)

We brought the kids to the Museum of Fine Arts, the local children’s museums and science museums and even as far as Connecticut.  Then a few years ago, my mom moved to Virginia, which made it affordable for us to do road trips to New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and DC.  I found that my kids soaked it up.  It really hit me when one year, my younger son (who is diagnosed with high functioning autism, and rarely looks like he’s paying attention) saw a fossil at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and said, “I know where that animal is,” and immediately proceeded to take me across the museum to another area of the museum to show me that animal.  He was making connections that I didn’t know he was even capable of making.

The other day, when I was researching the article on activities for February vacation, I came across this part of the Roger Williams Zoo website that I hadn’t noticed before.  It was under the Education Tab, and it is called the Roots and Shoots program.  They have a program for kids 6-12, and another program for kids 13-17.  Founded by Dr. Jane Goodall, the goal of these programs is, “Care and concern for the human community, the environment and animals.”  How perfect for hackschooling!

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Big Kids page
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Teen Programs
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Roots and Shoots program

It may take some fancy footwork in the schedule, but I will definitely be trying to make this work!  Do you have a hands-on activity to raise awareness about?  Please share with us in the comments below.