Tuesday, December 22, 2015

H is for Head, Heart, Hands, and Health

Some of you might know what Head, Heart, Hands, and Health mean.

They are the Four H's of 4-H.

So in this post I am going to share how our family has benefited from 4-H.



We joined 4-H in 2009, at the suggestion of my friend. I had never heard of 4-H before, but had seen its benefits in her family, and so we joined.

We wanted an animal project so we started out that year in rabbits.



 {County Fair, May 2010}



After a few years and quite a few projects later, we have now settled comfortably into our goat and sheep projects.

4-H is SO helpful to our homeschooling, as you will see.....



Presentations

Each year, I require my children to do a 4-H Presentation. These are not small ventures; they are a 5-10 minute Illustrated Talk that they have to prepare and recite from memory.



The younger ones use foam boards for their visual aids, and the older ones do Power Point.

 {County Presentation Day, 2010}

These presentations are judged by adults using a rubric, and if they score high enough, they can move on to sectionals and state competitions.


{County Presentation Day, 2015}



Community Service

4-H has so many opportunities to serve others. We participate in canned food drives, letters to soldiers, clean ups, and most recently, a pajama drive for a Children's Receiving Home. I am grateful for all of the ways that we can help others.


{Food Bank, 2014}



Public Speaking/Leadership

Each month we have a club meeting. The last two years Mr. Lego was our club president, which meant that he planned the agenda, gave officer instructions, and led the meetings for our club. He has now aged out, and all three girls are officers: Bookworm is Secretary (she needs to keep notes through the meeting and type them up each month), Dasher is Attendance Secretary (she keeps track of the attendance at our club), and Nutsy is Sergeant at Arms (she keeps order at the meetings and helps to lead the salute). All of these positions help them to gain confidence in leading others and in public speaking.


 {2011 - Mr. Lego is Secretary [in the Pirate's hat], and Bookworm is giving a project report}



The older three have also been Teen and Junior Leaders for different projects; this means that they have to actually lead portions of the project meetings each month. This year, Bookworm is the Sheep Teen Leader, and Dasher is the Goat Teen Leader. They have to prepare and lead the other members as we learn in the projects.


 {Leading a project 2013}



 Knowledge

The amount of knowledge these kids have to learn is amazing. They have participated in Bowl tournaments over the years; most notably in 2013 Bookworm was part of the 2013 California Junior Champion Poultry team. They beat out all other junior teams in the state. Mr. Lego's team was the Senior Champion Poultry team, and they got to go the the National competition in Kentucky. They did a great job and got 7th place. 



{Junior Team}



{Senior Team}



Work Ethic

Each year, the children have raised animals for the county fair. This is not a small commitment, but a serious, time-consuming one. Currently we raise both goats and sheep. We can't have them on our property so, from February through May, we keep them at a friends house, and go multiple times a week to feed, water, train, and clean up after them. One year I tried to keep count, and including time at the fair, we spent over 200 hours with our animals in four months!

{Fitting a lamb, 2015}


We raise these animals to be sold at a livestock auction, so they are learning how to humanely care and raise optimum meat for the meat industry. They also need to form relationships with potential buyers, and to maintain those relationships year after year.

I am amazed each year, as my young girls bravely go up to complete strangers in huge cowboy hats, and ask if they would be interested in buying their animal.

 {Talking to buyers, 2014}



They learn confidence in the show ring, and how to win - and lose - graciously.


 {Goat Showmanship, 2015}



4-H has taught so many great lessons. Public speaking, poise, competition, a sense of community. Honestly, I could not imagine homeschooling without it! I am a project leader, and frequently use what I am teaching in 4-H in our daily schooling.

I really do encourage you to check out a local 4-H group near you!


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1 comment:

  1. I did 4H as a child but seriously didn't cover all that in it. :) It was fun sorta...but I would have rather done the calf 4H like my brothers rather than the sewing one that mom stuck me in. Good to see there is so much more.

    Visiting from blogging through alphabet.

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