From the THE Board...
We hope you all are finding your groove and getting off to a strong start! Honestly, the first days (weeks?) can be rough! But...soon we find our rhythm and things calm down. Maybe this is your first time homeschooling and you are feeling overwhelmed. Take a deep breath and maybe get some coffee. Things will normalize. It won't always seem so crazy. Promise.
This first newsletter of the year won't be a typical newsletter in that it will cover a good deal of "housekeeping" type stuff as well as announcements. This summer the board has spent some time "re-imagining" what THE could do and be. We've had a great time doing it! We sent out a survey and heard from many of you. You had some GREAT feedback and ideas that we are working through. Even though we are still dealing with Covid-19, there are still fun things to do and join in. That brings me to the website. Many of you let us know that the website wasn't super user-friendly. We've made some changes and have a few more in the works to remedy that. Many of you have already set-up your account. For the rest of you, we went ahead and set-up an account for you. That's the reason you are getting this email! We are now producing the newsletter via the blog function on our website, www.tuscaloosahomeeducators.com. If we set-up your account for you, simply login using the email address where you received this email and use the password THEWarriors. Feel free to change the password. The website has a calendar where events will be posted as well as athletics information, prior editions of the newsletter, some homeschooling info and email addresses for board members and such. Give it a look and let us know what other changes could make it more useful. Feel free to email me, Susan, at firstname.lastname@example.org. One last website piece of housekeeping...login and complete your profile. Add a photo!! We'd love to match names and faces! Make sure your kids names and birthdates are there. Make sure we have your current address and phone number.
If you are new to THE, let me explain what you will find in a typical newsletter. The newsletter is a great place to find out about homeschool friendly opportunities in town. Things like 4-H clubs, classes being offered, THE athletics announcements, community opportunities and more. Newsletters aren't typically this loooooong, but at the beginning of the year, there always seems to be a lot to communicate!
If you ever have something you'd like to submit for publishing in the newsletter, you can email the details to email@example.com. All photos need to be jpg. You can submit events for the THE calendar by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
One more thing...we've launched an "Official" THE Facebook group! We realized that there was a need for both an "Official" THE group as well as the more general "homeschooling in Tuscaloosa" type group for those who are not members but might be looking into homeschooling. Both groups will meet unique needs. If you aren't a member yet of the "Official" Facebook group, go look it up and join! We hope to make it a fun, active group and a way to bolster our camaraderie.
NOW...on to the fun stuff!
Interested in your child playing CHESS?
by Phoebe Markin
Many parents and educators have found that chess is a wonderful way of exercising young minds, while many youngsters have simply found that chess is both satisfying and a lot of fun. Chess teaches kids to focus, how to plan ahead, how to think before you act, develop problem-solving skills, and it exercises the young brain. For a top 10 list of benefits of chess check out this link: https://www.chess.com/article/view/benefits-of-chess
For younger kids getting started, Chess Kids is a safe website designed specifically for younger grades. Kids can play other kids online and can exercise their skills with tactical puzzles. The service is free, but it also includes paid packages that include unlimited tactical puzzles and training videos geared towards children. https://www.chesskid.com/?m=chesskids
Here are other levels of chess available online:
Anyone interested in playing competitive chess tournaments where you can earn a rating, or anyone interested in connecting with the larger Alabama chess community can visit the Alabama Chess Federation's website at https://alabamachess.org/cmsms/
ROBOTICS by Phoebe Markin
There is an annual robotics competition at Shelton State Community College for middle and high school students. This 6-week competition usually starts in early September and lasts to the end of October. The top 5 teams will advance to the regional competition at Auburn in December. THE have organized teams which have competed in the past with outstanding performances!
If you have a child interested in competitive robotics competitions, here are some resources that can help you prepare to participate on a team (student) or to facilitate a team (parent).
BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) https://www.bestrobotics.org/site/
BEST is a non-profit, volunteer-based program designed to inspire students through competitive robotic design. Through exploration and creativity, student teams are encouraged to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. The marketing category of competition allows students to brand and advertise their school's robotic concept. All teams have the opportunity to be mentored by engineers and technical professionals from local industry.
bESTology is a resource for schools (teams) participating in the nationwide BEST Robotics Program to learn educational and workforce development concepts revolving around the game. https://bestology.bestrobotics.org/
To register a team click here: https://www.sheltonstate.edu/admissions-financial-aid/recruiting-and-outreach/k-12-outreach/best-robotics/
Chuch and Phoebe Markin have worked with their kids in these programs and are open to getting together with other families to work on robotics. Reach out to Phoebe and Chuck at email@example.com to explore possibilities of how some robotics could be done COVID style!
Volleyball is underway!!!
Here's the schedule...
Go support our Lady Warriors!!
MORE COVID STYLE LEARNING FUN
GRIFFIN FARMS HOMESCHOOL DAY
MARK YOUR CALENDAR! Griffin Farms Pumpkin Patch is opening to all homeschoolers on Oct. 28th. Admission is $8/person ages 2 and older and includes 1 pumpkin per paid admission. Additional pumpkins are $3.
Exciting news for our Homeschool Friends...It is time to register your 4-H’er!
Last year we did all kinds of fun things together—STEM Challenges, tree identification field trip, art activities, and competitive events like photography & woodworking. This year our Homeschool Club will be open to families in Tuscaloosa & Hale Counties. Depending on registration numbers, we will create additional club meeting times to ensure members can remain socially distant.
The tentative dates for this semester are: September 18 October 16 November 20 December 18 **We will communicate about meeting times closer to the actual dates.
Register at v2.4honline.com.