Heart, Hands, Health and some home school
By Olivia Maddox
Alldredge (background) has home schooled all six of her children,
using 4-H materials to supplement their curriculum. Laura
and John work on lessons in the living room. (Photo by Tom
and Alex Gerth, home and school are one and the same. While the
den in their Carmel home has been turned into their designated classroom,
the boys have also developed favorite study niches throughout the
house: reading while curled up in a beanbag chair in front of the
fireplace, writing at the kitchen table or spreading a project out
on the wood floor in the foyer.
Kayte Gerth, uses much the same approach in assembling their lesson
plans. Starting with a particular curriculum, she pulls out the
parts that work best and then adds bits and pieces of others, customizing
the boys' studies for each subject. One of the programs that she
uses in her build-a-curriculum approach is 4-H.
A 4-H leader
for more than 20 years, Gerth was well versed in what 4-H had to
offer when it came time to teach her children. "4-H works in
our curriculum so nicely," Gerth says, making her point by
naming some of the 21 projects that Matthew, 8, and Alex, 9, completed
last year, their first as 4-Hers.
and scrapbook projects became their yearbook, chronicling their
school year. Plant science, geology, weather and entomology projects
were part of their science curriculum. The bicycle project was a
group effort with scouting and home-schooled friends. Foods, electricity,
arts and crafts, recycling and health were among the other projects
completed for both school and 4-H.
school-4-H match-up is not a new revelation. Kyle Becker, a sophomore
animal sciences major,
was home schooled beginning with the second grade. He was also a
10-year 4-Her. And with projects like dairy, beef, sheep, swine
and veterinary science, it's no surprise that this academic scholarship
recipient has his eye on vet school.
I was home schooled, I probably was able to do more in 4-H than
kids in public school," Becker says. And while 4-H wasn't a
formal part of his curriculum, there was a definite connection between
what he was learning in science--particularly anatomy and biology--and
what he was learning in 4-H. "It was like putting two and two
together," he says.