10 Education Resources in San Antonio Every Homeschooler Should Know About

Some education resources are obvious, some are under-utilized by homeschoolers, and some just don’t make the average homeschooler’s radar.

1. San Antonio Public Library

This may seem like a “duh” kind of choice but many homeschoolers don’t realize the variety of resources offered by the San Antonio library. There are the obvious items such as Teaching Company DVD’s that would cost several hundred dollars if you purchased yourself. It is quite possible to construct an entire home school high school curriculum based solely on lectures from the Teaching Company. Pre-high school science could probably be covered by Bill Nye the Science Guy videos.

But there are other services that people are often not familiar with.  Library members can get free online help from tutor.com. If your son is having trouble with a geometry problem, an online tutor will help them to solve it with simply giving them the answer. The libraries also offer opportunities for “socialization” through a variety of activities including book clubs, craft activities, and games (video and traditional board.) Furthermore, local branches of the libraries have organized specific activities/classes targets at homeschoolers. And best of all, library cards are free.

2. San Antonio Express News

Until newspapers are actually extinct, a subscription to the San Antonio Express News gets great education returns for homeschool dollars spent ($15.00 a month). Let’s start with the basics: reading. If nothing else, you can get kids started reading the comics. And it’s unlikely that you could get through reading a day’s worth of comics without having to explain something about what the comic was trying to say–critical thinking! Of course there are sports for your Spurs fans along with various sports columnists’ opinions that you may or may not agree with. The Express-News also runs a weekly feature providing an explanation of some item or issue targeted at kids. If the stories aren’t grabbing your kid’s interest, you can always go through looking at the pictures and speculating on the stories behind them. And then there is always the never ending source of amusement and outrage, the letters to the editors. Don’t underestimate the education usefulness of the paper.

3. San Antonio PREP – Prefreshmen Engineering Program

San Antonio Prep is an eight week summer program designed to prepare middle and high school students for engineering and science careers. Students in grades six and up attend sessions at area colleges and universities for up to four summers. The curriculum covers Logic, Engineering, Algebra, Physics, Technical Writing, Statistics, and Computer Science. Homeschoolers must apply to the program and have math, science, and English grades and submit an essay. Tuition is $300 for non-district sponsored students-that’s less than $40 a week. This is a competitive program but homeschoolers are admitted based on qualifications and available space. The application deadline is the end of January. Since homeschoolers don’t have to take their vacations in the summer, this is a great opportunity for students interested in math and science.

4. San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department

The Parks and Rec Department offers a variety of programs of interest to homeschoolers. The First Saturday Walks and the Second Saturday programs at various parks are good examples. These programs cover everything from trees, fossils, snakes, birds, wildflowers, and more. In fact, if there is enough participation by homeschoolers, they will hold events for homeschoolers during the week. (Note, I said participation, not interest. When too many home schoolers sign up for such programs and don’t show up, the programs tend to go away as well.) The Parks and Rec Department has also been offering homeschool PE classes at various centers. The community centers also offer a variety of low cost dance and music classes throughout the year. Then there are also the various youth sports offered during the year, including basketball, volleyball, flag football, and softball. At one point, one of the rec centers was willing to host a homeschool volleyball program during the day but there wasn’t enough interest. The San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department offers incredible potential for any homeschoolers willing to work with them. (The City of New Braunfels Park and Recreation Department is pretty awesome as well.)

5. San Antonio Water System

Like most organizations with a large public constituent, the San Antonio Water System offers home educators various lesson plans that can be downloaded at its website. While they’re better than average, they’re not the reason SAWS is on the list. The SWAT program and Annual Water Conference for Educators are the reasons why homeschoolers should know about SAWS. SWAT is the Student Water Action Team. This is a year long program for high school level students interested in the historical, environmental, or scientific aspects of water use. The SWAT teams conduct various field investigations and complete a service learning project which they present at the SWATCon end of the year dinner and conference. The Annual Educators’ Conference is open to homeschool educators as well as well as other non-formal educators. The conference is free and explores practical, up-to-date examples of successful educational programs and materials throughout fifty interactive sessions.

Continue to Part 2

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