Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cub Scouts in our Homeschool

In case you didn't know, we're very involved in our Cub Scout Pack.  Adam is the Cubmaster and Arrow of Light Den Leader.  I'm the Tiger Cub Den Leader and Advancement Coordinator.  Aside from those roles, Adam and I are very involved in other Cub Scout committees and nearly every event.  With a house full of boys, two of which are currently Cub Scouts, it is an activity that we can all participate in together.

However, it's not just for fun.  As a homeschool mom, I use Cub Scouts to our benefit in school.  Each rank (Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos) has a handbook full of achievements.  A lot of those activities are done during den meetings, but many are not, leaving them as additional work to be done at home.  For example, Zander has 40 electives that can be done this year and nearly all of them can be repeated several times.  Every time he completes 10 electives, he earns a bead to wear on his uniform.  As far as Webelos go, that's a whole 'nother ball game.  :)

There is also the big world of Belt Loops and Pins.  There are 25 academic belt loops and 28 sports belt loops.  Each belt loop as a coordinating pin.  Ok, so perhaps I've lost you.

What are Belt Loops and Pins?

Belt loops are metal slides that slip onto the Cub Scout belt.  Each one represents a different activity and will have a picture and the name of the activity on the belt loop.  A pin is a small triangular pin that is to be worn on the Cub Scout "C" and then on the brag vest.  But, our boys wear their pins on their hats.  The Cub Scout earns a belt loop when he's completed three specific requirements for each academic or sport activity.  The pin is earned after receiving the belt loop and completing five additional activities from a list of approximately ten extra requirements.  It sounds a little confusing, but it's not so bad after you get started!  Check out this link to read more information.

Pin on the left, belt loop on the right.

How Do You Use That in Your Homeschool? 

This month, I wanted the boys to each complete a belt loop at home.  After reading through some of the belt loops, I chose the Citizenship belt loop for Zander to complete.  Here are the requirements:

1.  Develop a list of jobs you can do around the home.  Chart your progress for one week.
2.  Make a poster showing things you can do to be a good citizen.
3.  Participate in a family, den, or school service project.

Earlier this year, Zander had received credit for the first requirement.  As a Tiger, he was to work on his responsibilities at home by doing chores.  In addition to just doing the chore, we made a very simple chart to check off each day that he completed his chore.  As a Pack, we participated in a pack and district wide service project of collecting school supplies to be sent to an underprivileged country via the US Army (gotta love good connections!).  The only remaining requirement on the list was to create a poster showing how to be a good citizen.  

We actually used that poster as part of his Leave No Trace award, but we also made a smaller poster of other ways you can be a good citizen (I just don't have a photo).  One afternoon, we worked  together to make collages about America.  While working, we talked about why good citizenship is important; a topic that is not just a discussion point but a way of life as a military family.  So, in an afternoon, we made a collage (art is fun!), discussed citizenship (social studies lesson), and completed a Cub Scout achievement.  Having earned his belt loop, Zander is very close to receiving his Citizenship pin and after this lesson, Adisson had earned his pin.  

My almost-Boy-Scout has been very busy, as well.  He's trying to complete all of the academic belt loops AND pins before he crosses over to Boy Scouts in a few months.  He only has 5 belt loops remaining and 7 pins.  This afternoon, as part of our school day, he's hoping to finish up a few pins.  He's completed several of the sports belt loops but sometimes those are more difficult based on what is available locally.  For example, snowboarding is a little more difficult to earn due to the fact that we live in Eastern North Carolina.  Not impossible, but difficult.  

With so many different topics available, it's easy to fit a belt loop or pin requirement into our day.  We tend to work on Cub Scout achievements on Tuesday.  We meet on Tuesday night and I spend most of the day making sure everyone has their stuff together for the meeting.  Between two dens, two boys, and four uniforms, it's a busy day.  

Cub Scouts fits into our homeschool lifestyle pretty seamlessly.  If you are considering joining Scouts, I think you should definitely check out a local Pack/Troop.  For us, it's a very worthwhile investment of our time and energy.  And as a plug to our own pack, here's a link!

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