It’s a new year in so many ways. New green grass and trees that beginning to bud and turn green are a definite welcome sight after a long winter in Indiana. Several of our early season flowers are just about to bloom. Driving down the road we see several farms with cows, horses, goats, sheep, etc. that are having babies born. We can also spot the wild Canadian goose sitting on nests near water sources with her mate near by. It won’t be long until we see baby geese, baby ducks, and perhaps even baby deer as we drive along. Everything in nature seems new now that winter has passed.
We added a new activity for our family and joined the Wayne County, Indiana 4H in January 2014. Enrollment for the entire year is only open for a few weeks during January in Indiana. That is new to us as you could join 4H at any time of the year in North Carolina. Anyway, we got enrollment done for 5 of the 6 kids. Three kids are in regular 4H (ages 9 and older) and two of the kids are in mini-4H (ages 5-8). They are all looking forward to the new activities they will be in for this 4H year.
Each of the kids have several projects in several different areas they are working on (rabbits, goats, chickens, garden, fish, Legos, etc). We are also attending two different official 4H club meetings, rabbits and goats. When you have animals, it is a good idea to attend those club meetings, but many other non-animal kinds of projects are self directed. The kids will make project record books for each of their projects. They will show their projects in the county 4H fair in June.
One of the clubs the kids have been attending is the 4H Rabbit Club. It is directed by a homeschool mom with 6 kids, just like our family (homeschooling 6 kids and in 4H)! It is so fun to meet families with similar interests. There are several youth in club leadership (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, etc.) who help run the business proceedings of the club and also help with demonstrations.
The Rabbit Club is large. Over 100 kids signed up for this club in January to raise and show rabbits. We have had both regular club meetings, and special showmanship clinic meetings so far. There are so many families in the club, that all the seats and tables are full and usually there is a large group of people standing or sitting on the ground too.
The meeting begins with everyone standing and saying the Pledge Of Allegiance to the United States Of America. Next while standing, they say the 4H Pledge. Agenda’s and worksheets are handed out. Then the club discusses old and new business. Next they have a discussion, demonstration, or learning time. At one of the meetings the kids also made cute crafts too. They made little rabbits that sit in a rabbit pen with a water bottle, feeder bowl, and little shredded paper litter. There is also a volunteer community service project, as well as fund raising projects scheduled soon too. The group has a facebook page where folks can post questions and the director can post information about deadlines for the fair requirements and club information about meetings, fund raising, and community service.
The kids are learning so much about rabbits and they think the meetings and handling
rabbits is a lot of fun.
Up till now, the kids have borrowed rabbits at the meetings to learn with. They have learned how to safely pick up a rabbit, flip the rabbits over and give them a health check, they learned a few showmanship skills. We have a long ways to go, and we need to get the kids their own rabbits soon.
I hope to start making “learning about rabbit breeds, rabbit health, and rabbit showmanship” part of our regular homeschool learning for the month of May. During the remaining weeks in April, we will read through their project materials. I will also be looking for a good unit study on the subject or I will make one myself if I can’t find what I need. Their dad and I need to find the kids rabbits to show and build rabbit hutches to house the rabbits. I hope we can get it all done.
It is hard to believe that the fair is only two months away already and we have so much to do and learn between now and then. Hopefully the kids will learn all they need to and gain confidence in their new skills by the time they have to show their rabbits at the Wayne County 4H Fair in June. They are really excited about what they are learning.
Have you tried projects in 4H with your family? I encourage you to check out your local 4H office and see how what they have to offer might fit into your families needs and likes. It can be lots of great learning fun.
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