PHSA: Who Are We and What Do We Do?
PHSA is a homeschool support group that strives to support and encourage families while enhancing their homeschool experience through opportunities and activities. The benefits to membership are numerous. Here are some of the things the group does:
Field trips are the mainstay of the Pendleton Homeschool Association. PHSA arranges at least one per month from September through May. All member families are invited, but participation is not required. Families decide which field trips to attend based on scheduling, level of interest, and ages of children. Rarely do field trips cost money (aside from travel expenses). Families may attend one event or activity while trying to decide whether to join PHSA. Some recent field trips are: geocaching, new hospital tour, SAGE center, Walmart Distribution Center, National Guard Armory, and a sheep farm.
PHSA sponsors and coordinates numerous other projects and events. MathCounts is a math group for 6-8th graders who compete individually and as a group at the local and state level. The Watershed Field Days is coordinated through ESD with 5th graders in public schools to spend a week studying water science. The Leadership Conference is an annual event for junior and senior high students to spend the day taking classes, listening to empowering speakers, and honing their leadership skills. The Chess Club is for all ages to help teach, practice, and participate in tournaments. The spelling contest feeds into the county and state contests in the spring. The annual Science, Geography, Poetry, and Biography Shares are a time to show and demonstrate what we have done in our various topics of study. They are held in the spring and members are invited to participate. No project is too small! It is based on the concept that “you learn what you teach”. Preparing and presenting an exhibit is part of the learning. PHSA also coordinates annual state testing through Basic Skills out of Oregon City.
Presentation Night is a much anticipated annual event held in the spring. Families display things they have been working on all year. Children sing, play musical instruments, recite poetry or memory verses, do a mini-skit, report states and capitals, present a square dance, or do something in a foreign language. PHSA contest winners are honored and parents can give award certificates. The evening can be used as a graduation ceremony. Both the performance and the display portions of the event are fun and rewarding to homeschoolers. Grandparents and friends are invited to attend, as well as anyone interested in homeschooling.
PHSA has its own sports program that runs from fall through spring. Children learn and participate in a variety of sports including: soccer, floor hockey, volleyball, basketball, relays, and softball to name a few. There is also a Family Track and Field Day each spring. Alongside of the sports program, during the winter months, PHSA organizes Rec. Days at a local gym. This is one hour of open gym time for families to use the gym equipment such as balls, scooters, jump ropes, and much, much more. When the weather turns nice again, the group meets weekly at one of the local parks. These times run from the spring through the summer and into the fall.
Monthly Moms’ Night Outs are scheduled for the moms to get together for a time of visiting, making friends, sharing ideas, and encouraging each other. This time of connecting happens at each other’s homes or in local restaurants sometimes with a conversation topic, theme, or even a friendly game to be played and sometimes it is simply a casual evening among friends with great conversation.
There are occasional group workshops offered such as art classes (through the local art center), geology class, essay writing, fly tying, fiddle lessons, etc.
Annually PHSA hosts a Homeschool Kick-Off Potluck and two family dances with live music, food, and fun for all ages.
All activity and event information is communicated to members through the PHSA monthly newsletter. This newsletter is printed (or emailed) monthly from August through June and includes all activity, sports, and event information along with articles pertaining to homeschooling, a classified section, Kids Article page (monthly topic given), Ask Beryl (homeschool question/answer column), recipe column, and a calendar page. Along with the monthly newsletter information is conveyed to members through email and a private Facebook group.