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Many years ago 2 of our boys were active Cub Scouts. It was so very cute...but that's not what I'm talking about today.
Actually, from way back we had begun to formulate a lifestyle of learning in our family, and being that the boys were so interested and engaged in their badge work, I decided to take a closer look and see what kind of educational value I could squeeze out of them.
Turns out, I found quite a bit! And for most of their elementary years, we incorporated the activities for pins and badges into their school work. Lots of great hands-on learning took place, and some warm family-fun and family learning as well.
Fast forward a few years, and I had the privilege of getting a local American Heritage Girls troop started, chartered and supported by our homeschool support group. If you're not familiar with them, AHG can be described as a girls' scouting program with a heavy Christian emphasis. As a youth, I participated in a Girl Scout troop all the way to a Senior, and had always hoped one of my daughters would enjoy scouting experiences as I had. After my oldest opted out after a year or two, however, I hesitated to push our younger daughter too much.
"Building women of integrity through service to God, family, community, and country"
The American Heritage Girls Mission
But she seemed to "take" to AHG, which, after becoming aware of some of the current, more philosophical developments in GSUSA, I was happy to see! As we moved ahead with the formation of our new troop, and the girls and moms began to bond and feel like family, it became apparent this was going to be a good fit. As we moved on, I began to take a similar attitude towards incorporating school and badge work. This time, however, our daughter was a bit older than our sons had been, so I was looking for more educational "meat." Lucky for us, AHG didn't disappoint!
Now with my daughter squarely in middle school, I took the time to go through the 6 areas that AHG covers in their badges, as well as the sports pin program and Level Award opportunities they offer as the girls move up.
A few things I appreciate about incorporating badges with academic studies:
- they incorporate a balance of "academic" learning (through research and thought) and practical learning through participation in activities.
- they also provide a nice balance between personal and group learning, a nice "plus" for homeschooling families.
- the girls often get the opportunity to present the results of their personal studies to the troop, giving them a chance to develop skills in doing presentations and public speaking.
Below you'll find a layout connecting many AHG badges to subjects taught in middle school, and then an outline connecting badges to potential high school elective classes as well.
American Heritage Girl badges you can incorporate into middle school subjects
At the middle school level, this includes Tenderhearts, Explorers, and young Pioneers.
- History/Civics - Citizenship and Government, Dawn of Our Country, Freedom's Heroes, Freedom Seekers, Native American*, Our Flag, Our Heritage*, 7 C's of History, and World Heritage, History's Canvas
- STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math) Subjects - Aviation, Computer Fun, Engineering, Gardening & Plant Science, Geology, Inset-a Inspect-a, Internet Adventure, Kitchen Scientist, Let's Talk, Living & Working in Space, Our Feathered Friends*, Space Exploration, Women Inventors, Young Meteorologist*, Zoology, Nature and Wildlife*
- Home Economics - Cake Decorating, Cooking, Family Helper, Home Care & Repair, Home Decorating, Kid Care, Memory Maker, Money Management, Pet Care, Sewing, Toys and Games
- Fine Arts - Artastic, Cinematography, Creative Crafts, Creative Writing, Dance, History's Canvas, Music Appreciation, Music Performance, Needle Arts, Photography, Puppetry, Textile Arts, Theatre
- PE - Badges: Dance, Archery, Climb On!, Cycling, Golf, Hiking, Snow Skiing & Snowboarding, Swimming
Sports Pins: Basketball, Bowling, Competitive Swimming, Gymnastics, Marital Arts, Running, Skating, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball
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American Heritage Girl badges you can incorporate into high school electives
At the high school level, this includes older Pioneers and Patriots.
- Home Economics - badges as above, using the advanced activities included for these levels
- Sign Language - This may be considered a Foreign Language credit for some colleges. It's worth looking into if your daughter is seriously interested.
- Creative Writing
- My Style - Elective course that can be called "Intro to Personal Fashion" on a transcript
- Travel - Elective course that can be called "Intro to World Travel" or "Investigating Travel and Cultures" on a transcript. A great "cap" for this badge would be to prepare for and take a short-term mission trip! (For even more ideas and ways to incorporate travel and learning, visit WordTraveling.com)
- Emergency Preparedness - At these levels, this badge includes attaining CPR certification through the Red Cross, excellent training and a valuable skill for teens
- Kid Kare | Money Management | Family Helper | Home Care and Repair - Combine these badges to make a robust course which you can call "Family Life" or "Life Skills" on their transcript.
If you're looking into American Heritage Girls for your own daughter, or if you're already involved, why not consider incorporating the practical skills being taught through this program into her school studies? HomeschoolLegacy offers Unit Studies for purchase that provide turn-key resources and activities that cover the following subjects/badges:
- Science/ Feathered Friends
- Science/ Young Meteorologist
- Fine Arts/Music Appreciation
- Science and History/ Nature and Wildlife
- Civics and History / Citizenship, Government, Our Flag, Our Heritage, Native American, Book Adventurer, Dawn of Our Country (Read a review of this study here.)
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