GHSA offers a variety of activities each year. Activities are led by our members. Therefore, our activities change from year to year. Here are a few activities we have enjoyed in the past:
The Kick Off Picnic happens early in the school year at one of our beaches or parks and is a way for member families to begin to connect with one another. It is a casual event and may or may not have some organized games. It could be a potluck event or it could be “bring your own lunch” style. Potential homeschoolers interested in the group are welcome.
Field Trips can be called at any time by anyone who would like to organize one. Some are more structured with a tour guide and some are just “let’s all meet together at ‘such and such a place’ “ type. Some have a specific age range and are appropriate for all ages. Some may have a charge but many are free. When organizing a field trip you should look at the calendar of events to be sure there are no conflicts in order to achieve maximal participation. There are endless possibilities to field trip locations.
The Drama Workshop is taught by the Pacific Gate Unit of the Covenant Players group and is well received by students of all ages. Students are typically split according to age group with each group receiving a half day of “hands on” instruction. Students will get to practice what they learn, work together for group projects and at the end present what they have learned to the parents. The Covenant Players are a “by faith” (Christian) ministry and so we collect a modest donation from each attendee to support them in their ministry. For more info visit: www.covenantplayers.org (timing varies on when the Covenant Players are in town)
The Mom’s Night Out is just a chance for moms to meet at a restaurant and enjoy one another’s company. Sometimes the conversation turns to homeschooling and sometimes we just need a break from thinking about it for a couple hours! In order to simplify things we have not offered childcare but we may consider that if we can work out the logistics for those who have no option in the evenings such as dads that work in the evenings, single moms etc.
Outreach Events are important. We like to give our children opportunities to reach out to the community, especially during the holiday times. We have done caroling at the hospital or at St. Dominic’s, bringing gifts to the elderly at St. Dominic’s, and ministering through the Salvation Army, but we are open to other suggestions.
March is Chamorro Month around the island and there are many activities going on around the island to get in on. GHSA also tries to do our own Chamorro Day activity. In past we have had elaborate events with speakers, displays and hands on presentations, and a wonderful Chamorro style potluck. More recently we have been taking a cultural field trip to a location which represents the local culture.
The PASS Test (Personal Achievement Assessment System) from Hewitt Homeschooling is a testing option that many homeschoolers appreciate. A GHSA member coordinates orders for our group in order to be eligible for a group rate. The PASS test measures student achievement in the areas of reading, language and mathematics. Families take the test at home at their own pace. A placement test assists the tester to choose the appropriate level for the student to test at and progress can be followed over time if the test is repeated multiple years. The PASS Test is only available for students in grades 3-8.
IOWA Testing happens towards the end of the standard school year in late April or in May. GHSA rents rooms in a local church and administers the test.
Spelling Bee: Guam holds its own local version of the Scripps Spelling Bee for students in 3rd to 8th grade. The winner of the local bee is eligible to participate in the national bee in Washington DC. GHSA holds its own spelling bee in late Jan. early Feb. to choose a student to represent us at the local bee. Weekly practices begin in the fall.
Math Kangaroo is an international competition open to Guam residents which is held at Guam Community College in Feb./March. A math fair follows the testing event. Grades 1st – 12th are eligible. Parents take care of their own registration online ($10 for Guam residents?) Registration information will be distributed when it becomes available. GO TO: www.mathkangaroo.org for more info. Students benefit from attending the math coaching sessions related to Math Olympiad, being better prepared for the test.
A local version of the national competition Math Olympiad is put on by Department of Education’s (DOE’s) G.A.T.E./Academic Division (Gifted and Talented Education) in March or April. Teams consist of four players (and alternates) in grades 4-5. Weekly coaching helps prepare the team for competition against the other Guam school teams (local and private). Weekly practices begin in the fall. DOE/GATE also puts on a local version of the national Math Counts competition for which we form a team some years when there is interest. The competition is similar to Math Olympiad but is for grade 6-8 students. Competitions are held in Feb. or March. Coaching depends on availability of a volunteer.
Academic Challenge Bowl, also part of DOE’s GATE program, is a trivia competition between schools. Private, public and home school students compete by buzzing in to answer questions in the various subjects or disciplines such as science, geography, history, current events, literature, etc. GHSA forms both a middle school and a high school team of several students each. Weekly practices begin in fall. High school matches are held on Thursday afternoons. Middle school matches are held on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings. Some matches are recorded for airing on PBS.
Fishbowl is similar to the Academic Challenge Bowl however all the questions are in reference to marine animals. It is one of the newer academic programs in which our group has participated.