About a dozen local school children are taking advantage of their flexible hours to include reading visits to residents of personal care homes.
Leslie Richards is one of those home schooled moms who like to spearhead these kinds of outings. She said she regularly invites other students home with her four children.
“I like to try to come up with ideas and help someone else with their ideas to stay strong with a sense of community,” she explained. “And social support is really helpful for kids and parents. So we like to be able to make sure that we have a range of options that other home school families can participate in.”
She said in the past they had taken group swimming lessons, art lessons at the former Signal Hill Arts Center and various types of excursions, including to the Weyburn Police Department headquarters and from the Weyburn Fire Department.
“Learn more about our community, not just live here, but really learn, like how our sewers work? We visited the town hall maybe two years ago. We did a mock election, met Mayor Roy, and it was really cool. I have to relate it to, you know, our federal elections and how our municipal government works. So it’s a great way for kids to connect with their community, then the world, and connect with the world at large as well. “
Richards said she cannot speak for the entire homeschool community, but it is very important that her family recognize the importance of life at different stages.
“We thought it was really important because it’s usually a slightly more vulnerable population, which maybe doesn’t get as many visitors or as many younger visitors,” she explained. “A lot of times their residents, if they have grandchildren, they might even be adults. Having found that to be a good way, you know, for them to feel the joy of seeing young children.”
She said it is also a great practice for children to practice reading aloud in front of an audience.
“So that gives my kids and all the other kids that come in a real opportunity to just practice these skills in a safe environment to have fun and enjoy all the benefits of the company, while still meeting who I think I am. a need in our community. “
Richards said they also hope to find musical accompaniment for some performances.
“When you see life as a form of service to others, then you find the time and the opportunity,” she noted. “I really feel like it’s all going to fall into place. You know, as it can be, but I think having that will, a servant’s heart is super important above all else.”
She said they aim to do it once a month.
“We still haven’t kept any pressure like these are the days we’re coming in. If you want to join us, but I want to call them up and have a regular schedule like the third Friday of the month or something like that, because that I find it easier for us to plan. “
Kids typically visit Midtown Care Home, and Richards noted that it’s not just about books, but also having conversations.
“A resident recently told my daughter how she got to school on horseback,” she said. “And it was so cool for my kids to make that connection because they might have read about it in books, but they don’t have grandparents in the age group.”
“So it was good for those of my kids to have these interesting little stories firsthand,” she added. “I think there is definitely a mutual benefit, and I’m really grateful. My kids, they really missed it during the pandemic. They must have been there several times, but as soon as it was open we called. right away [asking to get back in]. We missed it, so it was really nice, and it was good to see the kids asking for it too. “
“You know, even though sometimes I’m like ‘Oh, again, packing this up, is it worth it?’ But then just hearing them talk about it, seeing the smiles to know that you know we could give someone else a smile that day, that’s really invaluable to us.
Those interested in learning more about involvement with the local home schooling group can find the PATHS group on Facebook HERE.