We decided to do something fun with our last week in February, and I thought it would be great to share what we did, and all the things we learned. In short, we held a fundraiser read-a-thon. It was a great way to get my kids doing all sorts of homeschool learning, raise a little money for the classroom, and have fun while doing it. Scroll through our slideshow below for a quick, visual overview of how it went, and then scroll down for more details!
Why a Read-A-Thon?
In all honesty, I needed an easy school week. I have a lot of responsibilities outside of our classroom. I had a lot of things come up that needed attention throughout the week, and I needed a way to keep my kids engaged in learning in a way that freed up a little of my own time. And I am happy to report that it worked!
Even my dyslexic kiddo got into the act. He carried his books and his recording kit everywhere! He didn't read much on his own, but he stuck to it. He kept carrying his things around and looking at the pages, and listening to his big sister whenever she would read aloud. It was really great to see him trying, and them reading together.
On a more academic note, a read-a-thon provided me with a vehicle to promote literacy, and get my kiddos excited about reading, writing, and all the topics they read about. It also gave me an opportunity to build math into a real life situation that felt real and applicable to my kids. They read the books, recorded their time, the number of pages and the number of books they read. They recorded and calculated pledges and the total amounts of money they would earn, too. All around it was a good idea.
What did we do?
First we planned. We established some ground rules, talked about who we would ask to pledge and how we would share it, and created the tools we would need in order to make it happen. The kids were deeply involved in the planning phase. They created their own read-a-thon kits complete with log book, or log cards, a stopwatch, pencils or crayons, etc. I helped of course, but I let them lead.
For the Reading:
We decided to record the number of pages and books as well as the amount of time, where we read, and the genre. If they read together, there was bonus time. If they watched video books, they got half time. You can see our rules in the slide show above. Awards would be given based on success in different categories.
For the Fundraiser:
We decided that we would try to reach certain goals, and we would ask friends and family members to pledge by inviting them through text messages, phone calls, and social media posts. To help motivate them to participate, we decided that the kids would each get 25% of the total pledges. The remaining 50% would go towards helping to pay for a chalk/dry erase board for our classroom.
Then we did it. Each day, we had a daily math lesson, and then the kids were allowed to read wherever, whenever and whatever they wanted to. We also collected information on an almost daily basis, to help keep track and stay motivated.
By the end, they had read a total of 88 books, 1731 pages and had read for a total of 9.5 hours. They counted, and recorded their data, and collected and calculated pledges. As a class they earned $263. All in all it was a success and they look forward to doing it again.
Why a Fundraiser?
As a homeschool family, I have often felt the weight of having to pay for everything. I know for other homeschool families, too, it can be a real obstacle. I have been thinking about this for a lot of years. A couple of years ago, I had the idea that we could have a fundraiser just like my kids would have done if we participated in public school. Only it would be better, because I could ensure the kids felt the direct benefits of participating.
I don't know about you but I often felt cheated when I participated in school fundraisers as a kid. I came from a poor and somewhat disconnected family, so I was never one of the top earners who won prizes. I never really saw the value in participating because I could never win. With a fundraiser as a Homeschooler, I can ensure that each child feels the benefit of participating, and I like that idea.
Anyway, I don't see why homeschoolers can't have fundraisers, so I have been cooking up ideas ever since that thought struck me. I have had several ideas, but my favorites are:
In any case, I think a fundraiser is a great way to help pay for some of the costs associated with homeschooling your children. If you decide that the kids get a portion of the funds for participating, it's also a great way to motivate them to do their best.
Do you have any other ideas? What would you do for a fundraiser?
In case you want to do a read-a-thon too, I've attached the files we used for the log books below. The "I Just Read" Read-a-Thon tracker is a single page. I printed it directly on 4x6 cards and hole punched the corner. As my reader read a book, he filled out a card and put it on a ring. The Read-a-Thon tracker booklet, I printed double sided and stapled down the middle. For tracking as a class, I just made a spreadsheet in Google Sheets. Hope that helps!
I have been homeschooling my children for about four years (six if you include preschool years!) and I love every moment. Even the hard ones. Homeschool is a family affair, and family is my everything.
*** Disclaimer: I am currently a full-time homeschooling mom of three beautiful children, a homesteader with animals and a garden to care for, an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Relief Society President in my ward. I am building this page as I find time, so please bear with me if things seem sparse around here for a little while! ***
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