The winning team’s
invention will be
patented and explored
for potential use by the
competition suddenly turned into a
“dance-off,” with the host team playing
music and kids from all the teams dancing in the cafeteria to techno-bop. It was
an enjoyable and worthwhile experience
for both the boys and their parents.
If you would like to expose your kids
to this team-building, problem-solving
program, I encourage you to seek out
other local teams or go on the Internet
and read about teams from this year. Just
start by Googling “LEGO FIRST Robotics.” Selection of this year’s FLL (or
FIRST LEGO League) Global Innovation
Award is in process at this writing. The
winning team’s invention will be patented and explored for potential use by the
Through afternoons of frustration with
a robot that didn’t work or a program
that didn’t run right, to other afternoons
when the boys just wanted to go run in
the woods, the boys worked through several issues that the parents found highly
interesting. Most of the boys are either
the only child in the family or are separated so far in age from siblings that they
are being homeschooled as if they are an
only child. Learning to share the responsibilities, to share the robot, and to take
turns as leaders and followers were all
difficult things for them to learn.
There were occasional hurt feelings,
and my own son tried to quit several
times, but we stuck together and finished
what we started, and the end results were
well worth it! Next fall, we hope to start
our first high school-level program. Part
of the experience will be fundraising for
the robot. Some high school groups are
very well funded and actually have trailers of tools and machining equipment
that travel with them to competitions
and events. We will be starting small but
hope that one day, through cooperation
and persistence, we, too, will make it to
the World Festival competition!
Shelly Browne has been homeschooling
herself and her three children for eighteen years. In addition to serving on the
Board of Directors for ARCHERS for the
Lord, Inc., she recently started “The Relaxed Home Schoolers’ Place in Kennesaw,
Georgia. She has a B.A. in English literature and runs a cleaning franchise in her
Mary Hood, Ph.D., and her husband, Roy,
homeschooled their five children since the
early 1980s. All have successfully made the
transition to adulthood. Mary has a Ph.D.
in education and is the director of ARCHERS
for the Lord, Inc. (The Association of Relaxed Christian Home Educators). She is the
author of The Relaxed Home School, The
Joyful Home Schooler, and other books,
and is available for speaking engagements.
Contact her via her website,
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