Julie Gentry believes her kids don’t need to do schoolwork on Fridays–at least not in a traditional sense.

Instead, they head to libraries, hammer out skills, and fulfill merit badge requirements.

Their family implements Scouting into their homeschool curriculum. But, Gentry is not alone. In fact, parents across the USA use merit badges to homeschool their kids.

Interested in the idea?

Here’s why you might consider it: It just makes sense. Kids love it. They learn a lot. Plus, building curriculum is a cinch. Isn’t it nice when someone’s started the process for you?

“Combining the two endeavors brought to life numerous subjects, as we found ways to incorporate merit badges into field trips, science labs and more,” said a Scout mom in the Pacific Northwest.

With over 135 merit badges available, you’ll have a lot to choose from when teaching. You can find badge requirements online for free. These requirements include a list of resources to use while teaching. Whether your child is a Scout or not, you can still use the information to create lesson plans.

For Gentry, it was surprising to learn just how diverse merit badges were.

“I thought Boy Scouts meant camping, tying knots, and Indian folklore,” she said, explaining that it’s more.  “Science, reading, artwork, social studies, history, civics, home arts, language, and even math are covered to some degree.”

For parents interested in using merit badges to home-school,  check out Homeschool Scouting.  The website provides course descriptions and ideas.

Keep in mind, however, that not all parents love the idea. Some question whether a merit badge should count if done as part of curriculum. Others feel it should only count as schoolwork if they go above and beyond the merit badge.

Gentry, even, uses it for school just once a week. But, she’s seen it help.

“At the library, I tried to steer my reluctant reader toward the juvenile section of the biographies (one of the chosen genres).” she said. “He looked at me like I was daft and came back with the 400+ page, Lee’s Terrible Swift Sword. He wasn’t about to have ‘baby books’ mar his merit badge record.”

Do you think it’s a good idea?

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Michelle Carpenter
is a reporter for the Voice of Scouting and a marketing associate for The Utah National Parks Council. Her father, husband, and brother are all Eagle Scouts, so she firmly believes some of the best men did Scouting.

2 comments

  1. Cheryl says:

    I think that the merit badge pamphlets are a great place to start for homeschooling. There are so many topics and have so much information already put together for you. If you like Unit studies, these pamphlets would be great!

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