August 1, 1999
By MaryAnn Gardner
Scouting's Requirements Help Build Homeschoolers'
With all of her five children in
Scouting, and being a Scout Leader herself, it is no surprise that homeschooler mom,
Charlotte Meyer, has a website titled Scout
School. On this site Meyer has taken the requirements for rank, merit badges, and
other achievements as they are listed in the Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Girl Scout,
handbooks and categorized them according to school curriculum. Even though it is a
formidable task, she tries to make sure her site's requirement lists mirror those in
current badge books.
Meyer says, "I started this site because I wanted to categorize the Scout badge
requirements by school subject so I could better see how to integrate Scout badges into
our homeschooling. Some badges can actually be unit studies because they cover so many
different academic areas in one badge. It is not uncommon to find a science badge asking
for language arts skills in its reporting." She finds that many of the requirements
could be placed under multiple academic subject headings. For simplicity, she selects only
"I try to look at the requirement and ask myself what it is they want to
accomplish," she says.
Scout School became a reality in December of 1997 when Meyer decided to share her
categorization efforts with others. She felt that this approach, which she found so
worthwhile for her own children, could influence many homeschoolers to take another look
at Scouting's programs and benefits for youth. Since that time, Meyer has watched her site
grow to accommodate 11,000 visitors in one year. Many of those visitors to the Scout
School web site become enthusiastic supporters of the ideas presented. Some had used Scout
badges in their home school, but didn't quite know how to integrate. Others had found a
curriculum resource they had never before considered.
To illustrate how how homeschoolers can
combine Scouting and the homeschool curriculum, Meyer gave this example: "When I
started planning the curriculum for my 9th grader, I had a hard time finding a textbook I
liked. The answer kept coming back to me: use the Scout badges. My son wants to learn to
fly and he has also been wanting to do chemistry, so the other day I went to the Boy Scout
office and got the handbooks for Aviation, Weather (goes along with flying), and
Chemistry. These booklets are like mini-textbooks. They contain most of the information
needed to complete the badge. When we finish these, we will go on to other science
Academics and initiative abound in
Meyer's family. She is an experienced TV Engineer and member of the US Army who served a
mission for her church in Japan. She is married to an accounting professor. They have five
active children - all Scouts. The three oldest are also in band. Along with serving as her
daughter's Girl Scout leader, Meyer will homeschool three of them this fall. The other two
will go to public schools. Meyer has homeschooled for 5 years.
Meyer was not in Scouting as a girl. But, as so many of the members of our Scouter
Community, a parent's example set the idea of volunteerism into her young head at an early
age. She received an example of leadership from her mom who was a Camp Fire Girl Leader
during the twelve years that her daughter was a Camp Fire Girl. During that time, Meyer
attended the National Horizon Club Conference, Adventure '68, and went on the Boundary
Waters Canoe Area Travelcade to Minnesota.
Her Scouting experience came as an adult: "I have been a Brownie Girl Scout leader
for 2 years, and Junior Girl Scout leader for one year. I have also been the Service Unit
Director for one year. I am trained as a Brownie and Junior leader. I have had outdoor
Meyer explains how her training and experience add up to real benefits for her Scouts:
"Many of the girls in my Junior Girl Scout troop have just finished their first year
of band. They have been really excited about learning their instruments and have been
wanting to bring them to the meetings. I asked the girls if they would like to form a Girl
Scout band and they said yes! Our first performance was in June for the board meeting of a
local fund raising society. The local Girl Scout council was making a pitch for donations
and wanted us to play for them. Our performance impressed them so much that they gave the
Girl Scouts the full amount requested! Our next performance will be in August for all the
Girl Scouts in our area at a Girl Scout Fun Night."
the weeks ahead, Charlotte plans to complete the categorization of the Boy
Scout badges and the Cadette/Senior IPPs and get them on line.