Welcome to TwoCowgirls, the blog about our crazy life in Downtown Saint Paul!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

How To Start A DIY.org Club

Have you heard of DIY.org yet?  

I found out about this website recently when the Minnesota Homeschoolers Alliance posted a link to it on their Facebook page.  I'll be honest.  I have spend over 5 hours browsing the website.  I'm like a homeschool mom, obsessed!  It's already been written into my plan for next year.

Here's how it works:

  1. Students log on to DIY.org, and set up an account.  You child will choose an avatar and username, and then they're ready to get started!
  2. Have your child read about DIY.org's guidelines
  3. DIY.org has 111 (yes, one hundred eleven!!) skills that your student can choose from.  There is truly something for everyone.  If my child chose "Clothing Maker," as their topic, they might choose to do the "sew in a zipper" challenge.  When she clicks on it, there is a video that teaches all about it.  It's a great way for your child to learn about things that you might not know much about (Backend Dev, or Urban Designer, for example.  Huh?)
  4. Once they choose a topic that they're interested in, they complete challenges to learn all about it.  When they've completed 3 challenges, they earn a badge (either virtual, or you can purchase an actual physical badge for $4).  When they've completed 6 challenges, they achieve Master Skill Level.  To prove that they've completed each of the challenges, they post a picture of their accomplishment to the website.  
See, easy as 1, 2, 3, 4!

How do you turn all this awesomeness into a club?  It's very easy.  In fact, DIY.org has a guide for doing this!  

Here's what you do:

  1. Register your club
  2. Invite your friends!  Who will want to join?  Neighborhood friends, homeschool groups, groups of friends, 4-H groups, the possibilities are endless, really.  
  3. Pick meeting dates and locations.
  4. Plan lots of fun activities!  Adventures, workshops, gatherings are all fun things to incorporate into your DIY year.  Get ideas for your club by viewing the handbook.  Seriously, read it.  It has more information than I could possibly put here.
A Sample Club Plan:

This is the plan for a club that I'm starting for some of our homeschool friends.  We're going to meet every two months (contrary to the suggestion in the handbook, which suggests meeting weekly or monthly).  This will give the kids time to work independently at home during their school day, then meet up for activities.  This is what we're going to do:

All meetings will start with the kids sitting together and showing off what they've been working on, either by bringing in a physical object, demonstration, or photos.  

1st Meeting - September 3rd: All of the kids have probably been geocaching before.  We're going to take it a step further, and actually make a cache, hide it, and log it.  It'll be a fun challenge in cooperation.

2nd Meeting - November 5th: This will be our adventure month!  As it says in the manual, if the kids aren't a little uncomfortable, it's not a proper adventure ;)  For this one, the kids will arrive at our house downtown, where they'll receive the challenge to take the light rail to a specific destination.  This means budgeting, map reading, keeping track of everyone in the group, and getting from point A to point B, all while collaborating together.  The parents will tag along, but we'll be in the background as the kids do their thing!  Exciting!

3rd Meeting - January 7th:  Badge-a-palooza!  This month we'll meet up to work on the Yeti badge.  The kids will complete three challenges (make fire starters, cook stew, invent a snowball launcher), and receive the badge at the end of the day.  It's going to be so much fun!!

4th Meeting - March 4th:  Makers workshop!  The kids will dig deep into their imaginations, and utilize the tools in a "makers lab" to create anything they can dream up.  They'll have access to batteries, battery holders, wires, art supplies, gears, and so much more.  If they can dream it, they can make it!

5th Meeting - May 6th - The final meeting!  This is the month where we'll honor the kids that have reached "Master Skill" level in any topic(s) throughout the year.  They'll show off their work, we'll have a party, etc.  

The cost for these meetings will add up to about $35 per child over the course of the year.  

That sums it up!  Now to start recruiting... 

Do you DIY?  I'd love to hear all about it!