Hands-On Learning Sparks Students’ Connection with History, Science, Art

Wagons Ho! 

Poetry for the Young. 

Road Trip USA. 

Grossology: really gross things about you. 

Science of Ancient Civilizations. 

These are just a few of the engaging classes offered to students ages 5-14 through Mountaineer Homeschool Hub, a grantee of the VELA Education Fund in partnership with the Home School Legal Defense Association. Located in Morgantown, West Virginia, Mountaineer Homeschool Hub offers classes to homeschooling families two days per week. 

Interest in homeschooling has grown in recent years, and especially during the pandemic, when the percentage of West Virginia families homeschooling their children rose from 5.4% to 16.6%, one of the largest increases in the country. 

In the Mountaineer Homeschool Hub specifically, the number of learners has skyrocketed from 8 before the pandemic to 36 in April 2021. 

One of the key factors driving that surge has been courses that are designed to spark student interest in science, technology, history, art, and math through hands-on projects that often involve narrative and real-life connections. 

“As you can imagine, Grossology has been a class that involves a lot of laughter and fun, but students are learning about the human body, science, and health,” said founder Angie Channell, who teaches all of the classes. “Learning is so much more effective when presented through hands-on activities and narrative. It helps students connect with the content and really absorb its importance.” 

Science of Ancient Civilizations is a project-based class that teaches history through the innovative and scientific advances of ancient civilizations. In Wagons Ho!, students explore the choices and hardships faced by settlers as they traveled west by covered wagons and the impact settlers had on the lives of indgenous people of North America. Narrative and interactive projects, such as science experiments involving matter, guide students through academic concepts and content.

In addition to classes, Mountaineer Homeschool Hub offers activities, special events, and a chance for students to connect with each other in-person. 

“When the pandemic hit, we had to pause our classes for six months, “ Channell said. “Thanks to the Meet the Moment grant, we were able to purchase equipment that allowed us to resume classes outdoors. We offer 10 classes on two days each week. It’s kept our families engaged and connected, which has been no easy task for any school or learning group the last year.” 

Visit www.mountaineerhomeschoolhub.org to learn more about Mountaineer Homeschool Hub.

Contact hello@velaedfund.org to share your own nontraditional innovation.