HSA Not-Back-to-School Picnic: So What Did I Miss?

It’s an annual tradition for Homeschoolers’ Support Association (HSA) to throw its FREE and Open-to-All Not-Back-to-School Picnic in September each year, and this year was no different. The executive board met prior to the picnic to be sure all the details were in place to make the picnic a success. They spread the word in various online groups, posted flyers at local libraries, and personally invited anyone curious about homeschooling to the event. They purchased supplies and printed signs.

Colorful signs were posted to direct foot traffic to the event.

Colorful signs were posted to direct foot traffic to the event.

And they reserved a huge picnic shelter at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park that overlooked the beach on one side and the playground on the other. Several long tables were set along the walkway adjacent to the picnic shelter where executive board members could display free homeschooling resources, membership applications, and field trip sign-up sheets.

People could ask questions and sign up for membership or field trips at the picnic.

People could ask questions and sign up for membership or field trips at the picnic.

HSA Got Members Involved by Inviting Them to Bring Food and Games

Lots of crock pots with yummy dishes inside.

Lots of crock pots with yummy dishes inside.

Members brought a vast assortment of hot dishes in crock pots, fresh fruit from local gardens, and desserts, and a leisurely lunch was available for everyone who attended. Adults were able to talk and reconnect with families they hadn’t seen over the busy summer. Conversations sounded like this: “How old are your kids now?” “Your son is going to college this year?” “Have you started ‘school’ yet?” “What field trips are you going to?” Young kids and teens played on the playground or kept track of toddlers so moms and dads could talk. Older kids played with Boffer foam swords in the grassy field, and after lunch a mom organized some playground games and encouraged everyone to participate.

Everyone was Rewarded with Sub Zero Ice Cream and Yogurt

Sub Zero Ice Cream was a big hit for everyone!

Sub Zero Ice Cream was a big hit for everyone!

The big event after lunch was an hour-long interactive science presentation put on by Jack Walsh from Sub Zero Ice Cream and Yogurt in Federal Way. Kids and adults observed how liquid nitrogen can be used to freeze fresh ingredients into ice cream. They learned about nitrogen, gas laws, and the Leidenfrost effect. But the best part was eating the FREE ice cream afterwards!

Making Connections with Other Homeschoolers is Fun

HSA had a total of 41 families who attended; 28 current member families and 13 families who were not yet members. The objective of the picnic was to let families kick-start their year with a fun celebration and to connect families curious about homeschooling to the resources they need. Some families wanted to know about the law (“What do I need to do to homeschool my children?”); others wanted to find homeschoolers in their neighborhoods to set up playdates for their kids during the week. Some people came to discuss burn-out and receive encouragement along their journey. No matter what brought families to the picnic, it was easy to see that that everyone had a great time. We’ll do all again next year. Hope to see you there!


Kelly Malleck is a homeschool mom to two teenage daughters, one in high school and one in middle school. She is the advertising manager for HSA and enjoys writing articles to inspire others. If you would like to share an article with other homeschoolers, please contact Kelly at kellymalleck@comcast.net

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