We recently showed you how some libraries are making an impact by reaching out to their homeschooling communities. It’s not just libraries, however, who are striving to make a positive contribution to the ever-growing homeschooling community. Institutions, colleges, and businesses are also lending a helping hand to home educators and students.

In Peterborough, New Hampshire, Monadnock Community Hospital recently hosted a group of 62 homeschoolers for an informative and fun behind-the-scenes tour. The group, between the ages of 2 and 17, was given an inside look at the maternity suite (where they were shown how to swaddle a newborn), the radiology department (where they observed x-rays of broken bones), the surgical unit (where they were given a demonstration on how to cast a broken bone), and the physical therapy unit. They also were able to perform an operation on a patient named “Mr. Teddy Bear”, who apparently ate too many Hershey’s Kisses! It’s not often a group of students is able to get a peek behind the hospital curtains; kudos to this hospital for making it a fun and educational reality for homeschool students.

It’s especially encouraging and heartwarming to hear about colleges reaching out directly to the homeschool community. Brewton-Parker College, a Baptist school in southern Georgia, gets it. It actively aims to be a resource to the local homeschool community. Among its many laudable initiatives (such as allowing Classic Learning Test scores for admission consideration in addition to standardized testing, as well as offering new financial aid programs especially for homeschool students), Brewton-Parker invites homeschooled students to lectures, library exhibits, camps, and other local events. Homeschool families are able to register for a public library card at the college’s library, and Brewton-Parker’s assistant professor of music even created an extracurricular band…specifically for homeschoolers! Now THAT’S reaching out to the community!

We all know how hard teachers work–if you’re homeschooling, you’re a teacher yourself! And we’re also aware that a teacher’s salary isn’t quite on par with some of the more lucrative professions out there. In fact, if you’re a homeschool educator, odds are you’re actually SACRIFICING income to ensure your children receive the education you know they need. So it’s reassuring to know that there are some businesses out there who understand and recognize these challenges and offer a discount to their products and services to homeschooling educators. Companies like Apple, Barnes & Noble, Dell, Michael’s, Jo-Ann Fabric & Crafts, Scholastic, Staples, Books-A-Million, The Container Store, Adobe, Academic Superstore, and Silhouette show their appreciation by extending their generous teacher discounts to home educators; all you need to do in return is provide some paperwork.

We’d love to hear about other businesses, organizations, or institutions in your area that reach out to the homeschooling community. Please share your experiences in the comments below!