- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 5, 2006

Opportunities for learning and adventure are all around. Our family has incorporated international travel, educational outreach to public school students, performing arts and technical training into our schooling. Other families have sailed the oceans, done archaeological explorations in the desert, or biked through Europe. We home-schoolers literally become “learners without borders.”

One exciting opportunity for college students is the Foreign Agricultural Service’s International Agricultural Internship Program, which gives students the chance to live and work at an American embassy overseas. They can learn about international trade, trade policy, international relations, diplomacy, regional and cultural issues and more — and even will be paid for their work.

Positions are available in Western Europe, Latin America and Asia. These internships are available to college juniors and seniors, as well as graduate students. Applicants must be in good academic standing and be a U.S. citizen. Preference will be given to students in business, international relations, regional, public policy or foreign language studies. The deadline to apply for the fall program is April 17. The application can be found on the Web site www.fas.usda.gov/admin/student/iaip/.

If your child loves video production, and is younger than 18, he or she may want to enter the LoveSmarts Film Festival 2006. Entrants must produce a five-minute video addressing the consequences of premature sexual activity or the benefits of delaying sexual involvement. The video must be received by April 10. Finalists will have their short film shown at the Loew’s Cineplex theater in Paramus, N.J., and the prizes include digital video cameras and hundreds of dollars worth of Mini DV cassettes. For applications, contest rules and more information, check out the Web site https://CultureMachine.com.

If your students are interested in finding solutions to international conflicts through service work, especially as part of their faith, they can take advantage of a free conference to be held March 22 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in the District. The International Conference on Faith and Service is an all-day event under the auspices of the Congressional Education Foundation and the National Conference on Citizenship. A special session will be devoted to a forum among youth of the three Abrahamic faiths. To register online, go to www.faithandserviceconference.org.

For a list of free resources on history, science, math, reading and technology information, visit https://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/cfapps/free/displaysubject.cfm?sid=2. One of the listings is for the National Archives, which has digitized photos of source materials from key eras in U.S. history. Students can virtually “see” the original documents of landmark Supreme Court cases, treaties with the American Indian tribal nations, genealogical information from the Immigration and Naturalization offices, and other fascinating topics.

Other links from this listing include NASA, for space and technology lessons, and closed-captioned videotapes on various topics that can be borrowed for free. Another section invites elementary and preschool children to read stories online with their parents and play interactive games.

These are just a few of the programs available to your family at little or no cost that can help your children learn in new ways. Exploring the world around us creates real learning, and allows us to apply the information and skills gained in other instruction. Enjoy the journey.

Kate Tsubata, a home-schooling mother of three, is a freelance writer who lives in Maryland.

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