The homeschooling community of the Weyburn area will be holding their annual Wild & Free Handmade Market on October 25th at Knox Hall from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

It's an opportunity for the public not only to purchase handmade items for use or as gifts, but it's also a great way to encourage the students who are learning all about the real-life processes involved.

"Every year we have a handmade market for our Wild and Free students to make crafts, baked goods, gifts, toys, art, kind of whatever they're inspired to make that year," shared Megan Schick, a homeschool parent who is also part of the Wild & Free group here in Weyburn.

"It's a really fun atmosphere and it's a great opportunity for our students to buy, sell, trade with each other, create different products, think about product cost analysis, marketing, selling, making change, working on their people skills. And it's just a really fun activity for all of us to be involved and then come together,” she stated.

"We encourage the public to come on out and check out what the students have created, find some gifts, maybe for Christmas or for that special person that you're trying to find a gift for."

Schick said the students come up with the ideas and they create the items on their own with minor help from their parents. 

“Depending on their age and skill and level, ability and everything like that. So we've had things from wooden toys to art projects, hand drawings, painting, wreaths, crafts, costume accessories like flower crowns and capes and jewelry; lots of different types of jewelry, fun activities like little games that they can create, and board games that they can take home. We've even had some students who have written books and then printed out their little copies of their little story books and sold those as well.”

Baking is another huge hit at every Wild & Free handmade market as well.

“We've had monster cookies, pies, muffins, and homemade granola,” she listed. “There's lots of different fun baking things, and they're unique as well, not just your average simple cookies. We have some very creative bakers out there, some beautiful cupcakes get made every year, so very tasty treats to be had as well. And there are actually a couple times we've had some coffee salesman, which has been good to add to your baked goods. You can have a cup of coffee while you're there, visiting and moving around the market.”

Schick said anyone who attends this event would quickly realize the 'homeschoolers don't get properly socialized' is truly a myth.

“The socialization is happening on such a larger scale. They're interacting with people at the grocery store, they're interacting with people at the bank. They're interacting with their neighbours on a regular basis. They're interacting with all different age levels,” she pointed out. “We have students as young as babies to teenagers, and they're all involved in group activities, so they're getting to figure how to interact with different age groups across the board, and this is one prime example of the the culture that we create at the home school market.”

“So you'll see the kids are actively promoting their products and talking to adults and they're they're not shy about, you know, giving a little explanation about how they made it or how this could be a beneficial product for the person buying it.”

She said the culture of homeschool is socialization across a broader scale.

“They are learning a lot of life skills at home on a daily basis, because that's where our core academics are taking place,” she explained. “They're baking in the kitchen at lunch time or for breakfast or supper, and there's very much a hands-on mentality of, 'if you're gonna be in the house all day where we have to do chores, then we need to contribute as a whole to keep our space as pleasant as possible to to work in on a daily basis'. A lot of those life skills are they're being practiced from morning to evening all day long, as well as their academics and everything else.”

“It's a beautiful community we've created in Weyburn, and we're very proud of the atmosphere we've created, the acceptance that we have for one another, the compassion we have for one another, and for the other community members, and the fact that we can just get out there and help and support our community and that they support us. It's been just a really beautiful relationship that's developed over the past few years and the market is one of our main events.”

While the market is about commerce, for the students it's not about the money in terms of earning profits, but rather, it's about gaining experience.

“It's definitely experiential, especially when you're working with younger children. In the cost product analysis, you don't end up making money, it's a wash. But it's more for the experience of creating something, having the conversation after, 'while we spent this much, we made this much. Do you think we charged enough for our products, but next year, would you do anything different?' So it's definitely experiential.”

She said some who do turn a profit will put it back into their craft, or even donate it to an organization.

The event will take place during regular school hours, which Schick said is intended to make it a good place for some to stop by on their lunch breaks.

“Most people will just use that learning experience as their school. So just like if you were doing a project fair at a public school, you're going to learn so many different skills within that hour, you're going to be learning how to sell, you're going to be marketing your products, you're going to be making change. So you're going to be doing math. And you've spent a lot of man hours outside of academic hours building and creating these products to sell. So it's kind of a final project, I would say, for the homeschoolers, who have been busy creating and making in these next few weeks or have already started.” 

“They might do a little bit of math or reading or writing in the morning and then head to the market, and then that'll be their school for the day, and it's a social event.”

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