GREENDALE, Wis. — In the 2021-2022 school year, there were more than 29,000 Wisconsin students in a homeschooling program. According to the Wisconsin Department of Instruction, that’s up nearly 9,000 in the last five years.  

What You Need To Know

  • Field Workshop opened in Greendale in 2020

  • It started as a “tinker shop” where kids could come in to build and create

  • Now, they teamed up with the Greendale Parks and Recreation department and school district to offer enrichment programs for homeschooled and virtual learning students

Field Workshop in Greendale, along with the Greendale School District and Greendale Parks and Recreation, launched a pilot program in the fall to help enrich those students.

Alex Dollar is an instructor at Field Workshop. She teaches different classes involving science, technology, engineering and math.

One of the classes she teaches is called “Storybook STEM.” 

“We do stem topics that are based off of a picture book. We read ‘The Gingerbread Man’ today and then the children were learning about inclined planes and zip lines, and helping their gingerbread man run away as fast as they can,” Dollar explained. 

Ellie Marki is one of Dollar’s students. She spent a recent class building a bed for a gingerbread man to ride down a zip line. 

“I’m going to make a basket for him and I’m going to make it like a bed so he gets some rest, so when he gets off of the zip line, he will still have lots of energy to run away from the children,” Marki said. 

To build that bed, she used lots of different crafting materials. 

“I’m using Popsicle sticks, tape, I’m going to use Q-Tips to make it comfy, and I’m going to use pipe cleaners,” Marki said. 

Marki is a fourth grader who just started homeschooling this year. She said she enjoys being able to spend more time with her mom, but she also enjoys coming to the Field Workshop for some extra classes. 

While it may seem like Marki’s just doing arts and crafts, building this vehicle for a cutout paper gingerbread man to ride on a zip line has a real life lesson. 

“Sailing a gingerbread man down a zip line is fun, but we also talked about in our group circle time like, how are inclined planes useful to use, and how engineers use inclined planes,” Dollar said. 

Using that creativity for real-world lessons was the goal for Erin Dummert when she and her friend started Field Workshop. It was meant to be a place for kids to come and create, and take arts and crafts home to work on. 

Both Dummert and her friend homeschooled their children and wanted to offer something a little more. 

“We wanted to kind of create a space where our kids could still take part in community activities and do some learning that was outside of our home, not to replace our homeschool curriculum but to supplement it,” Dummert said. 

Kim Amidzich, the Greendale School District superintendent, said she’s really enjoyed seeing the program take off in its first semester. She said being able to launch this pilot program is something the district has been interested in for a while. 

“We recognize that we had a number of families who were choosing homeschooling or virtual programs after the pandemic, and we wanted to know how we could help support the learning of those students,” Amidzich said. 

Since beginning the program, instructors said they’ve seen the classes aid in the students’ studies. 

Even though she’s homeschooled, Marki said she likes being creative and socializing with other kids. 

“You can be really creative and there are always other kids here,” she said.

The pilot program was already approved for a second semester in the spring. Field Workshop is offering 21 classes to school-aged kids. 

“It’s enrichment that I can’t bring to my own kitchen table for my child,” Dollar added. 

Field Workshop is still registering for the spring classes. You can find more information here.