On Mondays, we meet at the community gym for our physical activity classes. We have gym/sports for the youngest and the boys while I teach ballet to the older girls (ages 3 and up), then we have Art at a neighbor’s house and finally French at my house.
On Tuesdays, we will start taking turns hosting a mini play date (15min) with the older children (ages 3 and up) to get the wiggles out and to socialize through free play. When the 15 minutes are over, we learn Spanish here at my house, then Music at a neighbor’s house and finally Science experiments at another neighbor’s house. All the classes are half an hour long.
Once a month, we meet at our local community center for one and a half hours to do more of a focused lesson, play and have a snack.
In October, the themes were Halloween and Fall.
In November, our theme was Thanksgiving.
In December, it was Christmas.
In January, we learned about Martin Luther King Jr.
In February, our themes will be President’s Day and Valentine’s Day.
Read a book related to the theme we are having, we have a mini lesson, then we move on to the craft area to make a theme-related craft. We sometimes play a related game, too. After that, we eat a snack (mostly related, too) and then free play.
It is a little bit of work to get it organized, but the benefits far outweigh the work. I have an amazing team of moms (and a dad) that make it fun, easy and run smoothly. I cannot imagine our lives with these wonderful friends!
After each lesson, we type a short blurb on what we did in our lessons and upload any pictures that we took during the lesson. This keeps everyone in the loop on what the children are learning and help with review. Sometimes, we post a little homework assignment of something that they need to practice. We used to use a secret group on FB, but since FB changed its policies to basically own and feel free to use any of its users’ pictures, we opted to open a Google Plus (G+) account. It is great because we also have access to calendar. I am not a huge fan of G+, but it works for this.
How our co-op got started
It all started with a homeschooling neighbor learning about me teaching my children languages at home. She expressed an interest in her girls learning, too. I suggested her teaching Art (because she’s an awesome artist) to my child in exchange.
Then another neighbor learned of this and offered to teach music.
Another one wanted French for her daughter and in exchange, she was teaching from the curriculum “My Father’s World.”
A new homeschooling mom had the wonderful idea of joining and offering Science experiments in her home.
Since then, some have moved away and have added some more, so it never gets boring and we are always finding way of making it work well.
A friend of mine wanted her daughters to take ballet so they drive in on Mondays and in exchange, she does photo shoots for my family (because she is an awesome photographer).
During the Summer months, one of my neighbors was giving my son swimming lessons in exchange for French.
In our co-op, no money is involved. We all contribute in the teaching experience without money in the picture. It works out great for us.
Pray about finding people around you to start a co-op or about joining a co-op that is already established. It is a wonderful thing.
This is a letter I wrote to my ladies a few weeks ago:
“Ok, so here goes my quasi-emotional blurb:
I cannot begin to tell you what a God-send this co-op group is for us! After weighing our
choices and feeling that homeschooling is what is best for our family, I am sure you understand where we are coming from.
It hasn’t been easy “trusting” people with our children, even in educational institutions. So
having this group not only gives us, moms, a little break from having to plan AND teach certain classes, but it also provides awesome education for our children.
It has been researched and confirmed that homeschooling is viable, doable and in many ways, so much better than average education. And the fact that we are providing numerous educators for them (as opposed to only mom) through our co-op, I truly believe that we are going that extra mile and giving them an even better exposure to other teaching styles, to different creative types, to small group settings, to other homes and to other family cultures. I absolutely love and encourage that!