Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Huge Blessing - Our Homeschool Co-op

It is always amazing to me how the Lord tends to know what I need, even better than I do myself. Around the middle of last year I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with homeschooling and needed some support.  I had great friends who were supportive, but I really needed someone to talk to that understood the unique situations to homeschooling.  I ended up pouring my heart out in prayer one night, asking the Lord to help me find someone that understood, and could be supportive.  Two days later in church, out of the blue, I had a lady come up to me and said, "I hear that you're homeschooling? I homeschooled all of my children for years." 

I had never had such a direct, fast answer to a prayer. I was so emotional.  We talked for a bit, and she gave me some great resources and ideas to find some connections with other homeschoolers. I soon joined some online support networks, and it wasn't long till a mom posted that she was soon moving to Provo, starting her homeschool journey and was looking for some other moms to meet.  She lived right in my neighborhood. We connected, and the Lord has opened up doors and opportunities since that has been unbelievable.  

I slowly started to get to know this mom better, who introduced me to some of her friends. By the end of the summer three of us had decided we needed to form our own co-op.  We were led to two other amazing mothers and before we know it we had it all set up, planned and having been enjoying the ride ever since.

One day a week we get together. Here is a rough look at our schedule. Although we don't follow it exactly we still keep the same structure.

10:30: Meet and get started - Devotional together
11:00 - 12:00: First Class
12:00-12:30: Lunch
12:30 - 1:30 Second Class or clubs
1:30 - break up: Free time, play, go to the park if good weather, sit around chat with the other moms.

It eventually breaks up when we feel we can pull ourselves away from each other in time to make it home to throw dinner in. We started out with 5 families and right now are currently at 4. We take turns teaching and have the kids divided up into 2-3 groups depending on the subject. We have our littles class which is preschool - kindergarten ages, and then our other group is children 7-11. We have a nice variety of ages, a good mix of boys to girls.

Here the little class is trying sushi and chopsticks for the first time based on their lesson about Ping from the FIAR curriculum which we decided to do for this semester.  We've had history classes looking through cultural cases from the BYU Museum of People and Cultures. It's a large trunk filled with artifacts, activities, and information from various cultures and civilizations.  They are really awesome. Our only regret was not extending each culture out for a couple of weeks so we could do the activities, as well as go through all the great artifacts from the culture.

We've had science classes, creative writing class, history on famous Americans, and art classes. This photo was our day of shooting off our volcanoes we created for science.  Right now we are trying to incorporate some more club type of classes that the children' can choose from or help teach. Things like cooking, legos, crochet, board games, outdoor games, dancing, balloon tying, cake decorating, etc.

This experience has been so amazing for me.  Not only has my children benefited from knowing and being around other families that have chosen to homeschool. But they are making strong friendships with both the other mom's and children. They are learning, having lots of fun, and being built up by some amazing families. It has been great to see my kids do work and write for these other moms when it is a subject that they would fight me about.

I personally have gotten so much from the co-op. It has truly been what I have needed. Friends that I can talk to about the various aspects of homeschooling and life. I feel like my own education has grown as I've learned from the skills and talents that these ladies have. These moms are doing things for the right reasons, and are so focused on following the Lord's will for their kids, that it's inspiring.  They have impacted me in ways that I won't be able to ever forget them, nor will I be the same person I was before I had known them.

I love it when Thursdays roll around.  I get to leave all my cares, worries and other obligations behind, and I can just go relax for the day teaching these great kids, visiting and sharing with the other moms and coming home rejuvenated to go for another week.
If you live in the Utah Valley area,  and are thinking of homeschooling or already are, there are a couple of great online forums where you can get information on events, play dates, field trips and lots of other great info. Here are some links to where you can sign up.

WHEN (Wasatch Home Educators Network)


The Mrs. said...

How wonderful! I think your group sounds just perfect! I've often thought something like that would be so nice! I love the artwork from your students as well. I'm impressed!

Aimee said...

Love the post and the pictures! You too have been a wonderful addition to my life! Miss you! Maybe when it gets warmer....we could meet at the park. :)