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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

To Co-Op or Not to Co-Op?



Peyton and Lexi’s first day at Homeschool Co-Op.

Over our 8 years of homeschooling we have had seasons where we attended a co-op and other seasons where we chose not to. There were pros to being involved and cons to being involved. But with the right attitude it can be a great blessing.  Much of it also depends upon where we were as a family (in what season) and what sort of co-op it is and what kind of offering it has.

In the past we have attended co-ops that were really more enrichment opportunities and they were great for getting the kids out, and into the community and meeting new friends.

This year we had the opportunity to join a new local homeschool co-op. I considered our involvement in it. Now I happen to be a person who likes structure, and rules, and set expectations. And I really believe that for a co-op to be successful it needs people in place that can make it function according to those rules. I am happy to say that after a few weeks of being involved that I see that.

Another thing I had to consider was how many classes was I going to put the kids in? What mattered most to our family? How could this co-op help me meet my educational goals for my children this year? So I planned accordingly. For Peyton, I planned all major classes to be through the co-op. This wasn’t easy because as a homeschool mom, I think I tended to baby him more than I should have. I knew it was time for him to really step up and learn to be responsible for his own work, and to someone else besides mom. He is in 8th grade this year. Next year he will be taking High School courses.

I have to say that the first few weeks were a shock for him. Lots of work assignments, each class sent home a syllabus, etc. Every week they go over stuff in class (for one hour) then he goes home and studies on his own, works through problems etc. and then goes back the following week. Sort of like mini college. Or since I went to public school, I could compare it to going to public school one day, letting the teacher teach you, sending you home with a weeks worth of work and expecting it to be done when you come back. And their may be a quiz over the material.  Talk about stepping it up….Wow. this year he is taking Pre-Algebra. So imagine your public school child going to Pre-Algebra class for 1 hour-then going home and working through the rest of the chapter himself. Traditional public school kids would have 45 minutes a day of class room time/instruction and then have homework.

What It is teaching Peyton is that you are responsible for your learning. The teacher and parent is there to guide you on that path. But truthfully, it is not their job to TEACH you. God designed us to learn. We don’t have to have information spoon fed to us. If we don’t understand how to do something we need to gather the resources so we can get it figured out.

I am proud of him, he has really stepped up to the work load. Though he still says his favorite subject is Lunch, and second favorite is PE. LOL

We are still getting in the groove of how to do this, but I am liking the reward so far. And it is also helping me become a better parent, by helping me to let go. We as parents are to facilitate our children’s education. However we decide to educate our children. Whether it is through home educating, private educating, or public education. The parents are the ones responsible for making sure the child gets educated.

Peyton in one of his classes. The boys grouped together, the girls grouped together. I have to admit they don’t look real excited to be there. But after a few weeks I can tell he is adjusting to it.