Friday, August 3, 2012

Cool Co-ops

Coming to a close...  it's Day 5!
Back to Homeschool Blog Hop
Topic:  Co-ops


Co-ops have played a large roll in our homeschooling journey to date.  My kids have learned so much from their teachers, had lots of fun, and built some lasting relationships.  For multiple reasons, as you'll see below, I find participation in co-ops to be both beneficial and valuable to children and parents alike. 
  • Children have the opportunity to learn from someone other than Mom & Dad.
  • In most cases, they are learning from an "expert" in that field or at least someone who has taken the time to educate themselves and is quite passionate.  (Looking forward to the day when my kiddos are old enough for some of the home ec. classes... thank goodness someone else can teach that subject!)
  • Children are able to participate in cooperative learning and large group activities.
  • Field trips!!!  Homeschoolers LOVE field trips and with a co-op you are able to take advantage of the school group rates at museums, theatres, historical sites, etc.
  • Accountability!  Knowing that you meet at a certain time every week and have certain responsibilities (as students/teachers/or both) keeps your learning at home on track. 
  • SOCIALIZATION - that big buzz word that non-homeschoolers are so very concerned about - hahaha!  Yes, a co-op is the time that children are able to hang out with their buddies and learn something cool at the same time.
  • Mom (and/or Dad) have some time for relationship building as well.  Co-ops often allow time for parents to socialize, plan together, have Bible study, pray, and encourage one another.
With our upcoming move, we are not participating in any co-ops at the onset of this school year.  However, once we are in Nashville and get settled, one of my top priorities will be to find a group to plug in to.  While we may have missed the window of opportunity to participate in the educational and enrichment classes, I'm hoping we'll be able to attend social activities, outings, etc. in order to begin building relationship in our new home.

While I don't know what our co-op future holds, I'll give you a quick look back at some of the fun we've had over the past couple years.

1.) HYPE - Homeschool YMCA Physical Education
  • Somehow I missed out taking any pictures the entire year we participated in this program.  It was great, and I felt I got a LOT of bang for my buck.  For $40, my 3 kiddos enjoyed 40 minutes of swimming lessons, 40 minutes of fitness/p.e. games, and 40 minutes of sports instruction each week.  This was often the highlight of my kiddos week.
2)  Five In A Row
  •  With a large group of families, we "rowed" our way through FIAR Vol. 1 & Vol. 2.  We met twice a month at our local county extension office, and the mommies rotated leading the two-hour class.  During class, we'd read the book again together, and participate in a wide range of activities.  Geography, math, literacy, music, art, crafts, cooking, constructing, outdoor activities, special guests, etc. - we did it all! 

3) Galloping the Globe
  • Along with two other families, we studied countries and cultures.  Last year, we hit the Europe, Asia, and Oceania.  Again, the mommies rotated teaching responsibilities.  When we were together, we reviewed geography facts, practiced saying words in various languages, learned about famous historical figures, artists, and musicians, played games, sang songs, crafted, cooked, and enjoyed some ethnic cuisine. 

  • We spent half a year in a very large homeschool group that had well over 100 students K-12.  In my kiddos K-1 class, there were 25 students.  They enjoyed an anatomy class, History of Little Pilgrims, music, and gym.  Mid-year, for various reasons, there was a split.  We opted to go with the smaller group to a new location, but the kiddos ROCKSTAR science teachers just happened to make the switch as well.  They LOVED learning about their bodies and how God created us in HIS image.  They were also able to continue with music and add an art class. 

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