Tuesday, May 7, 2013

To Co-Op or Not?

When you homeschool there is something you can join called a co-op.  It is a group of homeschooler's who join together one or more days a week to share the teaching load.  Most of my friends are part of a co-op and they absolutely love, love, love it!  They have found a community of families that become like family to them.

Every year we have explored joining a co-op and every year we feel like it is not the right time for us to join.

I have wanted to feel the peace about joining a co-op.  We went to an informational meeting last week and I was pumped!  I was hoping that maybe next year would be the year we jumped on the bandwagon.

But when we came home and talked about it we were both in agreement.  Next year is not our year.  And I was kind of sad about it, but am certain we both heard the Lord the same on the issue.

One of my favorite things about teaching the boys at home is the freedom and flexibility we have.  It is seriously wonderful and a big asset.  We have such a full life and freedom to take advantage of different kinds of opportunities.

Next year will be my 4th year to have the boys at home.  Recently I have heard other mom's talk about how you find your groove and there comes a point when you settle in to what works best for your family.

I get that.  We are settling in.  We have found our groove.  It's a laid back groove.  Every day we read, write, practice math and spelling.  But it's not a rigid thing.  Our homeschool is not a mini-public school classroom mimicked in the home.  It is a little of the necessity of learning the basics and a whole lotta living real life together.

My non-negotiables are every day you have to read, write and practice math.  My hope is that our boys will develop (with our help!) a passion for reading and thus develop a passion for learning.  Our history and science lessons have been through the venue of reading good stories on the topics.  I never enjoyed the learning part of school-it is so sweet to watch my wide-eyed boys as they listen to a story being read.  They don't even realize they are learning!

There is a quote that says something along the lines of, "There is no education but self-education."  I wholeheartedly agree with this.  My boys can memorize something to pass a test.  But when they read about it and internalize it themselves, it becomes part of who they are.

In school I studied for many tests.  I could learn the answer to make the grade.  And I don't remember half of it.  But the things I've studied on my own, the things I discovered on my own, those are the things that have stayed with me.

We are wrapping up the year.  I had hoped to be done at the end of April and we're almost there but have a few more things to complete.  What a sense of satisfaction to see a handful of books we finished and mastered.

There is probably always going to be the temptation to wander if we did enough.  Beginning in 3rd grade, all homeschooled kids take a standardized test to make sure they are on track.  I think that will give me a huge sense of relief, just to make sure we're on the right track.

If you are considering bringing your kids home, my top pick for a resource is Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay Clarkson.  I refer to that book all the time.

Our boys are watching us go through the process of seeking God's will on starting a ministry house (where we invite college students to live with us).  To me, regardless of where they attend school, these are the most valuable types of lessons they will learn from us while under our roof...learning how to follow God and seek His will.


Anonymous said...

I just want you to know that I absoutely enjoy reading your blogs!! I'm not even sure how I came across your blog but I am glad I clicked on "bugs and sunshine." I am a public school teacher and have recently resigned so I can stay home with all three of my kids and start homeschooling 2 of them that are of school age. Some of your posts absolutely have me rolling over laughing. I feel like I know you and always look forward to reading what is on your mind!!!

New Every Morning said...

So we are finishing up our 4th year. We tried the co-op thing the 1st year and it wasn't a great experience. So the last 3 yrs I've said no thank you. Next year will be very different for us as my oldest will be at public high school. Co-op might be a possibility. Flexibility, right? I'm still praying about it for next year. Could you just move to NC and we could have our own coffee group, er, I mean co-op?