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Friday, August 29, 2014

Homeschool Co-op Class Plans 2014-2015


Homeschool Co-op Class Plans 2014-2015 {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Lots of changes happenin' in our co-op this year.  

Lots of changes.

But, as with all changes, these alterations bring an element of excitement and anticipation.

Changes 

Changes in membership

Due to some scheduling conflicts, the Architect's family has opted to step out of co-op...at least for the year.  It was with much sadness that we said goodbye but with hope that we'd still have opportunities to play and learn with them in church and on special field trips.  

Homeschool Co-op Class Plans 2014-2015 {The Unlikely Homeschool}
A morning trip to the county fair.

With wide open-arms, we welcome a new family into our midst...new to our group, but not new to our homeschooling community.  The Builder's family with their five smiling blondies is such a wonderful addition to our group.  Our kids have already begun to make lasting memories with them as they have joined us for a few summer-time outings.  The Builder is currently running for a State House of Representatives seat.  So, it will be quite an adventurous year for them.  We're honored to come along side them on their journey.

Changes in venue

We had been meeting in the two conference rooms of our local library.  But, it was clear by the end of the last year that we were outgrowing the space and that we needed a more kid-friendly location.

We have made arrangements with a local church to rent a few rooms a few times each month.  God not only provided a wonderful space complete with outdoor play area and nursery, but one that is well-under our original budget plans.  

Homeschool Co-op Class Plans 2014-2015 {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Changes in classes 

For the past two years, we have divided our kids into two age groups...BIGS and LITTLES.  The Bigs' class has "traveled the world" with a look at the culture and geography of countries all over the globe; while the Littles have enjoyed a gentle book club of sorts patterned after the ideas found in the Five in a Row resources.

For more information on these two co-op classes, head here>>

This year, however, we will be mixin' it up.  We have divided the year in half and will offer two classes during the first half of the year and one class and one ministry opportunity for the last half of the year.  The Littles will continue with their book club as we feel it makes for a fabulous unit-study approach to group learning.  

Semester 1 Schedule

The Littles (ages 1-6)

Each morning during the first semester, the Littles will head off to the nursery/preschool wing of the church with the Deputy's Wife and the Builder's Wife to participate in their book club. Their room has a half-wall divider in the middle.  The toddlers can play with toys on one side of the wall and the Little learners can sit at a table and do some group learning on the other.  We love this set up because it mimics the learning environment of our homes...kids of all ages learning and playing TOGETHER. The two moms will trade off hosting the club every other time until January. The mom who is not hosting/teaching will be in charge of the toddlers.  (In an upcoming post, I will be sharing the books and themes that the book club will focus on for the year.)

Homeschool Co-op Class Plans 2014-2015 {The Unlikely Homeschool}
Testing the abilities of three different leavening agents

The Bigs (ages 7-13)

The Bigs will meet each co-op morning in one large room to have a few minutes of "visit" time and then will be randomly divided into two groups.  One group will be with the The Radio Announcer's wife and the other group will begin the day with me.  Since the groups will be divided randomly, the kids will have lots of opportunity to collaborate with different ages and personalities.  Session 1 will last for 45 minutes. Then, we will all come together in a large room for a group snack/visit time which will last for about 15 minutes.  After snack time, the kids will swap.  Whoever started the morning with the Radio Announcer's wife will now be in my group and vice versa.  We, moms, will then repeat our 45 minute morning lesson/activity with our new set of kids.  

Homeschool Co-op Class Plans 2014-2015 {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Semester 1 Classes

Group Games

The Radio Announcer's wife will be teaching a class on group games.  These will consist of old table games like Bridge and 500. There were three main reasons we considered when we chose this topic for a class.  
  1. Games challenge critical thinking skills and promote many great character-building opportunities.  Since most of the kids in the BIG group are the first and second borns of their households, they often don't lose at games...when playing with younger siblings.  We wanted to give them an opportunity to play with kids of similar age and ability in order to learn how to win with grace and lose with honor.  
  2. We wanted our kids to learn some long-forgotten games that some of us moms don't even know how to play.
  3. We will be using these SPECIFIC game-playing skills during Semester 2 at our ministry outings.  
Homeschool Co-op Class Plans 2014-2015 {The Unlikely Homeschool}
Giving a speech about Ancient Greece

Public Speaking

As a public speaking minor in college, I have learned to loooooove the art of delivering a message with conviction and passion.  I will be introducing gentle activities designed to teach many of the skills necessary to speak effectively and expertly.  (In an upcoming post, I will be including the course outline for this class.  Be sure to watch for that in the near future.)  Our reasons for this class were also three-fold.
  1. As homeschoolers, natural public speaking opportunities are not always easy to come by.  We have to be intentional to provide them and seek them out.  This class will create many occasions for delivering a message to a large group.
  2. I'm a firm believer that what is often mistaken for "shyness" is really just a quiet self-centeredness.  Often times a person slinks away from speaking up because he is more concerned with what others will think of him.  He can not focus on the message he needs to deliver, because he is more concerned with the messenger (himself) and how everyone will be looking at and perceiving him.  As Scripture says, we need to "be ready to answer to everyone who asks [us] to give the reason for the hope that [we] have." In order to do that, a person needs to care enough about another person...and less about himself...to look an individual in the eye and speak with clarity and boldness.  (Phil. 2:4 "not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.) Obviously, God created different personality types...both introverts and extroverts...but BOTH personalities are encouraged to live without fear and "be ready to answer".  BOTH personalities are not to live in a "spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. (2 Tim. 1:7) So much of shyness is wrapped in fear.  Is a Christian to live in fear?  I hope to answer this and many more questions in my class.
  3. These will be skills that will definitely come in handy during Semester 2 at our ministry outings.  

Semester 2 Schedule

The Littles

For semester 2, the basic format of the Book Club will remain the same.  The only significant change will be that The Announcer's Wife and I will take over hosting responsibilities.  

The Bigs

The second semester will be divided in half.  The first half will find the entire group of Big kids heading out on a morning ministry field trip to a local nursing home.  For the second half of the semester, they will return to a large room of the church to have one large collaborative class.

Homeschool Co-op Class Plans 2014-2015 {The Unlikely Homeschool}
A double-edged labrys from Grecian history

Semester 2 Classes

Adopt a Grandparent

The Builder's Wife has connected with a local nursing home to create an adopt-a-grandparent program for our kids.  They will each be assigned one elderly resident that they will continue with for the duration of the semester.  Each morning, our group will meet our "grandparents" in a large community room and spend a few hours chatting with them and playing table games together...the same two skills learned in Semester 1.  We hope that by the end of this time, they will have learned enough about their "grandparent" to complete the first project in the second class of the semester. 

Make It!

The Deputy's Wife has created a list of projects which will require both individual effort as well as group collaboration. Each class period, which will last for the entire morning, she will assign a different project or projects that the children will have to create/develop.  She will give a few basic guidelines and suggestions, assign partners/groups (if applicable), spread out an assortment of supplies, and say "Go!" The kids will, for the most part, be on their own to problem solve, design, and communicate to complete the day's task. The first assignment will be to create a biographical time line of their "grandparent's" life span in comparison to historical events that took place during their lifetime.  Other projects might include the following: build a rocket and make your own board game.  (I will be sure to include the full list of projects in an upcoming post.)


A year of collaborative learning!

The people, venue, and classes might look a little different, but the point is still the same...to live and learn together all for the glory of God!

Looking for tips to start your own cooperative adventure?  Be sure to check out my tips for launching a successful homeschool co-op>>

7 comments:

  1. That sounds like a great year! You guys are amazing!!!
    My hubby ran for State Rep about 4 years ago (it was a 2 year "run") and came in a close second. Then he ran for County Commissioner, which is the title he currently holds. Tell your friend that she has my prayers! Running for political office is a wild ride!

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    1. Thanks, Heidi! It's been fun to help out in his campaign...at least in the small ways we are able to. He will make a great representative as every one of his platform issues and beliefs are rooted and grounded in Scripture and the ORIGINAL beliefs of our country.

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  2. I've read your blog for a while, and I've found some great insight into homeschooling. However, I take issue with your idea that shyness is really self centeredness. You must not realize what an introvert is. They are observers and quite intelligent. They need time to process it all and see how it works. Their 'shyness' isn't self centered, but how God made them. We all can't be extroverts.

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    1. There is a difference between being an introvert and being shy. Even extroverts can be shy. I know I am at times. An introvert is a person who likes quiet...who processes things internally...who is reflective. A shy person is one who often refuses to relate to another person out of fear. I believe that God created introverts and extroverts but that He commands ALL of us to "consider the interests of others ahead of our own." Philippians 2:4. which is the very opposite of what a true display of shyness is.

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  3. I have read that you and the other mommas get together in July to plan and prepare for co-op. My question is, does one momma "take charge" or is the "leader of the pack"? It is a very well organized co-op and am just wondering if it took one momma to start the ball rolling on the plans and the others to tweak and offer alterations. Thanks for your blog!

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    1. We, technically, don't have a leader. Every mom gets an equal vote in any decision that needs to be made. But to be truthful, I tend to be the most dominating personality of the bunch. So, I am usually the instigator of meetings and plans. That being said, however, we all come to the meetings with ideas to toss out to the group. Throughout the planning session, we give pros/cons of each idea and take a vote on the ones we like best based on the needs of the kids and our abilities to teach/facilitate. We try to start our planning sessions by stating what we each thought worked and didn't work about the previous year. This always helps to narrow our class decisions down.

      It also helps that we all have very different personalities and strengths which helps to fill in every hole.

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    2. Ah! Thank you! Very insightful.

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