Monday, September 16, 2013

Too Busy to Blog

I know everybody understands the title of this post.  It seems that the past eleven weeks I have been very busy. I don't understand exactly everything I have done as it seems I still have unfinished projects that needed to be completed two weeks ago.

I still do not have us moved into our new schoolhouse. After a summer of mild weather it suddenly got scorching hot and I was unable to get in the room to do the painting. I do have almost all the painting done now but the use of the roller brush has my back aching. Besides, the new Co-Op development has been very time consuming as well.

New Co-Op?  Didn't I tell you about this before. Finally, there is a place that we can go as a group of homeschoolers that I can share ideas with and homeschool in our own style. No specific religious affiliation but also not something that has to include the word secular. When to try to avoid all the limitations and forced ideas from a strict religious cooperative it seems all you can find is the exact opposite.  It meant that there was no place in between. I was not a participant last year in the prior cooperative or participate in the Master's Lyceum for group classes. I do not know the particulars of Master's Lyceum and why the "leader" decided to give it a rest for the fall but I am thankful to the Lord for whatever He had planned.  The closure of ML did lead to a very small cooperative within the group but it seems to be a very closed situation and unless you are a member of the cooperative everything about it is rather silent on the rest of the local homeschool community. Needless to say, it did spark others to talk. Finally, seven of us and eventually about a dozen of us began having weekly meetings as we discussed the formation of a new cooperative.  I knew that I could not be the only person out there that did not see the value of the prior options. Thus the formation of the Collinsville Homeschool Cooperative was completed.

It is stated clearly that we are not a religious or a secular cooperative. We are an educational homeschool cooperative. We honor people from all walks of life with the common denominator being homeschool.  It has opened the way for people form the Catholic faith to participate as well, there was not a reasonable option for them at all.  We will not exclude group classes that are Biblically based but will be sure to include it into the class description. Group classes you ask?

Yes indeed. A church in Collinsville agreed to let us use their facility. When we sat down at the table and began planning classes it was stated that if the only people who come are our own children then we will still be a success.  We put out the information in the social media networks and currently have a Facebook page.  The FB page has 165 members but many are just watchers at this time. The paid membership ended up being for 57 families. We have 21 teachers and some teach more than one class. Every family must volunteer to be part of the cooperative and they go where the need it greatest to make the day a success.  We have four class hours and an hour for lunch. The lunch period is broken up between ages so that the biggest kids can play in the huge gym without the littler ones.  It seems we have a fair size group of older kids which is great for many. 

Our first classes began last week in the co-op. From the inside looking out it felt like small chaos but many commented on the day and were pleased.  If somebody was not happy they sure did not let us know yet. 

I am teaching two different classes but more than once.  Magic School Bus is a popular class and I have two periods that it is offered. The fourth period had a waiting list and another parent stepped up to conduct an added class. So fourth period we have 24 MSB students in two different rooms.  The other class I am teaching is a self made curriculum. I call it Money, Maps and Measurements.  MM&M is a life skills class to teach about maps, trip planning, and cost associated with it.  In order to teach a class like this there are many times that we touch on different geography issues, math is used in most classes. To begin the class we began with a tiny overview of the history of maps.  After a brief discussion we made our own clay and created an ancient Babylonian map. To do this required measurements and measurement equivalents as well.  I hope the class meets my goal.  It continues to be a work in progress as well with the core lessons ready to go.

Oh yes, one thing about this CHC is that we also had a class fair at sign up time.  Each teacher was expected to have a small presentation on their table and the lesson plans available for review.  In the past I have had classes that we signed up for which clearly had not been planned out.  Proposals were provided and actually reviewed by the group (not one person who decides if it meets criteria for a class).  That is a tradition that we think will continue. 

So what about Faith and Grace? How is their school year going so far?  If you ask them you will discover they love the year thus far. That is because we have been so busy with archery classes, trip to the STL Science Center for a special Lost Egypt exhibit, a field trip to The Nature Institute for a class about prairies and math warm up. This week will be our first week of opening our books and getting to the nitty-gritty.  Owen has caught up in his development and Kelley will begin some play school with him. His play will try to be organized a small amount each day to colors, shapes, stacking blocks and such. He is into everything so it is possible that his presence in the school area will be limited.

His favorite activity is to carry a stool to any location that he cannot reach and find a way to reach it. He does not always have an item he is wanting, just the fact that he did it is enough. 

Our Girl Scouts have begun again as well.  To be honest with you, I may have bitten off more than I can chew but I will be a cow and keep at it for now.

I will try to improve on my blog post as we get into gear here.
Have a blessed day.