Guest Author - Alissa Moy
Do you participate in a co-op program with your homeschooler? If not, it may be worth looking into for your homeschool family. As a general rule, co-ops for homeschoolers are made up of like minded moms (and some dads) who teach one another's children in a group setting. Usually each parent takes a turn teaching the other children, besides their own. Co-op size ranges from a small grop of three to five students to more then one hundred, depending on the group. Many co-ops are held in churches, recreation centers, public parks and family homes. Our co-op, Willow Creek, is large. There are classes offered for grade Pre-K through High School, with several choices each hour for homeschoolers to choose from. This is encompassing and alot of work! I am one of many moms who teaches, participates and enjoys this fellowship with other homeschool families. I love that my son gets to learn from other moms, and many of them are former teachers. The moms that volunteer to share their knowledge with others are creative and caring. When done in a positive way, a homeschool co-op experience can be rewarding and truly a blessing.
If you don't have a homeschool support group co-op consider starting one! Choose a place and regular time for meetings. There are many easy ideas for getting your feet wet with this journey. Here are some class suggestions that you might consider implementing:
1. Lapbooking- Gather fellow lapbookers to create one as a group. Choose a simple theme that all aged children can participate in, like jungle animals or a holiday everyone celebrates.
2. Poetry- Poetry is such a vast topic that each mom can teach the group a different style. From Acrostic to Limericks, a poetry co-op can be fun for everyone.
3. Drama- Maybe a fellow mom has a knack for acting, or musical theater. The choices are endless with Drama, ranging from skits to improvisational games.
4. Book Club- Does your homeschool group have many children at the same reading level? If so, starting a book club is an excellent way to encourage critical thinking skills. With book choices like Little House in the Big Woods to Harry Potter the choices for books are awesome. For younger children you could have a featured author co-op, like Eric Carle or Jan Brett.
5. Unit Study- Complete a unit study on a particular topic together as a group. This is a wonderful way for everyone to share ideas and skills with the group. I am not a skilled crafter, so I am always thrilled when another mom implements a cool craft with our co-op.
Coming up with specific class themes are not difficult-there are many creative classes that can be executed. Here are just a few of the really neat class ideas that you can try:
-Nutrition and Meal Planning
-Intro. to Sports
-The Four Seasons
-Holidays Around the World
Share your talents! Homeschool co-ops are a fantastic way to encourage socialization and teamwork for both you and your child!