Top 7 Reasons to Join a Homeschool Co-op!

If there is anything I am passionate about it is encouraging other homeschool moms.  Whether they be veterans or brand new to the homeschooling way of life I want to do what I can to come along side them and give them a helping hand should they ever need.  Truthfully, I need it sometimes so I suspect most other moms do too.

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It has amazed me to watch the homeschooling community in my little corner of the world grow and flourish over these last 5 or 6 years.  I remember when there were just 3 or 4 of us moms, if that, that would gather at the library for a little social time.  We often looked at each other and wondered just what we should do.  After some time we started a Facebook group for our town.  It’s something like a bulletin board where people share events and perhaps ask a question.  What we lacked however was a real community.  A cohesive group where friendships flourished for both moms and kids.  A group that really met regularly so that community could grow.  We were stuck, the Facebook page didn’t seem to be making that happen.  What could we do.

On a whim we decided to experiment with a co-op.  Nothing too academic just something fun, social, and enriching.  A place to maybe try something new and to relax with friends.  Our first session was just 3 weeks long and had just 2 classes.  I can’t remember how many families were involved.  Maybe 8?  I’m not sure!

Now 3 years later we offer 9 classes a session, countless field trips, and we joined by around 35 families.  We recently hosted a “Not” Back to School Picnic for the entire community!  We had just about 100 children there.  It was amazing!  We’ve done it, we’ve created a community!  I want to share with you my

Top 7 Reasons to Join a Co-op

1. Because homeschooling is hard and doing it alone makes it even harder.

2. When you commit to a co-op you’ll find yourself at classes and events with a regular group of other homeschooling families.  Coming together often is how friendships are formed.

3. There are benefits to learning as a group! Whether it be the chance to work on a large project with many others, or just the chance to hear someone else’s ideas.  Group learning has its advantages.

4. Sometimes it is nice to let someone else take the reins for a bit.  I have watched in awe as my children have become excited about poetry because another mom taught them how wonderful it could be.  I was amazed at how much my children learned about human anatomy because another mom made it so cool.  Other moms are creative in ways I’m not.  What a great thing to take advantage of.

5. Co-op day is a nice change of pace.  My children look forward to co-op day.  It is the day they are sure to see their friends.  It is a day full of learning.  Yet it is different than what we typically do at home.  That can be refreshing for everyone!

6. Co-op gives moms a sure fire chance to check in with friends.  On a co-op day I can often tell with just a glance how some of my closest mom friends are really doing.  I can catch up with them, pray for them, and encourage them if it has been a rough week.  And yes, if I need some encouragement they are all right there for me.

7. Co-op offers us an opportunity to minister to others.  Our co-op often comes together to help out families in the community.  Whether it be meals when someone is ill or a collection when someone is facing tough times. Co-op already has a structure in place to get the word out fast so that help can be provided.

I think I mention it again… homeschooling is hard and doing it alone makes it even harder.

My co-op makes me feel like I’m not doing this alone.  And that is the best reason ever to join.

 

 

A Dose of Homeschool Reality! Day 3 of Back to Homeschool

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Not long ago I took a photo of my kiddos homeschooling to share on my Facebook page.  I was trying to give a little view of what our homeschool room looks like!  My husband seized the opportunity to share a bit of the reality of homeschooling.  I thought it was hilarious!  So I am sharing it with you!

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What Are We REALLY Striving for Here?: Day 2 Back to Homeschool

Homeschooling!  Why on earth do we do this?  I mean, I pay so much in taxes to pay for the schools (as do my neighbors whether they have children or not) that it seems foolish in some ways to not take advantage of the education being offered just a couple of streets away from my home.  I was public schooled.  My husband spent part of his school years in public school.  We both turned out pretty well if you ask me.  Why take on the burden educating my children myself?  Why give up a sweet income I’d make if I were still teaching myself.  Why all of the sacrifice?

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I’ll be honest.  This summer I had moments where I decided I couldn’t, I just WOULDN’T continue homeschooling.  If I say something like to that any of my friends I think they may faint.  The fact of the matter is any normal mother get’s tired.  I’m a normal mother.  I was feeling worn out, totally exhausted, and completely overwhelmed.  I had been neglecting my own health.  I was tired of living on a limited income.  I was tired of keeping all of the balls in the air that make this homeschooling thing work.  It felt so EASY to think about just sending them to school.  I had my husband so convinced I was done he even began poking around on our town’s board of education website to find out how to enroll them.

That’s when I realized I had to get back to focusing on WHY on earth I do this?

  • I do it because I believe the family should be the center of a child’s world.  Sending them to school makes school the center.  Schools are not healthy for anyone.
  • I do it because I believe God should be at the center of a child’s education.  God is not allowed in schools.  I don’t believe Christian schools can provide the kind of discipleship that I can walking every day with my children and serving on their more on-on-one guide through life.
  • I do it because I believe it is unhealthy for children to be surrounded by other children for hours on end day in and day. Children have not learned to be mature and upright.  Children need positive role models like their parents and carefully chosen adults.
  • I do it because I don’t believe a person can get a truly great education that is as wide as it is deep by sitting inside one building, perhaps even one room, day in and day out.
  • I do it because I value the sibling relationship and I believe schools often sever that bond.
  • I do it because I believe children need to be protected and I don’t believe schools protect children.
  • I do it because  someday soon as I launch them into the world I will know that I did absolutely positively EVERYTHING I could do to raise them to bring glory to God.  In the end I have to trust in Him to make it all work.  Please do not get me wrong.  I raising my children this way does not mean they will always walk closely with God.  Homeschooling isn’t a magic bullet.  I will rest easy knowing I did the best I could.
  • I do it because God has called me to do it.

There will come a day when I am once again worn out.  When school will sound like the easy path.  You’ll hit that day too.  Write day your list of why’s and put it some place where you can get to it easily.  Then on those days read it!  Read it out loud! SHOUT if you need to.  Never let go of the why’s.

 

To the New Homeschoolers Out There (and Veterans Too): Day 1 Back to Homeschool

Please click here to see all of the posts in my 5 day series: Back to Homeschool!

Summer is winding down.  A “new” school year is coming upon us.  In many parts of the country traditional schools have already started and my Facebook newsfeed already shows me that lots of my homeschool friends from around the country have started a new year too.  In our family we generally homeschool year round though we do so more gently in the summer.  We like the routine and the slower pace it affords us during the busier seasons so we keep up with the basics.

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I want so desperately to hang on to summer this year.  My children are growing so fast.  Fall means both of my boys will turn another year old. My oldest will turn 10.  His days of endless pretend play, fort building, and the fun and silliness of childhood are numbered.  The teen age years are barreling down the pike.  I only have 8 more years to be his homeschool mom and then I have to launch him into the world.  The last 10 have flown buy so I know the next 8 will too.  Wasn’t he just a baby in my arms?

To all the new homeschool moms and the veterans too… these are precious days that we’ve been blessed. Despite the chaos and stress that homeschool often brings I want to savor the good moments.  So to you I say…. Start the new year very very slow and let summer live on a while longer. All of the museums, parks, libraries, beaches will be emptying out. Now is the time to go enjoy them. So do it. Take out a stack of library books and read them aloud. Fill up the car, pop in an audio drama and hit the road to some further away field trip. Talk, laugh, draw, paint, and make messes. Add in just one thing, maybe some math, just a few days a week. Slowly slowly slowly build on that. If homeschooling is new to you then understand that it is a new way of living. It will take time to figure it out. New or veteran, give yourself and your kids and ocean full of grace.  Remember, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for both you and your children.

Just the other day I sat with a mom who is just starting down this homeschool journey.  We both realized that the world will look different as a homeschooler and that it’ll take some time to unlearn the old traditional school ways.  Later I got to thinking about some veteran homeschool moms we know (including me sometimes).  We get so caught up in getting it all in and getting it all done.  Life feels rushed where we go go go. No time to really stop, pause and observe. Sometimes we move through life, adventures, and experiences, and even our lesson plans too quickly. Once we’ve done something we have the attitude of “been there seen it.” To me that is just skimming through life and learning.  I want to dive deep! You must make time for that. It will take a long time for a new homeschool mom and her children too see the potential and down shift.  To realize how much an outing, a book, a field trip, or sometimes even a friend has to offer. These things are NOT meant to be skimmed over but to be soaked up.  We veterans likely already know but lots of us need a swift kick to remember and take advantage.  

When my kids grow up they won’t think much about our grammar curriculum we did, or the math pages we do. Important stuff yes! I want them to learn that too. But what will really really make a difference in their lives are the experiences we had together and the relationships we built between ourselves and our loved ones.  If I ask my kiddos to name the top 5 things they loved about homeschool the last year they will list slow days with friends at the park, long days on some of our craziest homeschool adventures, the stories we shared either aloud or on CD as we crisscrossed the state in our van, and the times we visited and revisited and revisited again our favorite museums.  Those experiences provided the most learning, had the greatest impact, and brought us close to one another.  I can’t wait for another year full of them!

 

5 Days of Back to Homeschool!

Back to Homeschool!  It is in the air! Traditional schoolers all over the country as well as homeschoolers are getting ready to crack open the books and start new in a great new school year.  I’d like to share with you some of the changes we’ve made in our homeschool for this year including how I’m coping with a new kindergartner and a crawling active baby underfoot. We’ve recreated our homeschool space as well, though it is a total work in progress.  I plan to share with you my favorite tips for starting off a new year well.  I’ve been given the opportunity to take part in a Back to Homeschool Blog hop as part of the  Schoolhouse Review Crew and Homeschool Blogging Connection.  I hope to make the series really helpful for you. Each day I’ll add a the link for the new post!

Day 1: To the New Homeschoolers Out There (and Veterans Too)

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop
Mark your calendars – 10 to 14 August – it’s time for this years Homeschool Blog Hop. The School House Review Crew and Homeschool Blogging Connection to bring you a week full of back to school encouragement.
We have 56 homeschool Mom’s sharing their combined wisdom and insights covering everything Homeschool related. That’s 280 posts of encouragement and information just for you!

Meet Your Back to Homeschool Blog Hop Hosts

Marcy @ Ben and Me
Debra @ Footprints in the Butter
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
Amy @ Homeschool Encouragement
Missica @ The Open Window: An Autism Blog
Misty @ Year Round Homeschooling
Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life
Heather @ Only Passionate Curiosity
Clarissa @ Counting Our Blessings
Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Monique @ Living Life and Learning

Rebecca @ Raventhreads
Karen @ Tots and Me…Growing Up Together
Rebekah @ There Will Be A $5 Charge For Whining
April @ ElCloud Homeschool
Brenda @ Counting Pinecones
Tara @ This Sweet Life
Tara @ Embark on the Journey
Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy
Annette @ In All You Do
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker

Joanie @ Simple Living Mama
Aurie @ Our Good Life
Jennifer @ A Peace of Mind
Jenn @ Treasuring Life’s Blessings
Kemi @ Homemaking Organized
Wendy @ Life at Rossmont
Katie @ DailyLife
Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Kim @ Homestead Acres
Melissa @ Mom’s Plans
Annette @ A Net In Time

Cristi @ Through the Calm and Through the Storm
Meg @ Adventures with Jude
Dawn @ Double O Farms
DaLynn @ For the Display of His Splendor
Monique @ Mountain of Grace Homeschooling
Steph @ Indy Homeschool
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Tawnee @ Adventures in homeschooling
Lisa @ Tales of a Homeschool Family
Jennifer @ Organized Home Organized School

Callie @ Mama’s Coffee Shop
Erin @ For Him and My Family
Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Margaret @ Creative Madness Mama
Nicole @ Some Call It Natural
Crystal @ Crystal Starr
Bonnie @ Write Bonnie Rose
Shawna @ Tenacity Divine
Carol @ Home Sweet Life
Kelli @ Adventure Homeschool
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Leah Courtney @ As We Walk Along the Road

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