Homeschooling As A Group

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While I am not ready to join a co-op any time soon because we have tried it and it does not fit our family, I know many homeschooling families love the idea. If you do not have a co-op nearby or if you want to start your own, here are some tips to help you in that endeavor.

A homeschooling co-op is made up of families choosing to team up with other local homeschooling parents and teaching their kids together as a unit, taking it in turns to run lessons.

There are many benefits that come with this kind of small group teaching, such as that different parents with different skills can focus on different areas of education. For instance, parents with a strong mathematical knowledge can teach math, while parents with good grammar skills can teach English. Moms who love sports can teach sports education, while dads with a passion for travel can teach geography. Continue reading »

There’s no getting away from the fact that homeschooling as a group can be highly beneficial for parents and children alike. However, there can be some teething problems to begin with. That being said, if you take note of these tips, hacks, and pieces of advice, you can make the process of adapting to homeschooling as a group much easier and less stressful.

 

Put a plan in place

The first step is to put a plan in place. What you need to do is sit down as a group and talk through how it will work teaching your children together. Will you separate the week into different parents for different days or will you choose to separate up the subjects with different parents teaching different topics depending on their skills and knowledge?

You need to think about this and work out what you want to do. Say, you opt to give each parent a different topic to teach, consider suggesting that each parent undergoes some training for their topic. Say, for instance, you are assigned the role of guidance counselor, you might want to look into doing a master of education school counseling online. Ambitious, I know, but many parents already have the desire to go back to school for themselves. It’s just a matter of finding the right man for the job.

Or, say you are going to be teaching English, you may want to do a course on the English language. Your kids deserve the best education possible, so taking some courses could be worthwhile. It doesn’t matter how you choose to work things out in terms of who teaches what, just as long as everyone is happy and your children are getting the high-quality education that they deserve.

 

Create a curriculum everyone is happy with

As for the curriculum, it’s important to put together a plan that everyone is happy with. As a group, discuss the important aspects that everyone would like included in the curriculum, as well as what the law says you must include. If there’s anything that an individual parent wants their children to learn but no other parents are keen for their kids to learn about it, then they can teach them that separately. The key is to create a plan that ensures each of your children will learn everything that they need to know to keep them on track with other children their age in terms of their knowledge and skills.  

 

Focus on the children

It’s important to remember that when it comes to homeschooling your children as part of a group, that it’s the kids who are most important. Make sure that you ask them what they want, such as if there are any subjects that they would like to learn, for instance. It’s also important to talk to them about teaching methods, to ensure that the ones being used they find effective and are able to learn with them in use. Don’t forget to find ways to reward them, such as by planning group trips to local attractions, for instance.

Homeschooling as part of a group could help to make the process of home educating your children easier, as you will give you the help and support that you may need.

 


SchoolhouseTeachers.com Review

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SchoolhouseTeachers.com is the best thing for homeschool since sliced bread. The yearly membership option is the way to go if you want to save money – yours for only $139 for the entire family. There are so many courses to go through. You don’t want to be limited by time as you would be if you invested in this educational opportunity only one month at a time.

If you want a co-op experience, by all means take your children to a brick-and-mortar co-op in your area. We tried it and loved it, but we had to give it up after one semester because of the drive (50 minutes one way).

My children were five and two at the time. We chose only three courses per child because it would have been too much to stay there the whole day, for five courses each. It was tough to wake them up early once a week, too. Over time, the ride wore them down. I got worn out, too.

So, needless to say, I am pretty excited about SchoolhouseTeachers.com, where I can access more than 50 courses for the same amount of money, no alarm clock and no commute. Online learning rocks.

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These courses are for all school ages, from preschoolers to highschoolers, and there is plenty in there just for mom – like convention recordings (I listened to one by Heidi St. John), planners (right there I saved at least $40 on a planner for me and one for my son who is in kindergarten) and e-books (149 of them by the end of the year).

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Since my son does math on a first grade level and reads on a third grade level, while his official grade is kindergarten, it’s nice to have a buffet of courses on different levels. This allows for a customized education – one of the main advantages of homeschooling.

As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I receive a free membership for a year and let me just say this: my homeschool experience has already improved in only ten days of taking advantage of this online learning source.

We accessed preschool activities and crafts from the pre-K/elementary tab by clicking on Homegrown Preschool and Schoolhouse Preschool. I’ll be really honest and tell you that after reading through some of these activities I felt discouraged because making cinnamon-scented ornaments, glittery peppermint playdough or minty green goop seems overwhelming to me.

I would rather cuddle up with my children with a stack of books. I read to them for an hour straight and we only pause for water breaks. But then, I know they really enjoy crafts, so where is the balance?

Luckily for me, the preschool section contains lots of crafts and activities that fit my position on the arts-and-crafts spectrum, like Stained Glass Canvass or Painting Sunflowers.

As I looked through the Elementary Student Planner, I found a cute song in the geography section about the seven continents. I was not planning to teach my children the continents this year. But guess what? They know them because we sang this song a couple of times, in front of a world map, for the past few days.

Then, there’s the Charlotte Mason section – 16 weeks worth of how-to articles and free resources to implement a Charlotte Mason education in your home. I so look forward to systematically going through it starting on January 1.

I have already skimmed through it and found a great blog post from Ambleside Online about establishing the routine of tea time. Slowing down at 3:30 pm to brew herbal tea and smear jam on scones goes against most of the grains in my body, except the one that says, “Take time to enjoy your children.”

I have a strong tendency toward Classical Education, which is why I am happy to see there are courses in Classical History and Classical Archaeology. However, I love the Charlotte Mason approach, too and was looking to create a moment in the day when I do not interact with my children while keeping in mind specific goals. I think I just found it, through tea time.

Sure, we open A Year in Art and look at two or three paintings, according to their interest. And yes, we open the atlas so they know where Louveciennes or Delft are – locations mentioned in the paintings.

But other than that, we sit there and put something sweet and warm in our tummies and talk. I let them open the conversation and bring up whatever topic they want to talk about. I have already found out some things about my children of which I was not aware. And that’s the main reason I homeschool my children – to enjoy them, to get to know them, and to give them the best of me – however much or little it represents.

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