Archive

Posts Tagged ‘school year’

Choosing a co-op

January 22nd, 2013

For most of our homeschool years we have not involved ourselves in a co-op. However, there have been certain seasons when we have found them a helpful addition to our curriculum.  As we enter into a new year, many people find themselves beginning planning for next school year. Since we are still teaching and running a household the planning can be a long process, and it is beneficial to take your time and digest the resources, information, and opportunities that surround you.

Sharing from personal experience, I thought it might be helpful to put into writing some of the important considerations in choosing a co-op.

The top three I think are the most important — schedules, cost, and family fit.

Scheduling – Take some time to consider all of the scheduling ramifications of a co-op. You will be committed, each week on a certain day and time to be somewhere, whether it is all day or just an hour or two. This can be a great thing, but make sure it fits in your daily routine and your weekly schedule. Make sure you understand the commitment before jumping in. And, can you back out at the end of the semester if it isn’t a good fit? Especially if the co-op requires volunteer hours or the teaching of a class, all of those will fall on you as well.

Cost - Be sure to add up all the expenses — class fees, books, registration fees, per semester costs, etc. At one point I realized that instead of my child taking one class I would rather spend a little more on what we were doing at home and just enjoy staying put.

Family fit – What are your kids’ ages? Do they have programming available for everyone? Are you kids interested in the classes available? Are you still juggling naps? Consider each child and their needs and developmental ability to make sure it is a workable fit.

Reasons to skip it (at least for now)

Takes you away from each other – One of the huge joys of homeschooling is time together. Some homeschoolers spend much of each day in the car chasing opportunities for different children. Not wrong to take advantage of a beneficial time of learning, but sometimes you might find the greater benefit in staying home. Sometimes.

Immaturity and other issues- Another one of the many reasons that I homechool is that some of my kids would not have fit well into a classroom at the state designated age for kindergarten. They needed to run a bit still. Different kids at different ages will benefit more or less from a more structured class environment. Most co-ops are a little more flexible than a traditional classroom, but it is still important to consider the suitability of the situation to your child’s personality and level.

Husband’s perspective- Always seek unity. I don’t rush into anything without talking it over with my husband. Sometimes he leaves the choice to me and is fine either way, but other times he has a stronger opinion about our participating, or not, in a particular activity. I always value his perspective on the situation and want to make a decision that we both are comfortable with.

Other considerations –

Accountability - I think I hear this the most often for why people joined a co-op. They just wanted someone else on a regular, but not daily, basis keeping them and their child on track. Other homeschoolers are in exactly the same place as you and there is something wonderfully enlivening about seeing them once a week and knowing that the rest of the week they are grinding away at the assignments as well. Academic excellence is an important goal and if the co-op will gently keep you on that path, then that is a great reason to join.

Tough subjects — whether it is a subject you hate or one you just plain ol’ don’t understand, a co-op can be a real life saver in certain subjects. Whether it is high level math, speech, writing, or high school science (Physics played a role in our co-op consideration), you might find a co-op a great fit for filling your teaching gap.

Educational philosophy- They might not have to agree with your completely, but you will want to at least be compatible. Be sure you understand their approach and how it affects their classes (worksheets and books chosen, topics of study, class structure, etc.)

Time commitment – you will usually be required to assist, teach, or fill volunteer roles. Don’t forget about transportation times. This will cost everybody’s time if you have other kids at home that you are teaching.

Doctrinal statement – This may or may not apply to you, but this was a significant factor in our decision. Do they have one? Must the teachers agree to it? Must the families agree to it (one parent or both)? Are classes taught from a clear, stated worldview? Do you fit with it, or are you just “ok” with it?

Size and experience- Pros and cons both ways here. I prefer small and personal, others prefer large with lots of choices. Some might like fresh and innovative, others might prefer established and with a track record.

Behavior expectation- what do they expect in class and how do they enforce it? This is important to know if your child happens to be the one that struggles in a new setting or if he might be influenced by the “other kid” who does.

And, a few NOT good reasons to join a co-op :

(these may be way down on your list somewhere, but they will hopefully never be the driving force behind your decision to seek out a co-op)

Socialization - Hopefully you are as sick of hearing this as I am. Your kids need you, not a group of peers to show them how to relate in this world. Yes, they need to work that out with others at times, but you don’t need a weekly commitment to a co-op to accomplish that.

Default -Everyone’s doing it. Um, if everyone jumped off the cliff . . . ;)

Insecurity - Do seek out other homechool moms that can encourage you in your journey, but don’t assume that you need someone else teaching your child for them to get an adequate education.  There are lots of resources that you can use right at home in a subject that you struggle with.  Trust who God has made you to be and His wisdom in placing these children under your care. You can do it!

There is not one perfect co-op and even amazing co-ops don’t necessarily make a suitable fit for every family. Take your time and get to know the co-op, the leadership, some of the members, and even the facility. It does not matter if they worked well for others, what matters is if it will improve your homeschool or take away from it.

I know my bias comes through in this post and as much as we love what we have received and been able to offer through our current co-op, I am more of a non-co-op person. I just love being at home with my kids learning and living life together. But, I also know what an amazing tool a suitable co-op can be in your homeschooling arsenal, so weigh the decision, and enjoy another year of homeschooling whether it’s all under your roof or a little here and a little there.

Home School Village Enrichment registration open

April 28th, 2012

HSVE Co-op registration is currently open. For more information, you can request to be added to www.meetup.com/hsvenrichment to download registration forms.  If you have any questions, please email Tara at tromsaithong@gmail.com.

Home School Village Enrichment (HSVE) Co-op is committed to providing families with a high quality, low cost enrichment program that compliments the home schooling experience and provides a safe and nurturing environment for children and their families to grow in learning and fellowship with other Christian home schoolers.

We offer classes for children in preschool through JR. High.

Times and Location:
We will be meeting on Fridays, from 9:20-2:10, at the Village Church of Bartlett for 28 weeks during the 2012-2013 school year.

Tuition & Registration Fee:
Our tuition is $270 per child for the year. Tuition is to be paid the first week of each month from September through May ($30/student/ month, which is just under $10/week).
There is also a $10 registration fee due with your completed registration forms which will cover the cost of your child’s t-shirt. All students will be required to wear this shirt with their name on it each week to classes.

Extra Class Fees:

Some of our classes also have an extra fee in addition to the tuition. Extra fees will be paid in two installments. Half of your child’s fees will be due with your registration and the other half will be due in January.

You can see a full list of our classes by going to the MORE section and clicking on FILES. Then choose “2012-2013 Class descriptions”.

Class Sizes:
We are committed to keeping our class sizes small to ensure optimal learning opportunities for all the students. Class sizes will range from 6 to 12 students, depending on the class.

Classes are filled on a first come first serve basis.
Once a class is filled, subsequent enrollments will be placed on a waiting list.

Volunteer Time:
The volunteer time commitment will be one week on, two weeks off, or about 9 weeks out of 28 unless you are teaching a class. If you would like to help more or less than this, arrangements can be made on an individual basis (i.e. clean up help from 2-2:20 each week, fundraising coordination and processing from home, paying another mom to cover your volunteer time at $10/day, etc.). You will be contacted after your registration has been processed so we can find a volunteer position that best fits your time and talents. Childcare is provided free of charge for teachers and volunteers.

Enrollment
Registration Forms will be available in forms section of www.meetup.com/hsvenrichment site by April, 2012.

Registration open at CHAMPS

April 16th, 2012

New families may now register at CHAMPS homeschool co-op in Mount Prospect:

The 2012-2013 schedule for CHAMPs homeschooll co-op is available online
at www.champshomeschool.com Course descriptions will soon be posted.
Registration for NEW members will begin on May 7; registration for
CURRENT members will begin on April 16.

We meet on Mondays during the school year in Mount Prospect.

You can contact us at champs-board@yahoogroups.com

Please contact them for additional information.

Works for me Wednesday — Homeschool Tracker

February 7th, 2012

This year with the advent of high school for my oldest I really needed a method to keep  better track of, well, everything. Grades, attendance, transcripts, course materials, book lists, etc.

During the summer I got really serious about finding a workable method for record keeping and what I found was exactly what I needed, in Homeschool Tracker.

We first downloaded the free version to make sure that I liked it. Played with that for about 6 weeks of summer school and I knew it was a keeper, so we jumped in and bought the full version, and now I tell everyone I meet about my new brain.

Why I love it so much:

- Does way more than I ever need it to do. This is a good thing. Because, some day I might just get the urge to put all my homeschool books in one list or write out detailed lesson plans or have a weighted grading scale. But, for now, I can pick and choose the features that I choose to use, and the rest just sit there quietly until I decide to use them or not.

- Prepares my assignment sheets for me. At the beginning of the school year and again over Christmas break I put in a bunch of hours logging all their assignments for the months ahead. Yes, that was a monumental task. Think 5 kids times about 7 subjects each times about 200 days of school. Yeah, a little crazy, but the program makes it as easy as possible. Now, all I do is select all the students and print out the sheets two weeks at a time. I could print the whole year, but I like to do a couple at a time because invariably I change something over the course of a week or two and I would hate to have to hand-write all those changes. Each weekend, or Monday morning depending on how things go, I print out everyone’s sheets, punch holes in them and they put them in their binders. Then, as I come around to work with them individually we pull out the binder and know exactly what needs to get done today and all week.

- Easy to reschedule. Life happens, sometimes a little too often. Kids get sick, relatives drop in, an assignment takes longer than anticipated, a concept needs extra teaching, kids fly through what you thought would take a week, books get lost, and sometimes the teacher gets sick. With a few clicks you can reschedule all assignments for all the kids or pick and choose what subjects and what kids need some rescheduling.

- Grades are figured automatically. All I needed to do was each week spend about 20 minutes (for all 5 kids, if you have fewer in school this would be even quicker, it takes me less than 5 minutes per kid) putting in their grades for the week and I have report cards ready made at the end of each quarter to go get their rewards from Chuck E Cheese.

- Not just about grades. As I mentioned this program does way more, and you can use any or all of the following features: track attendance, keep a reading log, record assignments and grades, write lesson plans, track goals, record school info, catalog your home library,  and print reports for any or all of those things.

This program has surpassed my expectations for a record keeping program and made it so painless. Yes, it took a little bit to get the hang of it, but they have an online forum on their site that can answer all of your questions and then some. I also made some silly mistakes while learning and spent extra time fixing said mistakes and getting back on track. But, now it is such a huge time saver and I have all their records in one place, saved and backed up every five days without another thought.

Why you should definitely try the free demo first:

- I will readily admit, there is a huge learning curve with this one. There are so many features, and it is a little old school in its on screen presentation, but it can do anything you want it to, you just need to learn how to work it.

- I’m sure it’s not for everyone. Although for me it was love at first download, it might not float your boat. So, check it out, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. It is amazing!

I can’t say enough about how much I have enjoyed using Homeschool Tracker Plus. I am thrilled to pieces with this program.  You can check out the basic edition for free, and you can try the plus edition for $5 for 30 days. If you do decide to buy, pleas use my referral code: U33EH and I’ll get a little bonus for referring you. :) Hope it is a help to you as much as it was for me.

Check out more wfmw.

Dual Credit E-book

July 18th, 2011
The Official Homeschooler’s
Guide to Dual Credit
Get your free copy hereDownload the eBook and share it for a chance to win an iPad 2
Dual credit—earning college credit in high school—is
the hottest trend going in homeschooling.

Some estimates show that 42,000 homeschoolers will earn dual credit during the 2011-2012 school year.

So to help you plan the best options for your homeschooler, which may include dual credit, you’re invited to get a free copy of this new dual credit eBook:

The Official Homeschooler’s Guide to Dual Credit: How Combining High School and College Can Set Your Student on the Path to Success

Go here now to get your free copy of the eBook.

The dual credit eBook is written by Kelly Negvesky, a homeschool mom and one of the nation’s foremost authorities on homeschool curriculum and dual credit.

As a reader of The Home Educating Family Magazine, you can get a free copy of the eBook here.

Download eBook

In this eBook you will learn:

  • How Dual Credit Works
  • How Homeschool Students Benefit From Earning Dual Credit
  • 3 Ways Your Homeschooler Can Earn Dual Credit
  • How Dual Credit Impacts Your Student’s High School Transcript
  • Beyond Dual Credit: The 4 Skills Demanded By Colleges & Employers
  • Click here to get your free dual credit eBook now

    Google Analytics integration offered by Wordpress Google Analytics Plugin