When I was thinking about homeschooling the girls, learning about Co-op was what pretty much sold me on the idea.
I didn't want them to miss out on the classroom setting, and also I think that they need someone other than me to listen and answer to.
Since Kristyn is also homeschooling, we looked into the Co-op and loved what we learned. We were even more impressed when we actually attended for the first time yesterday.
Gracie, Bryanna, Hanna, and Cameron are all in the JK/SK class, and Austin is in the grade 1/2 class. After two periods of class, they all get together and have gym.
The day starts promptly at 8:45 for morning announcements and ends at noon for lunch. You can choose to bring your lunch, or just go home, which is what we did.
Every parent has to teach in a room, or stay in the nursery with the babies. I chose to stay in the nursery since there's no way Hailey would stay with anyone else, and Kristyn was one of the teachers in the JK/SK class. This works out awesome because she can also help Hanna if she needs a little bit extra, and just being able to keep an eye on her made me feel better!
When the kids go to gym Kristyn and I get an hour break. I wasn't really keen on this, since that meant that I didn't know what Hanna was doing, and she was also with a bunch of (much) bigger kids doing rowdy games and activities. I'm not very comfortable with this, so I'm trying to work out an alternative for her. I think it may be just a bit too dangerous.
Aside from the gym thing, I loved it! We already met some really nice people, who we already have some obvious things in common, and I was so impressed with how organized everything was.
In every class there's a main "co-ordinator" who is pretty much in charge of the lessons and activities in the room. The other parents are there pretty much as teacher's helpers.
It takes place in a church, but is set up just as a regular school. It's grades JK-12, and there a a lot of kids enrolled. With two floors and many many classrooms.
The nursery looks just like a daycare with separate attached rooms for napping with cribs and playpens, and the kindergarten room was decked out to the nines with a dress-up corner, crafts area, and carpet time.
I think we all felt very comfortable in there, and everyone knows that everyone is there to take care of each other. It's understood that if any child is misbehaving, he/she will be stopped up by whoever is in charge, and that's just how it is. On the other hand though, if there is a sad kid, whoever is in charge takes the time to figure our where the mom or dad is, and takes the child to them. There's no forcing kids to stay in a room if they're uncomfortable, which is also very important to me.
Gracie's already counting down the days until we go back.
This "semester" goes until Christmas break and then we have a chance to change up our classes again until the summer.
It'll definitley be part of our weekly schedule being our only schooling on Mondays. So I get a day off once a week!
I'm sold on the homeschooling now, and feel much more comfortable with the idea knowing that they will have their classroom time, and be just a little bit out of their comfort zone.
I'm hoping to get some pictures next week!