Writing a Class for Co-Op

     I’m often talking about my co-op with other homeschoolers because besides being the
place you will find us every Tuesday morning of the school year, it’s also our “group.”;-)

     Our co-op means a lot to us:

9September

– It includes some of our closest local friends.
– It’s our immediate answer to “having a social life” to those random strangers that complain when your kids aren’t in school. 😉
– It gives my children a chance to learn about topics I’m not familiar or excited about from other teachers that are familiar AND excited about them! Win, win!!
– My kids have learned so many fun things in so many different ways because of our co-op.
– I have learned so many different teaching styles and ideas from watching other moms teach in our co-op!

     It’s not hard to sell our co-op until you get to the part where they have to teach a class to kids… that aren’t theirs. Then all of the sudden it’s “Impossible,” “I wouldn’t know
where to start,” or “I can’t speak in front of a classroom!”

     I truly can understand those sentiments, but as a homeschooler that gets to pick your own subject – and who already teaches kids (at home), it’s probably a lot simpler than you think.

     Let’s take this semester for example:
There are many different ways to make your class plan but I’ve found that this way works the best for me.

     I start by just brainstorming through my topic. This year my topic is United States
Geography, so I searched through my homeschool books for ones relating to that topic
(found 3), pulled out some American history books for famous figures from different
states, and went by the local homeschool consignment store to find a great book on the
states for just $10. So I sat down with all my books sprawled out around me, fingered
through them, and then just hashed out a ton of ideas on paper – how to approach the
states, what kind of games and crafts I want to do, how to incorporate learning the
states/capitals, and basically how I want each day of class to look like. I’m a planner so I like having an over all plan of what we do each day. Once I knew what my goal was for the kindergarteners to learn this year – a basic idea of states and where they are – I could come up with my plan of making it fun and interesting every Tuesday. Then once I came up with my overall “day-plan,” I could go through state by state and decide what I wanted to cover.

     Here’s the schedule I ended up with for my kindergarten class for the first week:
Week 1: Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont

15 minutes- Begin the lesson with states puzzle: Have children put together states puzzle while playing the “Eastern Border” song. Then go through the song together while pointing to the map.

     I have learned through the past 2 years of teaching at our co-op that I always should have a couple of extra things to do in case we get through the class too fast, and also that I should always be ready to skip a few things to stop to focus on something that the class ends up getting really interested in. In other words, plan for your plan to fail some days. 😉

     Having such small classes of under ten students lets me take advantage of the fact that I am not teaching them their core subjects, so we can use these classes to just stop and have fun learning for the sake of learning.

     Then again, isn’t that why we home school anyway?

– Charity

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