My family’s main reason for attending our home school co-op is not education. That’s because our main goals of attending a co-op are to have a community of fellow homeschoolers, teach my kids to respect others, and to have a group to strive with in our journey. However, we always learn a ton!
In the past three years at HB, we have learned a lot from our co-op friends, but for this article I thought I’d focus on just what we learned last fall and what my kids have still retained.
I have three kids ages 4, 6, and 8; they just had their birthdays so that means Pre-K, Kindergarten and Second Grade.
I’ll start with my youngest in Pre-K. P started the school year very excited to be with his friends (as always) but also behind in most school subjects. This school year, P’s class focused on a new letter each week, a Bible story, crafts, and lots of play time. P started the school year barely knowing his colors, not counting, and not knowing his alphabet. We started working on the same letter as his weekly co-op class when the year started and he sometimes begrudgingly, sometimes happily, complied in the beginning. Today though, he can go down the alphabet and name almost every sound. He also has started pulling out his preschool work every day (besides co-op day) to ask me to help him with his letters and numbers.
At the beginning of the school year, I was usually told that the letter of the week was “B” and he remembered nothing else (and “B” was obviously only the letter of the week one time). Now since the end of last semester, I’ve been told what the Bible story is, the correct letter, and he runs up to me after class to proudly display his craft and explain it. I’m extremely grateful for all the love and hard work his teachers have poured into his classroom and I think it really shows in him!
N is also one of the youngest in her class but was super excited to start school again, like she always is. N loves learning and wants to be capable of doing everything her older brother can – right now! The three classes N took last fall were “USA Geography,” “Creative Writing,” and “Legos.”
USA Geography – K
N can still recite most of her states and capitals from USA Geography and has a better idea of geography in general than she did before the class. The best experience she had in the class, though, was doing her own 1-3 minute presentation. N has a hard time in new places or with strangers around. She did a great job though, and at the end of her presentation the class all clapped and congratulated her (like they do for each student) and she was all smiles. N was so excited about last fall’s presentation that she offered to do her spring presentation during our open house day – with new strangers coming! Having her friends support her efforts has helped her gain confidence in this area.
Lego Class – K
N took more time assembling Legos in her Lego class than most of the other students, so that was a challenge at times. However, by the end of the semester she was super proud of herself and her imagination in her Lego creations! N has been even more creative when playing with her Legos now and has more confidence that she can do Legos on her own instead of having her older brother help her.
Creative Writing – K
N also had a creative writing class which she loved! She has a clear concept of what a noun, verb, and subject are now, as well as how capitalization and punctuation are used in sentences. By the time I went over those concepts in her language arts curriculum, she already knew it! This class was a great way for her to get this reinforced at an early age by another teacher; she loved creating her writing notebook and thinking up stories.
1st/2nd Grade Classes
S is the oldest in his class and loves anything STEM-based but often struggles with writing. The three classes he took last fall were also USA Geography, Creative Writing, and Legos, but in higher level classes.
USA Geography – 1st/2nd
The best part of Geography class for S was the word recognition needed when we did a state/capital relay race. The teams had to run to match the capital flashcards with the states. It was great for him to have other students at different reading levels (half of them ahead of him in reading) to help inspire him to work harder on his reading skills! S has come really far in reading this school year and I think the inspiration of fellow students has helped him a lot.
Creative Writing – 1st/2nd
S does not enjoy writing, so it was great for him (and me) that he had another teacher and a classroom setting to inspire creative writing. His teacher seemed to know just how far to push him. He never came home unhappy with the class and always remembered the grammar rules they were going over. I’m sure that having other students with him in that class helped him enjoy it more, and I know it helped him a lot with the concepts of sentence structure.
Legos – 1st/2nd
S has always loved Legos, but before this Lego class he had always refused to make anything with his Legos that wasn’t in the included instruction book. So I wasn’t sure how it would go. Well, S loved it and learned a lot. He is now combining his Lego sets and literally making his own Lego action transformers – giving them moving parts that twist and turn into different characters. He also is designing his own cars, cranes, and much more. It’s almost like the Lego class helped his creativity catch up to his love of engineering.
Andrew Pudewa once said at a homeschool conference, “The best way to teach a child is to teach them about something they are excited about; the second best way is to teach them about something you are excited about.” Honeybee helps me find that excitement for my kids about topics that I may not love and my kids may not love, but someone else does and can give them that excitement. This is only one of many things that I love about having a co-op – giving my kids more reasons to love learning!