Monday, August 18, 2008

Homeschool Co-op: The Agony & the Ecstasy

Today was our first day of our local homeschool group's co-op. Emily Anne was enrolled in Opening Assembly (public speaking in a show & tell type format), Chemistry, Election Fun, Historic Artists, and Creative Math. Will was enrolled in a general Preschool class, Bible Time, Zoo Animals, and Rest and Relaxation.

As a part of the co-op, parents who are not teaching a class are teacher helpers. I volunteered to help in Will's preschool class and the R & R class. I thought that Emily Anne would be fine without Mama nearby and that Will might need some help adjusting to a schedule, especially at the beginning and end of the day. It turns out, I was right!

Throughout the day, whenever I had a chance to see or speak with Emily Anne, she was smiling and telling me how much she enjoyed co-op. She made fast friends with another girl just her age. Several teachers and parents told me in passing how smart and polite she was and that she had told them all about finding fossils in Tennessee. Who doesn't love to be complimented on their children? I was positively beaming!

Of course, at the time that I received these accolades, I was chasing after my other child. Will had a hard day. He is 2 1/2, which is too old for the nursery but not quite ready for the 3-year-old classes in which he is enrolled.

To top it off, Will was up at 6:15 this morning. We had to be at co-op at 8:00 to register and get EA to opening assembly. By the time his first class started, he was already asking about snack. He was great in this first class; he listened to the story, identified shapes and made a collage with them, and participated in the music. After this class, there was a snack, with time to play on the gym floor with basketballs. Will did not want to leave the basketballs to go to Bible Time. I finally convinced him to go to class (with me, even though I was not a volunteer), and he was okay in this class--not perfectly behaved, but not unmanageable either.

It was a great ordeal to get him to get to his next class; the basketballs were still beckoning. He enjoyed the zoo animal puppets that he colored when we finally got there, though. Next on the schedule was lunch, with the Rest & Relaxation class after that. We had brought his sleeping bag, with which he was delighted. My hopes were high, but, unfortunately, I was too soon hopeful. By the time the class actually started, he was tired of his sleeping bag and over-tired and over-stimulated. With my best efforts, I got him settled down, and I looked up to see Joel peeking in the window. Will and I went out to see him, and I learned that he had had to put our older cat to sleep (Booker had a fast-growing facial tumor). Joel wanted to confirm what time we would be home so that he could arrange to be there to explain to the children. After seeing Daddy, Will's efforts at communal naptime were exhausted (pun intended) After struggling with him, I finally went out to the car, brought in a few books and read to him. In ten minutes he was asleep in a noisy gym.

I learned a good lesson today. One of the reasons homeschooling seemed so appealing was the flexibility of time and learning experiences it offered. Co-op is a great fit for Emily Anne at her age. The number of classes are too overwhelming for Will right now. Rather than try to fit to the schedule, I should adapt it to fit to our needs.

Check in later in the week for a post about moving my longed-for furniture and a book review.


Katy said...

Wow, Celly, what a day. I am happy for EA and think you're wise to choose co-op wisely for Will at his tender age.

So sorry about Booker. :-(
I'll call you later ....


Kathryn said...

Uh, Celly, that was my comment above with Katy's name and picture! Didn't realize she was still signed in on my computer! :-)

Anonymous said...

I am so impressed. As a former special and elementary teacher I admire homeschool parents. I just don't know how you do it! In my classroom, I was boss, I was in control (most of the time) and then kids went home to mom and dad. Now that I'm home with 2 (not 24) I can't even imagine trying to homeschool my girls! So, I thank God for the great schools in my area. But I also pray for your job as mom and teacher. They are hard rolls to mix. God Bless! ~Shane

Jenn said...

That's what we love about homeschooling- the flexibility! Check out my post this week on being flexible!