Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Fun peek at Co-op, challenges and blessings Pt. #2

Our homeschool co-op has been rolling along, and 3 of the 7 weeks are behind us. We are finding there are certain challenges to face, and lots of fun to be had. There is must be a real choice to serve others to be involved in a co-op... as there will always be those extra miles to walk. See here for the first part of this post. Read below for part two!



Challenge #2: Absent Teachers
Because our co-op is made up of families offering classes and kids taking classes, we are all bearing the burden of teaching. Over half of the kids registered this semester are kids whose parents are also teaching. How do I know? Our teachers get the added perk of early registration, in hopes that more parents will offer to teach. Often times, this means that one parent is teaching 2-3 classes throughout the day. The parent in the above photo, Art D., is committed to teaching someone each and every class period. He's our PE teacher, runs opening exercises, helps his wife with several classes, and is also booked with private guitar lessons in every other free moment. We are so thankful for guys like Art! But what if Art gets sick? that's 6 class periods to fill! Then we end up with kids without a teacher, or with a substitute. I personally had to substitute in Origami one week and Boy's Bible Study the next. Each had a pretty tough crowd for me to keep up with! What an adventure this is!

What is the solution? It's hard to predict when someone will miss, and even the most devoted teacher has a surprise illness sometimes. We hope to encourage our teachers to have one "make and take" lesson pre-prepped for such a day, as well as to be thinking ahead about who can be their last minute sub. We are also going to plan for fewer parent-teachers, and more outside volunteer teachers. These non-parents are going to have as high of a risk of sickness (admit it, our kids are the exponent on our risk factors!), and spread the teaching burden out a bit, so parents aren't teaching so many of the sessions. You can pray for us on that one, as we are still working it out!

Join me Friday for the conclusion of this group of posts!


©2012-2013 Loving and Learning on the High Plains. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://www.homeschoolhighplains.blogspot.com

Monday, March 2, 2015

Fun peek at Co-op, challenges and blessings Pt. #1

Our homeschool co-op has been rolling along, and 3 of the 7 weeks are behind us. We are finding there are certain challenges to face, and lots of fun to be had. There is must be a real choice to serve others to be involved in a co-op... as there will always be those extra miles to walk.



Challenge #1: sharing the work
Whether it is a child who comes down sick at the last moment, a forgetful mommy, or a general lack of commitment (among homeschoolers? What?!?!), it seems we often have missing families during co-op. Because a co-op is exactly that: "an act or instance of working or acting together for a common purpose or benefit", we had divided all the "chores" of cleaning the  building, packing up the supplies, and tearing down the tables. Each family has one small part (to be specific, with 36 families... about 1/36th) of the clean up job assigned. Even our leadership team has chores. But when 5 families are missing then the 5 leadership families have double chores on top of the leadership responsibilities. This is compounded when a family who is present leaves without doing their "chore". We have had a some surprises, though. One of our private lesson teachers (a sweet young adult lady) has been adopting an unclaimed chore each week before she leaves the building. These little blessings make us encouraged.

How will we resolve it?

Next semester I think we might divide the chore cards about 30 ways, and leave 6 wild cards that say: "Pick up an absent family chore card, and pray for them as you complete their job(s)".  I pray that as we focus on loving those we serve, we will become the hands and feet of Christ. This is why we endeavored to start a Christian Co-op in the first place, right?

Join me on Wed. and Fri. for parts #2 and #3 of this series!


©2012-2013 Loving and Learning on the High Plains. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://www.homeschoolhighplains.blogspot.com

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Be my Valentine?

Again this year, we had a great time sharing Gospel Valentines. 





©2012-2013 Loving and Learning on the High Plains. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://www.homeschoolhighplains.blogspot.com

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Exciting things going on with our homeschool...

I'ts been a whole year since I  stepped out from the TOS Review crew. It was a a great experience for me, and such a learning time! If you click my homeschool link above you'll see, we did a LOT of great reviews. Being a part of the crew helped me get to be more excited about blogging, and about the newest and greatest homeschool curriculum. I would have never looked into Nodgrass history or downloadable unit studies from Homeschool in the Woods, had the crew not been there to introduce me.

But truly the greatest part of my year of reviews was being part of the Crew itself, an amazing bunch of 200 bloggers who worked hard together to accomplish something that was logistically huge! The leadership team lived across the entire country, but accomplished massive efforts via online collaboration. This is what inspired the adventure I'm currently wrapped up in.

Last summer a few of my homeschool mom friends began to meet and discuss what it would look like to start a Faith-based homeschool co-operative for our kids. Between us we had about 30 kids who could benefit from joint classes such as choir, art, and PE. So we planned the summer away, and then began an online collaboration, since we felt as far flung as the TOS leadership team (across the county may as well be across the nation). This proved to be incredibly efficient, and we were each able to use the special skills and talents God had given us. One to assign the classes, one to correspond with and recruit teachers, one to build forms and manage data, one to write newsletters, one to manage set up logistics, and so on. And we began to PRAY. Hard. Together. Online and in person we prayed and planned, planned and prayed.

Mammoth Hot Springs
When we opened the online registration I was on vacation. I was out of cell range in Yellowstone Park. We drove into Mammoth Hot Springs to do a bit of sightseeing, and my cell signal picked up. My phone started buzzing like crazy. My messages said that my little co-op science class was already at 36 students... and did I want to set a maximum? WOW! We had hoped for 30 students total, spread among the classes... we ended up with over 80. This semester we have almost 100, in 34 classes over a whole day every other week. We also have 4 private music instructors booked with lessons all day. This semester we added a mentor mom on campus for our co-op day, to pray with and encourage the new homeschool moms.

What an adventure this is! And what a gift! To be working closely with other Christian families to see God glorified in our efforts. I am so blessed! We will see how it goes. Expect a review  or two soon of some of the curriculum we are using in our co-op.

Holy Land Geography

Virtual Field Trip

my Tyler is getting guitar lessons!

Choir


©2012-2013 Loving and Learning on the High Plains. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://www.homeschoolhighplains.blogspot.com

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Oh how I've missed this...

I haven't blogged in forever, but I haven't forgotten about it. Nearly every day I have a line of thinking that strikes me as something I'd love to share here. I've mostly lacked a computer from which to share it (had another drive crash in June). Thanks to a great sale at Best Buy, I have a new laptop, and thanks to my dad, a new desktop too. So my excuses are gone and I need to carve out the time to sort through my thoughts and dust off my writing. I realize that my blogging is not really for you, my readers, although I appreciate your being here, and your words of encouragement are valuable in ways you will never fathom... but really I write for myself.

So many times I am struggling, imperfect, lonely, despondent, and feeling like all I do is tread water. Going back to my journals ans seeing where I was before and far my Lord has brought me can be such an encouragement to me. So here I am. I'm going to attempt to write out my thoughts here on a regular basis again. I've updated the look of my blog and hope you enjoy it. If you find any view-ability issues, please comment!

I'm not sure what kinds of content I will be including here just yet, but there are a few things you can count on:

  • Scripture, I'm studying in several places right now and need a place to record my discoveries and thoughts. 
  • School reviews. We are back in the midst of our homeschool year and have discovered so many fun things I can't wait to share with you.
  • Thoughts on Life. My thought-life has been a roller-coaster lately, especially when it comes to marriage and friendships. As I work through some weighty issues I will share what I can without violating any trust. Just know that whatever is shared here is just a ripple on the surface of a deep, murky, and fast moving river. Somedays I feel like I'm rowing along and enjoying the river for the sights and recreation, and sometimes I'm just drowning in a whirlpool. 
  • Rural life. Get ready for LOTS of pictures, recipes, fun farmy thoughts. 



©2012-2013 Loving and Learning on the High Plains. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://www.homeschoolhighplains.blogspot.com

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Learning, part 3

One layer down, my thought life has a lot of progress to make.... I have always struggled with self-doubt, and worry about others opinions. I often bunch ideas off a friend or my hubby, but I realize that in the end I need to Seek the Lord in all these things. I won't make the wrong call if I'm looking to Him for every little choice. But I'm  getting ahead of myself, for each layer is built on the foundation below it.

In my soul is the Holy Spirit, God indwelling, giving direction and wisdom when we ask. I have been blessed to overflowing by His gifts. Last spring I hit bottom, struggling to relate to my husband, and feeling quite bankrupted in emotional energy, I asked a woman in my church to mentor me. While I felt my schedule was packed and one more thing would not fit, I started on the path of discipleship. Until that point my  training in this way had been limited to my mother's input and little bits of wisdom drawn from friends and books. Moments of peace in the Scripture were morsels of hope. But I wasn't making the time. I'd started so many books and not finished them. I started a Bible in a year program, and a blessing counting book with my 1,000 gifts friends. But the discipline wasn't there. With the addition of accountability that all changed. My mentor challenged me, and we began to memorize and read. We took an entire year to savor a book and to memorize passages each week. I shared my worries and, instead of fixing them for me, she took my hand and we carried them to the cross. Oh I have so much to learn, but I have come so far. When I am all tumult inside, I  can choose to process  and doubt, or hit my knees. So many times this year I have poured out the Scriptures in my heart awash with a flood of tears. How different each Scripture is, when framed in the circumstance of my trials.

In the mean time I'm as busy as ever. I completed two Awana T&T books and memorized 200 verses to do so. I've learned so much about my family, my schedule, my heart, but most importantly, my Savior. This foundation pushes up and strengthens my life. In turn I have had small opportunities to pour those words into others. I had felt completely inadequate to disciple another person, until I saw it for what it was. Leading others to Him, being filled with His Word, and being transformed in the process. Like water raining down on a mountain pools up and pours into the pools beyond, each overflowing to the next. The source is not the pool, but the One giving the water.  As my pool flows out I need to be filled again and again.

I am so thankful for the lessons He pours out into my life!

©2012-2013 Loving and Learning on the High Plains. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://www.homeschoolhighplains.blogspot.com

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Learning a lot, part 2

Next layer, personal discipline... As we come along to out last few weeks of our school schedule, I reflect on the fact that we have never been this close to caught up this time of year. I'm sure part of that is due to no longer changing curriculum every 4-6 weeks as we did when we were on the crew. A good bit is due to my sister devoting a hour or two of her mornings to getting school going while I'm down at the PO sorting the village mail. Also, my kids are learning more of the value of independent study, which is one of my favorite by-products of homeschooling. I'm really enjoying our group subjects his year, as we do Apologa Science and America the Beautiful for history. We usually snuggle up on the couch and read together, and on some nicer days, on the trampoline outside.

-update-
We finished school! Friday the 3rd of May, right on schedule for the first time ever. What a great feeling! I had really worried my new job would get in the way, but the discipline of getting going every morning bright and early actually really helped us out. This year I had attempted to leave our sticker charts in lieu of assignment booklets, but everyone complained. The charts went up and a friend from church gave us a LOT of great stickers! It's been a great way to keep track of our progress, and all the stickers are filled in now.

To celebrate school finishing we had an ice cream party at home (due to chicken pox).

One layer down, my thought life has a lot of progress to make....

©2012-2013 Loving and Learning on the High Plains. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://www.homeschoolhighplains.blogspot.com
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