Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Tomorrow is the second session of our 10-week long winter session of co-op. We had a fall 10-week session that ended right before Thanksgiving.

If you are unfamiliar with what a co-op is, it is where you can get together with other homeschooling families and have your children participate in classes with other homeschoolers, and you can be a teacher or teacher aid. It's helpful for subjects that you may not feel so confident to teach on your own.

Different co-ops have different focuses, ideas, and costs. In our area, the majority of co-ops that I know anything about meet in churches one day a week. Some focus on academics. Some focus on electives such as music, art and gym. Some hire teachers to teach certain subjects and those particular classes can be costly. Some strictly have parents voluntarily teach and classes may cost very little or nothing at all; usually the cost is simply for supplies provided; parent-teachers do not get paid for their time in order to make classes more affordable since the majority of homeschool families are one-income families. And, there are those who allow the parent-teacher volunteers to charge a higher price to include something for their time. There may be other types of co-ops as well, but these are the ones I am familiar with.

We used to be involved in a co-op where high school classes were quite pricey and met all year round. After two years of this, I was tired of the cost and the winter travel and sitting in a mostly cold building for the winter days.

We are now part of a co-op that is very Christ-centered, which is something I really appreciate. The leaders have such a heart for the Lord and what the Lord wants to do with the co-op and through the co-op, as well as what the Lord wants to do through them, personally. We have a devotion time each week for parents and students.

My oldest son is taking the following classes this semester: Historical Literature, Applied Engineering and a Co-Ed Home Ec class. My second son is taking: Environmental Science, Beginning Pencil Drawing and Power Mechanics: Small Engines. Our youngest is taking: Cooking around the World, Beginning Phonics and Sign Language and Thematic storytime and Calisthenics.

My boys love their classes and being able to spend some time with friends.

This semester I am teaching the Historical Literature class. We are reading the book The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and studying World War II and the Holocaust.

I, too, really enjoy the co-op as it gives me an opportunity to talk to other homeschooling moms and we share prayer requests and support one another in the homeschool journey that the Lord has called us to.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Are Grades Important?

I receive a weekly enewsletter from HSLDA, and found something in today's that I thought was worth sharing. I apologize that I don't post very often on this blog, but there just isn't, in my opinion and in my homeschool life, enough to blog about on a more consistent basis. I will post as often as I find things that I think are worth sharing, and I will gladly post anything you would like to see or know more about if you leave me a comment telling me what you're looking for.

HSLDA does a weekly radio program entitled "Home School Heartbeat", and Mike Smith interviewed Lesha Myers, homeschool mom and author of Making the Grade, to get a perspective on how important grades are for homeschoolers.

Lesha explained that they are important for several reasons: 1) to give our kids a target/goal to reach for, and 2) because transcripts are needed, not just for college, but also for things like student drivers' classes and insurance.

Lesha went on to explain that the Bible even mentions grading, though not in the exact words or context of what we may think:

"I was surprised because I had thought that grading was a secular concept, but it's not! A while back, I was reading Kings and Chronicles for my devotions, and I noticed a recurring phrase that summed up the reign of each king of Judah in Israel. It was either, 'and he did right in the sight of the Lord, like his father, David,' or 'and he did evil in the sight of the Lord,' or something in between. And I realized that God was grading the King! He set a standard, the life of David, and then he evaluated each king according to the standard and He summed up his evaluation -- gave a grade, if you will, in a phrase.
The Bible also says quite a bit about testing. For example, Jesus Christ tested his disciples as a part of their training. Before he fed the 5,000, Jesus asked Phillip to provide bread for the multitude, and in John 6:5, it says, 'He asked this only to test him, for He already had in mind what he was going to do.' The test was for Phillip's benefit, so that he would grow in his faith and trust in the Lord. Grading is a very Biblical concept. There are quite a few principles we can glean from the Bible's pages."

Lesha also said that there is no wrong way of grading and that we need to decide what works for our own family.