So here’s the thing: I am already signed up for co-op, and this year they are doing an Art & Music class, using the AO artists and composers. But my problem is co-op is every other week, but I have been doing Artist/Composer Study every week at home this past school year. I like to do it every week, plus look/listen throughout the week randomly (OK, I really do love it). I hang up the pictures every week on the wall in our schoolroom. We do a completely different order of artists/composers than AO and SCM. And I already bought my pics for the artists we had planned to do, so I really don’t want to drop it here at home. If we do both ours and co-ops, 2 of my kids are going to be getting extra art and music, and I’m honestly not sure how I feel about that. DD9 isn’t going to be thrilled. It’s not that she “tolerates” it now, she is fine with it, but art & music really just aren’t her thing, kwim? My other dd10 loves art, but isn’t such a fan of studying art pieces. She’s fine with music, but again, she wouldn’t want to do extra.
I also am not a fan of how it’s taught. We did a short 5 co-op-day art/music class last school year, and it was ok, but… I am ok with different ways of teaching once in a while, but not “all the time,” all year, kwim? I still prefer the CM way to be the bulk of it (if not all).
But the rest of co-op looks great! Geography is the other class offered. (You have to do both classes offered – not one or the other or both.) They are using Mapping the World by Heart. It looks really awesome, so I am excited about that one. They are also going to do some robotics, which my 9yo is going to die of excitement about when I tell her. She LOVES science, technology, and robotics. She and Daddy are already building a real working robot together here at home.
Hubby doesn’t quite understand my dilemma. He gets the CM method for the most part, but I don’t think he can really understand the big deal without knowing how CM (and therefore I) teach it vs. how co-op is teaching it. He’s not a fan of me having to buy another set of prints all over again, though (since I had already purchased what we would need). And I would have to as part of the class.
So help me out. What would you do? Grin and bear it for the school year, or ???
Is it worth it to you to take the time out of your day to go to classes that are not taught as you would like, have your children in a class they may not pay attention in and definitely won’t be excited about after buying another set of prints just to have them participate in a robotics class? Obviously ony you can determine that for your children & family, but for me, it would not be worth it. Why would I voluntarily heap a stumbling block upon them and cause them to view learning as something to be tolerated when CM’s methods offer a feast for our children that will lead them to a life-long love of learning? Please note I am not speaking harshly, just speaking plainly. After attending the CM Institute in Ferrum, VA this past week, I have realized just what is important to me in regard to our schooling and what most definitely is not. It would take something extrordinary to get me to leave my home to participate in classes that are not taught as I would like &/or redundant. Once I leave my home for the day, I know that realistically we will not be schooling when we return, and if I feel that even a part of that bi-weekly event is not what I really want, I would drop it like a hot potato otherwise I’ll end up feeling frustrated with my year – and frankly, that will transfer to my children, and that’s not a feeling that I want my children to associate with learning learning.
I will pray for you as you mull this over.
I have done a couple coops where what was taught wasn’t taking much off of my plate and it wasn’t worth the time away from our own schooling. However, they were morning coops and generally met more often than yours, and caused stress in our schedules.
Do you and your kids enjoy the relationships at the coop? If so, I think if it were me I’d adjust if I liked the majority of what was offered and the time commitment wasn’t stressful. As far as the artists, I think I would adapt to who they’re studying and just do it the way I liked on the off weeks. Just my .02:) Gina
Might you attend without purchasing extra prints, do what you planned at home for artist/composers, and benefit from the geography, robotics, and friendships? If those three aren’t worth tolerating the fine arts program, skip co-op this year….or, start one based on CM methods and find one or more families that would enjoy your leadership and plan for the year. You’d be surprised how many moms are looking for companionship and accountability for themselves and their children. That’s their motivation for attending co-op. You might be the one to help them find simplicity in CM methods. Just a thought.
@jacqleene. Was the CM Institute recorded?
Becca, the CMI sessions were recorded, but it was not known which sessions would be shared online. It was fabulous!
I am really struggling this year with our co-op as well. My dc absolutely love it, no matter what/how subjects are taught (although they know we are a CM family). They thrive on the social atmosphere and somewhat from the classroom experience. But quite honestly, it doesn’t take much off my plate. The idea of starting a CM co-op would be great but I don’t know if I’d have but one family interested since our co-op is filled with most of who would join mine and they just couldn’t handle one more day out of the house. If I wasn’t so vested in ours, and my kids didn’t love it so much, I wouldn’t do it or I’d start my own, but that’s just not the case for us. Each year I try really hard to make good choices for my dc when it comes to the co-op, meaning classes with little to no homework, or a supplement to what we are already doing, but it just doesn’t work out that way each year. *sigh*
I know how you feel and I how difficult it can be to want to do it for certain reasons but feeling that it’s just not exactly how you’d like it taught, etc. It ends up feeling like a waste of time. At the same time, for us anyway, I try to look at from the social interaction it provides for my dc and myself.
Best to you as you decide what is best for your family.
my3boys, you might go to the CMI site and see if the co-op seminar is available. That gives some great ideas on starting one EVEN WHEN YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE YOU KNOW using CM’s methods. It was WELL worth the time that I spent in the group. I will say that the other two ladies who attended with me and I will not be doing things quite the way mentioned in the co-op seminar, but will be tweeking things here and there. We will be running things more like the group that Nancy Kelly (Sage Parnasus blog) runs though a bit differently even than that. After you listen to that one, though, you REALLY must listen to Jennifer Spencers plenary session (which needs visuals as well, but I think she’ll send them to you via email if you ask) to really put CM’s methods in a nutshell and help you understand why they work, all at the same time which helps you answer questions others have. I’m really not doing her talk justice — let me just say that I felt like my soul had been parched and took a stroll through a cooling shower that rejuvenated me. It really was that good.
And, may I just encourage those of you who didn’t attend the CM Institute; get a jar and put your pennies aside so that when next year rolls around, you are able to attend. It is WELL. WORTH. YOUR. TIME! And we’ll get to meet as well. I have been considering writing a post devoted just to the CMI, but I need to let it simmer for a bit more, I think. Just know that it is so much more than a CM schooling conference.
And now back to the true topic at hand…
It takes very little off my plate to go to our weekly co-op, but my children LOVE it and I have a wonderful community there as well. Maybe you could offer to teach a CM class next year, if you decide to stay? I know our co-op would be open to it — we are a diverse group of families with MANY homeschool styles and philosophies. I’m a brand new CM’er…was toiling over which history program to get and just loved all of the books and the history planner by SCM – I am very excited!
@sara B, Kristin has a great idea…would you be willing to teach a CM-inspired class?? You could still have the social aspect of the group without having to sacrifice you style or double up…just an idea. I know teaching is tough at times and sometimes we may feel that it’s still easier to accomplish what we set out to do with just our families not having it a part of a group which adds another dynamic. I get that!
@blue j, thank you for sharing with me, as well. Can’t wait to read/listen to some of what you have shared.
Thank you for all your ideas and prayers. We are still quite divided. We’re going to talk to the kids about it and see what they think, then go from there. @blue j, I so totally get what you are saying! If it weren’t for the good friends I and the kids have made, I wouldn’t be so divided! 🙂 When we first joined this co-op a couple of years ago, it was a CM co-op. I was so excited to find not only a co-op in town, but also a CM one at that! But over the years, it has drifted much from what it had been.
For us, the most important part of being in a co-op is for the social interaction. The kids need friends, other homeschoolers, not just the ps’ed kids from church. Funny thing, though, that was what all the other moms said, too, a year and a half ago. Educational classes were second, and much lower, than just getting together with friends. So I am having a hard time understanding why we’re not relaxed about the class stuff, or why we are doing it at all. I would be perfectly happy just playing the whole 3 hours. 🙂 On the plus side, it’s 17 days that count toward school that I don’t have to plan for. Ha!
I would teach, but I already have a lot on my plate. Besides the usual homeschooling/housekeeping/parenting stuff, I also teach Sunday School and hubby and I are the team SS superintendents. Trying to get our church library going, plus I hope to open a homeschool library someday, so lots to do there, too. Hubby is also an elder, so lots of meetings, plus he helps with visits and canvassing. Juggling all that, dh agrees I simply cannot add one more thing to my duties. I’ve even thought about daycare for 1 or 2 extra kids, but my own 4 are a handful. LOL Right now, I am ok with helping out where needed at co-op. Next year I get the PreK-2nd graders team-teaching (with a good friend, thank goodness!). And 2 of the kids are mine. 🙂
Hopefully this gets resolved soon. I hate the icky feeling in the pit of my stomach when I have a big decision to make. Just hard to enjoy a day when that feeling is there, ya know?
Well, decision has been made. We are staying with co-op this year. We talked to the kids, and despite the boring classes, they still want to go. Not sure why… They never play with their friends when we go, just themselves. But hey, whatever. So we’ll see how it goes this year and then re-evaluate for next year. Thank you for all your prayers!
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