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27 April 2011

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RealMom4Life

I think looking into creating a talk could be very helpful. Even if it just encouraged people to start with one or two classes to begin with. I wish I had this information years ago.

I had it better than I knew years ago when my neighbor was homeschooling kids the same age as mine. Seriously, right across the street. We had recess together. The kids came over here once a week for Spanish lessons, her house once a week for art lessons (I was using a boxed curriculum and felt the need to stay do what I was "supposed to" unfortunately. Sometimes she would do a one day unit study type class on elections, Japan, something special they were doing for history, etc. and invite my kids over. We both used Righstart math, and we got the kids together to play the games.
After reading your blog, I realize the opportunities we missed out on; both for ourselves and for our kids. They moved to another state a couple years ago.

So, if you can swing it. I think it would be incredibly worthwhile to just get the idea/how to out there for people to think about it as an option.

Christy P.

Admirable that you are going to finish the history books. In regular school we never seemed to make it all the way through and hence I know way more about the Civil War than say WWI.

Barbara C.

I seem to remember you writing at one point that the reason you and Hannah started co-schooling wasn't so much about academics as about building an intricate connection with another family, a community.

The type of bond that you share with Hannah's family is increasingly rare these days. I think this would be "the product" worth selling to other homeschoolers in a conference.

bearing

@Christy, same here - that's the reason I'm so determined to keep trucking along through it. Splitting up US history into three parts also helped, as World War I came at the beginning of this year!

@Barbara, Co-schooling for us grew out of a practice that began when our firsts were babies, which is one reason why it's hard for us to generalize advice for others to follow. We have a long shared history. But we did have a watershed moment a couple of years ago where we threw out a lot of the ways we'd been doing things and started over fresh with a new approach, and that was a big learning experience that I think other people could emulate if they wanted to.

Barbara C.

I understand how and why you ended up reworking things. But I was kind of responding to your question of "why" other people would want to consider co-schooling.

At the end of your fifth paragraph, you point out that a lot of homeschoolers would be dubious of co-schooling. The close bond between the two families is what gives co-schooling a marketable purpose.

If it's just about the academics, one can see how it fizzles out for a lot of people...just like it almost did for you and Hannah. But in your post about revamping, you all realized that more important than the academics was having that cup of tea at the beginning and end of the day...the bonding.

In the language of "Switch" (which I am grateful to you for recommending), co-schooling works for you because it appeals to your elephants and you've set a track that is easy for the riders to lead the elephants.

Amber

I continue to be intrigued by the co-schooling concept, but I'm not quite sure how to get there. We have a family that we've met this year who is the first in this area that I could even begin to imagine doing this with... but they have 10 kids, (ranging in age from 14-4) and I have 4 (ranging in age from 9 to due in Sept.) They are very wedded to Seton (in no small part due to having 10 kids to homeschool!), and, well, it would take a lot to get me to switch to Seton. A whole lot. Not to knock Seton, but it just isn't my cup of tea. Oh, and we also live almost an hour apart. (I recently calculated that it costs me $15 each time I drive there!)

Right now we're trying to get together once a week, but due to illnesses and other impediments, it only happens every 2 weeks or so. We bring our school stuff over in the morning and we parallel school, then either do an activity with everyone in the afternoon or just turn them out to play for awhile before we head home at around 3.

I can see how it would be better if we could do this more regularly, and if we could share more subjects/activities... but I'm not sure how possible that is given the distance and the differences in the families. But still, it is something I continue to consider. I'm just not sure how to move forward any further.

But I think it would be an interesting topic for you and Hannah to develop further, perhaps as a talk topic. And I agree w/ other commenters - the concept of bringing families closer is definitely a large part of what makes it special and interesting.

And on a totally different topic - I've been meaning to tell you that I've been making your sourdough bagels for something like a year now and they've become a mainstay in our breakfast repertoire (esp. for my husband!). I use a stand mixer rather than a bread machine, and recently I've started managing the sourdough a little differently too, which has worked well. I feed it in the morning, then again at lunch, then make the bagels after dinner (double batch) as directed. The sourdough is very active at that point, and it has improved the flavor and texture of the bagels. And I like doing the double batch too - then they don't run out quite as fast!

bearing

Amber, Hannah and I did "parallel school" for a long time before we tossed it out in favor of working together.

I am not the Seton type at all either. But I think it could still work for a "Seton type" and a non-Seton type person to co-school together. The key is for each of you to think of which subject(s) you would really enjoy teaching to a group of kids, according to your *own* style, and offer that to each other. And be willing to receive that as it is (even if that means your kids get Seton-style history, or whatever). If you don't feel that the other mom's work is complete, you can supplement it separately, but we've found that it's a whole lot easier just to let go of control of those subjects -- but maybe you're not ready to do that? In that case you can approach the co-schooling as a supplement in and of itself... start with something sort of extra, like "I brought my art prints and I'm going to lead a discussion of this one with all the kids together today." Or separate them by age group and lead age-specific discussions, whatever. Or you could embark on a unit study together and see where that goes.

Those are, of course, though, only "trying-it-out" kinds of approaches, non-threatening ways to get started. With us, it's really the central core of our homeschooling style, as we live it now, and so we're in much deeper than that.

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I think I read something somewhere about this

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