Since first announcing that we may pursue a 2-day a week co-op, I have answered nearly 100 emails, posted a bunch of Facebook posts and met some amazing Frederick County families. It appears that there is interest in this endeavor and we are going to push forward for a September 4, 2017 opening date. But what happens in between?
Well, for those spear-heading this effort, there will be schedules to make, teachers/tutors to hire, students to enroll, parents to train. This all seems overwhelming but it is comforting that so many have offered to help! And there will be work to do! But, what about the families that are thinking about this as a possibility for their children. How can you be preparing and planning?
If you are one of those that is in the ‘thinking’ stages of a new co-op, there are some things that you can be doing now to help you in the deciding process and to also prepare your children for this new effort.
First, there should be much prayer put into this possible change for your family. If this sparked interest in you, then perhaps there is a need for more structure to your homeschool, a more ‘classical’ approach to education, or just some help for tough subjects. Whatever your reason for investigating this, please pray. And, if you are currently in a co-op or learning situation that you LOVE, realize that this is a precious thing and really think hard before you leave. There may be curriculum that you love, methodologies that you love, tutors that you love! Don’t take this lightly! Commit to pray for a period and make a list of pros and cons. And definitely contact us if you don’t hear from us. We would love to talk with you more and try to paint a picture of what this kind of learning looks like.
Second, consider your strengths. How would you like to participate? Do you like to teach? Or if you are shy and uncomfortable up front, maybe you can assist? And, of course, there will also be jobs like lunchroom duty, playground monitor. All of us working together will make this work. But, if you are one of those moms who needs this time to work, to take care of a family member, etc., we are considering ways to help you in your homeschooling needs. So again, pray that God would open and close doors.
Third, consider preparing your child with some Latin background, IEW writing and encourage them to read, read, read in order to strengthen their reading pace and comprehension. There are online Latin helps and for reading, let me suggest classics that are age appropriate. For more specific suggestions, please contact us and look for some booklists on the website in coming weeks. Also, take time to read together as this will be a key component of your work with younger children at CHA.
A fourth suggestion would be to read The Well-Trained Mind. This is readily available on Amazon and well worth the read. If you are new to the classical education, Susan Wise-Bauer lays out systematically and thoroughly, the basics of the classical education. There will be other suggested reading throughout the next 9 months, but this is a good place to start.
Finally, consider the kind of education you want for your child. I think all of us would agree that we want our children to be challenged, to have a love of learning and to work hard. One of the first things that God did after placing Adam in the garden was to give him work. He was to name the animals and to tend the garden. He must have been filled with wonder as he went about his duties. However, after sin entered the garden, Adam and Eve had to leave and had to learn how to work in a sinful world. Tending animals and plants probably became more difficult and Adam and Eve may have grumbled a bit! And here we are dealing with the same thing. We have to work and we have to deal with problems and issues every day! For our children, their work is school. God has put them into a situation where they can learn about His world (science), His story (history), words (remember, He spoke and the world came into being, so communicating is important to God), languages (remember, He is the one that brought ‘chaos’ through language), the order of things (math). And while we learn, we seek virtue and truth. That, in a nutshell, is the classical education. In this new co-op, we will seek to provide opportunities to ‘wonder’ and to hear God’s story, all while being with friends.
Oh, and did I mention you should pray!