Homeschool Group Ideas – Plans for the Year

I am posting our groups June minutes with the thought that other groups might like to see what our homeschool group is planning for this next school year.

June 2015 Parents Meeting Minutes

What a wonderful meeting with lively discussion. Thanks to Stacey and Lianna for keeping the meeting moving along and making sure we covered all the topics we had planned on. Thanks Crazy8 for opening the church at the last minute for us to have the meeting. Topics below include: Monthly Parent Meetings, Mondays at the library, Events for the coming year, and Summer activities.

Monthly Parent Meetings

After a very lively and thorough discussion J It has been decided that we will try the monthly meeting at the Open Gym on the 3rd Thursday of the month and also (at least for now) keep the 1st Tuesday of the month evening meeting. No one would be required to go to both meetings, there is just the option of doing either meeting and information would be shared freely between the two meetings.

There are a few concerns that 2 meetings a month might create:

  • make it difficult to make decisions

  • that decisions by one meeting group would be hard without consulting the other group

  • that there would be a separating of our group into 2 groups

  • and how information from one meeting would be relayed to the other meeting

Some ideas thrown around for solutions:

  • having minutes posted from one meeting to the group

  • that all topics up for a decision are posted to the group so that everyone has the option to be there or weigh in via email before a decision is made

  • having a set person to “lead” each meeting (this sounded like a doable idea so the volunteers were Stacey for Sept at Gym and Crazy8 for Sept and Oct for the evening meeting)

  • representatives that would just naturally be at the two meetings could share thoughts at the other meeting

  • that the evening meeting would be just informational not decision making, a space for new families to come and learn more about homeschooling and ask questions

  • that the group doesn’t have many decisions that we make that are “set in stone”

  • that when there is a majority together at a meeting that even if they made a decision that there are enough of them together at one time that even if they did make a decision that having even just their families involved would be enough to do that activity or event.

1st Tuesday of the month 6-7:30 – Crazy8 will look for a venue for this. The idea was that this might be an easier meeting for a family looking to start homeschooling to get to. The family which has not made a switch over to homeschooling might find a middle of the day meeting difficult to maneuver or the idea of meeting with a large group in a gym might be overwhelming to start with.

3rd Thursday of the month during Open Gym from 1-3pm – We are looking to try doing the meeting during this time. The idea of maybe setting up the stage with tables and chairs as a kind of meeting area free from basketballs flying through the air J Also the thought of the kids being involved in decision making that would be appropriate to their ages was brought up. That this would be a perfect venue for them to feel ‘part of the decision making process’ as they are getting older and more interested in it.

(Another issue that came up as a result of this discussion was people’s comfort level at Open Gym, and defining what safe and respectful use of the gym would mean. More on this will follow in a separate note.)

Mondays at the library (12-3pm)

Every other Monday: Around the World would continue on the same schedule using the full 3 hours on every other Monday as they really do use this full time. There are many families who are involved in this and it feels like a perfect use of the space for our group.

The opposing Mondays: There was a lot of discussion about what we could do with this time. Here is what the plan we came up with:

12-1pm – An art time where a specific artist or art form would be studied for a month. The thought of maybe having an artist within the group or preferably one of the older children teaching the younger children about a form of art. Maybe having an artist show us what to do the first meeting of the month and the second meeting of the month would be for the children to continue working on this project. Ideas for this included using different media: clay for sculpting, oil paints for the older and washable paints for the younger, basket weaving, etc. Also the idea of studying an artist for the month maybe having to do with the book the book club is reading or just ones the kids choose to study. Keeping this class as close to FREE as possible regarding cost.

1-2pm – Drama club: the discussion lead to realizing that there are a lot of families in the group interested in a drama time. Either relating to the book being read, just drama in general, or even a performance geared toward the younger crowd doing the acting. The person leading this has not been chosen but thoughts were: Lianna and Director are both individuals who had shown interest in doing this before.

2-3pm – Book club: book club will continue, please see previous email for the books scheduled for this coming year.

Monthly Newspaper Club – There was also talk that we could meet at the library for other things that did not involve the use of the meeting room. The kids would like to do a  monthly newspaper and thought that meeting before the 12-3pm meeting room time just in the youth area might work. Director is interested in leading this. articles written by the kids in the group about events or things going on but also other sections that would include pictures or art or poetry or short stories. Detail to follow. Families interested should contact Director.

Spanish language study–is another idea that is being researched. This also might or might not involve the library meeting space. Families could hire an instructor or make arrangements with a college student who could get college credit for volunteer teaching. Contact Brenda if you are interested.

Events During the Year:

Some of these events need dates set. As some of these events require finding a space to host them it is good to have a date set as early as possible. If you are responsible for an event would you please check the calendar from previous years and see if you could get a date set up for your event, especially for the families that plan out their year in advance, thanks. If you remember an event that we did not include it was by accident, please let us know that we forgot it, thank you.

  • August (last week in August usually Wed-Thurs) – Back to School Event – A Picnic with the option of Camping at the Park

  • Fall (Sept –Nov) –  Soccer on Tuesdays 1-2:30pm – Crazy8

  • Fall (possibly fall) – Lego Fundraiser – Melissa (a New Event to raise money for some charitable group or the library) entry fee and prizes to be awarded, details to follow

  • December – Barter Day – Stacey

  • December – Holiday Party – Need someone for this

  • December (the Fridays leading up to Christmas) – Caroling at Elder Care Facilities – Crazy8

  • January – Drama Production (possibly) – a production by the younger kids

  • February – Talent Show – Jessica

  • March – Spelling Bee – Brooke

  • March – Science & History Fair – Melissa

  • April – Art and Dessert Show – Jill, Stacey, Leslie

  • May – Shakespeare Play? – There has been a play put on by the kids during this time in previous years, so wanted to list that here. Not really sure what or if it will be.

Summer Activities:

Soccer – there are a bunch of kids that would like to continue meeting on Tuesdays for soccer. We meet from 1-2:30pm. It would be a weekly pick-up game. Sometimes we may have a coach and sometimes not. Just a fun time to play an organized game of soccer.

SPUD  and Kick Ball – this will continue again this year meeting on Thursdays from 1-3pm (I believe) at the Rec park field. This is a fun time for kids and parents to play outdoor games together. (As a side note: there is free lunch right at the skating rink area every day for kids 18 and under at noon. So maybe some families could meet early for lunch and then play? Just a thought)

Summer Party at the lake – The idea to just have a get together at the lake that would allow the entire family to be in on the fun. Eat together, swim, play, just enjoy each others company and see each other during the summer also.

Family Game Night – There is talk of a family game night with details to follow

Hiking – I believe there is also talk of families getting together to hike during the summer with dates and places to follow

The HOME in Homeschooling

Lot’s of changes here. Being without a vehicle has made homeschooling so much easier. It used be that we were fighting with outside activities for time but now we have so much time. The house is neater and the schoolwork is all caught up.  More on that in a minute. So our list of what we accomplished this week is different but more fulfilling.

What we did do this week:

  • Weatherized the house: well we didn’t, but a crew was here working on that all week
  • Church
  • Workbook work
  • Easy Peasy Online School
  • Costco shopping with a friend and our little ones
  • Orthodontist appointment: Artist got her braces off 🙂
  • Math drills
  • Read lots to the younger kids
  • Played around with water and our freezing temperatures outside
  • Church
  • Created a new cleaning system for ourselves

The HOME in Homeschooling

So many things pull us out of our homes. There are the lessons like music or foreign language, there are classes like a science co-op or drama group, there are sports activities like soccer or open gym, there are just so many awesome activities for us as homeschoolers, how do you choose?

Well, our choice was made for us with the demise of our latest vehicle. We were doing so many activities every week. Here is a list of things we did with the homeschool group before our vehicle bit the dust:

  • Science co-ops: ran these and participated
  • Drama club
  • Homeschool Choir
  • Singing at nursing homes
  • Ice skating
  • Homeschool meetings: set-up and lead most of them
  • Open gym
  • Yearbook: started and ran
  • and, and, and

That is just a partial list of our weekly things to do with/for our homeschool group. There are also field trips, the soccer team, talent shows, spelling bees, you name it, our group was doing it. Most of it was organized and run by us.

Now, these are all wonderful things to do. Really there are. But the HOME in homeschooling was becoming the, “get what you can get done in the time left” schooling. We were gone so much we wondered if our home was more of a motel than a house. My husband and I would laugh when saying this and then look at each other like, ” Really? Is this what we have become?”

We would spend our mornings preparing to be gone again:

  • Packing lunches
  • Collecting workbooks for down times
  • Final prep for co-op lessons to teach
  • Collecting supplies for co-op classes
  • Rushing to do our animal chores
  • Eat a quick breakfast
  • And slamming that door behind us to a now empty house

That was a typical Monday. Don’t get me wrong, we would get all of our schoolwork accomplished but had barely any time to relax when we were home. When we got home we were exhausted. This was a typical week:

  • Monday: Co-op classes, Drama club, Yearbook all in the afternoon
  • Tuesday: Ice skating in the morning or Soccer in the afternoon, and Homeschool meetings in the evenings once a month
  • Wednesday: Field trips in the morning once a month and Homeschool Q&A in the afternoon once a month
  • Thursday: Open gym in the afternoon
  • Friday: Home

Now as you can see these are all taking up only parts of the day. Some were just mornings or just afternoons but I would have to plan out my week and figure out when we would get our actual schoolwork done. Each day we would get these activities and our schoolwork done but at what cost? There has to be a limit.

Someone once said to me, “If your not home is it really homeschooling?” Now there are many ways to homeschool, don’t get me wrong, but the way we were doing it was just was to hectic for us. We needed time to crash and not worry about the activities for the next day.

Helping to keep out homeschool group going for the last 3-4 years has been a blessing and a burden. We are a veteran homeschooling family and love to share what we have found works. This is our 22nd year homeschooling and we know a few things that could be helpful to a family starting out and love sharing that knowledge. We also know how to fit it all in since we have homeschooled for so long that it is just a way of life for us.  Homeschooling is the natural thing for us to do each day.

So what have we learned by being home more and not doing all those activities?

  • The homeschool group can survive without us
  • Our children are happier to just chill
  • We accomplish our schoolwork so much faster
  • We like to sleep in a little later
  • Our afternoons are ours again to do what makes us happy
  • The house is cleaner since we are here to keep it neat (kinda weird that is was so much messier when we were here less…)
  • I am a more relaxed mama
  • I have my weekends back: not planning 3 co-op classes for Monday has totally freed up my weekends

My advice…

Pick and choose what you children will participate in. We have 6 kids still at home and could easily make a legitimate excuse for every activity we were doing but how did those choices change us as a family?

Make it a point to be home with your kids. There will always be something else to participate in but for this time just choose home.

Socializing is a hot topic… make time to spend with others but cherish this time you have with your children. Too soon they will be graduating and you will wonder where all the time went.

What do you think? Let us know 🙂

Lastly a picture from this week… Artist got her braces off. A beautiful smile on a beautiful young lady.

no braces

Happy Homeschooling!