Our family has joined a homeschool co-op. What this means is that families get together (in this case, about 80 families!) and together we offer classes, clubs, activities, and other fun things. The kids range from babes in slings to independent teenagers. So far ElvenTiger and I have been the ones exploring it, though BlackLion made his first visit to the co-op this week. A couple of the other families from the Maine Wholeschoolers have joined too, and on alternate weeks I give some of the kids a ride, while their Mom is at work.
Here's a typical day: I picked up the two kids and we drove to the co-op. We arrived and greeted friends and acquaintances, and checked out the announcements for the day. ElvenTiger went off to her basket-weaving class. BlackLion got all signed up as one of the parent volunteers (he and I are going to offer an international cooking class this winter). I joined some Moms to make a hula hoop. After we created our awesome hoops (mine is purple, green and white), we went outside to learn to use them. I admit, while both my kids are awesome hula hoopers, I've never been able to figure it out. I made some progress, though, and I think I'll get the hang of it, with practice.
Then it was lunch time. We heated up and ate our soup that we brought, and chatted with some folks while we ate. Kids of all ages ran around. We helped brainstorm some ideas for a new co-op name. A bunch of teens were having lunch together, planning the group's fall/Halloween party. BlackLion left to go take Dryst to his soccer game.
After lunch we had cooking class. We made artisan bread and homemade butter. It was fun! I stayed to clean up while the others went on to their classes. ElvenTiger has a free period then, and she went and hung out with a new friend, helping her with her knitting. I talked with some Moms who came to help clean the kitchen, and went for a walk with a new friend of my own. Then it was time to go home. It is such a fun community, and I'm thankful we joined.
While I was there, I learned about a very cool weekend experience for teens at MIT coming up later this fall. It sounds fabulous. I think I'm going to ask Dryst if he wants to go, as sort of a mother-son weekend. We don't have as many interests in common as ElvenTiger and I do, but I think this would be something we would both really enjoy, and learn from. I love this lifestyle!