Tag Archives: literature

A Little Help, Please

Tomorrow is our first official day of co-op, when all four of my children will have classes to attend. We joined the co-op two years ago, and it’s worked out well for our family. We’ve found friends there who could help us with our homeschooling adventure, and friend whom we could help out as well.

When we first started, my oldest son John was entering the eighth grade and my youngest was starting kindergarten.  While I still felt fairly confident about teaching the eighth grade curriculum, I knew I would have less time to spend with him now that all of the kids had lessons to do. His classes at co-op consisted of Geography and Physical Science, and he did well in both. He learned how to manage his time, keep up with assignments, and study for tests. The next year was even more challenging as he took Geometry, Biology, and World Literature.

This year, as he enters the tenth grade, he’ll be taking Algebra II, Chemistry, and American Literature. While I can help him with his homework, I’m not certain I could see him through the math and science courses successfully. But fortunately, there are other moms who can.

Part of the requirement at our co-op is that at least one parent from each family takes on a role, whether its in teaching a class, organizing activities, or helping clean up the facilities. This year, I’ll be teaching two writing classes and an art class. I love to edit the students’ papers and try new art projects, something that isn’t easy for some moms. So while we’re receiving help in some areas, we’re able to give help in others.

If you’re not part of a co-op but are overwhelmed with so much to teach, here are a couple of things you can try:

  • Contact other homeschoolers in your area and find out what their interests or strengths are.  Ask if they would be interested in teaching a class in a home or at a local church. You could either pay the teacher or perhaps trade off by teaching another subject yourself.
  • See if there are any upper level high school students who would be willing to tutor your child in a particular subject. Often high schoolers can do the work but charge a much lower rate than a traditional tutor.

We’ve homeschooled all of our children since kindergarten, but I’m not sure if we could have done it alone. So if you find yourself needing some assistance, don’t hesitate to ask. As they say, we can all use a little help sometime. 🙂

Perch, Mrs. Sackets, and Crow’s Nest

P1050102Many homeschool curriculums are literature-based, and lists of good literature are available online and at the library. Most people are familiar with the classics, such as the books by Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, or Jane Austen.  While we use the classics in our studies, we like to read more contemporary books together during lunchtime (I read aloud while the children eat), some of our favorites being the Junie B. Jones series and the Trailblazer missionary stories. New books are being published every year, and we like to try those out too. Some are good, some not-so-good. We usually don’t finish the not-so-good ones, but Perch, Mrs. Sackets, and Crow’s Nest is one I would definitely recommend.  

The story is about ten-year-old Andy Parker who goes to spend the summer with his grandmother in the country. His dad has passed away, and now his best friend is moving — things are changing, and he suspects a new chapter in his life is going to begin. Set in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York, Perch, Mrs. Sackets, and Crow’s Nest describes Andy’s activities with his mother’s friend John, his grandmother, and the neighbor, Mrs. Sackets. 

Written in first person, the story softly conveys Andy’s feelings and reactions to his changing world. Through Andy’s voice, author Karen Pavlicin, who lost her own husband to cancer, leads the reader gently through the changes as Andy realizes that even as he experiences loss, life is still full of hope. 

Since we began homeschooling eight years ago, I’ve known of several families in the area who have lost parents or children because of automobile accidents or illness. Even though I  lost my own father twelve years ago, I can still only imagine what they are experiencing. But for those families, I think Ms. Pavlicin’s book carries a timeless message: “With a little bit of faith, we’ll make it through a lifetime of changes.”