Friday, September 14, 2012

LIFE Begins

Ah! Friday mornings for the next ten weeks will be all about packing up and heading out… to class. Actually, it is more like three classes. Twice a year, fall and spring, we attend L.I.F.E. Co-op Classes.

Learning in Family Education (L.I.F.E.) Co-op Classes began 4 years ago in a park, under 3 picnic shelters, the result of about a dozen Moms who wanted a class setting to teach American Government.  While the high school students met under one shelter, the middle school students were covering an introduction to American Government. Their class included more hands-on activities.  The younger elementary grade students did arts and crafts, and the little ones played on the playground.  All of the mothers were assigned to a group.  They either taught or helped.  Humble beginnings, sweet memories.

Because it was so successful, I told the group about the large homeschool co-op I had been a part of for many years before moving to Florida.  Instead of one class, students were given a choice between two classes.  Instead of one class period, there were three.  It was a little overwhelming to think about doing that much, so we decided to try two periods.  Some groups call them “blocks”.  Basically, that means 2-one hour classes, for each age group.

I explained the process, four other mothers agreed to be co-leaders, we put the word out, and before you know it, LIFE was born.  We met in the spring of the same year and it was a great success. The following year, we moved to three class periods. We’ve had as many as 36 families, 100 students, and 22 classes all together in LIFE.

The types of classes offered at LIFE are usually enrichment classes.  They often include subjects or activities that are best suited for a group, rather than one to two students at home.  P/E is a good example, but we’ve also had drama classes.  There have been science and history unit studies, sign language, and even sewing classes.  The list is endless.  One of my favorites was Claymation. Middle school students created clay figures and an animated story to watch on video. They did a really good job.

A parent from each family (occasionally fathers have been able to attend) usually volunteers to teach a class or subject for which they have special skills or strengths. For our older students, we have offered electives and supplements to core classes. For instance, we have taught Economics, Shakespeare, Biology Lab, Auto Shop, and more.

One of the best parts of our co-op is the end.  On the last day, we have a presentation time open to all family members and friends.  During this hour, projects are displayed; we hear music from a chorus or a guitar class.  We watch skits or plays. Almost every class presents something. It is truly a cooperative event.

Another favorite is park time.  Many of the families pack a lunch and we meet for 2-3 hours after co-op. It has been a great way to solidify friendships, discuss class ideas and relax.

This year, I am teaching Current Events and an Art Journal class. I’m looking forward to lively discussions and creative fun. This may be my last semester, and I would like to cherish each week. That said…I will be blogging on Fridays about LIFE.

LIFE will go on without me, with great leaders and wonderful, caring families. If you are in the Tallahassee area and are interested in joining LIFE, leave a comment or email us -tallahasseelifecoop at gmail (dot) com

If you are interested in learning more about how to start a co-op similar to LIFE, click here.


Sign-Up for LIFE Classes


Arts and Crafts:  Papier-mâché  

Simple Machines Class
For an idea of what types of classes we have taught in the past, here are some links:

Spring 2010
Fall 2009




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