Even better than leading Cub Scouts as a Den Leader is teaching other people's kids things in formal classes. I am really enjoying my time working with homeschooled kids.
I won't pretend that some kids are sometimes challenging or that sometimes a course's content was not a good fit for a child which increases tension and changes the group dynamic. However mostly the kids I have been working with since last March in homeschool co-ops are good, interesting, unique people. Even the most challenging kids due to struggling with the class's content or it being not a good fit, yet they are still good kids at heart and likeable people when viewed in the big picture.
Bit by bit kids reveal their personalities and express their thoughts to teachers, which reveal more and more of who they are as time goes on. I am sure that school teachers know what I'm talking about.
Nearly all the homeschooled kids I have taught so far have not erected walls to protect themselves. They are pretty transparent and show their authentic selves without fear. It's true they act in ways that leave them more vulnerable. Lucky for them they are treated with respect and kindness by most if not all the homeschool-parent teachers at the co-op's. The fact that they are authentic and so open makes getting to know them easier.
For me one of the best things about participating in a homeschool co-op has been working with kids. Sometimes I'm learning along with them and other times I'm teaching them things I already have mastered.
I am grateful for homeschool co-op's for some opportunities my kids have had there being taught by other parents or by professional teachers.
Doing one co-op last spring was great. This fall we are in three different group learning situations. The entire family schedule for us this fall is over-booked. The combination of doing too much and juggling everything from attending so many appointments to my kids having homework from so many different classes to me teaching five different classes is just too much.
We're in the process of figuring out what to pare down for the second half of this academic year. Everything is made up of good and bad or easy or difficult, that's life. Even the things I'll be relieved to leave behind just so we can have more free time will also be missed for their good parts.
I wish I could show you photos of joyful faces of kids in my co-op classes but due to privacy concerns I can't. Oh how I'd love for you to see the sparkle in their eyes. I'd like for you to see my kids working and learning alongside other kids too, but I can't. So here are some photos taken at co-op that I'm allowed to share.
Bread during, then after, in my cooking and baking from scratch class.
My older son working at Write It / Do It Science Olympiad class that I teach.
Older son with a creation from hands-on physics class.
Hands-on physics class taught by a professional teacher with degrees in physics and astronomy.
A Say It / Do It creation that an almost nine year old created (a modified class I created inspired by the Science Olympiad).
Mac and Cheese from scratch from cooking class.
The view out the kitchen window at co-op. What a great place to be for multiple hours at a time.