We recently completed our first year of "Friday School" with a local First Class Homeschool Ministries Coop. It was one of the greatest blessings for our family this year. The boys had a chance to be part of a more structured classroom environment where they learned and made new friends. Some of the classes they took included: Music, P.E., Community Helpers, Lego Robotics, Space, Art, Health and Hands-On Math. Sarah also got to be part of the program and enjoy toddler classes with storytime, simple crafts and games.
Being a Coop, the parents (and grandparents) have a very important role. We help teach or assist classes, monitor hallways and help in other ways like setting up and cleaning up. We all play an important part and help each other carry the load.
A typical day at First Class includes: chapel time, 3 blocks of classes, snack time and closing session. All moms get a free block to interact in the parent room, make new friends and share encouragement. Our coop also offers regular park dates, field trips and moms night out.
What I love the most about First Class...
~It is an answer to prayer! I first heard about First Class from Steve and Jane Lambert at the Five in a Row message boards. They spoke very highly of the founders of First Class and after reading through their website I loved their vision for homeschooling families. There were talks about starting a group like this in Illinois but during that time we were making our way down to Texas. After trying 3 different local support groups, I still did not find one that was the right fit for us. Some were non-sectarians, others did not offer classes, others put too much emphasis on academics and most were too expensive for our one income family.
~First Class is affordable and effective, I definitely love that!
~It gives my children the opportunity to have wholesome socialization while enjoy wonderful classes that enrich their learning at home.
~I've made some wonderful friendships with the moms and have come to know and love a very diverse group of women. It is encouraging to see how we are growing in love for each other, serving one another in our times of need and encouraging one another as home educators.
~It is a place to use and grow your gifts and abilities. Some moms are naturally better at teaching a subject or are great at organizing activities or recruiting people or at leading the chapel time, etc. We all bless each other with what the Lord has entrusted to us.
~We get to decide what we want our children to learn. I love that because I do like to be in control of what my kids are learning and at First Class we share classes ideas before each semester starts.
~We meet 8-10 weeks per semester. That is perfect for us. It is enough to be enjoyed and not overload the kids or the moms. :)