In the Fall of 2007 my wife started taking our 3 children to a home school cooperative (co-op). It was a traditional co-op, where each family taught some classes and volunteered in others. The first semester it turned out amazing for the kids. Charlie, who just graduated from high school, still has his notebook from a very cool International Space Station class he took that year. It was amazing for the kids, but very difficult for my wife. Each parent got at least one class period off to fellowship with the other parents. Alas, Lucy was about 1 at the time and as you know when you take a 1-year-old anywhere you never get time off. Amy wisely decided on taking a semester off and going back when Lucy was a little older.
Amy planned to return in the Fall of 2008. However, Amy and I did the Old Switcheroo in the fall of 2008. (She went back to working full time, and I became Home School Dad and took over the teaching at home.) In the Spring semester of 2009, I brought the kids back to co-op and did the teaching, assisting, and running after Lucy. Soon The co-op became amazing for everyone in our family.
For several years this is how it remained. Then as our circumstances changed, we would quit the co-op and later, come back to it only to leave again and come back again. Finally, (or we thought it was finally) in 2015, we stopped homeschooling altogether. I quit co-op for "the final" time and we moved on with our life. Our home school adventure had many twists and turns in the road and yet looking back we could see God leading us through each and every one.
This contiued when all 3 children were in public sct hool at the same time for the first time in their lives. Charlie excelled in his last year of middle school and his first year of high school. Emma had major adjustments and changes to navigate, going from a 3 person school with a 40 person co-op once a week to a school of 3,000 students and being diagnosed with High Functioning Autism(HFA). (Her diagnosis was partially due to one of the many extra curricular events we went to because of our co-op. One of the former students in our co-op who has HFA was featured in a documentary that premiered at the Imago Film Festival. The documentary opened our eyes to the possibility that Emma might be on the spectrum, which helped hasten her diagnosis.) Because of her many home school credits from her first two years of high school she was able to finish her high school experience a semester early by taking an on-line poetry class at home. The wonder that is Lucy, continued to shine in her last 2 years of eleementary school. She won speech contests that highlightred her flair for the dramatic, won awards for her artistic achievement, and was honored with the highest award in her 5th grade commencement. As the 2017 school year ended, more changes were in store for the Roller clan as each of our 3 students again changed schools, as we after 16 years in Carpentesville changed suburbs.
Emma was off to the local jr. college. Charlie started his sophomore year at a new high school and Lucy started being home schooled again. We had always wanted to home school each of our children through at least middle school. We did that with Emma and even got an extra two high school years with her at home. Charlie was in 8th grad when we stopped home schooling him. We were delighted when we had the opportunity to bring Lucy back home for her 3 middle school years. Of course this meant going back to our old homeschool co-op and saying we needed to return if only for us to learn the actual meaning of the word final.
Our on-again off again relationship with our co-op taught us many things more than one post will allow, but here are a couple. My years at the co-op prepared me for my now on-again off again job (Thanks Covid) as a substitute teacher. At the co-op, Lucy was still a force to be reckoned with; No longer the one man wrecking ball of her toddlerdom, she continued to blossom as an amazing orator, comedian, actress, and especially a gracious loving daughter, student and friend.
Earlier this Lucy was accepted into a special theater arts academy part of the public high school Charlie just graduated from. She was so looking forward to finishing her home school and co-op experience and then leaving home and going to school every day in the Fall. Then Covid came on the scene. The co-ops did not end the way we expected and now we found out that her high school will not start as we expected. She will start high school as her brother and sister finished it, virtually.
Educating our children has not always gone the way we have planned it. However, we have seen God orchestrate all the steps and use them in mighty ways. As with everyone else on the planet, Covid 19 life has been very challenging for our family but we are still confident that God will continue directing our paths. In a way much more than the band at the fish in the sea dance at the end of Back to the Future could , God is more than able to keep up with the changes.