Monday, May 06, 2013

The Art of Deligation

The longer we homeschool, the more I've come to rely on outside resources, classes, tutors, and co-ops to create our homeschool program. I feel like a contractor who hires a plumber, electrician and carpenter to build a house.  I personally don't pick up a hammer much anymore.  I organize the activities and spend a lot of time driving around in my car or in front of my computer sending emails to set up the next activity.

While preparing this list, I've realized that one of the reasons that we utilize more outside resources is that we can afford them now.  Though, many of these options are very inexpensive, or even free.  I'm also surprised at just how long the list has become.  When I started working on this post, I could only think of a half a dozen or so outside resources.  At last count, I was up to 17 outside options that we have utilized in the last year.

Here's what delegated "homeschooling" looks like at our house.

Cate Academy's "Outside" activities:

Sky High - This is a trampoline jumping place. They have a "Homeschool" discount.

Tutor (Occupational Therapy) - I won 5 hours of tutoring at a silent auction.  I discovered that Beth has a degree in Occupational Therapy.  She works with Baby Bop (Kindergarten) on a variety of OT type activities for an hour once a week.

Speech Therapy - Baby Bop goes to speech therapy once a week at our neighborhood school. (I was informed that next year the school will no longer provide services to homeschoolers and private school students, but that is another post).  Baby Bop also goes to Speech Therapy at CSLOT.  This service is provided to us free of charge because Baby Bop is a former foster child.

Rocket-it Science Class - Baby Bop and Wreck-it Ralph (Pre-K) attend an one hour class once a  week.

South Bay FREE Scholars - I take Daughter #3, Baby Bop and Wreck-it Ralph to park day a couple times a month.  My older girls are too busy to go to park day anymore, but they used to go when they were little. This homeschool support group meets once a week at rotating parks.  I only seem to make it there half the time though because of all our other activities.

Singers Heart (Voice Lessons) - Daughter #2 will be auditioning for a Junior/Senior church choir group.  She is taking a few months of lessons to prepare.

Parks and Recreation Classes - Baby Bop and Wreck-it Ralph take a pre-rec gymnastics class through Santa Clara City Parks and Recreation. Over the years, our kids have taken a variety of classes such dance, art, theater and karate.

SOL Co-op - SOL (Scholars of Light) is a co-op group that I helped start 9 years ago.  We started in a bungalow apartment behind the house of one of our families.  Then we moved to a garage behind the house of another family and then to a community room at a local park. Next we floated around to various churches and homes of members in the group.  We now pay rent and meet at a local church.  Unfortunately, this church required us to get group insurance which drove up our costs.  Still, it works out to be $6 a month per child. 

The co-op activities include rotating classes, such as art, art appreciation, chess, creative writing, science experiments, drama, beginning choir and a preschool class.

SOL Advanced Choir - Scholars of Light (SOL) is a sub-group of the co-op for the older children.  Daughters #2 and #3 sing with this group. SOL choir perform at a local senior living center once a month.  Recently, we began singing at the care home where my 97 year old aunt lives.  It happens to be only a few blocks from our rehearsal location (which is the home of one of our families). 

Sounds of Joy Band Ensemble - Our little band ensemble group includes homeschooled children, their parents and other adults from the community.  The band ensemble  moved with us to our currently meeting place with the co-op.  The band rehearsal is before co-op which saves us a trip.

Math Tutoring - We have an excellent math tutor.  She teaches math at the local high school full time and tutors a few students on the side.  Once a week, she comes to our home to tutor all the girls.  She also helps with science homework and Daughter #1's college math and writing assignments
Online classes - Daughter #2 and Daughter #3 take online classes in History, Science and English.  We've had so-so success with the online classes.  This year, things have gone very well with the addition of live online classes.  Interacting with the teacher and the other online students has helped the girls feel more excited about what they are learning.  If they have to miss a live class, they can always watch it later to catch up.  I believe that this style of learning will be the wave of the future.

We haven't branched out much yet, but every day there are more classes available online, many of which are free.

Community College Classes - In our area, there is a program available to high school juniors and seniors to attend community college for free under the concurrent enrollment program.  Our oldest daughter was able to complete a semesters worth of college credit before she started college full time.  Daughter #2 is currently takes 2 classes: Sign Language and American History. Our oldest daughter is in the history class with her sister.  They catch the bus together on Friday mornings.  After class, the younger daughter then catches a bus to get to our co-op classes.

Sports Leagues - I can't not tell you how happy I am that it is NOT soccer season right now.  In the fall, soccer takes over our life.  However, I'm grateful that the kids get the exercise and can experience team sports.  This should be an easy year with only 2 kids in soccer (since Daughter #1 and Daughter #2 have aged out).  Of course, if Wreck-it Ralph is still with us, then we will be back to 3 kids in soccer again.

Music Lessons - We were lucky enough to find a violin/piano teacher that comes to our home.  That way I can still get useful things done at home while my kids are having lessons.  We are taking a break right now because we didn't register fast enough and our teacher's schedule filled up.  We are  preregistered for the fall.

SAT/ACT Tutoring -  Even though I expect my children will go to community college before attending a university, I like to keep their options open.  Our oldest daughter did both SAT and ACT prep classes through a private tutor.  These small classes (6 or fewer students) taught in private homes were significantly cheaper than classes offered by a test prep corporations.  Even though my oldest daughter (who scored well enough to get into the university of her choice) didn't need an ACT or SAT score for community college, I felt that the tutoring helped prepare her for college test taking.

Children's Community Theater -  Last year all three of our girls were in a production of Pirates of Penzance done by the CTC (California Theater Center).  The reason we choose this program is that there were no Sunday performances.  Also, thanks to their summer program with all day classes, Daughter #3 no longer asked to go to school. 

Two years ago, Daughter #3 participated in a musical production offered at the Coyote Grange.  They offer a variety of classes for homeschoolers.  The down side is that it is a 35+ minute drive each way. Even with sharing the driving with a carpool, that adds up to a lot of driving time.

And now you know why I have a bumper sticker on my car that says: "I don't know why they call it homeschooling.  I'm always in my car."


jugglingpaynes said...

Great bumper sticker!

Henry Cate said...

Yes, even now the bumper sticker still makes me smile.