Co-op / Synergy - MFW in a group setting, Science fair,

Art, Foreign Language, Music, Nature Walks, as well as general ideas and encouragement
Julie - Staff
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Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 11:52 am

Co-op / Synergy - MFW in a group setting, Science fair,

Unread post by Julie - Staff »

As a result of conversations such as those archived below, MFW has developed Synergy Guides. No longer do families need to spend time planning a co-op. Also, families no longer need to figure out how to squeeze co-op activities and assignments into their weeks, since Synergy activities are taken directly out of MFW curriculum guides, reducing the teaching time at home.

For more information on Synergy groups, see the post at the top of the Main Board -- -- which includes a link to the Synergy page on the MFW Website --
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue May 02, 2006 6:49 pm

MFW Co-op?

Unread post by LizCT »

alyssal615 wrote:I am looking for some advice/help! We have 40+ families in our area doing MFW this year (with new families calling or emailing me every day wanting info. It's such a blessing!). We are exploring the idea of doing a weekly co-op next Fall and wondered if anyone has done something like that (or who after reading this has some ideas for me) and could help me process some thoughts. Many of us are currently in other co-ops which in essence causes more work (MFW + co-op homework), and so doing a co-op with what we are already studying would enhance vs frustrate our efforts over time.

With MFW being organized by unit studies, it would seem that we would need to all be on the same week in order for it to work, but then families would lose their flexibility of when they wanted to start. By staggering our starting dates, it also helps with being more able to access the library for our book basket books. I can't seem to reconcile those two aspects -- same start dates to be able to do a co-op vs staggering for library issues....

This year we have families all the way from preschool-on up to a few doing CtG, RtR and Exp to 1850.

Any help or ideas would be GREATLY appreciated! :) Thank you.
Alyssa L
Wow - that's amazing that you have so many families in your area using MFW!! With all of the possible time periods and subjects being studied, I'm not sure how you could manage to coordinate everyone if you are trying to link home studies with the coop work.

We have a small coop here (5 families), and none of the other families are currently using MFW. We generally have covered topics that are outside of the scope of what we all are doing in our homes - trying to hit on areas that we all feel we are covering less completely at home. We all discuss what we feel are our weaker points, and try to do things in those areas at our coop. We also feel that the kids need time to have activities together, as they only see each other once a week, so we try to allow time for games & such.

I'll send up a prayer for you - your own family's learning does have to be a priority, and I'll pray that the joyful task of helping organize other MFW users in your area doesn't pull you too much away from your own priorities.

Liz in CT

Unread post by cbollin »


There was a small group around me last year (that I didn't even know about until April) that was using EX1850 as a basis for doing history and science together. They didn't worry about it in terms of who was on what week within their own families and it worked out ok. Some families had preview, others had review.

Science lessons seemed to work better for that group and some extra history lessons. They basically did all of their MFW science together in co-op.

My dh and I were talking a bit about your post tonight. He tossed out the idea that maybe it would work to do art/art history, or even music from the various years together. Just look for the more "optional" parts of the MFW program and focus on that instead.

We thought about the idea of maybe your group could look at trying to do more field trips and/or group service projects. Field trips don't always have to be timed to match whatever you are studying that week. Ideal if it happens, but not needed. It might work better for once a month instead of once a week if most people already have a lot of other commitments with another co-op or whatever.

Hoping something in there helps you think out loud about it.

Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

Hi Alyssa ~

My only thought would be, as someone else said, choosing the extras that sometimes get left out. Typically, science, music, foreign language & art fall quickly into those categories.

Regarding the scheduling issue, if co-op teachers do the activities that MFW suggests, it may fall as an intro for some & a review for others. As a mom, I would probably be willing to be flexible about that if I knew we might cover it at an off-time, versus possibly not getting to it at all. KWIM?

If folks decided to use an art/music/science/FL program that enriched without being what was written in, you might have some who enjoy the best of both worlds. For example, we did most of the Tchaikovsky/Celebrate America music from ADV last year, but did a totally separate music program for K (with Quinne & her family). It was a 27-song collection a PS teacher friend gave me because she knew we were doing the alphabet (the program is called, "It's a Zoo Out There: Animals A to Z"). What a blast! It under-girded the whole 'focus on a letter' idea without being overkill. If the song we learned didn't correspond to the letter being studied that week, it was, again, a good intro or a good review.

Along those lines, Draw, Write Now! is a quick, fun program that is really teacher & kid friendly. I know on the yahoo boards there are moms who have added it to ADV and ECC. That might be another option.

Science can be soooo much fun, as well. Many of the science experiments from the various MFW curricula would easy to adapt to a group setting. Again, if scheduling is an issue, it would also be easy to find lots of resources for doing an enrichment-type study.

I know none of this is very concrete, but I've enjoyed tagging onto your thought process! :) Please let us all know what you work out. You may be laying some foundation for those who come behind you... :)

Have a great year, Alyssa!
Posts: 441
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Unread post by Lucy »


Here is a link that has a few ideas that may help. (If others have ideas for ECC they could post them at this link as well.)

I taught a class where I used MFW material but everyone was not even using MFW. That would have been nice. The way I looked at the class was whatever we covered that week was either an introduction or a review of material that had been covered.

If you chose to do certain projects you would just want to make sure that everyone knew which ones they were so that they did not do them at home.

Maybe this will help a little bit.
wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2006 6:04 pm

Unread post by Suzq »

Hi Alyssa,
I was in a group like that last year. There was a class for Nursery, Pre-K, K, 1st, Adventures, ECC, and CTG. There were no families signed up for the older years. We met at a church. The moms did all of the teaching.

We had one mom who did a game time with the different age groups. During the time your class was in the game time the other moms could talk, pray and encourage each other.

I was in the CTG group and we made a schedule for the semester so we knew ahead of time what projects and experiments would be done at co-op. So it did not really matter what week you were on, as some have said it was either preview or review. We did the science, art, and craft projects from the TM. This co-op really worked well for larger families as they could put their child in the proper class.

It was most challenging for the ECC group because it was the largest. Some families dropped because of this. You may want to put a cap on the class size (a very hard thing to do).

We met together as a large group for 10 minutes at the beginning. We sang This is My Father's World and did the Pledge of Allegiance and the Pledge to the Christian Flag plus announcements. Field trips that people came up with were for anyone who wanted to sign up. It was a great! Have fun with your co-op. Once you get the logistics set up it won't be too difficult after that.
Suzq (MI)
wife to dh since 1992
mom to ds(1995) & ds(1998)

"His grace is sufficient"

Co-op - Helping special needs child

Unread post by cbollin »

RB wrote:Another post touched on an issue that i've been wondering about, and i know some of you might shed a little light. There is a little boy in our co-op with special needs, no specific diagnosis, though several of us have questioned the possibility of Autism. He is 6. There is also a difficult home situation. A non-parent homeschools him.

I know there is often concern about "falling through the cracks" in the public school system, but what about that happening in a homeschool or co-op? The leadership of our co-op is committed to showing him compassion and kindness. What resources might be recommended for meeting his needs in co-op? Helping the other kids in his class when they are confused? Should there be a "one-on-one" teacher? ANY ideas are much appreciated!
Wow. Let me say that I’m grateful to hear that the co-op leaders are willing to step up in such difficult situations. Where to start… Looking forward to hearing others on this. It’s been a long time for us in those starting days. Here's a few things to look at while waiting for some other answers.

*Starting point for homeschooling co-op leaders and parents. Obvious, but pray regularly for this child. An excellent daily scriptural based prayer guide (can be sent in email each day) is available from Nothing like that email showing up to remind you.

Resources for evaluation:
*the parent or legal guardians will of course have to be the ones who get the ball rolling. The usual resource is to start with the local pediatrician and asking for a referral. The pediatrician office will most likely have a list of private options as well as the contact person for the public school system. Or, I went the private route.

Autism and other developmental issues are best diagnosed by a team of professionals working together to look at big picture issues. However, there are some online things that can give you an idea if it is autism spectrum or not. It’s not an official diagnosis, but sometimes having a big list of “oh my! You mean I missed that obvious sign?” can be helpful when you see the pediatrician. So it’s a screening tool – not a self diagnostic tool

*Yes, a one on one aide will be helpful. If the child gets services from a speech language pathologist or occupational therapists (or both), make them part of the team and just ask what and how can we do this. Some therapists are not as homeschool friendly as others. But when we homeschoolers are working together with them, it turns out ok. It gives them insight about homeschooling. I end up working with a team of people.

A couple of online articles about autism in Sunday School classes might be helpful for people looking to include a kid with autism in a co-op setting. Print them out.

*How to tell the other children? I think it is important to let them know something. The kids at our church who go to public schools are used to being around autism, so they just ignore it. Homeschooled families –this might be their first exposure to anything like this. {hugs} all around. Maybe someone else has some better ideas off the top of their heads. I know there are books and online articles for all of this.

*Network around your town at churches. More and more churches are starting to have special needs ministries. Maybe someone from one of those could help out with ideas or be able to come and observe and /or consult for a while. It seems there is always someone at some church who is a special needs teacher, or a public school teacher with special kids in the classroom. Ask for help. I did that in my church for my kids.

*What to do if/when Overstimulated: if all autism kids reacted the same way, it would be easy. Helping my youngest learn to get control took a lot of time and work. With the girl in our co-op she was verbal and it was different. It can be personal, and it was easier for me to talk in person in our co-op.

*general resource to consider… HeadsUpNow dot com The people who run that company might have some great ideas to help your co-op. Their contact info is on their site. They carry General Books out there to help with those sensory overloads. Just look around on there and then you might check some of them out of the library or a local bookstore to preview the books. Then you can decide where to purchase any of them. Basically, anything that Carol Kranowitz has written about Out of Sync Child or 101 Activities for Kids in Tight Spaces --- those books might help a bit.

*if he is limited verbal, you will need some way to communicate. The co-op leader will need to team with the speech therapists to keep it consistent. Many autistic kids end up using PECS – picture exchange communication system. Talk with the child’s speech therapists. Again, ask the parent and guardian to arrange for consult meetings.

*it might take trial and error to make it work in your co-op. Work for high standards in the child and just know that it doesn’t happen as quickly as any of us would like.

Lainie wrote:There are two families in particular that each have boys that struggle socially. They think that home schooling would make the problems bigger. I guess I am looking for information about the socialization of children that either have special needs or that have significant problems socially. Thanks again for the help...
Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:45 pm
I feel like I need to be real and honest here. It is hard to homeschool with special needs. It's doable. But hard work.

Socialization is about learning how to behave in society. Yes, you can homeschool a child who has special needs. And just like parents of “neuro typical” children, we need to teach how to behave in society and provide lots of real life practice for our children. As the parent of a child on the autism spectrum, I know very well how difficult that is. I don’t home school her completely this year. She is 5 and attends 2 preschools as well as individual therapy. Next year she’ll be home with us “full time.”

We have to do all of the same things that the rest of you do. However, we have to work harder to find places that accept our kids.

(here come the worms...) Sadly, not all homeschool co-ops see the opportunity that is there to minister to special needs families. Some do. And sometimes it is just easier to be in group social classes at other places such as City parks and rec centers with inclusive programs. There are options -- even when it is not the typical homeschool route.

I'd look around the HeadsUpNow website for homeschooling special needs and socialization.

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Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 8:47 pm

MFW co-ops, small and large

Unread post by aquak »

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:04 pm
I have been a part of both a small co-op (4 families) as well as a large one (over 30 families), both used the MFW programs and we LOVED them! Very easy to do and lots of fun!

The small setting was neat - we got to know the other families while learning together. We were all in the same year (ECC) so did science, art and various other activities together. Very easy to use what is already written in the teachers guide.

The large group setting grew as others heard about the small one :) We had classes for each level from preschool - CtG (we didn't have anyone in the older years yet!) We did a game time with some groups together but then split into year of study for science and art sometimes music or games too. This was also neat to see so many families learning together. Part of this group was outreach as well - we tried to have monthly "family service" opportunities. As well as doing fund raisers for Bible translation. We adopted a people group from God's Word for the Nations to support.

We enjoyed the sharing and the positive peer pressure:) We encouraged the children to share what they found most interesting or really liked that week in school and often their favorite book or activity would prompt another to pick it up the next week! It was nice for the moms to meet other moms as well who could encourage each other pray together and share ideas.

We would still be involved but we have moved and miss them all - we are beginning again and have one family in our new town that we are blessed to FEAST with as we go through RtR this year :)

I am happy to answer more specific questions if you have them!
Blessings to you and your group
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Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 8:47 pm

How did you handle the library books/ bookbasket?

Unread post by aquak »

Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 8:32 pm
Good question!

We found that with 7or 8 families in the same year we were staggered enough and had various levels of readers that it was ok. Also in each library they usually have something interesting that is very similar to what Marie has listed. If I didn't have time to reserve books ahead we would just pull off the shelf what was available. I was also more aware of when we were done with a book not to just hold on to it but return it. I was able to give a book we were done with to a friend she could return it and check it our on her card - this saved the "transport" time within the library. Alot depends on your library system.

We talked to our librarian and explained that there were many families using MFW and many more "growing" into it. They were able to order multiple copies of many of the books (I asked for the stared(*) ones from the library lists). Now we have moved and the library system is MUCH smaller :( But we are keeping our eyes open to buy the stared (*) books. To my surprise even though its a small library, as I get to know them they have also been willing to buy some of my requested books. So GET TO KNOW THOSE LIBRARIANS!!!

This year we are in RtR and there are lots of read alouds included, which are keeping us busy, so we don't feel like we have to have as many library books.

Another great resource is church libraries you can even try your local public or private school and see if they will allow you to check out their books.

Tied in with that is "Does everyone in the co-op have to be on the same week of study?" My answer is NO. (And that helps the book basket not be such a big deal either!) We found that naturally some families are ahead, some behind, and it was either a review lesson for some or an intro lesson for others – depending on what you plan to do there are some things (like in ECC the geography game) which span 3-6 weeks anyway so it wouldn't’ matter what specific week they are on. This also helps if a family has an illness or travel so they won't feel OFF it all balances out in the end! It was kind of nice if we were "behind" because the other moms would say oh we really liked... or this was neat make sure you do that...!

Other things that don’t matter so much for specific weeks would be the music CDs and songs (K and 1) or CD's and hymns (they are worked into yrs 4 and 5 right now) we enjoyed doing those as a group too. Memory work also in some of the years is building so each week you can work on more.

Hope this helps!
Posts: 128
Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:00 am

How does a typical mfw co-op work?

Unread post by niki »

TracyLee01026 wrote:How does a typical mfw co-op work?
Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 1:23 pm
We co-op with 2 other families this year in ECC. I'm sure we'll continue in the years to come as we and our children have enjoyed it so much.

We gather every other week for preselected art activities. For the most part we buy supplies for our families and then share - it makes for lots of great choices in the kids creations. We meet after lunch and when the project is done the kids play for the afternoon.

It's been very simple (our oldest are in 3rd grade and on down to K). We are considering a "show and tell" of something interesting they learned about the country also - but haven't quite done that yet.

Just what we do.
Marcy KY
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 11:42 pm

Do you worry about covering similar time periods at home

Unread post by Marcy KY »

RB wrote:If you are a part of a co-op do you worry about covering similar time periods at home and co-op? Or do you figure the kids will make their own connections and it all works out in the end?
Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 10:31 pm
Can you skip the history part of the co-op and just enjoy things like literature, music, PE portion? Or is it mandatory that you're there for it all?

What are your reasons for co-op? Is it purely social or are the academics of the program important to you?

If your reasons are mostly social or if the music and PE is the important part, then I wouldn't worry so much about matching my schedule at home with what is done at co-op history-wise. I would just do my schedule as usual.

If your purpose for going to the co-op is because you truly want your history studies enriched by being there, then I think I would find a way to match up my schedule at home with the co-op schedule.
Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 1:29 am

I have found it impossible to match up our home studies with our co-ops. So I just prioritize our home studies, and use our co-ops as enrichment. Sometimes it's review; sometimes it's a preview of future studies.

Kellybell helped me let go of trying to absolutely organize everything and let some things just be at the "wrong" time. I've actually found that preview & review have helped a lot with retention.

And it seems that little gems always appear that still match up with our studies in some way.
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:40 pm

Things to consider as you start your MFW co-op

Unread post by kellybell »

Posted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 7:41 am
I am heading up a 25-family (87 children) non-MFW co-op. I guess my two cents is: the larger the group, the more defined and organized it has to be. For two or three families, everything can be informal, sort of planning as you go. If you get over about four or five families, you need to have things in writing. Things to consider as you start your MFW co-op include:

1. Where to meet? CHurch or home? Library meeting room?
2. How often to meet? Weekly? Not quite weekly? Taking December off?
3. Who is "in charge" or the "point of contact" in case you need to call and cancel (we deal with snow here in Colorado and have had to cancel quite suddenly as small flurries turned into a blizzard in minutes).
4. When to meet? Tuesday mornings? Friday afternoons?
5. Who is responsible for teaching or leading the classes? Will this rotate and how will it rotate (ie. maybe the Brown family teaches for a month, then the Smith family or a month)?
6. What about non-MFW families? Are they welcome to join and participate even though they are doing a different program.
7. How closely must the families follow the MFW curriculum? What happens if a family falls behind due to illness, travel or whatever? Or, what happens if a family decides to use a different curriculum at home but still wants to be in the co-op indefinitely?
8. What is covered in the co-op? Will you do the "extras" like music, crafts, art, and cooking? Will you focus on the history or geography?
9. Who takes care of the babies?
10. How are you paying for supplies? Does the host family each time simply provide supplies, under the assumption that it will all even out as each family hosts? Or do you bring your own supplies each week? Or, do you pay the teacher? Or does each family chip in money at the beginning of the year? How much do they chip in? What if someone pays for the full year and pulls out in December?
11. For a larger co-op, you need to discuss things like attendance (we had an issue a few years ago in a different large co-op with a family that came "when they felt like it" despite the mom's teaching responsibility), discipline (what do you do with that one child that is always disruptive and/or mean), and perhaps a statement of faith (in our co-op we allow people that don't agree with our SOF to join but ask that they not discuss their beliefs in areas where they don't agree with our SOF). This isn't really important when it's your good friends joining you. It is important when you get big enough that everyone doesn't know everyone else!

I'm sure you'll think of other issues too! Just some ideas to get you started. Of course, if it's just you and two other families, you don't have to get fancy, but as you add more families, you will be adding different expectations!
RJ's Momma
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2007 4:26 pm

Are there schools that use MFW

Unread post by RJ's Momma »

RB wrote:Are there schools that use MFW as their curriculum?
Posted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:36 am
I live in central KS. From what I understand there is a school near here that meets 3 days a week and uses MFW curriculum. It is set up so that the parents teach 2 days and the school teaches 3 days. Not sure how this all works out though. They had an article in our nearest town's newspaper last fall about this school.

Amy S.
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 6:32 pm

Our MFW Coop in Pittsburgh

Unread post by Amy S. »

callahanclan wrote:I need MFW CoOp Ideas
I need some ideas of how to begin a MFW CoOp in my area. Is there anyone already doing this that can offer me suggestions? There are several families in my area already using MFW. I'm trying to get us together once or twice a month to complete a project together or something? That's where I need your ideas.
We are in our third year of running a once-per-month MFW coop. When we were all doing Adventures, we did a book club, reading books together from the Adventures books basket. We would read the last chapter together, play some sort of games related to the book, dig into some of the book's background and share a snack related to the book in some way.

When we were using ECC, we had country days. We had three groups of kids rotating through three stations: academic, art, and food related to a particular country of study.

This year, most of us are using C to G (but a couple are using ECC) and we are doing art and science together. The science is straight out of our Genesis for Kids science text. For art we are doing a Creation Art Journal and some of our Egypt-themed crafts together.

We do have a separate class for kids ages pre-K to first and we run a nursery.

It is a highlight of each month and we have become very close with the other families involved. We participate in a weekly gym class with many of them, raise money for Bible translation together (see God's Word for the Nations on this site), go on field trips together, and pray and care for one another.

If you have any specific questions about how we got started, organize ourselves, divide up labor, etc., please let me know.

Amy S.
Posts: 675
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 11:50 am

Showing support - Special Needs

Unread post by gratitude »

tangomoon wrote:Gratitude, I've got a new nephew with Down Syndrome. I may have to see if you have any advice for how I can best show my support.
Hi Tangomoon,
The question above is off the cleaning topic, but I have given it some thought the past few days, and I thought I would share my answer after some thinking occurred (my first answer a few days ago was without thinking about it first).

The best support I receive is when a relative, friend, doctor, church member, or anyone asks about my children that they ask about ALL four of my children. This may seem insignificant, or obvious, but it is huge for me since my youngest dd was born.

Before my youngest dd was born when people would ask about how my children were they asked about all three. Now, most people, ask either about my youngest dd with Down Syndrome or they ask about the other three and not the fourth. I really do appreciate it when a relative, friend, doctor, church member, or anyone acknowledges all four children and the fact that we are still a family together and equal parts of a whole. We had to really work to bond our family after her birth, without allowing the three or our youngest dd to dominate; a bonding process always occurs with a new baby, but it was much more challenging with the medical issues this time. So the most help and support I ever feel is when people acknowledge the family wholeness we have, and don't single her out or ignore her but manage to treat her as one of four children we have who are loved by God.

Posts: 26
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 10:07 pm
Location: Northern IN

ISO Advice for starting a local homeschool group

Unread post by samandsawyersmom »

OklahomaJamie wrote:We are in our first year of homeschooling this year and my son is an 11 yr old boy, only child. We live in the country, so there are no children for him to play with. Our town doesn't have a local support group. I've found a group that is 45 minutes away, which we have joined, but that isn't convenient at all for us. We do go to co-op on Mondays at this group, and field trips, but it's getting to be too expensive with the cost of gasoline.

In our area, we have 2 homeschool families that I know of. I know that in towns which aren't very far away, there are several homeschool families. So the idea of creating a group is one that can work. Problem is, I don't know where to start, what kind of things to say, do, etc. I do know that I will put up signs in the post office, some local gas stations, the library, an ad in the paper for starters. I would like to get together once or twice a month for playdate type stuff, and I'd like to be able to schedule a field trip each month. But when I schedule a meeting, I have no idea where to start. I hope and pray that I can get lots of useful ideas from you all.

Thank you,
Hi Jamie!!
Welcome! I am still new myself to homeschooling! I am just starting out with my oldest in MFWK.

I did start a group where I live. I just put an announcement in the local paper and put up flyers. It has been slow, but we have a nice size group most days. I started by just meeting with the moms and see what they were looking for. . . ie. PE group, co-op, field trips, support group or whatever. We went with a 2x a week PE group that throws in a few local field trips! :-) I did not get much help from the other mothers so I just planned things that my boys would like to do and offered them to everyone.

Things we have done so far. . . nature hikes with local nature center, bowling, swimming, Tae Kwon Do, my church lets us use the gym so we just go in there and run around play group games, putt putt, we also visited a local pumpkin farm. Hope this helps give you ideas. I am looking to do some type of basic dance instructions, gymnastics, maybe soccer instruction. . . .still trying to get it together! It does make you feel really busy. . . helping teach at the co-op, getting a group together, teaching at home, etc. just know how much time you are willing to devote to it all! :-)

~ Stacey
Wife to my wonderful husband 8yrs
Mom to 2 wonderful sons 6yrs and 4yrs
2012 pre-school and MFW 1st
2011 K
Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

suggestions for a MFW co-op

Unread post by Julie in MN »

kacairo1 wrote:Any suggestions for setting up a MFW K co op (plus one doing ADV)?
Hi Kelly,
Maybe you've already seen these around the boards. Otherwise, while you're waiting for ideas, here are a few threads to peruse, mostly about ECC co-ops: ... 365#p65365

Also some of the K ideas posted could be fun in a co-op, such as this one: ... 154#p33154
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2005 10:25 pm

Geography Co-Op class - ideas!

Unread post by Omma »

Hi, everyone, I am in the beginning stages of planning an entire year of geography, primarily using ECC materials, for our church co-op. Help me think things through!

First of all, what materials should I recommend that students purchase at the beginning of the year? I am thinking that I would love everyone to have the ECC student sheets, the flag sticker book, and a passport.

I would lead a one-hour class or so. I have already mapped out the entire year, focusing on one continent each month, and then the specific country of the week. My mind is brimming with the possibilities. There are about 16 children currently in the co-op, ranging from K-7th grade. I would love to have each family focus on a country for some kind of special presentation, and I'd love to do some kind of arts/crafts. I would love to also do some map work as a group (maybe coloring in the country of the week on a mark-it map) and maybe having them color the John 3:16 page while someone discusses aspects of the country. I'd love to have a Missions Moment, and then there's the idea of a mini book club of the month for Nate Saint, Gladys Aylward, etc. Is this too much? Should I read a Kingdom Tale or how do you think we could structure this hour long class, using ECC? I was also eyeing some kind of call to action (ie. prayer, service project, etc.).

What do you think?
Julie in MN wrote:Hi Brenda,
I think your idea for the basic materials sounds good. Maybe the office even has some experience with working with co-ops? And anything else would really depend on what the co-op class was going to be able to cover, what the parents wanted from the class, and what the families were taking care of at home.

For the call to action, maybe the kids would be inspired by the hope and inspiration in something like VOM's Kids of Courage or something with prayer direction like the ECC book, Windows On The World.
Thank you, Julie! Actually, I had downloaded the VOM North Korea activity packet and really liked it, so I will try to expand on that idea. I do appreciate your insights!!

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Co-op Ideas

Unread post by hometolearn »

This is what we hope to cover:

History 1850-Modern Times--Hands-on activities done together and also an opportunity for your older student to present if you would like that.
Our goal is to help students of all ages to evaluate American History from 1850 to the present according to the Christian worldview and the original intent of the founding of our country. We would like to cover hymns, composers, and artists if we have a teacher and time allows.

Science--This is an opportunity to complete laboratory experiments for older students (Apologia) in a group. Younger science may be offered as well. Science is not mandatory for you to participate in any other parts of the co-op but offered if you would like your students to do labs with others .

Worldview --Distinguishing the Christian worldview from other worldviews in the culture surrounding our students so they will “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” I Peter 3:15
Bible study included with emphasis on Christian Character Traits.

We believe the best use of a co-op is to accomplish tasks that are difficult at home or more beneficial in a group.
For us these include:
Hands on Activities and Active Group Games (even the teens enjoy these)
Opportunity for Sharing and Discussion of important ideas
Presentation Opportunities for students at their age level as you approve
Mutual Encouragement of each other as home schooling Christian families
Celebrating the holidays (esp. Hebrew Biblical ones) as a group when possible
HSmommi2mine wrote:Hey! We are doing something very similar, it's just on the other coast. Best of luck!
Last edited by hometolearn on Sat May 28, 2011 12:53 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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MFW user co-ops?

Unread post by HSmommi2mine »

Calicokat7 wrote:Does anyone have a MFW user coop in their areas? I was thinking that it would be nice to do field trips and science projects with other families using similar curriculum. But how to find other MFW families in my area?
We are not doing a specifically MFW co-op but the co-op is using SOTW for the younger grades and AHL for High School in the Fall.

Wife to my favorite guy
Mom to 3 great kids

Re: MFW user co-ops?

Unread post by cbollin »

Nayfiesmama wrote:I'm wondering if there are any co-ops out there that have done work to make the Year Four and
Year Five (7th and 8th grade) curricula independent? (To follow more of the highschool set-up) This is what we need for our co-op. This year we're using the All American History, but I'm looking at switching if for the following year.

Thanks for any info anyone has.
Carrie :)
Among listening to online discussions of those using MFW in co-ops, the success stories that I've heard tend to revolve more about
*nature walks together
*field trips
*community service
*guest speakers on specific topics.
*doing science experiments together

In some of the largest, oldest mfw co-ops around the US, families were not even required to be on the same week in the program. This helped with some book basket check out issues as well as just recognizing different needs in families on pace and schedule and breaks. I know in high school, we sorta have to make them stay on schedule and do make up work as part of "college prep" "job prep", but before that, many families don't feel that rush or need.

Instead of focusing on having a history/academic co-op, it seemed in my cyber eyes, that it was more of the "seeing the world through God's eyes and living according to that knowledge" that was in play in the co-ops using MFW. Granted this was mostly 4 years ago when I paid more attention on yahoo and listened in on conversations. But I think the ideas still apply. in fact, I just looked at one of them and sure enough.. the co op is more of general support, science classes, field trips, and service projects for those using MFW.

I don't know if any of that helps with some of the thinking. But what I have heard over the years is that the families do their MFW program, then meet together. But it's not done as a homework based co-op.

Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

OT: Science Fair

Unread post by Julie in MN »

mlhom4him wrote:If you have experience with organizing a science fair, can you please contact me in a PM. I have some questions about how to go about this and would like to chat with someone who has done this before.
Mary Lou Hom
Just checking in - I hope you got some PMs!

I haven't organized one but my ds has been in them in elementary co-ops. A couple of things I remember:

- Each student had to stand up and explain their display. This was excellent public speaking practice, really one of the greatest benefits both in speaking and in processing what's going on in science.
- Some years, all the other children sat in chairs in the center and watched the speaker, and other years just the judges watched.
- Usually our group didn't allow parents to even attend during the presentation. They felt strongly this was helpful for public speaking skill development. In any case, there were always rules about whether parents could/could not observe their child's demonstration, and definitely about the parent not participating during the actual demonstration.
- Some displays were not judged. The children participated fully, but were not judged if they were not actually science investigations (i.e. no hypothesis/conclusion). Sometimes there were guidelines for these, such as making a diorama or a trifold board.
- Judged displays had certain requirements, such as hypothesis, procedure, conclusion, oral presentation, typed report, and sometimes little things like part of the display must be hand-written.
- Ours required a related Bible verse or lesson to be on the display board.
- Previous to the fair, all judging requirements were sent home, as well as other materials about what a science fair really is, and ideas for displays (displays having handouts, samples, charts & graphs, photos, bibliography, etc.)
- Sometimes there was a participation event so everyone could "win," such as an easy Science Bee with questions the little ones had went over & over in previous weeks.

I probably still have some of the handouts and such on my computer in my son's files, if you need more info.

Have fun! It's hard work for everyone but an excellent exercise.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
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Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: OT: Science Fair

Unread post by mlhom4him »

Yours is the first and ONLY response I have received. So I thank you so much! Most likely I will email you more questions as I continue in the planning and such for these two fairs.

Mary Lou Hom

Re: OT: Science Fair

Unread post by cbollin »

never organized one, so I didn't bother to answer either...

Not been in a science fair either, but have been in other kinds of academic display fairs. However, they weren't judged fairs either.. so..

from that, I might add...

things I liked"
*certificates for all participants. thank you for entering
*good communication about expectations of the event. Notice was given in plenty of time to prepare for the event. Reminders sent. Our World Cultures and Geography Fair will be at the end of September this year... (communication was started in late July... then repeated again at August and September meetings of the support group)
*sign up sheets - that way it wasn't all "ooh.. here is our kidney bean plant growing"
*general ideas were shared to help get over the feeling of "I don't know what to do!"
*everyone brought some food and drink to share at the end of it all
*expectations and requirements were clearly spelled out

I really enjoyed our relaxed, end of year Academic Fair. Families could display together from their family learning. It could be in any topic they learned about that year. competitive stuff was saved for things like 4H fair where it wasn't about family/homeschooling learning styles.

Things I didn't like:
for the competitive science fair that we chose not to participate in, the organizers made every communication sound like the science fair nazis. "if the judges determine that parents helped in any way shape or form the entry will be disqualified and we'll tell on you" (and they wonder why no one signed up?)
it wasn't that the grown ups were doing the projects... but in homeschooling settings, it's hard to not do some stuff as a family.... if I bought the supplies, was I helping? If I helped cut the pudding boxes from RTR.. was that helping? so all of that to say if you have that standard, just word it in a way that doesn't sound too off the deep end that no one signs up.

the competitive nature of it below high school levels was a turn off to me. I totally get it at high school level... but elementary? It kept us for signing up. We would have sign up and had fun showing off our Roman Arches in RTR, but all of us had helped do it as a family project...

not sure any of that helps or not. but I thought maybe from those experiences you'll gain something as you plan it out.

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