Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!

Co-op Week Four

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What a week! We got just about everything in on time. Not only that, but I arrived early! I wasn’t scattered and losing my mind. I felt kind of on top of things.

However, I had a personal down note. The kids and I are not allowed to be barefoot in the halls at co-op. They’re afraid the staff of the place will find it disrespectful. I’m trying to come up with a good argument against it, but it will be getting cool in the mornings before too long. Besides, it might just be better to avoid the argument by getting or making a pair of shoes with no soles. It’s deceptive, yes, but it will allow me to keep on while hopefully not upsetting anyone. I really just need to see a doctor who will be accepting enough of my knee and ankle problems to write me a pass effectively. Hopefully I can start managing the expenses to get us all minimal shoes for winter. They won’t be cheap, but they’re healthier for the body, and that’s all I care. Oh, and nursing without a cover-up is looked down on for my classes with the older kids. A part of me wants to put my foot down and insist that I shouldn’t be obligated to use a cover-up. There is no law requiring it and Luca hates it, but it’s a concession I’m willing to make. I’m really working on weaning Luca during co-op time anyway. Maybe when he no longer feels the need to nurse all day I’ll be able to leave him in class without him getting upset! I have to admit, I kind of felt insulted that I was pretty much told to wear shoes in the halls because the staff might find it disrespectful, but at least they don’t care what I do in class.

That aside, the day went great. Corde loves her writing and Latin teacher. It’s funny because her teacher thought Corde must hate her because she always makes Corde stay after class to finish her work before leaving. Corde actually loves that. She’s learning a lot in that class and her teacher seems to have found the magic switch when it comes to Corde’s understanding of writing. She loves her art class and can’t wait to get into the more interesting stuff. She even did her poem a week early as well as got her character trait card for “dependability”. The only complaint she had was getting two nosebleeds. She gets them pretty frequently like her dad, so I’m not worried, but it can’t have made the class fun.

Beekee is having a blast too. In his writing class we seem to be playing a huge game of pretend. I came in comparing myself to the scarecrow last week because I was feeling scatter-brained. Next thing I knew we had Lion, Dorothy, and Beekee as Tin Man. Luca came into class later and ended up our Toto. This week it carried on. I have a feeling we’ll be running with that for a while because it’s fun. If it still ends up with them doing their work, who cares? The goal is to have fun, right? Learning is just a side benefit. Beekee is definitely having fun!

Sander had a little accident where he bumped his face on another girl’s noggin. Poor guy was all out of sorts! He had to come see me. After a kiss and a hug he got all excited because they were making caps and moustaches to go with their story. He is loving co-op. He would go every day if he could. It kind of makes me feel a little guilty about not putting him in preschool, but once I start that, all his friends will be going on to regular schools. I don’t want to give him something he loves just to take it away again.

Luca is even finally warming up to the idea of co-op. He made it through the first period and only cried a little at first. They switched rooms for snack and I hid because he’s been okay as long as he doesn’t see me. He lasted a good ten or fifteen minutes before he came to join my class. I hardly expected him to sleep after lunch because he slept through lunch. Even so, he amazed me by taking a nap! He slept on Oz, so it’s not like we got him to lay down in his nap room, but it’s a start. First we get him in the habit of sleeping after lunch, not before, then we can get him to sleep where he’s supposed to. It’s either that or I need to be gifted a new baby carrier, preferably a structured one or woven wrap. Then I can just wear him the last half of the day. Still, we’re making progress. Hopefully by Thanksgiving break he’ll be comfortable enough that I can leave him with his class.

Of course, co-op is long and exhausting on all of us. The big kids and I got up at six this morning. It was a bit on the early side, but better early than late! We’re going to keep that up for the next few weeks. We don’t get done until about four in the afternoon. Sander has started sleeping during movie time and Beekee sleeps on the way home. He barely made it to his room before passing out again! I have no idea how Corde isn’t dead tired, but she’s over her friend’s house now. I fully expect to bring her home and have her knock out as soon as she gets home.

In all of this, I know the kids are having a great time. Corde’s learning a lot and making some great friends. Beekee’s a very different kind of kid, and the more time we spend at co-op, the more I realize he’s not like the other kids his age. He has a lot of problems listening, focusing, and paying attention. He interacts with the other kids in a very different way. He’s also gotten very violent when it comes to play, something I can thank his stay with his dad for. All of this is just confirming what I suspected, that we should think about identifying what’s going on with him so we can teach him better coping strategies should we need to, curb his violent play, and help him learn better. Unschooling is great, but even that’s not so good if he faces challenges focusing, understanding, and remembering facts and details. Sander adores his co-op friends and has already grown up so much. His speech is so much more clear and he talks about an even wider range of topics. Luca is starting to realize life will be okay if I’m not always in arm’s reach. I hate it in a way. I feel like a bad AP parent, but he’s having fun once he forgets about me. He won’t adventure as much if I’m in the room. He hides with me instead. Even I get some fun out of this. All the third grade girls rave that I’m the best Latin teacher of all time.

With Corde’s writing book on order and not being the only one with a Latin book on backorder, I’m starting to get confident that this was the right choice. I was even told that moms new to the co-op tend to be all nerves about teaching, but everyone loves that I jump right in and engage the class. They love having me and my kids, even if Luca hasn’t warmed up to the idea yet.

With each passing week I’m realizing this was a fantastic choice for our family. I’m glad I’m going through the financial craziness to make it happen. Even with the books threatening to break our budget, I’m glad we did this. Now we just need to figure out the barefoot thing or minimalist shoes so I won’t be stressing over my knee giving me issues and it’ll be great!

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Author: Fox

With four kids in the house, who has time for much? Well, we're trying to make it work, trying to get as close to our unschooling roots as we can while state restrictions and family pressures try to stand in our way. Every day is a new adventure.

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