A BPA Homeschool Co-op!

Okay, for those on the Principled Academy facebook page who wanted a post about forming a Bible Principles (aka Principle Approach®) based homeschool co-op with a simple format, here it is!
© Principled Academy
We attempted two U-Shaped table sections but it works best in our group to do one large U-Shape section.

In your Bible Principles based co-op, you can choose a subject you love teaching the most and have that be the core individual subject for your group. My husband and I run a homeschool co-op and this is what we offer:

Prayer
Presentations
Art

P.E.
Once a month boys/girls club meetings in lieu of art. 

Our Format:

We choose to have a family integrated format. This means that the mothers, fathers and children of all ages are in the same room participating in activities together. We all love it! The parents are there to be an encouragement to their children and correct behavior when needed. It deepens the bond among parents and siblings because it’s something they get to do together. 

Moms and dads have time to visit during P.E. while they watch their children.

Presentations:

In our co-op, the kids get up in front of the group and share something. The main idea is that they are able to practice public speaking. Since all children are individuals and parents know their children best, we leave specific requirements up to the parents. In general, this is what most of the presentations are about:

Biography  reports
Book reports/ share about a book you like
Show N’ Tell
Poetry  recital
Singing a song
Scripture Verse recital
How to demonstrations
Open topics they want to share about 

As I said, in our co-op we recognize that children are individuals and not required to *fit in a mold.* For some kids, it’s all they can do to stand up in front of the group and it’s okay if their mom, dad or sibling get up there with them for support. Some kids have learning disabilities and their best is their best for who they are… not who their peers are. Some kids have special needs and their capabilities differ widely. All that to say that some kids frequently choose to do Show n’ Tell because that’s what they are comfortable starting out with. And that’s okay because each parent knows each of their own children best.

For our group size (35 kids), it takes roughly 15 minutes to go through presentations. I have a rotation schedule of 2 groups, so each child has the opportunity to give a presentation every other week. It always works out because some parents require a certain length of time for their child’s presentation and others don’t. The presentations that don’t have a specific length of time generally are about 1-2  minutes long. 

Art:

I love many subjects but as I am an artist, I chose Art to be the core subject. Art is something I love, I am so excited about applying Biblical Principles to Art and I think it is a gentle way to introduce families to the application of Bible Principles (aka Principle Approach®) in every subject! This is the second subject (literature was the first) the Lord used to really help me grasp how to apply Biblical Principles to each subject.

What I Teach:
Biblical Principles pertaining to each lesson,

Techniques,
Different mediums,
Art History,
Various styles of individual artists,
Artist studies…

You can find some of my free Bible Principle Art lessons here.

The parents are expected to be helping hands. This means:
 

1. They help their kids by mentoring them with what I am teaching when needed. This works beautifully because then I am not stretched thin trying to answer questions that can all come up at once. I’ve taught in a classroom setting where some kids (9-12 years old even!) have come up all at once, all talking at once asking questions because they were not listening as I taught. It is impossible to finish a lesson in a timely fashion with that type of behavior! Therefor, I am even more convinced of the importance of keeping the mothers and fathers involved during the art lessons.

2. Mothers and fathers help clean up when the art lessons are over.


P.E.

My husband teaches this portion. Our group prefers more camp-like games vs. sports skills sets. This is a free resource we have been using and it might just bless you too. 

This is our third year running our co-op and this year my husband is planning on learning how to apply and teach Biblical Principles in P.E.

Afterwards, with the continued helping hands of parents:

We stack chairs and put them away,
put tables away,
clean windows,
tidy restrooms,
tidy the kitchen,
sweep floors and then we’re done!

This is the general schedule but we are flexible:

Set up before families arrive (15 minutes)
Prayer/Presentations (15 minutes)
Art (45 minutes)
P.E. (45 minutes)
Clean up afterwards (15 minutes) 

Boys and Girls Clubs:

In our large room that we meet in, my husband takes the boys to one side and works on projects with the boys. So, of course I have the girls at the other side of the room. Moms who have younger kids that are both boys and girls tend to go back and forth to help out or an older boy or girl will pair up with a younger one to help them out. It just depends on the child. For the most part, older boys and girls are fine on their own without much help. 

We attempt to have a devotional with each club meeting but I will admit that when life has gotten busy, we have not had time to prepare one for each ocassion.

For the first half of last school year, we attempted to use the Keepers of the Faith books. It’s a nice program and we ordered pins (those are expensive by the way!). However, we felt too confined with categories and our creativity felt stifled. But it may work for your group!


Extras (optional for members to participate in):

What else do we do? 

We schedule field trips about once a month,
We do community outreach by decorating place mats and lunch bags for Meals on Wheels,
We carol at a local retirement home(s),
We are learning about Biblical Feasts,
We offer fellowship dinners consisting of soup, salad, bread, and a simple dessert.

On the note of fellowship dinners, we were attempting to do this once a month but by the end of the school year people got too busy. So, I think this year we are looking at offering them once quarterly. It’s a way to learn more about each other, deepen relationships, serve the families in our group so they can have a break, and stay connected outside of the co-op.

So, what do you think?

Will you give it a try? Will you start one for your area? What challenges do you think you’ll face? 

Do you have any questions? If so, please ask! We’d love to support you in setting up a Principle Approach® homeschool co-op!



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