Archive for October, 2007

Co-op Update #2

We did run out of paper clips.  Just thought you’d like to know that.

Otherwise, things went reasonably smoothly.  I figured out a way to get the class to quiet down (the famous Scout Quiet Sign!) and that helped save my voice.  The younger kids liked learning about famous skyscrapers and seeing photos of them, but struggled a bit with the straw and paperclip construction project.  The older kids really liked the straws and paperclips.  Even my assistant sat down and started building!

I’ve got my next two weeks’ lessons figured out, and I just found a great book at the library.  It’s called Steven Caney’s Ultimate Building Book, and it’s huge.  It’s just stuffed with incredible building projects, using everything from Q-tips to PVC pipes.  I skimmed through it and now need to devote some serious time to reading some of the project ideas.

We’ll preview a DVD today to see if it will work for a future co-op class; I am sure my children will enjoy the break from our normal routine (well, we don’t have a routine, just a vague plan, but still…).


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Okay, I’ve been to three different big-box discount stores and a couple of other places, trying to buy paper clips for co-op.  My deadline is here (co-op’s tomorrow) and I have only half the number of paper clips I need.  Everyone’s sold out.

Did I miss some Earth-shattering, paper clip-focused event?  A contest to see who can create modern art out of paper clips?  I am completely mystified.

School started weeks ago.  Office workers use paper clips all year ’round. 

I’ll remember all the paper clip hoarders when I’m frantically unclipping drinking-straw structures between co-op class periods tomorrow.  Sigh.

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So, today I head off to co-op.  Not that I’ve ever participated in one until today…and here I was, ready to teach two classes on skyscraper construction.  I planned a bunch of activities, hoping to complete some of them while I assessed the dynamics of the groups; most of the children have been in this co-op for a several years.

It was fun, but incredibly tiring.  Last time I taught anything like this, it was 5th grade CCD and I was several years younger.  The kids were welcoming and fun and outgoing and LOUD.  It’s easy to see they don’t spend much time in classrooms, although most did raise their hands.  Almost everyone enjoyed building newspaper towers.  I practically fell asleep once we got back home.  Looks like I’ll need to get more sleep on Tuesdays, right?

I’m teaching co-op classes for a couple of reasons.  First, so my daughter can make some friends at our church…she has lots of friends, but few who live nearby.  Second, to see if, after homeschooling is over, I’d be interested in doing something in the education field, such as teaching homeschoolers something like writing. 

I can tell already that this will be an interesting experiment.

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My Catholic parish has a huge outreach program.  We cook food for homeless people, make rosaries, collect school supplies for needy children, and much, much more.  Somehow, though, Sarah’s House at Ft. Meade, Md., really touches my heart. 

Sarah’s House provides shelter and transitional living services for families who have become homeless, often because they’ve fled abusive situations.  From basic food and shelter to job placement, vehicle purchase assistance and tutoring, Sarah’s House works hard to meet the needs of Baltimore-area families who have lost everything.

One year, we were moving overseas.  I rounded up all of my business suits and donated them to Sarah’s House.  I wear (well, I did then!) a popular size, and I was sure someone could use my office wardrobe for job interviews.  When you have no home and no car, it’s mighty hard to come up with $200+ for a suit and nice shoes.

Sarah’s House works with homeless women and families to transition them to employment and normal life in the local community.  The families first receive shelter, food and other basic assistance.  Then, Sarah’s House provides child care and job training for the women who must now provide for their families without help from their former partners.

Finally, Sarah’s House collects furniture, linens, appliances and the other basics essential to setting up life in a home or apartment.

The need is great.  Sarah’s House operates out of former barracks buildings at Ft. Meade, Md., and gives shelter, counseling and more to up to 22 families at one time.

Please pray for the staff and volunteers at Sarah’s House, who work so hard to bring homeless families the resources they need to turn their lives around.

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