I sent out an email to all the parents that are in my American Literature and Composition class at our homeschooling co-op almost a month before co-op started (this was when we were asked to send it out because registration was closed and we knew who was in our class...not to mention that fact that I sent them an email with the books we would be reading and the guide book they would need back in April to those moms already in co-op and the ones who came to the Open House and were going to be joining). The letter told them the books we would be reading, the EIL (Excellence In Literature) Guide they would need to purchase, and other supplies they would need (binder, pens, etc...). It also told them what would be expected of their students and a general overview of the course. Attached to the email was a letter they were supposed to read with their children that laid out what they should expect from the class, their responsibilities, and their "summer reading" (all they had to read was the beginning of the EIL Guide book that lays out the course, how to deeply read a book-the things they needed to look for while analyzing the book...themes, symbolism, plot devices, etc...It was a couple of chapters. The introduction to a course which is supposed to be an independent study, so you should be reading it even if I didn't actually assign it to you). The second thing attached to the email to the parents was the syllabus for the first semester...Long story short...Two of the 11 students came having read the "summer reading" and one of them was my child....It is hard to have a discussion on it (which the syllabus told them we would being doing on the first day) when the great majority of the class hasn't even read it. Today (the second week of co-op) we went over the paper they need to write this week that is due next Monday and we had a lesson on how to take notes from a lecture. Class went well. The two moms that are in my class as assistants said it was great and they are my friends and would tell me if it wasn't great! They are of course a couple of young men that think they are much smarter than everyone else in the world and made stupid comments. Example: When I was listing all things Benjamin Franklin could be categorized as, I included musician. One of the extra intelligent boys asked me how Franklin could be a museum...? I asked him what he was talking about and we finally figured out he misheard me...Ha. Ha. Ha. Thank you for wasting our time (I only have one hour a week with the class, but who is counting?) trying to be funny. Another example is when I was explaining how to lay out their paper in MLA format and I told them their name goes on the top left hand corner of the paper. I was writing on the middle/left side of the huge white board (the left was filled with examples of how to take notes from a lecture and the right had their assignments for the week...the middle was the only space I had) and another genius raised his hand (at least he raised his hand. The first smarty pants didn't even do that), and said (I kid you not!), "you said write it on the top left corner but that is the top right corner." I paused and starred at him for an uncomfortable 6 seconds or so and then turned around drew a rectangle around it (making sure it appeared in the top left hand corner of the rectangle), and asked him if he saw it now....He thought he was pointing out that I wrote it on the wrong side but he obviously doesn't know his right from his left...Did I mention this kid is 14 with blond hair and he is trying to grow in a creepy little mustache? Yuck...
...But on to my real point. One of my friends, who is an assistant for me in my class, teaches a science class. She had a few minutes at the end so she asked them what they thought of co-op so far this year. All of the students said it seemed harder, to which my friend told them it was supposed to get harder as they got into higher classes and more was expected of them. She asked for specifics on what they thought was hard. They said things like the amount of reading and writing (keep in mind I have modified the curriculum we are using to give three weeks to read books instead of one or two because people said it wasn't enough time.The "Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin" is 160 pages...??? You need three week to read 160 pages?) in every class (science included. You can't read a chapter in Science, take notes, do a study guide, labs at co-op and then a test at home in 2-3 weeks???). One girl that is in my Lit class said she was totally lost in it. My friend (who was shocked because her son who is a grade younger and has auditory processing issues is having no problem...not to mention we just started) asked her why (also keep in mind every time I asked if anyone had questions no one raised their hand) and the girl said she didn't know why I was talking about Benjamin Franklin so much. My friend (after recovering from such a strange statement) explained it was because we are reading his autobiography. The girl looked at her, obviously very confused, and said her mom gave her "The Autobiography of Fredrick Douglas" and said that is what we were reading....I can't...I don't even understand. I am shocked to find out that so many homeschoolers read so little. SHOCKED. I am shocked that this mother who gave her daughter the wrong book to read has obviously not read any of the emails I have sent (the two I mentioned before or the one that I sent last week recapping what their students homework was and what we covered in class), the EIL Guide book, the letter to their child (that I told them to read with their child), or the syllabus. What is going on?
Oh! I almost forgot. Did I mention that Jake is sick so he was at home while I was at co-op trying to lead these peoples children (for free) who don't even know what their children are studying...Even though THEY ARE THE ACTUAL TEACHER!!! I am with them one hour a week!!! I I know everything Jake is studying (besides math...I know what lesson he is on but I don't get it. That is Aaron's department) because I am homeschooling him. Even though he is getting much more independent I am still guiding him, reviewing with him, assigning things to him, being involved.
Don't get me wrong-I love co-op! I do! I just don't love all the people that are there pretending to homeschool their kids. I love that we do all our Science Labs there...but I don't love that the mom leading that class isn't going to grade any of the labs until the end of the year when we have completed all of them and we will give her our child's whole binder. Negative. What if Jake has been doing them wrong the whole year and we don't find out until the year is over? Also how do you give your child a grade after the first semester when you don't know any of the grades on his labs? I will grade them myself. I love that Jake has made some really great friends there and so have I! I love that we can (hopefully...assuming the students actually read) have book discussions. I just needed to vent really. Aaron keeps reminding me it really shouldn't matter to me what anyone else is doing, as long as we are doing what we need to. I understand that but it is a lot of work to plan a class and grade papers for students that may not even be reading the right book! My friend, who told me about the girl reading the wrong book, talked to the girls mom (I left early to be with my sick child) and told her I probably wouldn't mind if she kept reading the wrong book and wrote papers on it...Wrong. I am not grading a paper on the wrong book because you didn't read anything I sent you. I am not that nice. Besides the fact that the 2nd paper we are writing will be on Franklin's 13 virtues. I could be wrong but I don't thing Fredrick Douglas discusses them in his book. Get it together people or I may LOSE IT!!!