The Apostolate sponsors various activities for Catholic homeschooling families, though our prime activity is our Friday co-op program that takes place September through April or May. As a co-operative program, every parent needs to help out with the associated activities. There are many different ways to help, and when everyone pitches in, it all easily gets done. Parents are asked to teach a few times a year, assist teachers the days they aren't teaching, and help on a committee. Here is the link on this website for signing up to be responsible for a class period. Please note on the teaching chart if you will be using the gym. For instance, if Ann Smith is going to teach the K-3rd class on October 10, she would move the cursor to that cell and click on it to highlight it. She would then enter her name "Ann S." If she needs the whole gym she would type "gym" in the cell below her name; if she needs half the gym, she would type 1/2 gym below it. This way, other prospective teachers will know what facilities are still available. If she will just be using the usual classroom, the café, in this case, she doesn't need to enter anything.
On most co-op days, we meet at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in the café directly across from the old gym at 1:20. This year, every family will bring their own snacks, so please place these in the café kitchen; make sure they are marked. Before Adoration rules are reviewed, announcements are made, and often the children are lead in a song to prepare for Eucharistic Adoration. It is also a good idea to have your children use the restroom to cut down on all the comings and goings in church. Fr. Tom McGann from Catholic Campus ministries usually leads our adoration, and after he arrives, we quietly enter the sanctuary together. The children are strongly encouraged to kneel on the steps in front of the altar, right in front of the Monstrance. Parents are welcome to kneel on the steps or in the pews. Younger children usually stay with their parents in the pews. Adoration generally lasts about an hour, plus or minus. Please speak with your children about proper behavior in church, i.e. walk don’t run, genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament, speak in hushed tones only when absolutely necessary, etc. In general, we do need to encourage our children to use (or develop!) school manners – walking in line, no talking in line, stay with the group, etc. The parish of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton has been very gracious and generous to us in letting us use their facilities, and we want to be our best selves to show our appreciation.
We are going to try something a little different this year with our co-op schedule. After Adoration, all the classes will be having a snack and social time in the same period, which ends about 3:00. The youngest students will stay in the café, the middle students will go to classroom 4, and the teenage students will go to classroom 4. During this period, the parents should make sure the children get a bathroom break. The children should clean up after themselves.
At 3:00, or a little after if Adoration has run long, the teachers gather their respective classes and move them to their classrooms, gym, or outside for class. At about 4:15, the teachers will direct the students in cleaning up for the day which includes, but is not limited to, wiping down tables, picking up trash, putting supplies away, vacuuming, sweeping, and taking care of the thurible from Adoration. When this is completed, the children should be taken to the cafe. Parents are free to leave when all of their children have arrived in the cafe as long as there are two parents staying with the children remaining in the café.
Here is a document that has the above daily schedule blocked out visually. This document is also on the documents page.
Other general notes:
If you are at co-op early, please assist in setting things up for adoration and/or co-op if there are enough adults to watch the children. Shelly Pichler, Paula Foster, or Liesa Klump will be happy to show you what needs to be done in church. For every co-op session at SEAS, one or more toy tubs for nursery and the snack tub should be brought down from our supplies in the attic; toys tubs should be taken to the the nursery classroom and snack tub to the café. Also, someone needs to set up water pitchers and cups to be taken to room 5 and the café after Adoration for snack time.
Teachers, especially of the younger classes, need to make sure the children have a restroom break, usually right after snack time. Children should clean up their own snack messes as much as possible.
Students should not leave their classes for any reason without permission. Homeschooled children sometimes just charge out of their rooms to go look for mom or to use the restroom. We are not in a locked and secured area, so for the students safety, it is imperative that an adult be with them. Please talk to your children about this.
Teachers need to be mindful of the time and make sure activities stop in time for the classrooms to be cleaned up. The students should definitely help with this.
At the end of the day, supplies and toys need to be put away in the attic where they belong. Students, especially the older ones, may help with this, though it is probably best to have an adult supervisor.
Areas should be clean when we leave: tables wiped down, floors swept or vacuumed as necessary.
Final note: As much as we try to plan so that things run smoothly, there are bound to be glitches. We all, parents and students alike, need to have servant hearts. If something is not getting done, see what you can do to help.