“I have the best Special Needs Curriculum for you.” Ever heard that before? I have, tons of times! The longer you homeschool your Special Needs Child, the more you realize that there is NO curriculum out there that is “perfect” for every Special Needs Child. As a mom and teacher, you know your child better than any one else. God’s given you the ability to listen and learn about your child more than any one else in the whole world.
An amazing fact that I am still wrestling with is that what clicks with my Special Son one day, might not click with him the next day. How he learned yesterday isn’t how he’s learning today. It means that I need to have tons of ideas to teach the same thing. Tons of ways to say/eat/feel/act the same thing. I’m not that good. I need help!
That’s where CoOps come in. Only problem with the “normal” CoOps is that we live up in the mountains and it takes about 45 min to drive off the mountain, then another who knows how long to get where ever! So … I turned to my friend: the internet!
I’ve already written about Homeschooling Conventions and how to not sell the farm when going to one (http://www.maggiemccormick.com/?cat=6), so I won’t repeat myself. But I do want to reference back to my meeting Tammy Duby (a normal mom who just happens to be famous). When sitting in Tammy’s workshop, learning how to make Lapbooks, I realized that this is a great way to reach Ian (my Special Son). But I was totally stuck on how to take the information and actually create a lapbook.
Enter “Hands of a Child” (http://www.handsofachild.com) If you like the idea of a Lapbook, but don’t have a clue how to put it all together, you have to check out this company. They take the pain out of putting it all together. Kimm and Niki create the most wonderful mini-books and graphics and Katie writes the guides that tell all about the unit. It works out great. They have a free lapbook that you can download so that you can see if you and your child like lapbooking. (follow the “Freebie” link)
Personally, I downloaded the free Lapbook, did it with my kids and was hooked! I became a Super Member and got lots of free stuff. Then Niki started up this thing called CoOps. Oh wow! I signed up for the CoOps and we started on a learning adventure!
What we, as moms/teachers of Special Needs kids need most is options. Options of ways to present the same material in a multitude of different ways. That’s what’s so great about the HOAC CoOps. Here is a very short explanation of the HOAC CoOps:
Now, here’s where we get all the options. There are about 9 “core” jobs and 7 other jobs that are filled when more moms join the CoOps. So … even if only the “core” jobs are filled … you still have everything that the HOAC ladies bring to the unit, plus all the other “jobs” that the other moms bring to the unit … all placed into the Daily Unit Planner. You can then print out the Daily Unit Planner (or just bring it up on your computer) and pick and choose all the things that will work for your Special Learner. My favorite job to look through is the Preschool Princess.Â No, my son is not Preschool, but the fun, hands on stuff they come up with is just perfect for my Special Son.
How do I know so much about the CoOps? Well, after several CoOps, Niki figured out just how much I LOVE the CoOps and asked me if I wanted to help out with them. One thing lead to another and now I’m the CoOps Coordinator for HOAC. But even if I didn’t have anything to do with the running of the CoOps … I’d still be signed up for every single one of them and totally involved. They are THAT great!
If you are interested in learning more about the HOAC CoOps, you can join the “News Group” at http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/HOAC-Co-Op-News/ (if this link doesn’t work, please copy/paste into your browsers address bar). Look in the files section for the 2007 … 2008 Schedule and the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). The SOP will give you a great overview of what the CoOps are and how they work. You can also email Niki or I at Co-Ops@HandsofaChild.com with any questions that you might have.